The One Thing You Should Always Do Before Applying for a Credit Card

A number of travel blog readers get grumpy with assorted travel bloggers because these readers feel that the bloggers are pushing credit cards too heavily, especially cards that might not offer the best value.

Hell, one travel blogger built his entire blog around this issue.

I’m not going to get into the merits of this argument, but jman88 initiates a discussion over on the Milepoint forums that demonstrates travel bloggers aren’t necessarily the only ones promoting the benefits of loyalty cards a bit too enthusiastically.

Per jman88:

My girlfriend and I are thinking about both signing up for Southwest Premier cards. When we were in the airport speaking to one of the representatives the other day, they said that if we sign up at the same time, he can link our accounts so we share miles.


We’d love to both sign up for the 50,000 bonus points and only be 10,000 points away from a companion pass.

Other travelers are quick to point out that the “representative” in the airport was either mistaken or lying.

I am virtually certain that is incorrect. Now you can book flights for ANYONE out of your account but combining miles to get the companion pass won’t work. ~m_tschanz

I don’t believe this is true. You need to earn the 110,000 miles in one account. You certainly can do it mostly via credit card bonuses, but not for two different people. ~gconnery

There is ongoing discussion in the thread as to whether the airport credit card sales people can offer better signup bonuses than what you can get online (at this point in the discussion it seems doubtful that this is the case). But the general takeaway is, applier beware when it comes to credit card marketing.

Whether due to omission of information, misunderstanding of offer details, or flat out lying, those promoting the offers shouldn’t be implicitly trusted.ย This isn’t a slam against anyone promoting credit card offers (unless they are lying, of course). Most of the time they get the details right and offer good advice – but you simply can’t count on that.

This is a great example though of the value that forums continue to offer.

Blogs are great for discovering information in an easy-to-digest format, and it doesn’t hurt to stop and speak with a credit card rep at the airport. But before you take the plunge and submit an application be sure to head over to one of the travel forums and learn what fellow travelers have to say about the deal you have found.

You will be glad you did.

And for what it’s worth, this advice applies double if the person promoting the credit card is telling you that today is the last day to apply and receive the offer.

Read the thread in its entirety: Companion Pass and Credit Cards

Only I got this” by frankieleon. CC BY 2.0.


  1. You definitely have to take the credit card pushers at the airport with a grain of salt. A few months ago I was hit up in DTW by a Delta branded card pusher that repeatedly insisted the only way to keep Delta skymiles from expiring was to have their card. I tried to convince them skymiles don’t expire anyway but was in a hurry so I had to let them continue to spread their falsehoods.

  2. On my last US Airways flight, the credit card pitch included a promise of no bag fees on all US Airways flight, and $99 companion fares to anywhere in the U.S. Of course the reality is the bag waiver on that card is only on domestic flights, and you can’t use the companion fare to Hawaii. The chances of any employee in an airport or on a plane understanding the card’s rules and benefits are very slim.

  3. Thanks for the link to my blog. I am not sure the characterization that I built my entire blog around the issue is true. I built my blog around reviewing miles/points blogs as I have lots of experience in this area and been reading them since they all started. I thought it was a niche, been thinking about it for a long time and then I did it because I was bored. Here I am two and a half years later still at it pimping my Amazon link lol.
    Do I feel strong about this issue? Heck YES! I could go on and on about this you know but I am going to stop here.
    Are the airline credit card pushers at the airport worse than the flight attendants pushing them? Discuss ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. @TravelBloggerBuzz – fair point about my characterization of your blog. Still, you gotta admit you have leaned heavily in that direction … not that there’s anything wrong with that ๐Ÿ˜‰

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