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Maximizing Points in Wedding Season: Miles Registries & More

by on July 5, 2014 · 3 comments

in Shopping, TPG Contributors

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Wedding season is in full swing, and there’s a good chance you’ve got a few to attend this summer. Considering the cost of gifts on top of airfare and hotels, wedding expenses can add up quickly, especially if you’re involved in the wedding party (or if you’re the one getting married). To help offset some of those costs, TPG contributor Lori Zaino guides us through the easiest ways to earn points and miles for the legion of wedding expenditures. For more guidance related to weddings and points, check out her earlier post “Giving the Wedding Gift of Miles“. 

Too many wedding expenses? Make sure you are earning points!

If you have wedding expenses, you may as well be earning points.

Wedding Registries For Miles
If you’re getting married, some airline frequent flyer programs will allow you to create a miles registry online to help make your dream honeymoon a reality.

US Airways is one of several programs to offer an online registry. The process is easy: first, set up your registry page with a goal – the more specific, the better (for example, “Romantic Honeymoon In Santorini”). You can specify the total miles needed and personalize the page by adding photos. Then post the registry for your guests to see on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. This registry also works for graduations and other events. Anyone can purchase Dividend Miles for you, even if they aren’t a Dividend Miles member. Members have the option to purchase miles or transfer them from their own accounts.

Those contributing to the registry can transfer miles in 1,000-mile increments for 1 cent per mile with a $30 processing fee, or purchase miles for 3.5 cents apiece plus a 7.5% tax. US Airways routinely offers bonuses on purchased miles, such as the one that just ended this week, so be sure to take advantage of any such promotions when gifting miles.

US Airways offers a wedding gift registry.

US Airways offers a wedding gift registry.

 

United also offers several different miles registry options. The first is the MileagePlus gift registry. Similar to the US Airways registry, wedding couples can create a personalized page to share with family and friends. You can also create a registry for someone else, so if you know the bride covets miles, you could create a registry on her behalf to receive wedding shower gifts. Guests can transfer or purchase miles for the registry. Mileage transfers cost $15 per 1,000 miles with a $20 processing fee per transaction. Purchased miles cost $35  per 1,000 miles, plus a 7.5% excise tax. Each guest may purchase or transfer a minimum of 2,000 miles; transfers are capped at 100,000 miles, while purchases are capped at 150,000. A minimum of 20,000 and maximum of 500,000 miles are allowed per registry recipient per calendar year.

The second type of registry is one into which friends and family members can contribute money directly, known as the TravelBank account. You can use these contributions for air travel on United.com (including tickets, taxes and surcharges). Once you create your registry, you can send announcements to family and friends with instructions on how to deposit money into your account. A minimum contribution of $25 is required.

Finally, United.com gift cards are another option for funding a honeymoon, and are available from $25 to $10,000. Guests can choose the amount they wish to contribute, and the newlywed couple can redeem directly for travel.

The MileagePlus gift registry can help you take your dream honeymoon.

Shopping Portals For Gift Cards
When shopping for gift cards, it’s always worth trying to double dip and maximize miles earnings by first purchasing gift cards through a portal, and then making a purchase with that gift card through the portal to get extra points. Most retailers and portals say that you won’t earn bonus points on gift card or gift certificate purchases, but they often lack the technology to track how you pay for purchases after clicking through to a merchant, so many people (including myself) have had success with this. If you’re interested in testing this out, I recommend first conducting a trial experiment on a small purchase to see whether you get the points.

Here’s a list of major shopping portals if you want to try your luck:

Shopping Portals For Wedding Related Purchases
As a bride or groom, make sure to check shopping portals when ordering items like invitations or wedding rings. Even bridesmaids dresses can be found on several shopping portals – you just have to hope the bride is miles-savvy enough to pick her bridesmaid dresses from a retailer available via shopping portals!

Here are some wedding related vendors that can be found on shopping portals:

  • Invitations: Michaels Custom Invites, eInvite
  • Wedding Rings: David Yurman, Blue Nile
  • Bridesmaids Dresses: Nordstroms Bridesmaids Dresses, J. Crew
  • Photography Albums: Snapfish, Shutterfly
  • Flowers: ProFlowers
  • Wedding Favors: The Knot Wedding Shop, My M&Ms

For example, wedding rings from David Yurman shine even brighter if you can take advantage of the 5 points per dollar spent currently offered through the AAdvantage shopping portal. If you’re looking for photo albums, the Ultimate Rewards portal is offering 10 points per dollar for purchases at Snapfish.

For more info on which portal offers the most points to fit your needs, check EV Reward to look up a particular merchant and get an idea of what deals are available. However, deals change frequently and sometimes seem to get overlooked, so do your own research as well. Occasionally when a specific portal runs a special or bonus, EV Reward doesn’t catch it right away, so make sure to confirm the number of miles you’ll earn with your chosen portals.

EVReward will help you maximize points earnings through shopping portals.

Shopping Portals For Registry Gifts 
Besides gift cards, shopping portals are an easy way to maximize simple registry purchases. Many wedding registry stand-bys (like Bath Bath Beyond and Pottery Barn) offer bonus points per dollar spent through portals, so if you need to purchase a gift from there, you can earn extra points or miles as shown below.

Bed Bath & Beyond

  • American Airlines: 2 miles per dollar
  • Amtrak: 3 points per dollar
  • Delta SkyMiles: 1 SkyMile per dollar
  • Hilton HHonors: 3 points per dollar
  • Marriott Rewards: 3 points per dollar
  • Southwest: 1 point per dollar
  • Ultimate Rewards: 2 points per dollar
  • US Airways: 1 mile per dollar
  • United Airlines: 1 mile per dollar

Macy’s

  • American Airlines: 3 miles per dollar
  • Amtrak: 2 points per dollar
  • Choice Privileges: 2 points per dollar
  • Delta SkyMiles: 2 SkyMiles per dollar
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 4 miles per dollar
  • Hilton HHonors: 2 points per dollar
  • Marriott Rewards: 3 points per dollar
  • Southwest: 2 points per dollar
  • Ultimate Rewards: 5 points per dollar
  • US Airways: 2 miles per dollar
  • United Airlines: 2 miles per dollar

Pottery Barn:

  • American Airlines: 1 miles per dollar
  • Amtrak: 4 points per dollar
  • Delta SkyMiles: 1 SkyMile per dollar
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 3 miles per dollar
  • Hilton HHonors: 2 points per dollar
  • Marriott Rewards: 3 points per dollar
  • Southwest: 1 point per dollar
  • Ultimate Rewards: 3 points per dollar
  • US Airways: 1 mile per dollar
  • United Airlines: 1 mile per dollar

Purchase Amex/Visa Gift Cards From Stores That Give Bonuses
You can also purchase Amex or Visa gift cards as wedding gifts at shops like Home Depot, Office Max and Staples, where you can get 5x points using your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus cards. These cards come with an activation fee, but you can often find promotions that wipe out the fee and enable you to buy the card below the face value.

You can give these cards in person if you’d like, or use them for other purchases at stores where the wedding couple is registered.

Hotel Stays
You can usually get points on room blocks at hotels offering discounted wedding rates, but confirm with the hotel in advance. Otherwise it might make sense to book your own rate apart from the wedding and earn points. Just be sure to let the hotel know you’re there for the wedding so you get all the associated goodies!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mike G.

    Regarding the hotel points and the suggestion to book outside the wedding party block–most contracts have an attrition clause, which means the hosts have to pay for a certain percentage of rooms that aren’t used within the block. Earning points is great, but make sure you don’t do it at the expense of the bride and groom and cost them hundreds of dollars!

  • Tom

    The EarlyReturns Mall has been discontinued effective December 31, 2013. Any eligible purchases made via theEarlyReturns Mall prior to the discontinuation date will qualify to earn EarlyReturns miles.

    http://www.flyfrontier.com/frequent-flyers/get-miles/earn-with-partners/shopping-services

  • http://snapknot.com Mike Rheaume

    This is a great resource, thank you for posting.

    As a loyal reader of TPG and cofounder of SnapKnot.com, which helps engaged couples find their perfect wedding photographer, this post is the perfect overlap! We will be sharing with our readers as I’m sure many will be interested.

    And for any engaged couples out there, please check out: snapknot.com and let us know what you think!

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