How to turn your flight delay into a free meal

Dec 20, 2019

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Let’s face it: No one likes flight delays. They’re costly for airlines and extremely frustrating for passengers, but often, they’re unavoidable — especially during this busy holiday travel period when nasty weather can quickly derail the best-laid travel plans.

This season, however, a flight delay might not be all bad news.

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Burger King is hoping to ease some of the anxiety and frustration that comes with delays by giving out free Impossible Whoppers. Through Dec. 30, 2019, domestic travelers at any U.S. airport can enter their delayed flight information into Burger King’s mobile app and receive a coupon for the free burger, which the chain describes as “just like the original Whopper sandwich but with a patty made from plants.”

Location services must be enabled and app registration is required, according to the promotion terms and conditions. The coupons are valid through Jan. 6, 2020 and can be redeemed at any participating Burger King restaurant in the U.S. (including airport locations).

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Impossible Burger, and am sure they taste even better when they’re free. But at the end of the day, they might not help pass much time when you’re waiting out a delay. Fortunately, your credit card might have built-in trip delay or trip cancellation coverage that will reimburse you for expenses you might incur as a result of a trip interruption.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for instance, offers up to $500 for reasonable expenses if your flight is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay. Reasonable expenses include everything from lodging to toiletries and yes, meals, so you could order a side of fries to go with your burger. You’re typically eligible for this benefit as long as you paid for at least part of your ticket using the card with coverage (though some require the entire fare to be paid with the card) and it doesn’t matter if the disruption was within the airline’s control. Travelers can also consider spending $19 in advance on Freebird, since that service will book you a new flight home (on its dime) if your flight is cancelled or severely delayed.

Related: Trip delay reimbursement and the credit cards that offer it

Aside from travel protections, you’ll want to check if your credit card offers airport lounge access. A number of premium credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve, come with a Priority Pass membership, which grants you complimentary access to more than 1,300 lounges, minisuites and airport restaurants around the world. (Enrollment is required if you have a card that includes a Priority Pass Select membership — you can’t simply present your credit card at a participating lounge to receive access.) The Platinum Card® from American Express takes airport lounge access to the next level and also provides access to American Express Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Club Lounges, among others.

Related: Spirit stranded me in an airport for 11 hours; here’s how I passed the time

Either way, hopefully you’ll find a little something to tide you over during an unexpected flight delay this holiday season.

Featured image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

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.

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