How Luggage Protection Saved Me $1,100 — Reader Success Story

Nov 23, 2017

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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how points and miles have helped them get where they want to go. If you’re interested in sharing your own award travel success story, email it to; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure!

Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Steve, who took advantage of a benefit on his wife’s credit card after a baggage mishap. Here’s what he had to say:

I recently flew on United Airlines from Philadelphia to San Diego for a wedding. Some friends and I were planning on playing golf while in San Diego, so I checked my clubs for the flight. Unfortunately, I noticed my golf travel bag was torn at the seams when I picked it up upon arrival. My worst fears were realized after taking my clubs out of the travel bag and seeing my clubs dented, bent and snapped into thirds.

I immediately went to the United customer service desk at the airport, where I was told the airline is responsible only for the travel bag itself and not any of its contents. I was given a replacement travel bag and a $50 United voucher, which is far below the value of the damaged clubs.

The next morning I remembered I had paid for the flight using my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and I remembered past TPG articles extolling the card’s travel benefits, including the reimbursement for lost or damaged luggage. After doing a little research, I found out that the benefit applies not only to the primary cardholder, but also to immediate family members, even if the cardholder is not traveling with them (which my wife was not). I filed a claim with Chase and submitted the required documentation online, and in less than two weeks I received a check for $1,125.

My wife had already decided to keep the card and paid the annual fee before my trip, but any doubts we had about keeping it in the future were thoroughly erased by this experience.  Not only that, but all of our future trips will now be booked using the Sapphire Reserve.

These premium travel rewards cards offer varying degrees of luggage protection.

Ideally your luggage would always arrive with you on time and intact, but if you travel often and check bags regularly, some amount of damage or delay is almost inevitable. When it happens, your first step should be to find out what the airline will cover. Once you’ve done that, you can appeal to your credit card issuer for additional compensation, including delay reimbursement for when your bags are only lost temporarily.

Several premium cards offer baggage protection, but they don’t all come with the same degree of coverage. For example, Amex baggage insurance tops out at $2,000 per claim, or just $250 for certain “high-risk” items like jewelry, electronics and sporting equipment. Chase’s lost luggage reimbursement covers up to $3,000 per claim, and (fortunately for Steve) that protection applies to sporting gear. Citi’s coverage has even fewer exclusions, so it’s worth reading through the different policies to see which one best suits your needs.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Steve for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.

Again, if the strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me and the whole TPG team by emailing us with your own success stories (see instructions at the top of this post). Feel free to also submit stories of your most egregious travel mistakes. In either case, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, along with some extra spending money for your next trip.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured image by Fizkes via Getty Images.

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