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Before you apply for any credit cards, you’ll want to read my Beginner’s Guide, and make sure to have your basics covered. No big (car, house) upcoming purchases, credit score monitored with Credit Sesame, an idea of what you’re doing, etc.

But there is such a thing as analysis paralysis – sometimes you can learn and learn about what you’re doing, but you never feel that you’re quite “ready”. I totally understand – I felt the same way. So I thought that I would share a bit of how I first got started, and my first credit card signups, back in January 2013.

The blog / website that I first came across was Frugal Travel Guy. There are actually a lot of different sites out there, but I did like that he had some stuff focused on beginners, and he also was very responsive over email. I think that it helped that I had a basic idea and was able to come up with an initial plan, which he helped me refined.

So what were the results of that first credit card signups?

Bank of America / Bank of Hawaii

I covered this a bit before in a previous post, but I applied for 2 Hawaiian Airlines cards. At that time, you could apply for both cards at the same time to get 35,000 Hawaiian miles each, which could be transferred 1:2 into 140,000 Hilton HHonors points. I had to call to check on my status, and after explaining that yes, I did actually mean to apply for 2 cards, I was approved for both. These cards are no longer offered in this form – they are offered by Barclays bank.



US Airways Dividend Miles World Mastercard – This card offered 30,000 US airways miles on first spend. It’s a nice card because you don’t have to spend any money to get the bonus. I was approved automatically and we used these miles for a getaway trip for 2 to Miami this past October.


Citi HHonors card – 50,000 HHonors points after $1000 in spending. This was a targeted offer that I had received in the mail. I was approved for this card as well

American Express

Amex HHonors Reserve card – 50,000 HHonors points after $750 in spending. This was also an offere I received in the mail and I was approved.

US Bankclubcarlsonvisa

The Club Carlson Visa offers 85,000 points after $2500 in spending (50000 points right away and 35000 after the spending). Club Carlson takes a lot of points The one thing that I like the most about this credit card is that your last night on any award stay is free. So on a 2 night stay, it’s like doubling your points! We used this card for 2 nights on our Miami trip – 28,000 points for a Country Inn and Suites, and then the 2nd night is free.


As you can see, many of these cards involved Hilton HHonors points and that is not a coincidence. I chose to focus on specific goals, which were a trip to Miami for Carolyn and I, and family driving trips involving staying in Hilton hotels. It’s typically not as effective to get points just to get them – earn em and burn em!

I hope that this example has been constructive, giving you an idea of how you might sign up for credit cards, and how it might help you in doing your OWN credit card signups. As always, I’m happy to talk if you have any questions

Disclosure: I receive no commission for any of these credit card links

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