Posted in Money Saving Tips

Utilizing Large Purchases to Earn Travel Rewards

It is an exciting time… It is an expensive timeā€¦ Our daughter is getting married!

Planning is underway for a wedding and reception for 175 guests. With 2022 inflation along with labor and help shortages, prices for every part of this wedding are sky high. But, it is what is, so I have rolled up my sleeves and devised a strategy.

Of course, we are shopping for the best prices and looking for deals on things, but I also intend to get the wedding spending to give back to us. I will be using all my budget skills, just like I do when planning a trip. With a war chest of travel and rewards credit cards, we have a variety of options for each purchase to get the most bang for our buck. That could mean earning a new card sign-up bonus, tier status, a high points return, free hotel nights, or other valuable travel perks.

You know I love a challenge, so let’s do this!

Opening a New Card

The first thing we did was open a new credit card that we already wanted. It had a decent sign-up bonus so we used it to pay for the deposits to reserve Venues, Caterers, Large Rental Items, and for buying the Wedding Dress. It didn’t take long to earn the card’s first tier of bonus points. We promptly turned those around and used them to book a 5-night hotel reward stay in Oahu for this October. I continued to use the new card for everything to earn the 2nd tier points bonus. In doing so, we also met the spending requirement to earn a Free Hotel Night certificate.

Knowing that our budget is taking a hit from wedding expenses, we will be planning budget trips for the next year. I am planning a long weekend trip in the spring where I will use this Free Hotel Night certificate along with another one we will receive on the card’s anniversary. That makes 7 Free Hotel nights and a bucket of points easily earned within a year.

Tier Status

I have also used our existing Hilton Surpass card for some of the wedding purchases. All purchases on this card earn a minimum of 3 points per dollar spent. It helped us reach a spend threshold which entitled us to a Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate. Those certificates have a lot of value. We just used one for our Maui trip this fall at a hotel that costs $1,200 per night. That same spending is also helping us to maintain our Hilton Diamond Tier Status. Diamond Tier status gives us extra benefits like late check-out, free breakfast, and room upgrades. Those are nice perks to have when we stay at Hilton hotels.

Points, Points, and More Points

To earn the most points possible, I am keeping an eye on all limited-time credit card promotions that could give us extra rewards or high point returns for our spending. I am also pairing purchases with higher points earning categories. More points, more rewards!

In addition, I am utilizing credit card offers from both Chase and American Express. For example, we have offers for either a dollar amount or a percentage back on a purchase at a merchant where we plan to order invitations and save the dates. American Express also regularly offers extra bonus points offers for places like Amazon or Macy’s. I might be able to line up Amazon with some wedding-related purchases or find my Mother of the Bride dress +/or shoes at Macy’s. I am just thinking outside the box a bit to find these extra hidden values.

Final Thoughts

Travel makes my heart happy, so I always try to take advantage of my spending to earn whatever I can transform into travel later. It only made sense to use our wedding spending to earn as many travel rewards as possible.

I have taught my kids to do the same. The Bride and Groom are also using cash back and points strategies for their wedding spending. I am hoping we can combine our rewards to plan a wonderful honeymoon for them that doesn’t break the bank.

Whenever you are making an expensive purchase, planning a big vacation, or paying for a costly event like a wedding, I hope you make a plan to get the best return you can for that spending. You might as well earn some rewards while you are emptying your pockets!

Dream, Plan, Save, Adventure!