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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tips to Earn a Free Honeymoon

Words by Roman Shetyn of RewardExpert

When you’re planning for the big day, every little detail hangs over your head, sometimes casting a wide shadow of stress. But, what if the cost of a honeymoon could be a ray of sunshine and relief by using miles and points to score free air and hotel travel? Well, a free honeymoon is possible, but only if you play your cards (credit cards, that is) right in your day-to-day spending patterns.

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Let’s face it: with the average wedding costing over $32,000, weddings can be expensive. If you’re not putting those charges on a credit card that earns big miles and points, you could be missing out on a lot of free travel. Luckily, RewardExpert – a free service that helps people take advantage of travel and credit card rewards programs – has put together an infographic that guides you through the process of converting your wedding expenses into a free honeymoon. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Check your wallet for the right reward-earning credit cards.

Be sure to hold one or two credit cards that pays miles and points for your purchases. Some cards award additional points for spending at certain outlets like office supply stores, restaurants, gas stations, and on any type of travel. There might be better points-earning cards out there that provide more earnings than what you currently have. Also, consider where you want to visit and if a specific card might make the most sense.

Be careful with applying and spending.

Just because you have a credit card, doesn’t mean you can go wild. It means you have a miles-generating engine that can deliver rewards on the things you might have been paying with cash, check, or non-rewards credit or debit cards. Always pay your balance in full, if possible. And, if you’re applying for a new card before buying a house or applying for a loan or mortgage, consider that your credit rating can potentially take a hit, so time big moves carefully.

Get organized and think creatively.

Before making big purchases on tables, chairs, catering, musicians or travel, check to see if there are specific cards that provide ample bonuses for those items. For example, some cards offer as many as five points per dollar spent at office supply stores. While you may not be buying a filing cabinet for your big day, you would be surprised to find what is sold at office supply stores. Everything from paper towels and snacks to gift cards and stamps are eligible to earn five points per dollar spend on certain cards, like the Chase Ink Business Cash card. If you buy these things elsewhere, you would probably only earn one point per dollar spent.

Pick the perfect hotel for the wedding party.

If you have out-of-town visitors attending the wedding, this is a great chance to score a nice chunk of hotel points. Many hotel companies offer bonus points for booking a certain number of room nights with them. If you plan to hold a room block, give the hotel a call and ask if they offer any loyalty point offers for booking a minimum number of rooms or room nights. Better yet, do some research on the hotel’s loyalty program itself. For example, see if that Hampton Inn down the road participates in Hilton Honors, which has a program that awards extra points to you (in addition to the actual hotel guests) for booking a room block.

Beware the hidden taxes and fees.

Just because you’re booking an award flight in miles doesn’t mean there will be no out-of-pocket costs.  Beware of partner airline redemptions that charge heavy taxes and fuel surcharges. For example, if you’re redeeming American miles for any long-haul British Airways flight or redeeming Delta SkyMiles for any itinerary originating in Europe they’ll likely tack on a big fee.

Seek help with redemptions.

Planning a wedding is busy enough, and searching for award seats on flights and free nights at hotels can be cumbersome. Airlines don’t make it easy with clunky websites that can actually be designed to get you to overspend on miles without realizing there may be cheaper options. Instead, opt to use an award travel planning service like the one offered by RewardExpert. They do all the hunting and gathering for your chosen destination, run sample itineraries by you that work with the award balances you have, all for free. There are other services that charge quite a bit for it, making this a huge bargain.

See the infographic below for more tips and visit rewardexpert.com to learn more about how to make the most out of your wedding spending.



Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): © Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock, © Satit Sewtiw/Shutterstock, © Fizkes/Shutterstock and RewardExpert.

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