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Quick Points: Get bonus miles if your checked bag arrives late

Jan. 13, 2023
4 min read
Detta and Alaska planes
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There are downsides to checking your luggage. Namely, it can sometimes take an extremely long time for luggage to arrive at the baggage carousel. Or even worse, luggage might not show up at all.

Most of the time, luggage eventually arrives. However, if it takes more than 20 minutes from when your flight arrives at the gate to when your luggage arrives at the baggage claim, you may be eligible for compensation if you are flying Alaska Airlines or Delta Air Lines.

What is a 20-minute baggage guarantee?

ALASKAAIR.COM

On most domestic Alaska and Delta flights, you are guaranteed to have your luggage at the carousel within 20 minutes of your plane's arrival at the gate. Delta and Alaska will usually compensate you if your luggage isn't at the carousel within 20 minutes.

Of course, there are terms of the guarantee that are important to keep in mind. Check out our guide on earning bonus miles with checked bag guarantees for all the details. For example, one key term is that you only get compensated at the predetermined rate once, regardless of the number of bags you've checked.

Related: I always check a bag – and I'm proud to admit it

How much compensation is offered?

DELTA.COM

Assuming you meet the guarantee terms, both airlines offer similar preset compensation amounts.

Delta Air Lines offers you 2,500 SkyMiles (worth $35.25 based on TPG valuations).

Meanwhile, Alaska offers a choice of 2,500 Mileage Plan miles (worth $45) or a $25 discount code for use on a future Alaska Airlines flight. Even though the miles are "worth" more, I would opt for the discount code. After all, Alaska miles have been losing value, and I would rather have straight cash off my next flight (not to mention that you can earn miles on a cash flight).

Related: How to avoid checked baggage fees on major domestic airlines

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How do I get the compensation?

Delta Air Lines has a simple form to fill out if your bags arrive late. DELTA.COM

Applying for compensation is easier with Delta than Alaska. Delta has a dedicated baggage guarantee landing page on its website with a simple form to fill out. After filling in the seven required fields, you can submit the form, and a Delta customer care representative will review the case. If approved, you'll immediately have 2,500 SkyMiles deposited to your account.

On the other hand, Alaska requires you to speak to a customer service representative at the airport within two hours of your flight's arrival. The last thing that any traveler wants to do is get in a baggage service line after already waiting over 20 minutes for their luggage. Hopefully, Alaska will soon provide a simple form like Delta to apply for compensation without speaking with an Alaska employee in the airport.

Related: Large and lavish: A review of the Briggs & Riley Extra Large Expandable Spinner suitcase

Bottom line

You may be able to easily score some extra miles or a discount code the next time your luggage is late on Delta or Alaska. Don't forget that there are plenty of ways to avoid baggage fees on Delta and Alaska. Whether or not you paid to check your bag, you're still eligible for compensation if your bag is late.

As a frequent Delta traveler, TPG's Andrew Kunesh has earned around 25,000 SkyMiles from late luggage on Delta flights in the last several years. That's enough miles for a round-trip flight from New York City to the Dominican Republic.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees