Planning the wedding of your dreams isn’t complete without the perfect honeymoon. So, what will it be? Will you wine and dine your nights away in Paris? Or just lounge on the beach in Bali?
The possibilities are pretty much endless. But of course, there is one rather large catch – and that’s your vacation bill. Idyllic retreats in exotic locales don’t come cheap after all.
And the wedding itself already costs a fortune. In fact, weddings just keep getting more and more expensive as the years go by. The average wedding bill in 2015 was $32,641 – and that’s not even including the honeymoon!
But don’t go pinching pennies or fretting about how you’re going to afford it all just yet.
We’ve got some good news. We’re going to show you how to use rewards and airline mileage bonuses to turn the cost of your wedding into a free honeymoon. How’s it possible? Keep reading to find out!
Sign Up for Rewards Cards
First things first, you’re going to need a few good reward credit cards. They’re what make this whole thing possible.
There are quite a few good ones out there, but we’re going to focus on:
- Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
- Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card
Keep in mind that all four of these cards are going to require good–but not great–credit. The average credit score for approved applications is right around 750, though there’s still a chance of approval as low as almost 650.
These cards have the benefit of being slightly less stringent in their application process, while also offering impressive sign-up and spending bonuses.
How much are we talking exactly? Both Starwood cards will net you 25,000 points apiece, and the Alaska Airlines cards will pull an even better 30,000 miles each. That’s a total of 220,000 points & miles just for signing up!
Pay for Your Wedding
Once you’ve finished dealing with the drudgery of applying for credit cards (and getting accepted), the fun part begins: shopping spree time!
Okay, it’s not technically a shopping spree, but the next step involves using your newly-acquired cards to pay for your wedding expenses. To be exact, you’ll need to spend $5,000 on each Starwood card and $1,000 on each Alaska Airlines card, for a total of $12,000 between all four. The same for the second newlywed.
So in total you’ll spend together $24,000.
This amount will maximize the rewards you’re eligible for, earning 24,000 points or miles in the process.
And you can get 5,000 more points when you transfer your miles over to Alaska Airlines (where you’ll be spending them).
With the leftover points or miles, you can either transfer them to family and friends, or save them and use them during the year on cheaper domestic flights to visit friends and family members on special occasions.
Cash Out Your Points
Now that we’ve got miles to burn, it’s time to redeem them for that jaw-dropping honeymoon for you and your boo.
By now, you should have 249,000 racked up and just waiting for you to spend. We’ll be using the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to cash ‘em out.
And we have a ton of possibilities to choose from. For instance, Venice, Barbados, and the Maldives are all within your mileage budget–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But we hear Bora Bora is awfully nice this time of year. Round-trip economy tickets will set you back 80,000 miles per person. That’s 160,000 for both flights. Though keep in mind that there are usually fees associated with international flights, that can cost around $50 to $100 per round trip ticket.
Of course, you can’t spend ALL your time on the beach, so you’ll need a place to stay. Again, there are plenty of options to pick from, but we like Le Meridien Bora Bora. It’s a 5-star resort in the Starwood group – and it’s only 20,000 points per night.
How does four nights sound? Good? We thought so, too! And there goes another 80,000 points.
Between your flights and your hotel, you’ve only spent 240,000 points. That means you still have 9,000 left over to do with as you please. But we’re sure you’ll think of something.
Send Us a Postcard
There you have it! You’re now booked for an awesome honeymoon for two, and all you’ll end up paying is a few hundred dollars in fees. The same trip would’ve set you back a few grand if you’d paid in cash.
And just think, that’s only $24,000 of wedding spending–over $8,000 less than the average. Many couples pay $50,000 to $100,000 and up, especially in more expensive areas of the country. Imagine the kind of honeymoon you could book with that!
That’s the great thing about this method: you can cater it to fit your needs and desires, whether it’s using different cards or picking an alternate honeymoon spot. But the basic steps remain the same, no matter how or where you use them.
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But we’re going to show you how to get your honeymoon for FREE
You’ll start with a few rewards cards – here are some great ones
- Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express – Sign-Up Bonus 50,000 / Spending Bonus 10,000 / Total Bonus 60,000
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card – Sign-up Bonus 50,000 / Spending Bonus 10,000 / Total Bonus 60,000
- Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card – Sign-Up Bonus 60,000 / Spending Bonus 2,000 / Total Bonus 62,000
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card – Sign-Up Bonus 60,000 / Spending Bonus 2,000 / Total Bonus 62,000
- Citi Hilton HHonors TM Visa Signature Card – Sign-Up Bonus 150,000 / Spending Bonus 6,000 / Total Bonus 156,000
- Citi Hilton HHonors TM Visa Signature Card – Sign-Up Bonus 80,000 / Spending Bonus 17,000 / Total Bonus 97,000
- IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card – Sign-Up Bonus 120,000 / Spending Bonus 2,000 / Total Bonus 122,000
By signing up for both Starwood and Alaska Airlines cards and spending:
- $2,000 on each AA card
- $10,000 on each Starwood card
You’ll earn a combined 244,000 points for $24,000 in wedding costs
Now to cash those points out on a beautiful honeymoon!
First, we’ll need a flight
With Alaska Airline’s Mileage Plan, you can fly Economy to:
- Venice for 65,000 per person
- Barbados for 70,000 per person
- Bora Bora for 80,000 points per person
- Maldives for 85,000 points per person
- Bali for 105,000 points per person
For our Bora Bora trip, that’s 160,000 total for both newlywedsNext, we’ll need a place to stay
Here are some lovely options in Bora Bora
- The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Rating: Five Star
- Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort
Rating: Five Star
- Le Meridien Bora Bora
Rating: Five Star
If we stay at Le Meridien Bora Bora for 3 nights, that’s 60,000 points
Now let’s do the math
- 244,000 points earned
- 160,000 for flight
- 60,000 for lodging
- And we still have 24,000 points left over!
When you transfer your points from your Starwood Card to Alaska Airlines Visa, you’ll even earn an extra 5,000
After spending only $24,000 on your wedding, you end up with roundtrip tickets to Bora Bora and 3 incredible nights at a 5-star resort!
Which combination will you come up with?