How to get miles back after baggage delays.

Recent airline meltdowns have reminded us all that it pays to know what you’re owed in the event of a disruption. And while there may not be anything you can do to make your bag come out on the carousel quicker, you should be well versed on what you can get back from airlines if you do experience luggage delays. 

Both Alaska and Delta follow the 20-minute rule meaning that if your suitcase isn’t on the baggage claim carousel within 20 minutes of the plane doors opening, then you’re entitled to miles or a voucher. Here’s how to make sure you get what you’re owed.

Make sure to ask

Though both airlines have baggage delay policies, they don’t automatically hand out vouchers and points. You’ll have to ask if you want to get anything back so make sure you keep an eye on the time your airplane doors open to see if it’s within the 20-minute window.

Alaska’s policy

If your bag is delayed while flying with Alaska, you can either choose a $25 voucher or 2,500 points.

With Alaska, you’ll want to make your way to their Alaska customer service desk and show them your checked baggage receipt. In return, you’ll get a paper voucher with a code on it that can be used to claim miles or money for future flights. 

From there, you’ll have to input the information yourself on Alaska’s online baggage service page. That’s where you’ll be able to choose between a shop now $25 credit, a $25 discount code, or 2,500 miles on your account automatically.

Their baggage guarantee applies to only one voucher per passenger and excludes oversized bags. 

Delta’s policy

If you experience a delay with Delta, you are entitled to 2,500 miles. To get the miles, you need to submit your claim online within three days of your flight. The form will prompt you to fill out basic flight details and then, if you’re approved, your miles will hit your account within two weeks. 

Keep in mind that in order to receive the miles, you’ll need to have a SkyMiles membership and that membership will need to be on the travel reservation before flying. The good news is that the membership is worth the signup. It’s free and starting February 1, it will also give you free inflight Wi-Fi access.

The Delta policy also only applies to one bag per person on domestic flights within the US and Puerto Rico. It excludes oversized and overweight bags.

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