Credit Cards The Basics

Running With Miles 101 – Part 2

Last month, I began a series to help people step-by-step go through the credit application process for various cards. The point is to help you with real suggestions to get cards so that you can then use those cards (and their bonuses) in a future part for specific trips. This way, you get a careful instruction flow so you can start with nothing and end with a trip that you will pay less than $50 for.

Check here for the last part – Running With Miles 101

Hopefully, you have already gone through the first part. If not, I am inserting the first step from that portion so you can pick up now.

Step 1

Before you begin signing up for credit cards, it is best to have a sense of what your credit looks like. You should use one of the free trials available from credit checking services so that you know where you stand.

  • Credit Sesame – Free Credit Score
  • Credit Karma – Free Credit Information
  • Credit Secure – 3 Credit Bureau Reporting and Detailed Report ($1 for the first 30 days, $14.99 per month after)
  • Annual Credit Report – Your state gives you a free credit report each year (not a score but an overall report of your credit details)
  • Understanding Credit Scores – A previous blog post detailing the facts that make up your credit score

Step 2

This step is to cover a hotel card. This can be all about personal preference (as well as hotel availability in the region you are looking to travel), but for a reason I will cover at the end of this part, we will have this card be for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest.

I have covered this card in detail before. It is fantastic card to have and it works out really well for people to churn. This means to apply for the card again and again. As long as 12 months and 1 day have passed since you last held that same card (personal card if applying for the personal or business if applying for the business card) you can get the bonus over and over again. So, if you apply for the personal card in this go around, you can cancel it next year and apply for the business card and just continue to repeat. Pretty good!

Card Application – Apply for the American Express SPG card. This card requires 1 purchase for the initial 10,000 Starpoints and an additional $5,000 in spending in the first 6 months to get the additional 15,000 Starpoints.

  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Personal Card Application – Link (I do get a commission if you are approved through this link)

Again, this part of the application process is a follow-up to the previous post about securing a card for airline miles. Now, you apply for this card for some hotel points. After this, we will begin planning a trip on which to use them. If you have not done Part 1, you can start with Part 2 and do this application now and Part 1 later. The important thing is to get both cards.

Now, at the beginning I said I believe this card is best for our trip planning purposes (concerning for race/event planning). Why is that? Because the Starwood Preferred Guest program allows you to use points for an award stay as long as there is a standard guest room available. This means that you can still redeem for a free night even when a hotel is almost full! I have used points before to redeem at the host race hotel – even when you could “only” book it through the race organizer! Many hotel chains have their award stays capacity controlled – but not SPG! This alone makes having these points even more valuable than they already are.

Good luck with the application process!

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

1 Comment