Maximizing points and miles when planning your wedding and honeymoon
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Costs can add up quickly when you’re planning a wedding, but you can get extra benefits during this expensive time by using the right credit cards. You can manage payments for big-ticket items or build up points and miles toward future travel. Here’s a list of tips for maximizing your points, miles and credit cards for your wedding and honeymoon.
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If you’re buying an engagement ring, you may want to not only maximize credit rewards but also manage interest payments, especially if the ring is a pricey investment.
Related reading: Which credit card should I use to buy an engagement ring?
If you’re looking for a card that allows you to pay off the cost of the ring over time, you’ll want to sign up for a card with a introductory APR on purchases made soon after the card is opened. One such card is the Chase Freedom, which doesn’t have an annual fee and can earn you significant Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you also hold an Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
The Chase Freedom offers a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months for new purchases, but then a variable APR of 14.99% – 23.74% applies.
The information for the Chase Freedom and Ink Business Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related reading: The best balance transfer credit cards
Use a card that offers bonus points on dining for your caterer — or for your venue, if it’s considered a restaurant. Just keep in mind that earning bonus rewards on this expense depends on your caterer/venue coding as dining with the credit card issuer — if possible, try to make a small purchase in advance to confirm whether or not you’ll receive bonus points.
Here are some of the best cards for dining purchases:
|Card||Bonus (Return based on TPG’s valuations)||Annual Fee|
|Citi Prestige® Card||5x (8.5%)||$495|
|American Express® Gold Card||4x (8%) at restaurants worldwide||$250 (see rates & fees)|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||3x (6%)||$550|
|Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express||7x (4.2%), only at U.S. restaurants||$450 (see rates & fees)|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||2x (4%)||$95|
|Uber Visa (cash back)||4%||$0|
|Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card (cash back)||4%||$95|
The information for the Citi Prestige Card, Uber Visa, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Using the Citi Prestige is ideal for entertainment purchases. You can earn 5x points per dollar spent on dining if you choose to host your engagement party, rehearsal dinner or even your wedding reception at a restaurant. You can also rack up 3x points per dollar spent if you choose to hold key wedding events at a hotel or even on a cruise.
Related reading: The best credit cards for dining out, taking out and ordering in
It’s also worth checking an aggregator site like Cashback Monitor or EVReward when it comes to purchases like flowers, dresses/suits, favors, photo albums, wedding/engagement rings and invitations in order to earn the most bonus points possible via a shopping portal.
Although online flower retailers may charge more than a local florist, sometimes vendors offer between 1x and 15x miles per dollar with airline partners like AA, Delta, United and others when purchased through their shopping portals.
Other vendors that commonly offer portal bonuses are David Yurman, Blue Nile, Nordstrom, ProFlowers, 1-800 Flowers, Snapfish, Shutterfly and many more. In fact, EVReward even has a special wedding services section to browse through.
The Destination Wedding
If you’re considering a destination wedding, most large hotel brands allow you to earn points for hosting your wedding at one of their hotels. You’ll usually earn points for money spent on room rental, food and beverage costs. You may evem receive perks like a complimentary guest room on your wedding night. Hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and IHG all offer wedding planning options and assistance.
When paying for your honeymoon, use credit cards that offer travel rewards such as bonus points on airfare, hotels or lounge access. If you’re having trouble narrowing down your destination, start by taking stock of the points and miles you already have and looking into award availability to see where they can get you.
If you don’t have a large stash of hotel points, it’s OK — you can dig around for lower-category properties in destinations that are often more economical. For example, The Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa, Katameya Dunes in Egypt costs just 20,000 Marriott points per night and the five-star Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort in Malaysia costs only 5,000 Hyatt points per night. Some hotel brands also allow you to use a combination of cash and points.
Once you have your destination set, check out what hotel brands are in the area where you’d like to have your honeymoon. Getting cobranded cards to match hotels in your destination is a solid strategy. I’m usually a Marriott loyalist, but when I chose Sri Lanka as a honeymoon destination, I looked into the getting a Hilton cobranded card in order to spend a few nights at the Hilton Colombo to recover from jet lag before heading around the country to explore.
If you’re really getting off the beaten path or don’t have any hotel points, using the Citi Prestige Card is a good one to use if you plan to stay at least four nights so you can utilize the 4th-night-free benefit.
Related reading: The best hotel credit cards that come with an annual free night
You should also consider trying to get that Southwest Companion Pass before your honeymoon rolls around. Even if you don’t make it in time for the honeymoon, your new life as a couple will be pretty sweet if your significant other can fly for free along with you.
Make sure to check on which of your credit cards offer Priority Pass airport lounge membership and what their guest policies are. This is especially important if you’re flying economy, because at least you can enjoy lounge access preflight and during layovers.
Airlines including Delta and American allow others to gift miles to you and your soon-to-be-spouse, so if this is something you want, make sure to let your guests know by adding these links to your registry.
Requesting airline gift cards is another idea, especially if you’re loyal to a particular airline like American, Delta, Southwest or Alaska. Many hotel chains also offer gift cards, like Marriott, Ritz-Carlton or Hyatt — as do Airbnb and Amtrak. Requests for these types of travel-themed gifts, as well as cash for travel experiences, can be easily set up through registries such as Honeyfund or Honeymoon Wishes.
Build a budget on a website such as The Knot or Wedding Wire. You can also make a simple spreadsheet of your costs for both the wedding and the honeymoon early on and then dig through your credit card stash to see what you have and what you need.
If you don’t already have cards that can earn you bonus points or benefits on your large expenses, apply and start spending so you can take advantage of points or free nights accrued from welcome bonuses on airline, hotel and travel cards.
Make sure to pay your cards off, especially for larger purchases like venues, catering and engagement rings. If you can’t do it right away, use a card that has 0% intro APR and pay off your purchases before this introductory period is over. Any debt you end up with will negate your rewards, so it’s best to avoid that if at all possible.
Related reading: Ten commandments for travel rewards credit cards
Check your credit card limits to see if they are high enough for large purchases. Even if they are, calling your bank to let them know you’ll be making a large purchase will ensure your transaction or card won’t be blocked.
Weddings can be challenging even in the best of times. These tips can help with planning to allow you to have the best event possible.
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson
Featured photo by Classen/ullstein bild via Getty Images
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