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Hey-o! Today we’ve got Michael from The Honeymoon Guy here to talk about how you, yes you Broke-Asses, can (wisely) use those rewards credit cards to rack up some serious mileage to get you a luxurious but low-cost honeymoon. Now, we never EVER advocate going into debt for your wedding day (work with the dollaz you’ve got, yo!) but if you’re smart with your credit and are able to make the appropriate payments, this is a really wise way to get the most bang for your buck.
When my wife Patty and I returned from our around-the-world honeymoon, we got a lot of questions from friends and family on how we did it without breaking the bank. So I created The Honeymoon Guy website to provide tips and guidance to help others get a champagne honeymoon on a beer budget. The site is useful whether you want to take an elaborate trip like ours or you’re a broke-ass just hoping for a week-on-the-beach honeymoon.
Our honeymoon included a visit to Malcapuya Beach in the Philippines. The white sand beach was powdery, the snorkeling was spectacular and the fresh mangoes were delicious. And our flights and lodging were nearly free!
For most honeymoons, the two biggest costs are lodging and air travel, in that order. So to minimize the cost of a honeymoon while maintaining luxury, you’ll want to focus on reducing the cost of accommodations and flights.
Frequent flyer miles, hotel points and free night awards earned via credit cards are key to doing so. Now, that probably doesn’t seem surprising. It may even be a letdown to read that as you’ve certainly heard of frequent flier programs and you may be thinking, “I’ve been religiously putting all my spending on a single airline-branded credit card for years and I barely have enough for a single flight.” If so, you’ve been doing it all wrong.
Here’s why: Banks that issue credit cards know that a key to their business is getting new accounts. They offer incredibly lucrative bonuses such as two free nights at any hotel in their chain worldwide (total value often exceeding $1,000) or even 100,000 frequent flier miles, just for signing up for a new card.
By taking advantage of these offers, Patty and I were able to honeymoon in Maui, Tokyo, the Philippines and South Africa and almost all of our lodging and flights (many in business/first class) were free!
You can do what we did – strategically earn such large signup bonuses that you can nearly eliminate the main costs of your honeymoon.
Here are a few specific tips to get started:
- Once you’ve determined your desired honeymoon location(s), survey the airlines that fly to/from your desired destination(s) and the lodging options. You’ll want to look for hotels owned by companies like Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, etc. as they have rewards programs. Note that these brands do have some all-inclusive properties.
- Research the rewards programs for the relevant airlines and hotels to determine the number of frequent flyer miles and rewards points you’ll need. Then search the Internet or visit my site to find the best credit card signup bonuses for the relevant rewards program.
With free night awards from credit card signup bonuses you can stay at hotels such as the Andaz Maui, shown here, or even at all-inclusive hotels in Jamaica, Cancun and Los Cabos!
- Sign up for the credit cards with the best bonuses and be certain to meet the promotion requirements. Some cards may have minimum spending requirements which can seem intimidating at first but there are various ways to time-shift your purchases, use the cards to pay your rent or mortgage, or “manufacture spending” to meet the requirements.
- Realize that both you and your fiance can get the same credit card. For example, if a card offers a signup bonus of two free nights at any hotel, by both getting it you can earn four consecutive nights at a luxurious hotel for free!
- Keep track of your credit card signups using a spreadsheet. You can create your own or simply download a free spreadsheet I created.
- Divide and conquer. If you’re taking the lead on the wedding planning, let your fiance take the lead on the honeymoon planning. That way the tasks are split evenly-ish and everything gets done!
With the miles, points and free night awards you earn, book your dream honeymoon!
One key note: Though many people may think so, having a lot of credit cards does not hurt your credit score and in many cases it will actually increase your credit score in the long run (see my Credit Score page for further explanation).
With just a few hours of research – a fraction of the time you’re devoting to wedding planning – you can save thousands of dollars and elevate your honeymoon from standard to unforgettable.