I often get asked, how can you afford to travel for such long periods of time without having to rough it. Although we do travel heavily for work, we do travel for pleasure equally as much and the reason we are able to afford “a honeymoon every year” is because of two of our dear friends, the American express business platinum and the Chase Bold.
There are plenty of great credit cards out there to accumulate points but I thought I would start with the one I know best, The American Express Platinum.
Your wedding is one day in your life where you will spend more money than any other day in your life so why not get something back for all that money you are about to spend. Almost all point cards will offer a point bonus when you spend over a couple thousand dollars within the first few months of having a credit card. For the American express, you will earn 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. SCORE!
What can 50,000 points get you with the american express? A roundtrip economy seat or close to, for 1 traveler. I also highly recommend getting one more credit card that is a visa or mastercard, for all those vendors who will not take amex. You will also benefit from one more sign up bonus which could be a free night stay at a 5 star resort!
So lets say your wedding budget is $50,000, you open 2 new credit cards and take advantage of the new signup bonuses for both. You are looking at 150,000 reward points right off the bat.
The American Express Platinum can be challenging since there are so many transfer options (which is the best way to use your card) and it takes a lot of studying to really optimize your points and get the best bang for your buck.
We have been on 5 “honeymoons” in the past 4 years and have managed to fly these routes using points while keeping our taxes under $500.00.
LAX- Maldives - Via Emirates (Economy)
LAX- Thailand- Via ANA and Thai Airlines (Economy)
LAX-Rome, London- Via Alitalia and Virgin Atlantic (upper Class)
LAX- London- Via Virgin Atlantic (booking through delta) (upper Class)
LAX- Johannesburg- Via Virgin Atlantic(booking through delta) (upper class)
Additional ways we have used our points for “honeymoons”
15 night british Island Cruise on princess Cruises
5 Nights at the Waldorf Astoria in Maldives
Here are few key essential tips.
- Figure out which airlines fly to your destination of choice, then make a list and see which airlines are partners with american express transfer partners. Make a side by side list of points required + the taxes involved with each expense.
- Take advantage of double point transfer bonuses. American Express throughout the year will offer anywhere from 25%-50% more points when transferring from american express to a specific transfer partner. We once received double the points when transferring to hilton, then booked our 5 nights in a water bungalow in Maldives when Hilton was running a book 4 nights get the 5th night free special. So for a typical 80,000 points per night room, we were able to book 5 nights averaging 32,000 points per night.
- Take advantage of all the travel perks that come with your credit card. American express offers a $200 a year airline credit. This can be used for checked bags, access to upper class clubhouses, cocktails, and much more.
- Be Patient- Just because your ideal flight is not available today, doesn't mean it will not be available tomorrow. I often spend weeks checking in on flights till the ideal route opens up.
- Search for off days or fly during off season- You are guaranteed to find flights that require less points if you search on Wednesday travel day, rather than a sunday. Be flexible, its worth it.
How did you use credit card reward points for your honeymoon?