Comparing the Baggage Insurance of Premium Travel Cards

Dec 15, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Platinum Card® from American Express, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

While the ban on large electronics in the cabin on flights to the US from select destinations in Africa and the Middle East has largely been lifted, there may still be instances where you need to check laptops and other valuables in your luggage. Perhaps you’re traveling to the UK from one of several destinations in the Middle East, or maybe you just don’t have enough room in your carry-on to stow the new gadgets you’re bringing home as presents for the holidays.

You’ll naturally want to take extra precautions with your laptop, tablet, e-reader or any other valuables you check in your baggage. You may want to consider purchasing a luggage tracker that keeps you abreast of your bag’s location throughout its journey from check-in to baggage claim. Of course, taking steps to prevent your baggage from going missing can only get you so far. Ultimately, the handling of your checked luggage is out of your control the moment you hand it over at the airport, which opens your belongings up to the possibility of loss or damage. The good news is that several travel rewards credit cards offer coverage in the event that your checked baggage goes missing.

In This Post

Getting Coverage

For all the cards mentioned below, note that you need to pay for at least a portion of your itinerary with the card in question to be eligible for coverage if an item is lost or damaged (and in some cases you need to pay for the entire itinerary using the card or its associated loyalty currency). Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully, since most cards’ policies have several exceptions and various limitations, along with differing processes for actually filing a claim and getting compensation.

Also, note that, in many cases, electronics fall under issuers’ definition of “high-risk items,” meaning they’re eligible for a lower limit of coverage. With the Platinum Card® from American Express, for instance, if your laptop is lost or damaged in checked luggage, you’ll only get up to $250 in coverage, as opposed to up to $2,000 for items outside of the “high-risk” category.

Finally, note that most cards offer secondary lost luggage coverage, meaning that the issuer will only cover losses in excess of what the airline itself might reimburse you — so definitely check with the carrier as well.

Premium Cards’ Lost Baggage Coverage

Quite a few travel rewards credit cards offer some degree of baggage insurance, but below we’re focusing on the premium options that offer the most extensive coverage. For example, many Amex cards, such as the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, offer up to $500 in replacement costs for checked bags and their contents, but the more premium Platinum Card from American Express covers up to $2,000 per person for checked bags. Of course, that card comes with a much higher annual fee too (and the $2,000 coverage amount doesn’t apply to electronics), but it could be worth it if you factor in its impressive benefits package, in addition to its more generous coverage.

Card Checked Bag Coverage High-Risk Items Coverage How to Be Eligible for Coverage
Chase Sapphire Preferred Up to $3,000 for each covered person per covered trip Up to $500 per covered person per covered trip for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment You travel on a common carrier and charge some portion of the fare to your card or pay for some portion of the fare with Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Up to $3,000 for each covered person per covered trip Up to $500 per covered person per covered trip for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment You travel on a common carrier and charge some portion of the fare to your card or pay for some portion of the fare with Ultimate Rewards points.
Citi Prestige Up to $3,000 for each covered person per covered trip (up to $2,000 per bag for New York residents) N/A Your Citi card and/or ThankYou points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the common carrier fare.
Platinum Card from American Express Up to $2,000 for each covered person per covered trip Up to $250 per covered person for jewelry, sporting equipment, photographic or electronic equipment and computers and audio/visual equipment You charge the entire common carrier fare to your Amex card or you use Membership Rewards points.

As you can see, most of the cards’ policies include electronics under its definition of “high-risk” items, so they’re not eligible for as much coverage as non-restricted items in the event that they do get damaged or go missing. Luckily, the Citi Prestige’s benefits guide lists no such lower coverage limit for more expensive items like electronics. So that means you should get up to $3,000 (or up to $2,000 per bag if you’re a New York resident) in coverage on an eligible itinerary — closer to what the repair or replacement cost of a laptop will likely be.

Bottom Line

It’s good to know that various travel rewards cards offer some level of coverage to help compensate you if a big-ticket item is damaged or goes missing. Still, given the restrictions of most of these lost baggage policies, we’d love to see carriers increase their checked baggage coverage as well.

Featured image courtesy of Spaces Images via Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.