Is Rimowa luggage worth it? Nick’s experiences after nine months.


Rimowa has long been a famous name in the frequent flyer community, so I was excited last year when the Point Debit Card (currently being phased out) ran a promotion offering the chance to get a free Rimowa bag (up to $1,000, which covered the full price of several different types of bags at the time) with five referrals (long since expired). After owning a couple of Rimowa bags for about nine months, I’m not enamored with them. While the promotion was kind of fun, owning these bags for nine months has left me kind of disappointed with Rimowa and appreciating my previous luggage (which I thankfully still have) all the more.

The PointCard promo and ending up with two Rimowa bags

From left to right: My older Muji hard-sided carry-on (originally $150), the Rimowa Original Cabin bag, and the Rimowa Essential Trunk.

The Rimowa bag promotion was a creative idea for Point. At the time, PointCard had previously been offering $100 per referral. The Rimowa promo was a good one if you were in position to refer exactly five people because Point was offering to reimburse a Rimowa bag at a cost of up to $1,000. That is obviously a nice deal if you value the Rimowa bag at its full cost, though on the flip side if you referred more than 5 people and/or you weren’t particularly interested in an expensive suitcase, the promo wasn’t necessarily better than the normal referral offer at the time. Still, Points for creativity.

As fate would have it, Stephen and I both qualified for the promotion. He didn’t have any room for another bag in his car since he is on a multi-year, 50-state road trip, so I agreed to help him sell his bag and then I ended up deciding to buy it myself. Buying his bag appealed to me in part because it meant being able to buy two different types of bags.

In the end, I settled on getting an “Original Cabin” aluminum carry-on bag and a polycarbonate checked bag (an “Essential Trunk”). I got the bags in black so they would match our existing (black) luggage. Note that prices have risen substantially in the past 9 months — while both bags I got were nearly covered in full by the $1,000 credit offered by Point at the time, the carry-on bag I purchased now costs $1400 and the checked bag is now $1325. I’d never have paid the former prices under ordinary circumstances and the latest pricing has gotten substantially farther from my reality.

Before this promo, I already had luggage I liked and the Rimowa bags didn’t have any specific features that stood out beyond a reputation for wheels that glide across the floor and some minorly innovative design (side handles that automatically snap down against the sides on the carry-on and an asymmetrical split on the larger checked bag). Still, I was irrationally excited about the new bags – emphasis on the “irrational” part :-). In addition to the fact that I didn’t really want or need new luggage, I had read some negative customer service stories in the years since the company had been acquired by Louis Vuitton.

Our previous preferred bags: Muji

Long-time readers may remember that my preferred brand has long been Japanese stalwart Muji. For those unfamiliar, Muji makes simple stuff (that is to say fairly inexpensive, though not necessarily cheap quality).

We first stumbled on Muji sometime in the middle of last decade when we arrived in Japan with a cheap suitcase that had endured a broken wheel. After feeling mortified over the poor Conrad Tokyo employee who dragged that heavily overpacked bag through the lobby missing a wheel (I can still hear the screeching of that bag being dragged across the lobby floor), we had to get a bag in a hurry and were hit with sticker shock when shopping brand names we knew.

After looking at other bags in a department store, we happened to pass by a Muji store with luggage in the window. Muji bags cost more than we (as total travel cheapskates) had ever paid for a bag at the time, but they were less than the Samsonites (name brands) of the world. I wasn’t sold right away. I was hesitant to spend more than the cost of our usual cheap bags and not be getting something I was really excited about buying. Whereas the popular Samsonite bags of the time were super lightweight and felt and looked “cool”, I didn’t love anything about the Muji bags. Then, as we mulled it over for a night in our hotel room before making a decision, I landed on Muji’s website and had to chuckle to myself at this snippet of their ethos (read the full page here):

This is because we do not make objects to entice responses of strong affinity, like, “This is what I really want” or, “I must have this.” MUJI’s goal is to give customers a rational satisfaction, expressed not with, “This is what I really want” but with “This will do.” “This is what I really want” expresses both faint egoism and discord, while “This will do” expresses conciliatory reasoning. In fact, it may even incorporate resignation and a little dissatisfaction. MUJI’s goal is to sweep away that slight dissatisfaction, and raise the level of the response, “This will do” to one filled with clarity and confidence.

My exact hang-up – that the bag would do but didn’t excite me melted away as I gave in to the realization that “this will do”.

In the years since, we’ve come to love our Muji bags and have added more of them over time. Again, they aren’t the highest quality bags we’ve seen, but they roll remarkably smoothly, have mostly held up to abuse, and have some really smart design features that I’ve come to appreciate more over time.

All that is to say that I wasn’t looking for a new suitcase when the Rimowa promotion came around, I just thought it would be cool to get a couple of bags that were far more expensive than what I’d have ever bought myself otherwise.

Our impressions after about 9 months with Rimowa

We first broke in the bags on road trips over the Christmas holiday period and then over subsequent road trips until we finally started traveling by plane again in June. Our Rimowa luggage has now taken us on a domestic trip with a connection in each direction as well as a couple of weeks in Europe (flying first to London, then to Malta, and onward to Milan before returning home).

After putting in a few trips with the Rimowa bags, I have to say that I’m disappointed overall. There are aspects of my aluminum carry-on that I like, but we dislike the Rimowa checked bag enough that I had to push to bring it to Europe (I wanted to really test it out on a bigger trip, but my wife was already underwhelmed with it from the road trips). We flew again domestically last week and we checked three bags, but we didn’t bring the Rimowa checked bag with us. The fact that it didn’t make the cut on a trip where we checked multiple bags tells the story in a nutshell.

Don’t get me wrong, there are design elements I like, it’s just that there are both enough aspects I dislike and/or that are absent so as to turn me off from these bags.

Of course, there are some things I like about the Rimowa bags. They aren’t bad bags by any measure. In fact, they are far better than many bags we’ve had before. They just aren’t enough better to justify the price tag in my opinion.

Things I like about our Rimowa bags

Rimowa Original Cabin bag

I have come to enjoy the way that the aluminum Rimowa carry-on snaps shut (like a briefcase that has clips rather than with zippers). It’s a little counter-intuitive to love this limitation: there is no play to overstuff the bag; your things just fit or they don’t fit. The advantages here are that it forces me to be more deliberate about what to pack (since I can’t just stuff extra things in my bag) and it does a good job of protecting whatever is inside (I don’t really need to worry about things in the bag getting compressed). I also like that it’s a little bit more secure: unlike a zipper, which can typically be separated pretty easily with a knife, the aluminum bag can’t really be opened without the combination without being more or less destroyed. Sure, the bag itself could still be stolen (and no doubt cut open), but it makes it more difficult to get into the bag while still inside a hotel room.

Despite the things I don’t love about it, this will probably be the cabin bag I use for a long time. I probably won’t bring it on our 3 Cards 3 Continents trip in the interest of staying as compact as possible, but I otherwise expect to bring it on most trips.

And I like the fact that it’s aluminum. Since it is aluminum, I really kind of wanted to see if I could get someone to paint a design on the bag. I have a vision in my mind based on this bag I saw on the Internet that seems like it would be cool on an aluminum bag, but I think the artist that did that one is overseas somewhere and I haven’t yet figured out how to go about getting it done within the US, nor do I have a realistic idea of what it would cost or whether paint could stand up to the rigors of travel. To that last point, if I had it to do over again, I’ve have gotten the bag in silver. The black color is just painted on a silver bag and so every time it scratches or dents you get silver lines in the bag where the black paint was scraped away. The black looked sleek on day one and matches our other bags, but I think silver would have been a better long-term choice.

Rimowa Essential Trunk

I really like the uneven split design of this bag. Rather than being split in the middle top open up with half of the bag’s capacity on either side (like most rolling bags), the Rimowa bag has a lopsided split, with one side being very deep and the other side relatively shallow. This makes it possible to pack things of shapes and sizes that wouldn’t easily fit in a regular bag (traveling with kids, this means that certain toys would be easier to bring along for instance).

However, my wife hates this. She is so accustomed to splitting things evenly that she has found no advantage in the extra-deep side. I think she’s found it more frustrating than useful that one side is very shallow.

It’s worth noting that we’ve each packed the bag and I’ve found the shallow side useful for packing away shoes or boxy items like packaged snacks and sound machines, but she has been far less enamored with it and she more frequently packs our checked baggage.

You can see that one side is much deeper than the other. This could be a benefit if you have larger items to pack.

That said, neither of us likes how neither half of the bag zippers shut to separate contents from the rest of the bag. Rimowa provides velcro dividers that you can use to compress stuff, but they just don’t do enough to create separation. Sure, they may compress clothes a little bit, but the fact that these are your only way to separate items in the bag makes the uneven split less useful. If we could zipper shut the shallow side, we could perhaps put things like toiletries and cosmetics or dirty laundry in there, confident that they wouldn’t spill or spread odor to the clothes in the other half of the bag. Unfortunately, the dividers just don’t cut it for stuff like that.

These dividers theoretically help you compress and separate, but since they just kind of bend around the clothes when really tightened, they don’t do much to create extra space.

Things I like about both bags

These bags glide smoothly across the floor as one would expect both based on brand reputation and price point. Over the years, I have definitely come to appreciate a bag that glides like butter across an airport floor or hotel lobby. To that end, Rimowa touts it’s “multiwheel system” — essentially, each corner has a double wheel and it is claimed that this helps the bag roll more smoothly.

I’m not one to argue whether or not that’s true. I am inclined to believe that it is — but I should note that my $150 Muji carry-on also has two wheels on each corner. Admittedly, the Muji bags were my first experience with a bag that truly glides effortlessly across the floor — I’ve been impressed with how easily I can push my bags even when they are fully loaded and I have a car seat bag helping to weight them down on top. By contrast, we had a cheap four-wheel carry on with four single wheels that didn’t move nearly as smoothly as the Muji and Rimowa bags (we donated it earlier this year).

The Rimowa bags glide about as smoothly as my Muji bags. Truthfully, while both are far better than most bags I’ve ever owned when it comes to ease of movement, I don’t notice a big difference between the two of them (and if I were really pressed to decide which rolls more smoothly, I was surprised to find that it would be the Muji bags, albeit by a slim enough margin that I wouldn’t really declare a “winner” in that department).

Things I don’t like about our Rimowa bags

Rimowa Original Cabin

One thing I have really not enjoyed is the handle of the Rimowa cabin bag. The curvature of the handle makes it hard to press the button to lift the handle with one hand (the “button” to release it isn’t centered on top but rather it is on a curved edge). I further just find that it sticks sometimes and requires a second hand to steady the bag while I pull up on the handle. That would hardly be noticed if the bag had cost $150. At more than 10 times that price point, I would have expected raising and lowering the handle to be more effortless than it is. Again, it is not difficult to raise the handle on the bag, the operation just does not meet expectations.

I do like that the handle can be adjusted to my preferred height and stopped almost anywhere rather than only at specific internal “notches” like many bags. However, it’s worth a mention that my Muji carry-on has the same feature. The Rimowa handle does reach higher and feel a bit sturdier when rocking the bag side to side with the handle up. It can probably deal with an item of more weight resting on top of the bag / against the extended handle than my Muji bag. I just wish I could more easily extend that handle with one hand when my hands are full with the kids and other stuff in the airport.

Rimowa Essential Trunk (checked bag)

Rimowa is most known for its aluminum bags. Some probably consider it to be a bit of a gimmick, and I can understand why. Aluminum doesn’t lend itself well to being overstuffed and it shows wear and tear much faster than more modern materials. Enthusiasts consider this a “patina”, but detractors may wonder why anyone would want a bag that’s going to soon look like a space shuttle that got into a fight with a Klingon warship and lost. I see both sides of that coin.

It was in part because I knew my wife would be less into the “patina” of an aluminum bag that I went with a “polycarbonate” checked bag. I knew that a checked bag would get thrown around a lot more and didn’t want it to be all dented up.

While I get that Rimowa’s goal was likely to make the bag extra lightweight, it is because I know the bag will get thrown around in handling that I am so disappointed by the serious lack of rigidity in this bag. It bends and buckles far too easily. For instance, here I am pushing down just a bit on the bag with my hand (and note that I took these pictures with the bag packed).

Note that the bag flexes in both directions — it also flexes outward when lifting it. Granted, that flexibility almost enabled my kids to pull a Carrie for our most recent trip.

Guess we should have gone with the “Trunk Plus” size.

Given how lightweight the bag is, I probably shouldn’t be surprised about the flexibility of the material, but I’ve found it to be a pain at times when I just wanted the bag to be more rigid. The material feels strong in that I don’t think there is any danger of the sides of the bag denting or getting damaged, but because the sides are so flexible I would be hesitant to put something fragile inside. That seems like a compromise that shouldn’t need to be made at the $1,000+ price point.

By contrast, my Muji hard-sized bags are quite firm on the outside. Still, I had to gate-check my carry-on once last year with United and it came out with quite a dent in the corner.

I wonder how the Rimowa bag would have held up in that round of Fight Club in the hold.

What the Rimowa bags are missing

I think my biggest disappointments with the Rimowa bags come in contrast with the Muji bags we have long had and come to love. Let me be clear that this post isn’t meant to be an ad for Muji — we don’t have any sort of affiliate relationship with Muji and I don’t profess it to be the best bag you can buy, it’s just my comparison point because it’s what I was using for years and have continued to use before and since getting the Rimowa bags.

The single best feature of the Muji bags in my opinion is a small button underneath the handle that you can use to lock the wheels of the bag and prevent it from rolling. On recent trips with my wife and two young kids where we’ve had to manage checked bags, carry-on bags, strollers, a diaper bag, and the kids, I have found the wheel-locking feature indispensable on trains — from the air train around an airport to subway trains to the London Heathrow Express and train to Gatwick airport. Being able to lock the wheels of our Muji bags helped prevent stuff from rolling around.

Unfortunately, this is a feature I haven’t seen on many other bags and it is of course absent from the Rimowa bags. That meant that I had to strategically surround the Rimowa trunk with Muji bags to keep it from rolling around on the trains (since the locked-wheel Muji bags mostly stayed in place).

The other key problem for me is Rimowa’s divider system. Some people must love it, but I don’t. I just want one of these sides to zipper shut so I can separate things more effectively. Most bags already have straps to tighten things down — I just want a zippered compartment.

Bottom line

After about nine months with Rimowa bags, I am unfortunately falling out of love with the idea of having them. I’ll probably keep the carry-on bag because I’ve come to enjoy the way it encourages me to pack lighter by being less flexible, but I imagine we’ll probably sell the checked bag because we can’t even be bothered to bring it on short domestic trips at this point due to some of its drawbacks. That surprised me, but at the end of the day I guess different travel preferences abound in this game — from credit cards to award choices to luggage.

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Thanks for the thorough review, Nick. I never was interested in Rimowa because if I were to pay as much for a bag, it would have to come with an unconditional repair guarantee. Of course, Point is dead and it’s nice to have a real tangible item from them but I’d probably just take $500 from those 5 referrals and buy a B&R bag instead.


Look at today’s TPG email very good on this..V Bernie


Many times if brand names were removed, people would use other items and find out they are paying for “status” more than quality. Certainly not always but often.

Certain types of waterproof/breathable clothes certainly are better than others and I’m sure some luggage is lower quality than others but frequently it is more of a “keeping up with or impressing the Jonese” rather than getting more for your $$$.


Maybe but I had a $75 suitcase and the wheels went in the EU. My $200 still going But beat up and bent..At the airport I saw like a 3 year old pushing around a huge suitcase like nothing…It’s all a risk.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cavedweller

The Rimova divider system is the worst thing about their bags. The stores claim that people actually like it. I for one hate it. However, the lowest priced bags do have zipper dividers. At that price though I would just get a higher quality Briggs & Riley and call it a day


Just came here to say that I appreciate any post that isn’t just some blogger telling me they love something and I need to buy it.

Michael Ryan

I think your criteria are quite random and personal

Rimowa polycarbonate are easily the best bags ever, I just wish I’d matched more than four


I have the RIMOWA Salsa IATA that I got at the Megado a while ago, but I feel like the wheels on it aren’t the best, and there’s plenty of situations where locking wheels would have been nice.

I’ve been wondering what I’d use to replace it for when it eventually wears out and I already like a lot of MUJI stuff. Nice to know that they make quality bags.


We need to Tax more anyone who has that..Then give the cheap seats Free Pain pills per Flt…V Bernie


I have an Eagle Creek carry-on 4 wheelie that I absolutely adore. It has the uneven distribution with a zippered slim side that you discussed in the article. One side is perhaps 80%, as a big spacious cavern. The other 20% has a zipper mesh to contain small things. I love it so much because I prefer using packing cubes, and the giant spacious cavern lets me control the contents. I wanted to buy a 2nd Eagle Creek, but can’t find the same suitcase. I think pandemic supply chain problems are holding them up. I hope it is temporary, as I very much want a 2nd.


Just glad I have the Travelpro’s. I just want a rugged bag that rolls correctly. Ever had a bag that rolls 15 degrees or more off axis from a straight line, or flips over when hitting a crack in the sidewalk. Free generally is always good, until it breaks down on you in some faraway place. I just stick with what works for the airlines.


Muji’s website is sold out of all suitcases…


Hey Nick, thanks for sharing your thoughts on Rimowa vs Muji bags. I have had The Bigger Carry-On from Away ( for 3 years and love it. The left half has the zippered compartment and the right side has the compression system (which I don’t use). The only feature that I didn’t know I needed until you wrote about is the ability to lock the wheels. That would be super handy for airport trains / buses.
I can’t imagine paying more than $300-$400 for a suitcase, but I’m not a fan of fashion and luxury goods, so to each there own.


I checked out the Away bags when the Amex Green card was offering a credit with them (maybe the card still does?) and Away also was advertising on lots of podcasts, but I decided to get packing cubes instead. There was nothing about the bag that I liked and I especially disliked how flimsy the handle felt. Maybe it’s stronger than it seemed, as Grant mentioned he’s had his for three years, but it felt like it wouldn’t last three trips for me.


Thanks Nick! Will have to check out Muji next time I’m in Japan.

My wife and I are a huge fan of Lojel, especially their large Groove model. Almost ten years and many international trips later, still in good shape. Lightweight poly shell and metal frame where the two sides meet. Zipper-shut on one side.


Thanks I ordered the BP $25 on sale no name I like that.That stuff doesn’t cost that much for what it is..Long wait for me and most out of stock.


The website is often sold out of items that you can easily find in stores. I have been a frequent shopper at the Portland store after Covid-reopening and the suitcases will fly out when they’re in stock.
Probably once a year on sale too.


Can you please give a link to your favorite carry on Muji bag? I am always in search of bags that weigh under 5 lbs, very difficult to find in the US. I have a German bag that is no longer made that some day I’ll be forced to find a replacement.

Reno Joe

My wife and I (and extended family) have had a number of aluminum Rimowa suitcases and even a trunk. The first note comes from its own employees. They say they provide product suggestions and the product engineers back in Germany don’t want suggestions.

The various carry-on are impractical — they lack quick access compartments. Invariably, you want to grab something and it’s a process.

As for check-in bags, gorillas — I mean baggage handlers — seem to target them. You can’t imagine the damage incurred to the shell over time. The wheels or wheel housings bend or snap. Rimowa stores will repair them . . . if you have access to one of its retail stores.

Remember the American Tourister commercials from the early 1970s? Look them up on YouTube.

When I was in for a repair once, I chatted with another customer who was also in for a repair. He said he had three sets of the polycarbonate versions. He said they all cracked open. He said never again.

For me, I can handle the shell damage on the aluminum models. But, the wheel issue is a hassle. Next go around, we’ll opt for a different brand.


For Rimowa luggage it all depends where the item was manufactured.
The European quality seems to be holding up better than the Canadian-made luggage destined for the US market.


Pelican Air is the way to go for checked bags. Carry-on a bit less practical as two-wheeled and handle is not an easy to retract, but absolute tank.


100% agree. I bought one a few years ago with a really nice Amex offer. And yea, I just can’t be troubled to take it anywhere. I really hate it. I especially hate the handle only has one ‘stick’ so I can’t slip my backpack over the handle like it’s designed. I’ve been trying to give it away and no one wants it!



Judging by the photo of your child, there is another piece of luggage you need to check out. I was recently in Scandinavia and saw several families with a piece of luggage that their children could ride on like a toy car. At breakfast one morning, I watched as a child entertained herself for half an hour while her parents ate by riding around on it. I was so intrigued I asked the mom about it; she said she loves it and it is called “Jetkids by Stoke”. Amazon carries it. I am looking forward to buying one for my future grandchild.


Great informative review. Recently git to check out a Muji B&M store.

We did a FHR staycation at The Nines -The Luxury Collection last month in Portland. Its in the Historic Meier & Frank dept store downtown on floor 8-15.
The corner anchor store is a MUJI – I had heard about them for years – but we perused the Japanese IKEA store (MUJI) it definitely had an Occidental-Oreintal vibe. I digress. I wonder about the luggage when I came across it. It has many if the same features as our Samsonite spinner dual wheels TSA zipper locks with combo flush collapsing handle (but no wheel locks).

That said we have been quite happy with the the two sets Polycarbonate hardahell Samsonite roller bags we bought at Costco 6-7 years ago (they probably have 100k Airmiles and about 45-50 nights in hotels around the globe) thankful we only have TSA locking zipper that has lost its clasp.

The asymmetrical suitcases remind me of the softbody belt clasp suitcases from the 70s and the the same with the briefcase latches on the hardshell suitcases from that same Era. I don’t mind asymmetrical if comes in the form of a zippered expansion.

Last edited 3 months ago by YoniPDX
Mary Whitcomb

Hi. We love our Rimowa salsa deluxe cabin suitcases. We went on a Flyertalk Megado that started in Toronto and toured a Rimowa factory and were impressed. We bought the polycarbonate cases-they are so light and do have some give when you are packing them. On one trip one wheel broke and they sent me a set of four for free since there is a lifetime warranty. As they are so light I can always lift my case into the overhead and say “no thank you” to offers of help when traveling solo. We have used these bags and a tote that slides over the handles for 2 week trips in Asia with no problem and love the easy pull with four wheels.
Our rimowas cost $600 ea, looks like they cost about $950 now.


Actually my RIMOWA has grown on me over the last year or so. The compression, while minimal, does help I find. And they’re very good looking in my opinion.

They’re a little cheaper if you buy the Lufthansa editions through the Lufthansa WorldShop (especially with the strengthening dollar) but you need to be in Europe to take delivery or grab them on the trip/connection in FRA or MUC.


I used to travel frequently to Germany and also noticed Rimowa was substantially cheaper in shops over there, especially with the VAT refund. I was tempted more than once, but was a bit more frugal at the time and the thought of spending that much money (even in Germany) for something that might get easily damaged beyond repair prevented me from pulling the trigger. Ultimately, my ‘splurge’ bag ended up being a Briggs & Riley Baseline Int’l Widebody Carry-On due to the no quibble lifetime warranty. Even though it is a non-spinner and pre-compression version, that bag is now over 10 years old, has traveled 5 continents and who knows how many miles without even breaking and still looks good! I’ve added to my B&R collection opportunistically when the rare clearance sale pops up.

Fun fact: I had a British colleague who commuted to Munich nearly every week on Lufthansa. He used his miles to buy one of the Rimowa LH-edition cabin bags precisely so the gate agents wouldn’t bother him about carry-on size – he’d just point to the logo! (LH used to have some pretty zealous gate agents in MUC who were concerned about carry-on sizes – except it was inconsistent and felt arbitrarily enforced. If your normal carry-on bag looked like it had a bit of a bulge, they’d freak out. But then the guy next to you wearing a clearly stuffed large frame alpine backpack was somehow OK?!?!?). I can’t imagine the number of miles he used for that Rimowa since Worldshop has very poor mile redemption values.

Darlene Harris

All good info and now I will check out Muji, I have one down the street and never gave their luggage a second glance. I have a love/hate relationship with my Tumi.


See IF they have a EU spec for a overhead compartment.Amazon had their Cheap brand but Gone now.The cost too please, I have 3 us Flts I have to pay $70RT so just overhead I hope..

Last edited 3 months ago by Cavedweller

I will check that. The mall down the street (in Japan) has a lot of other luggage too that seems to be more towards the smaller carry-ons that are more internationally acceptable in size and weight.


I think I spent TEN hrs on the last one then booking Flts. Nuts..

Last edited 3 months ago by CaveDweller