Weddings are expensive but your dream honeymoon does not have to be! My husband and I went on our dream honeymoon to Oahu and Maui for free and you can too!
According to the Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding in the US is over $30,000! That’s a lot of cha-ching! At the end of it all, you will have the memories, the pictures, a new partner for life (of course) and hopefully a free honeymoon. Here’s how:
Step 1: Research Hotel and Airline Credit Cards Early
Prior to making any deposits for your wedding and at least 4-5 months prior to your honeymoon, research hotel and airline credit cards that offer a high number of points for signing up when you spend a certain amount within the introductory period. You will want to look for cards with no annual fee. You will also want to consider where you want to go on vacation and do some research on what hotels are available in the area.
Hotel Brand Specific Credit Card Examples
For example, the Hilton Honors American Express offers 75,000 points for spending $1000 within your first 3 months. With the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki rates starting at 60,000 points a night, you just bought yourselves two nights in paradise. My husband and I stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki for our honeymoon and then, enjoyed it so much that we have returned 3 years in a row. I plan on posting a full list of recommendations for traveling to Hawaii and specifically Oahu soon so stay tuned!
When The Hotel You’re Interested In Isn’t a Major Hotel Brand
If there are better non-branded hotels in the location you want to honeymoon, you might want to consider a credit card that isn’t affiliated with a hotel like a Bank of America credit card. Their travel rewards site lists many boutique hotels you wouldn’t have access to through a hotel specific credit card.
Doing the Math…
With the above example, you’ve spent a total of $2,000 towards your wedding (sadly that might have payed for your dress) and you now have 2 nights free in Hawaii. Again, if you are having an average American wedding, the total expenses for your wedding will be much higher than this, allowing you to and your future spouse to accumulate the points you need for a nice 7 day honeymoon and round trip travel.
Keep in mind…
You will need to wait until the introductory period is over to get the points to book your hotel reservation so you need to be applying for and using your card at least 4 or 5 months in advance of your honeymoon, if not sooner.
Step 2: You and Your Partner Should Apply for the Credit Cards
Please note, that I’m not encouraging you to overspend or go into debt! I’m assuming you were going to make these purchases anyway and that you have/ will have the money to pay off your credit card at the end of the month. Please don’t go into debt to get a free vacation! That defeats the purpose!
Step 3: Strategize Which Cards You Will Use to Pay for Wedding Expenses
Ask your wedding venue and vendors if they accept credit cards and what type. We were surprised that most of our vendors accepted credit cards. Now determine how to best pay for your expenses to get the most points. Let’s say your wedding venue deposit is $2000. In this case, you should put this deposit on the card that requires you to spend $3000 in the first 3 months and then add on additional deposits that add up to the remaining $1000. You get the picture.
Step 4: Book Your Dream Honeymoon
Once the introductory period is done and you’ve received your points, book your flights and hotels as soon as possible. You may have to do some hotel hopping but you’ll get to see different locations wherever you are visiting.
Step 5: Paying for The Additional Honeymoon Expenses
Like any vacation, you will have additional expenses like food, rental cars and activities so go ahead and skip registering for that food processor that you’ll never use and add some gift cards to your registry for your rental car and food or simply create a honeymoon fund on your registry specifically for honeymoon activities and food.
Congrats and enjoy your dream honeymoon!