Delta 20 Minute Baggage Guarantee Extended Indefinitely

Filed Under: Delta

In February of this year, Delta announced a new 20 minute checked baggage guarantee. Through their “Bags On Time” guarantee, Delta guarantees that your checked bag will arrive at the carousel within 20 minutes of your domestic flight arriving at the gate. If they fail to deliver, you’ll receive 2,500 bonus SkyMiles.


Given the battle going on between Alaska and Delta, the introduction of this was clearly intended to compete with Alaska, which offers a similar 20 minute baggage guarantee. When Delta first announced the promotion it was done as a trial, and was only available through March 31, 2015.

My guess is that this was a limited time offer so that Delta could see how well they could actually deliver on the guarantee and to see how consumers responded to it.

The good news is that this benefit has now been extended indefinitely.

You’ll continue to receive 2,500 Delta SkyMiles if your checked bag from a domestic Delta flight doesn’t arrive at the carousel within 20 minutes of arriving at the gate.

As a reminder, here are the full terms of the promotion:

Eligibility: 20-minute Bag-to-Claim Guarantee bonus-mile offer valid on all domestic flights within the U.S. 50 and Puerto Rico, marketed and operated by Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection® carriers. Itineraries that include codeshare flights are eligible as long as the final leg is marketed and operated by Delta Air Lines or a Delta Connection carrier. Customers must be a SkyMiles member in good standing at the time of travel and award of bonus miles to be eligible and must submit a request form with Delta upon completion of travel. Requests must be submitted via within three days of flight’s arrival. Limit one request per passenger per outbound or return travel regardless of number of checked bags; requests for multiple trips must be submitted separately. Time to baggage claim will be as measured by Delta’s baggage tracking system, where available. The time to baggage claim will be defined as time elapsed between aircraft door open and delivery of the bag to the baggage claim belt. Oversize and overweight baggage and special items are not eligible.

Offer: Earn a one-time, 2,500-mile bonus per baggage delay occurrence. Bonus miles do not count toward Medallion® qualification or Million Miler™ status.

Promotional Fulfillment: Bonus miles will appear on member’s SkyMiles statement. Allow up to two weeks after request for credit to appear.

Miscellaneous: Offer only valid on paid tickets for published fares; not valid for those traveling on employee pass privileges or employees of other airlines traveling on industry discounted tickets. Delta Air Lines reserves the right to suspend this baggage service guarantee at any time and without prior notice in the event of an airport baggage system malfunction, severe weather, or other conditions out of Delta’s control that would prevent timely baggage delivery. Delta reserves the right to deny fraudulent, suspicious or ineligible claims. All SkyMiles program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, miles, offers, mile accrual, mile redemption, and travel benefits. To review the rules, please visit Membership Guide & Program Rules. Other restrictions may apply. Delta Air Lines reserves the right to terminate or modify this baggage service guarantee at any time without prior notice.

Bottom line

Kudos to Delta for following Alaska’s lead and extending this promotion. Being guaranteed that your bags arrive at the carousel within a certain amount of time is a really awesome perk.

Now I’d just like to see more airlines follow…

  1. I feel that this should be an industry standard. I’ve had instances on domestic flights where bags were simply “lost” (as the agent said it) and I had to wait several days for them to arrive. There wasn’t any sort of compensation.

  2. I thought Alaska offered cash or points not just points. (btw just flew them on Saturday and they were AWESOME)

  3. Is 20 minutes just when they have to get the first bag out, or do they have to get “your” bag out within 20 minutes?

  4. Alaska offers this sort of deal as well and they always seem to deliver on time.

    For Delta mileage runners do this to earn a ton of miles:
    1. Be elite or other free checked baggage person
    2. Find the best route price to MCI on cost per mile basis
    3. Book that trip and check a bag
    4. Wait with stopwatch and maybe some other way to prove that your bag will never come off any flight at MCI and onto the carousel in 20 minutes or less.
    5. Turn in claim form
    6. Repeat often to earn a ton of miles

    MCI is about the worst time delay on checked bags I’ve ever seen anywhere. I’m sure there may be other odd airports as bad. If you can find a cheap mileage route between them then you could earn the bonus on each end 🙂

  5. @DaninMCI – I find DEN to be consistently terrible, esp since you have to wait to get your bag until you can even start the car rental process. Last time was about 50 minutes to get my bag (US Air).

  6. Unfortunately word on FT is that Delta is consistently denying claims, apparently because the 20 minutes seems to be the time to the delivery of the first bag, not the last bag, and/or because however Delta measures these things internally is not completely lining up with the experience passengers are having in the airport.

    Still, it presumably gives them some internal incentives to make sure bags are being delivered promptly, which is always a good thing.

  7. If I’m flying Delta and crediting the miles from the flight to some other FFP, can I still ask for this compensation in SkyMiles?

  8. I hate Delta and no matter how many policies they try to copy from Alaska they wil still suck
    Poisoned by horrible revenue blood sucking management
    Delta wouldn’t let their dying mother redeem an award seat fairly
    They will never be an Alaska culturally no matter what they do
    I’m flying with my business colleagues on revenue in first class on Alaska into the wrong city just to avoid Delta and then connecting
    I’m supporting Alaska as they treat me fairly and seem to care about my business and satisfaction generally

  9. @ Tom — I think it’s supposed to be 20 minutes from when your bag arrives, but in practice seems some have had different experiences.

  10. Note: This only applies to revenue flights AND doesn’t do anything about lost luggage. Realistically, this won’t cost Delta a whole heck of a lot. I know quite a few people who fly Delta who aren’t frequent flyers or at the very least aren’t frequent flyers of Delta, so those 2500 points are just going to sit & rot in their SkyMiles accounts.

  11. I have had four valid claims for this and all come back as denied after Delta “looked” at their records

  12. I was on Flight Number: DL1088 on 10/17/2015 arriving in Anchorage (ANC) from Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP). Upon landing I turned on my phone and looked at the time it was 8:20 PM. We arrived at the gate about 8:24 PM. I looked at my phone time again when I grabbed my bag seconds after it landed on the carousel it was 8:52. I went to the customer service desk to file a claim and she told me that I had to do it online. I asked how will they know if I don’t get some kind of proof. She said the gate time is recorded and the luggage is scanned when it comes off the plane. Although I don’t see how they have time to scan the luggage, I believed her that there was in fact “data” that could be referenced to support, or not, my claim. After I filed my claim, Delta responded by email that I received my baggage in time. I am still not sure if they use landing time or gate time as the starting clock. But regardless, I do know for fact I did not have my baggage within 20 minutes of either of those times. Even the customer service representative agreed at the time that baggage had been late. Delta refuses to honor their guarantee in this case, nor are they providing the ‘data’ to back up their refusal.

  13. I fall into the same group as many of the others here where Delta has denied a claim after I know it was more than 20 minutes….. More like 35 minutes. But Delta doesn’t ever offer any proof. Your word against theirs.

  14. I ran into a similar situation as a few of you have posted. Here was their reply to my claim:

    “After reviewing your flight information, we found that luggage from
    flight DL…. on ….. November, 2015 to …. was reported as arriving
    on time. Since checked baggage made it to the carousel within 20 minutes
    of landing, we are unable to apply the bonus miles to your account.”

    Here was my reply back:

    “I guess I don’t understand how you guys calculate your 20 minute time
    frame. My wife and I were hesitant on checking our carry on luggage
    because we knew we would be short on time once we landed, but Delta
    personnel insisted us that if we be kind enough to check our carry on,
    due to a full plane, that we would not have any issues. Upon the start
    of passengers exiting the plane, to the moment the automated luggage
    “belt will automatically start in 10 seconds” voice chimed, it had been
    23 minutes and 17 seconds. Call me a stickler, but I figured 20 minutes
    meant 20 minutes.”

    They replied back with this comment:

    “Thank you for your email regarding the current Bag to Claim promotion.
    I apologize for the misinformation and the miles have now been posted to
    your account.
    We appreciate your business and thank you for flying with us.”

    Shouldn’t have to work this hard to get Delta to live up to their guarantee.

    Good luck guys!

  15. Just want to respond to some of the comments here. I flew from orlando to jfk on 2/15 my bags took over 20 minutes I filed an online claim today and was instantly credited the 2,500 miles to my sky miles account.

  16. At the 20 min mark go to the baggage customer service agent and start a delayed baggage claim. When you have a File Reference Number, go online and submit the mileage reimbursement. It should go through.

  17. We are not frequent fliers so do not have a sky miles number to be able to collect a 2500 mile bonus. Our two recent trips to Denver and Texas with Delta have been very enjoyable and will continue to fly with you, but it was extremely frustrating to have to wait 1hr and 20min. to get our luggage after the plane was 1/2hr early.
    Is there any way we can collect our two previous trips on a sky mile account together with this bonus?
    Thank You,
    Bernard and Gretchen Randall.

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