Pay for Your Honeymoon With Credit Card Rewards

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Westin Dawn Beach

Taking advantage of lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses and putting some of your wedding expenses on those rewards cards can help you earn travel rewards for a dream honeymoon. Photo: Westin Dawn Beach via Facebook

More and more newlyweds are putting off their honeymoons. A lot of busy couples reach this decision because of scheduling conflicts, while others simply see no hurry to rush it.

But other soon-to-be-married couples are putting off their honeymoons for one reason only: money.

In many cases, that’s probably an excellent decision. While it’s certainly possible to have a frugal wedding, the average wedding now costs more than $30,000; it’s a wonder that many couples get to take any kind of honeymoon, let alone a big, extravagant one.

I know I didn’t get to take a honeymoon, unless you count a visit to my in-laws. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t.) My husband and I didn’t have much when we got married, but we did manage to pay for our wedding in cash with some help from family. And while a honeymoon sounded great, it never crossed our minds to put it on credit at the time.

But if I could go back and do things differently, I would. No, I wouldn’t have charged my honeymoon on a credit card; instead, I would have paid for most of it with credit card rewards.

Ten years ago, similar lucrative credit card rewards offers existed, but I didn’t know to take advantage of them. If I had have known then what I know now, here are some of the current offers I would have taken advantage of to book a romantic honeymoon at a discount:

Fly to the Caribbean with Southwest Airlines

When most people imagine their honeymoon, they probably picture themselves laying on a tropical beach, drink in hand. One awesome way to get to the Caribbean on the cheap is to sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card (currently unavailable) and earn the sign-up bonus.

Although Southwest is mostly known for its awesome fares on domestic travel, the airline recently started flying to several destinations in the Caribbean and Central America. Some of the new destinations perfect for a honeymoon include Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, San Juan, Punta Cana, and Cancun.

Score All-Inclusive Stays for Free

I recently took my husband and two kids to Montego Bay for spring break. Using around 150,000 IHG Rewards points and $420 in cash back rewards from a different cash back card, we were able to book six nights at the Holiday Inn Sunspree All-Inclusive Resort.

It was pretty awesome for a few reasons. First, staying at an all-inclusive resort meant that we could enjoy as much food and drink as we wanted for free. And second, that part made budgeting and planning for the trip so much easier. Aside from bringing some money for tips and airport transportation, I didn’t have to plan for much else.

If you’re interested in staying at an all-inclusive resort for free, IHG has several properties that fit the bill.

More Caribbean Fun with Starwood Preferred Guest

My husband and I traveled to the island of St. Maarten earlier this year, and I have to say, it quickly became my favorite place on Earth. The soft, white sand, the friendly locals, and the mountain landscape won me over before I could suck down my first mojito. Right then and there, I knew it was the kind of place that would be perfect for a honeymoon.

Because we loved it so much, we’re already saving up rewards to get back there for our 10-year anniversary. By having both of us sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, we earned enough points for six nights at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa on the Dutch side of the island.

Another important change to note: As of earlier this year, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has several new perks. In addition to the added benefit of having free premium internet at SPG properties, cardholders will also enjoy no foreign transaction fees and free Boingo wifi access at airports.

And if you’re not interested in St. Maarten, SPG has properties in other parts of the Caribbean as well, including resorts in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Cayman Islands, and St. John.

Here are some details on the co-branded Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express:

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Partner Offer
Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Highlights
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Flexible Travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards

When you don’t know when or where you want to plan your honeymoon, it can make sense to choose rewards that have some flexibility. When it comes to rewards that fall under that category, no other type is more valuable than Chase Ultimate Rewards.

With a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you earn rewards that can used in a number of ways. You can use your points to book airfare and hotel stays directly through the Ultimate Rewards website at 25% more value, for example, or you can redeem them for straight-up cash back at 1 cent per point.

Another option: You can also transfer your points to a number of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs including Hyatt, IHG, British Airways, and Southwest Airlines. The options are limitless.

Here are some of the card’s pertinent details:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you’re like me and never went on a honeymoon, it’s not too late! You can still travel together and celebrate other milestones, like birthdays and anniversaries, all while staying on budget and staying out of debt. But with the cards listed here, your list of affordable destinations and options just got a whole lot longer.

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