Getting the Most Miles/Points for Wedding Planning

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by jpruzins, Nov 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jpruzins
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    jpruzins Silver Member

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    I've been an avid collector of miles and points for about a year. My boyfriend recently proposed in October and we're planning a fall 2012 or spring 2013 wedding. We are so excited! After doing some research, I'm starting to see all of the costs of weddings add up and my wheels have been turning - how can I turn all my soon-to-be expenses into points and miles? Does anyone have any tactics or tips? My plan is to definitely be able to Honeymoon in Hawaii on points. What's the best card to use for big ticket wedding purchases?
     
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  2. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    I recently got married and did the same thing. The main sources of points were the sign up bonus, the deposits for larger vendors, and full payments to smaller vendors. Many times the price was cheaper with cash than with credit card so keep that in mind.
     
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  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I think some hotels, such as Hyatt, allow you to earn points as an event organizer so you can get credit for renting ballrooms and hiring caterers.
     
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  4. icurhere2
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    icurhere2 Gold Member

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    On credit cards: Can you tell us your existing credit cards? For instance, the Capital One Venture is my primary now (I did get in on the 110,000 bonus) because the points redeemable for travel credit almost as quickly as individual charges and they have their own version of a mileage mall that credits reliably with some limited promotions.

    Earning miles: Right now, I would be getting all the cheap / free hits in US Grand Slam 2011 possible (don't have to fly US, and UA is prevalent from the mainland to HI).

    Hotels in HI: What are your preferences and status options? Absent really great hotel point earning promotions, various chains are affiliated with mileage malls and rebate sites for your travels from now until the big day.
     
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  5. infamousdx

    infamousdx Silver Member

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    Where are you having your reception? At a hotel? At a restaurant?

    One thing that my fiancee and I did was ask the venue to do a test purchase to see how they would show up as on our Chase Sapphire Preferred card. They showed up as DINING therefore we'd get 2x points on that purchase. Voila... we got 2x points on tens of thousands of dollars. That was our biggest score of wedding prep.

    P.S. Our wedding will actually be IN Hawaii in Feb 2012 and we're honeymooning on Kauai and Maui...
     
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  6. wolfsatz
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    wolfsatz Silver Member

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    It's not all points but my wife and I leave for our honeymoon in Maui this Saturday. I bought two first class tickets for almost the price of one on Alaskan Airlines using the Alaskan Air Visa Signature card's $99 companion fare. If I recall correctly, I paid about $1500 for both tickets.

    As someone who just paid for a wedding as well, my advice would be pick one card to put as many wedding and personal expenses on as you can manage while paying off in full every month. The Starwoods SPG Amex card is still, in my humble opinion, the best all around rewards card do to the flexibility it gives you with picking rewards travel.
     
  7. bk3day
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    bk3day Gold Member

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    FYI, I believe the chase sapphire card gives double points for caterers!

    Also Marriott, maybe USAir & others have wedding registry programs where you can be gifted w/points & miles.
     
  8. WideOpenSpaces

    WideOpenSpaces Silver Member

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  9. chrislacey
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    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    jpruzins...Unfortunately I don't have any good advice for you...but CONGRATULATIONS!!!
     
  10. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    We're going honeymooning on our points from our wedding too. Mainly from the CO Pres Plus card.

    My advice would be to use the wedding expenses to get a new batch of credit cards and meet minimum thresholds for bonus miles. I think that's the best ROI when you have to spend anyway. The vibe out of the Chicago Seminars is that new big point bonuses should be coming next 1Q.

    Of course, this may not work if you're buying a house or car together soon.

    Congrats!

    Additionally, how is everyone going to Hawaii? Haven`t we all learned that the best use of points is premium intl. travel? :D (...says guy traveling intl in Y :rolleyes:)
     
  11. jpruzins
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    jpruzins Silver Member

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    My cards: Chase Sapphire, Chase Marriott (in the mail - will need to meet spend on this one), Chase Continental, Amex Jet Blue, Amex Starwood, Amex Hilton, Amex Delta, Hilton Citi Visa, Discover Cashback, Hawaiin Airlines Visa (converting these points to Hilton), and PNC Points Visa. Hubby to be has a Cashback card only. He is not on my bandwagon quite yet. I have lots of Marriott gift certificates (close to $1200) from Discover Daily Getaways and work promotions. My bigger buckets of points are in Continental (100k, same for hubby to be) and Hilton (20k). I cannot apply for anymore Chase cards for 6 months.

    I don't have any top tier status at my hotel/airline, nor am I close.

     
  12. jpruzins
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    jpruzins Silver Member

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    Car & house are in the near future (1 year or so). I'm okay with working the cards I have as long as I can get the most out of them.

     
  13. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Well you can have additional CO miles from the Chase Sapphire card on top of current 200K you would have. Have you considered trading a few gift certs or points/miles for a IC RA referral? The problem would be you not having any PC points right now. Not sure how you can reach a decently high status without spending quite a few nights before your honeymoon other than the RA referral.

    Might be worth pursing the RA status since it can give you a great chance on a nice suite along with contacting the property beforehand that it's your honeymoon.
     
  14. icurhere2
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    icurhere2 Gold Member

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    I'm going to make a few assumptions (but state such):
    • The honeymoon dates won't be too flexible (might need higher tier award),
    • The significant other will contribute miles for the cause,
    • You want to travel in style and comfort, and
    • Plans may (or will) change as new credit promotions come around; CapOne was my single new card of 2011.
    Airfare:My effort would be on accumulating UA/CO miles through various promotions, mileage malls, and standard purchases for each of you, eventually booking one ticket from each account unless one of you accrues enough miles for both. If you find a low-level premium redemption, that would be great! That said, my mental model won't allow me to mess with the dates too much on airfare on a honeymoon, so this might be a standard (not saver) award. Absent any other future air itineraries or partner promotions in the next year, I would think about Chase Continental and the SPG AmEx for sufficient purchases to get to the award table's 160k each. Another option is to earn enough Marriott points to redeem for a full hotel week plus FF mile bundle. The SO also needs to support the increase in the UA/CO balance on his side. Many of his earnings could be simple mileage mall purchases.

    If you want to change islands, that's an effective use of HA miles if not being used for the Hilton possibilities.

    Hotel: Hotel programs give me heartburn consistently as devaluations occur with very little (if any) notice. I recall one particularly egregious Hilton downgrade early last decade that led me to abandon the chain (my Hilton "Silver" now is based upon owning a Visa Signature card). The most near-term potential seems to be Marriott-related. The incoming credit card itself could easily become two nights (not a suite) with few purchases - Marriott also offers redemptions that include a week at a hotel plus frequent flyer miles as mentioned above. And the $1,200 in Marriott certs alone could get a great room (not a suite, but a room) for two-to-four nights based upon the travel dates.

    Rental cars: Someone else can better determine how to get free day certs or points.

    Food: Marriott used to sell meal-for-two vouchers (we abused a location in STT). There are also supermarkets if cooking's an activity the two of you enjoy.

    Excursions/Parking/Fuel: These are probably going to be covered by a very good cashback card in the interim (a reliable 2%).
     
  15. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    cash can be king and some vendors will lower their price quite a bit if offered cash, so make sure you do some bargaining. With the economy the way it is, you the consumer hold an upper hand, bargain hard, miles/points be damned if the cash price is right!!
     
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  16. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    Don't forget that there are many sites that allow you to transfer payments.. amazon payments is one (charges to your credit card, they can put it into their checking account like cash). Saves the hassle of writing a lot of checks.

    One more thing to add - for dining, consider the Citi Forward Card. It gives you 5 points for mile on Dining and Bookstores. For purchases amazon is a bookstore, not sure how amazon payments is classified. There are caps - the MTVU card is another option. The forward card also gives you a 6-8 months of 0% purchase financing, which would likely be very helpful for you guys. I would value Citi Thank You points slightly less than a penny a point, but you can get $100 gift cards for 10,000 points.
     
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  17. icurhere2
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    icurhere2 Gold Member

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    While I love Amazon Payments, the SO and I have been running up against the monthly credit card cap in the process of paying household bills (then again, I support two homes at the moment).
     
  18. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    If you can get your vendor to take an amazon payment as cash, that would be the best of all worlds. Cash price + points.
     
  19. infamousdx

    infamousdx Silver Member

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    Hard to do that on a large scale though. The monthly limit is $1,000 sending (and $1k receiving).
     
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  20. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    RIP Dollar Coins :(
     
  21. lisamcgu
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    lisamcgu Gold Member

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    Are you having your reception and or wedding at a hotel, or just need a group of rooms for guests? That gives great ops for, depending on the hotel, meeting planner pts or a free suite depending on how many rooms you want. A good hotel event planner (Helms Briscoe is one) can help you if you will be needing at least 10 guest rooms, with or without a reception and all that goes with that. They can get you the most the hotel offers and should have access to data you normally won't see, like a list of how much that hotel is charging groups during the time you will be there. You can always negotiate the contract, rooms, pts and extras yourself, but just the contract can be kind of scary. Good hotel group event planners don't charge a fee and do all that for you while getting you the best rates and freebies.

    I am not sure who is planning the Kiva Do, but a unique extra they say they are arranging is triple pts for attendees. This may be a reflection Randy's influence more than the planner's ability, however it is a fine example of what can be arranged given what is important to the client.
     
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  22. Do not give up on the gold coins. They may ressurrect. :)
     

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