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Practical Pointers: Take this photo next time you check a bag

Oct. 15, 2022
4 min read
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This past summer reminded us of the many reasons why checking a bag can be a struggle and why bringing carry-on bags may be a better option. But sometimes, it’s just not possible to pack light.

Long vacations, trips to multiple places with different climates, not to mention weddings and similar formal events can make for overstuffed suitcases. In these cases, you'll often have to check a larger bag.

While we hope the luggage situation continues to improve from what we saw this summer — particularly with respect to travel overseas — it’s all about doing everything in your power to ensure your bag arrives with you at your destination. That also means continuing to prepare for what you’ll do in the event something goes wrong.

Here's one thing you should always do.

Tip: Take a photo of your bag tag

Picture what happens when you check a bag: You show your ID, the staff weighs your bag and, if you don't have elite status or baggage benefits through a cobranded credit card, you pay the fee. Then, before you get on your way, the agent hands your portion of the bag tag slip. It's for your reference, and to help agents with finding your bag in the event something goes wrong.

What do you do with that little slip? In the past, I've found myself stowing it in my pocket; hardly a foolproof method for keeping it safe.

That’s why TPG senior reporter Zach Griff has a simple solution. He recommends always taking a photo of the slip right after you get it. Be sure to capture all of your personal information as well as the bag tag number; baggage claim staff will ask you for that number in the event something goes wrong.

SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Imagine waiting in line to talk with the staff, frustrated about your missing bag, only to realize you misplaced the slip and aren't sure about your bag tag number. By taking that photo, you’ll automatically have a backup copy of it.

SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

The app can help, too

You can also use the airline app to track your bag through the system. The app should show you where your bag was last scanned (but notably, it won't provide you with a real-time glimpse of where your suitcase is).

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With some airlines, the bag tag number will appear in the tracking data on the app; this is another way to ensure you have the number handy.

You may even get a push notification update on the bag’s status; I got one from Delta Air Lines after recently having to gate-check my bag to my final destination. The update included the bag tag number.

DELTA AIR LINES

However, I have run into cases where — in order to access the bag tracking — I needed to punch in the bag tag number. (If you simply can't seem to track down your bag number, ask if the agent can look it up using your trip confirmation number or frequent flyer number)

In the midst of the stress of a lost bag, it's easiest to have your bag tag number right at your fingertips.

Bottom line

There are a few reasons why you might need your luggage information easily accessible after checking a bag. If something goes wrong, that bag tag slip you get at the counter can be an important lifeline for more easily locating your luggage. Since small pieces of paper easily go missing, snap a photo of it as soon as the agent hands it to you for some extra peace of mind and easy reference in the event something goes wrong.

Featured image by D3SIGN/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees