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Is Delta Eliminating Its On-Time Bags Guarantee Program?

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Delta is better than most airlines when it comes to late bags: Thanks to the airline's baggage guarantee, if it takes more than 20 minutes for your bag to arrive, you can easily (and in most cases, instantly) get 2,500 Delta SkyMiles as compensation for the delay.

Unfortunately, this SkyMiles gravy train might be grinding to a halt. According to View from the Wing, who spoke to a source with knowledge on the matter, Delta could be set to end the Bags on Time program as early as next month, saying that the decision is attributed to the “high cost of the program driven by awareness in viral TikTok videos and increasing ‘gaming' of compensation.”

To be perfectly clear, Delta has not confirmed or denied that this program is ending, but it wouldn't be shocking if true. In an email to Thrifty Traveler, a Delta spokesperson said they haven't made any announcement regarding the on-time bags guarantee program yet.


delta on time bags guarantee
Photo courtesy of reader Jess A.


Delta first launched its On-Time Bags Guarantee way back in 2015, and it applies to all flights within the United States and Puerto Rico. Other airlines including Alaska have these baggage promises, but make it a pain to actually claim compensation. Delta's program is incredibly easy to use and it's been a quick way to earn extra SkyMiles if you have to wait more than 20 minutes from the time the boarding door opens on your arriving flight.

Read More: The 16 Best Ways to Earn Delta SkyMiles


How Delta's On-Time Baggage Guarantee Program Works

  • Only domestic flights within the 50 U.S. states (plus Puerto Rico) qualify – no international trips are eligible for 2,500 bonus SkyMiles even when bags are late
  • The 20-minute timer starts from the moment the boarding door opens and it ends when your bag arrives on the carousel
  • Bags arrive 21 minutes or later? You can only submit one claim per traveler each way, regardless of how many bags you checked
  • But if you're traveling with a group and your companions have checked their own bags, each traveler can submit their own claim
  • To submit a claim for late baggage, you must be a Delta SkyMiles member at the time of your flight
  • You must submit a claim within three days of your flight to get the bonus SkyMiles
  • Cash fares as well as award tickets booked using SkyMiles are eligible
  • Codeshare flights on Delta are eligible, but only if the last flight on the itinerary is operated by Delta
  • Delta says it can take up to two weeks to deposit bonus SkyMiles, but it's typically instantaneous

If your bags take more than 20 minutes to arrive, you can file a claim online directly with Delta. Just remember: You need to submit these claims within three days of your flight to get the 2,500 bonus SkyMiles.

The form itself is incredibly simple. Just enter your name, SkyMiles number, origin, and destination city, your six-digit confirmation code, and the date of your flight.


delta bags on time form


Just hit submit and you're done – and in many cases, that's all it takes to get your 2,500 SkyMiles. While Delta warns it can take up to two weeks, it's often instant. The airline seems to simply crosscheck your claim against its internal records and issue the bonus SkyMiles automatically.

But starting in March, the program could become a relic of the past.


Bottom Line

According to reports, Delta could be ending its popular Bags on Time program as early as next month.

Delta has not officially confirmed this change, but if true, it would spell the end of an easy 2,500 SkyMiles for those waiting more than 20 minutes for their bags to arrive.


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1 Responses

  • Fun while it lasted. My family of six got at least 30,000 SkyMiles through the program within the last year. Not bad for 3 minutes’ worth of work.

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