I don’t seem to have good luck with checked in baggage. For the approximately 20 one-way trips I have made with checked in bags, I have had baggage delay 3 times, all within the past 2 years. One of these times, on my flight from Seattle to Boston in December 2013, I had an opportunity to test out the baggage delay reimbursement feature of my credit card, the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard (later name changed to the Arrival +).
Baggage delay reimbursement provides you with an allowance to purchase essentials during the time your bag is delayed. Essentials include personal hygiene products, clothes and other items you need for your daily life. For the one day my bag was delayed, I went to Target and bought some clothes, keeping the receipt of course. I had had the baggage delay claim filled by the airlines’ representative at the airport, and I kept the file too.
A few weeks later, I contacted Barclaycard to file a claim, and was transferred to Mastercard. Took a few phone calls to figure out which department I needed to speak to. They emailed me a form that didn’t take long to fill. I uploaded the form to their claim website, and got the refund for the full Target bill in about 2 weeks. Why deny something that is free with no strings attached, right? 😉
All travel rewards credit cards, and all Discover-issued cards that I know offer this hugely useful benefit, but the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard was the only card I tested it on. There is usually a limit on the purchases that would be covered, but the definition of baggage delay is pretty generous; for World Mastercard credit cards, a delay of 4 hours or more would be eligible for reimbursement.
I was somewhat lucky that my bag was only delayed, not damaged or lost; otherwise, I would have taken advantage of another common travel benefit of my credit card: lost or damaged luggage insurance.
Put simply, if your checked-in or carry-on bag is lost or damaged while traveling on a common carrier, the actual cost of repairing or replacing the bag and its content will be reimbursed up to a certain limit, subject to certain restrictions. The limit for a Mastercard credit card is $1,500, and you have to have paid for the entire cost of the common carrier ticket with the card or reward points earned through the card.
American Express is the only credit card issuer I know that does not provide damaged/lost baggage insurance. Stick with Discover, Visa, or Mastercard if you want to be covered.
Baggage is an enormous concern for any traveler. How about getting the worries alleviated by using your credit card to pay for your trip and getting reimbursed for mishaps?