Rookie Alli’s First Cards: Execution


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Previously: Rookie Alli’s First Cards: Picking the Cards


My first cards couldn’t have been easier! While I did hit a couple of snags, none were very serious, and I am treating them as learning experiences. I applied for all five card in one day and was able to fit in the applications and any needed calls to the credit card companies around the other things I had to do that day: a kickball game and some flip cup.

I started with the Frontier card at 10:11 AM and was instantly approved online.

I even got to pick which Frontier mascot I wanted on my card. I went with Foxy Brown.

Excited after this positive start, I moved on to the United MileagePlus Explorer card. Again, instant approval! I’d been at this for 20 minutes and was two-for-two on these applications.

…Except that I had clicked the Submit button without adding a second cardholder to the account. That click was a 5,000 mile rookie mistake.

Chase lets you add an authorized user to the card and earn 5,000 extra miles upon first purchase.

On the application, I just skipped over the section because it wasn’t very noticeable.

I might be able to salvage those points, though. I’ll send a secure message to Chase and see if they will let me add a user for 5,000 miles. I’ll report back.

Disappointed about the United blunder, I moved on to the Discover it™. This is where I encountered my second snag of the day. I filled out my personal information, checked the Terms and Conditions box, and was redirected back to the original application page. Not letting this computer glitch deter me from my mission, I again filled out my info, checked the box, and… nothing.

A quick phone call to Discover informed me that they were having system wide technical issues, their staff was slammed, and could I please call back later? I called again that evening at 8:00 PM, concerned with the fact that I may have submitted two applications or maybe none at all. The agent told me that I had indeed submitted two, and that the first was instantly approved but the second was pending further review. I asked her to shut down the second application, which she did. Success!

The fourth card I applied for was the Mercedes-Benz Platinum card. Once again, I was instantly approved and received an email telling me I’d have my card in 2-3 days.

I applied on Sunday, and received it on Tuesday. Considering it was a holiday weekend, a 48 hour turnaround was quite impressive! I’m already working on the Global Entry application.

The final application was for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card card. This was the only card that I was not immediately approved for.

That was fine. I learned from applying for the Citi American Airlines cards in November about reconsideration calls since I was not immediately approved for the Citi American Airlines American Express. In my experience, a reconsideration call is no big deal, but I like to prep what I am going to say before picking up the phone.

I know it’s important to convey enthusiasm for the card’s partner (Hilton) and all the card’s benefits except the sign up bonus, so that the bank will think you are a profitable customer.

At a minimum, I was expecting some questions. But after the rep confirmed my identity, he put me on hold, came back, and said I had been approved for the card. Here is a video of the call. Most of the five minute call was spent goofing off on hold.


I applied, and was approved, for five rewards cards.

My haul? After a combined minimum spend of $5,250, I will have 35,000 Frontier miles, 35,000 United miles, 50,000 Membership Rewards, free Global Entry, $400 in airline-fee credits or gift cards, two free weekend nights at almost any Hilton across the globe, free lounge access at hundreds of airports, access to huge cashback opportunities from Discover, free breakfast and internet at Hiltons, and a credit card with a fox on it. 😉

  • Frontier Airlines World MasterCard for access to its incredible award chart
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Visa for United miles with a low minimum spend
  • Discover it™ for access to its 5% cash back rotating categories and amazing cash back mall
  • Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum for the points, lounge access, airline gift cards, and Global Entry despite the huge $475 annual fee
  • Citi® Hilton HHonors™  Reserve Card for two free nights at a Hilton I could normally only dream of

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  1. You don’t have to secure message Chase, when you get the card just call them up immediately and demand to add a user. They will say yes.

  2. I definitely added an authorized user well-after receiving my UA Exploder card and received the extra 5K. Not an issue.

  3. Did my applications today,
    Citi AA visa Personal+Citi AA Master Gold; Instant Approved;
    US Bank Club Carlson; Instant Approved for lower signup bonus;

    Chase Ink Plus, Declined, the agent even refused to close my old ink bold to open this new one.

    Barclay US Airways Master 35K Declined;
    Barclay NFL declined;

    Discover It, instant approved.

  4. I enjoy reading from a newbie as I am. Just a question- if you cannot use all these points in one year for travel-what happens? Are you keeping these cards more than a year and paying the annual fee for each? Or do you cancel them and the points remain for travel for a future time, not in the year you received them?

    • Depends on what points you are talking about. If they are airline or hotel points, the points will be in those accounts regardless of if you keep the card open or not. If they are MR points, you will probably lose them since they are tied to the card (but if you open another MR card, the points will move over t that card).

    • Thank you for your reply- yes I was referring to airline cards primarily. What happens if you cancel these cards before the annual fee- for instance all the cards that were obtained in this post. Do you still have all these points available to you in the next year or two?
      Also, what are MR points?
      Bottom line to recap to see if I am following the steps
      1. You accumulated 60,000 plus miles
      2. Cancel the cards before annual fee
      3. Points still remain available to you
      4. Apply to the same or other cards after a certain time period to accumulate additional points
      5. If you cancel the card, you can’t accumulate additional points and the points will expire.
      Any input?

      Thanks to all. I love this site and the information it provides

      • If you cancel an airline or hotel card, your miles or points are safe in the airline or hotel account. If cancel a card that earns bank points like Ultimate Rewards (Chase) or Membership Rewards (AMEX), you lose any points in the account. BUT those are transferable points, so it’s the easiest thing in the world to transfer them to hotels or airlines before closing the cards.

        The process is open a card, earn miles, cancel the card. Repeat over and over. Get several cards at once.

  5. I recently applied for the United Explorer card under the 50k bonus. I didn’t add an authorized user at the time, but when I sign into my Chase account the option is there. From my reading of the T&C this should still net me the 5k points. You may have to wait until you activate the card for this option to show up.

  6. Not to be that guy, but you definitely could’ve done a lot better on 5 cards IMO.

    As far as Discover cash back, generally if you value UR at around 1.7-1.8cpm (VERY conservative IMO), you can do FAR better via the UR portal. While Apple is an exception, I would never buy an Apple computer with a card that did not provide 90 day purchase protection. Discover it does…but only for $500. Don’t think Apple sells computers that cheap. Also how many computers do you buy over the course of a year? I could see this making sense if you buy on behalf of a school and get reimbursed or something, but getting a card on the basis of one occasional purchase is questionable logic.

    I also question the prudence of applying for the UA card expecting to SM them and get matched to a non-public offer. Chase has REALLY tightened the screws on that since the 100k Sapphire Preferred bonanza and I wouldn’t want to waste a precious inquiry and precious Chase card on a long shot. 30k is probably the low end of where that offer will trend over the next 12-18 months.

    All of that said, I don’t know your travel goals, and perhaps those are the best 5 cards for you… I just don’t see under what set of circumstances that could be possible.

    And you didn’t really get any cards that aren’t standard public offers which is another mistake IMO. Gotta jump on the limited time offers when they’re around. Chase BA 100k is a nice card to get for 50k right away and then use as your go to card between spends to try and hit 10k or 20k on the year for the extra bonus(es). Even still, I’d rather have 50k BA than 30k UA–especially when you consider no spend vs spend.

  7. Justin, not to be that girl, but if you read Alli’s previous post about why she chose these particular cards, you would understand why these cards made the most sense for her!

    • I read it… I just stand by my conclusion that I don’t agree she did the best she could with the stated goals and 5 cards–particularly the Discover.

      She said she wanted to avoid annual fees, but got mostly cards that don’t waive annual fees for the first year and the only ongoing (2nd year and beyond) perks she gets for 3 annual fees (I’m excluding the MB Plat because that has tons of perks) is free checked bags on United and Hilton Gold–and now that their award chart sucks, who would redeem or stay at HH hotels?

      I think she missed out on the Chase BA, she probably would’ve been wise to go with the USMC over the Frontier and completely wasted an inquiry on the Discover. Not a disaster-o-rama, but I think she could’ve done better…as I said at the beginning. In any case, I wish her the best of luck getting into “the game.”

  8. I don’t want to be that guy either, Justin – nor do I want to particularly start a blog fight – but when I read message boards and blogs – I’m reminded of the people who bash Dave Ramsey – and then I’m reminded of your last post. Is Dave Ramsey’s method the most financially wise, penny pinching way to do it? Of course not – but the point of it is, it makes people feel good when they’re paying down smaller debts and seeing progress. Might Alli’s first AOR be the most optimum for a “professional” – probably not, but it makes her feel good – so be cognizant of negativity toward people’s AOR’s who may not have the knowledge or time invested in the different message boards as you do. IMO, it’s rude and disrespectful and chisels away at their joy – let them learn. You weren’t perfect on your first AOR, either – and I’m sure some expert could have come in and hammered you about minutiae and detail.

  9. FInished my first AOR without doing enough research first, but did pretty well, IMO. Citi AAdvantage personal (denied for the Biz one – they had just shut down the two-browser trick); Chase Sapphire Preferred; Barclay USAir; Chase SWA personal; and about 2 weeks later, applied for the Chase SWA Biz because I had just learned about the Companion pass. That was the only one that erquired a reconsideration call – after my third one (about 2 weeks later – persistence!), they finally said yes, moved some of the credit from teh personal card to the biz card. Feeling like I had an excellent run! And have met the spend on 3 of the four original cards, still waiting for teh SWA Biz to show up.


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