According to SmarterTravel’s Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees, flyers could be charged as much as $80 each way, $160 round-trip, to check two bags. (That’s on Delta, for airport-checked bags on international flights.)
That’s a considerable expense. And with prices to check just a single bag typically in the $20 to $25 range, each way, it’s expensive even when it’s not that expensive.
Whether it’s the money or something less tangible, the bag fees have proven to be a considerable irritant to travelers—they were the number one complaint in a recent Consumer Reports survey.
Apparently sensing an opportunity to capitalize on travelers’ discontent, the InterContinental Hotels Group has placed the airline bag fees squarely at the center of its upcoming promotion.
Between September 1 and December 30, travelers who complete weekend stays charged to a Visa card at any of 4,500 InterContinental family hotels will be reimbursed up to $50 for checked bag fees associated with their trips.
Among the promotion’s key provisions:
- Qualifying stays are defined as two consecutive weekend nights, Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.
- Reimbursement is in the form of a Visa Prepaid Card that may be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted.
- Bag fees must be documented, and flights must be within three days of the hotel stay.
- There’s no limit to the number of times the fee reimbursement may be earned during the promotion period.
Deal or No Deal
This offer is obviously moot if you routinely carry your bags onboard with you.
It’s also moot if you don’t spend weekend nights at hotels—the promotion targets leisure travelers.
But if you’re a weekend traveler who normally checks a bag, you’re paying between $40 and $50 round-trip. And getting that money back is good for the budget, and perhaps for one’s sense of fairness and decency as well.
Aside from its limited applicability, the promotion has two notable downsides. First is the process—it requires a fair amount of work to collect and supply the required documentation.
And second is the use of a prepaid card as the reimbursement vehicle. While debit cards are nominally worth the same as cash, in practice they’re more difficult to use, and have a tendency to be forgotten and expire. A check would have been better. Or, since Visa is a promotion co-participant, it should have been possible to simply apply the reimbursement as a credit on the hotel charge.
Reader Reality Check
Or is this too focused (weekend stays, bag fees) to be of use?