Avoiding Mistakes With Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

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To make sure you don’t fall into a credit card application mistakes, I’ve shared some common credit card sign up mistakes and ways to avoid them.

Common Mistakes

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 applying 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 applied for two cards from Hilton to help him to get his Hilton award.

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 welcome 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 apps.

  • There is a Virgin Atlantic card offering a 50k welcome bonus
  • This 50k Virgin Atlantic welcome bonus converts to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio
  • Also there is a current American Airlines card offering a 50k welcome bonus
  • This 50k American Airlines welcome 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 apps, 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 applying 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 applying 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!

Bottom Line

A little diligence will help you avoid the common mistakes. The credit card welcome 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.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. REF–“This 50k American Airlines sign up bonus also converts to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio’

    If i sign up for the A.A. card i will get A.A. MILES not Hilton points — Please advise how do i convert 50k a.a. miles to 100k Hilton points ,as i do not see an exchange on a.a. web sight

  2. how do u convert???????????
    looked on aa advantage , can not find , called aa they did not know about this — so please advise how to convert aa miles to hilton point —

  3. To apply for credit cards for someone from the US to get free rooms at Hilton Seychelles? Now, let me give you some remarks:
    1. The Hilton in the Seychelles is quite overpriced to other hotels (such as the Constance Ephelia)
    2. It has no sandy beach, just a rocky seaside compared lets say to the two Le Meridiens
    3. Air Seychelles will be closing its routes to Europe. Your friends will be able to fly there probably with Emirates which is not part of any alliance


  4. @Laszlo – Thanks for the heads up on Air Seychelles closing the routes to Europe.

    The Hilton Mahe does have a beach, although small. Check out my trip report. It IS a great value for points in my opinion.

    Thanks for reading and sharing knowledge.

  5. I am getting married in October and would like to stay at Hyatt or Hilton hotel(NYC) as the night after our wedding hotel.. What cards would you recommend be the best way to achieve the highest amount of points in this short amount of time

  6. Hi there… I have been following your blogs and emails for a month now and am very impressed by the way people have been traveling all over the world by smartly making use of miles and awards…. I love in Houston and so flying United Airlines would be the best option for me. I don’t mind flying economy…. I have a united mileage explorer card and sapphire preferred card besides bank of america travel rewards….
    I would be highly obliged if you could help me in getting free travel for me to India once a year and Atleast 2 flights within the US. I can spend upto 2000 on my credit card purchases monthly

    Thanks in advance
    Amiksh Patel

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