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To make sure you don’t fall into a credit card sign up mistakes, I’ve shared some common credit card sign up mistakes and ways to avoid them.
1) Card Benefits Not Aligned With Your Travel
- Make sure the credit card award bonuses help you travel where you want to go
As a rule of thumb I make sure my travel award earning style is aligned with my travel award burning style. So avoid signing up for credit cards that aren’t aligned with your travel goals just because they are listed in a large link farm.
A good friend is planning a trip to the Seychelles and Mauritius later this year. His strategy is to stay at the Hilton on Mahe, Seychelles. To implement his strategy he signed up for two cards from Hilton to help him to get his Hilton award.
- Hilton Credit Card From American Express – 40,000 Hilton HHonors Points as a signup bonus if you spend $750 in the first 3 months
- Surpass Card is 60,000 sign up bonus – 40,000 points with your first purchase, and 20,000 more when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
My friend got the offers that he felt best aligned with his travel plans at the time of application. As a result the credit card signup bonuses helped him plan a dream vacation for he and his wife which he could not have otherwise afforded.
2) Not Asking For Help When You Are Not Sure Which Offers Are Best
- If you have questions, just ask
- Most travel bloggers will try to help if they aren’t to busy
Continuing on my friends example, if he had asked me my thoughts, before he applied, he could have doubled his Hilton point haul with the same number of credit card sign ups.
- There is a Virgin Atlantic card offering a 50k sign up bonus
- This 50k Virgin Atlantic sign up bonus converts to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio
- Also there is a current American Airlines card offering a 50k sign up bonus
- This 50k American Airlines sign up bonus converts to Hilton at a 3:5 ratio
So my buddy could have almost doubled the Hilton points and length of award stay with the same amount of credit card sign ups, just by reaching out and asking questions.
3) The Link You Are Using Is Not The Best Offer
- Do your homework – make sure the offer you are signing up with is the best offer
- Check multiple sources – emails from source, bloggers you trust, etc
- Avoid generic web searches – they tend to return the best match on key words and not the most current deals
Earlier this year I posted a link to a discussion thread on Flyertalk about a 75k AA offer as advice for honeymoon planners. A great deal that I got in on myself, but the deal is now dead.
Most bloggers don’t always have time to go back and update deep embedded links in old posts. But I do know bloggers make a concerted effort to update credit card information on their sites and relay the most up to date information available. When in doubt ask the blogger or site poster if the promotion is current.
At the end of the day, just make sure the credit card promotion you are signing up for is the best offer for your travel goals.
4) Failing To Maximize The Bonus
Make the most out of the credit card bonuses and award programs. You can do this by:
- Reading how all Boarding Area bloggers redeem travel awards, each blogger has their own style that may appeal to how you like to travel
- Share [limited] trip planning details on travel forums like MilePoint and Flyertalk and ask others for advice on how you to maximize your redemption
- Make planning the trip part of the fun!
A little diligence will help you avoid the common mistakes. The credit card sign up bonuses are a great way to supplement frequent travel to hoard points and miles for your dream award vacation.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This post was accurate at the time of posting, offer may be unavailable on this site at a later time. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.