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Planning a wedding can be expensive, stressful and time-consuming. As the big red circle on the calendar approaches, you have to answer many questions. How many guests should we invite? Should we have an open bar? Do we want to get married here or abroad?
But before you make plans for your big day, ask one more question: “Should we use a credit card to cover wedding expenses?” The biggest party you’ve ever thrown doesn’t come cheap, and you might as well earn credit card rewards for the money you’re about to throw at wedding vendors. This is the perfect time to put together a credit card strategy to maximize the spending after saying, “Yes.”
Should You Have a Credit Card for Wedding Expenses?
If the venue, the photographer and the florist all accept credit cards, you should sign up for a card or two to help amass points for a honeymoon or cash back for a new life together. You’re spending the money anyway, and the rewards earned in the process can help you offset the tremendous costs or even subsidize your honeymoon.
Reasons To Use a Credit Card for Wedding Expenses
Credit Card Rewards
The biggest perk of paying for your wedding with a credit card are the rewards. Meeting minimum-spending requirements on new cards takes time, but you can earn a welcome bonus in one single swipe by putting down deposits with vendors.
It’s important to be strategic. Time your credit card application with wedding plans and earn a big chunk of rewards. Keep in mind that you must be able to pay off the balance in full by the due date to avoid paying interest and maximize the rewards value.
Some travel rewards credit cards offer travel insurance, including trip delay, trip interruption or baggage delay. If you use the card to pay for some or all of your honeymoon or flights to a destination wedding, you could be protected when travel plans go wrong. Make sure to read the fine print on your card’s benefits so you know the exact coverage and its limits.
Buy Yourself More Time
If you’re unable to pay for the wedding in its entirety, consider opening a card with 0% introductory APR to help cover expenses. Keep making payments until the balance is gone. Some 0% APR credit cards also offer rewards in the process.
How To Choose the Best Wedding Expenses Credit Card
With so many rewards cards on the market, which one should you open to pay for the celebration thrown in your honor? Let’s take a look at ways to determine the best credit card to cover your wedding expenses.
Open Credit Cards That Offer Elevated Earning Rates in Relevant Categories
Check with your venue to see if they take credit cards. If the venue does accept cards, find out how a purchase would code. If it’s a restaurant and it’s coded as “dining,” use a rewards card that earns bonus points on dining or restaurants, such as:
If you have a destination wedding and choose to pay for a group activity for all the guests, ask whether the tour provider would code as “travel.” In that case, make sure to use a card that earns bonus rewards in the travel category, like the following cards:
Destination wedding packages quoted by hotels also should fall under a “travel” spending category.
If a purchase doesn’t qualify for the bonus, use the card that earns a multiplier on everyday purchases, like:
– Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on eligible dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases.
– Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on other purchases.
Travel tip: If you’re looking to redeem the rewards for a honeymoon, consider a card that earns flexible rewards instead of an airline- or a hotel-specific credit card.
Refer Your Plus One to Credit Cards That Offer Referral Bonuses
Welcome to two-player mode! The only thing better than one credit card welcome offer is two credit card welcome offers—and getting a referral bonus makes it that much sweeter.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a referral bonus that’s often as high as 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Once your plus one receives the card and uses it for one purchase, you will receive the referral points. Your referee must apply for the card through your link for you to qualify for the bonus.
This strategy also allows you to spread out your applications in case you need more time to meet the minimum-spending requirements.
Say, one of you gets a card, puts down a venue deposit, refers the other to the same card, and receives a referral bonus. The other person then pays for the open bar and flowers with the second card and earns their own bonus.
With this strategy, each one of you earns a welcome bonus after meeting the spending requirements, which means double the points and double the fun on your honeymoon.
Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs That Allow Points Pooling
Many rewards programs allow points pooling between member accounts, and you and your partner should definitely be taking advantage of the opportunity to combine points into one account.
For example, Citi ThankYou cardholders can share points with another ThankYou Rewards member for free. Make sure to redeem the points within 90 days or they will expire.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program allows point transfers in three cases:
- If you share the same household.
- If you’re an authorized user on your significant other’s account.
- If you hold a business card, you can transfer points to a co-owner of the company.
If you meet one of the requirements, you and your plus one can link Ultimate Rewards accounts and send points to each other as necessary. By doing so, you can keep flights on one reservation number or book more nights at hotels.
Speaking of hotels, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt allow free point transfers to another loyalty program member. Hilton Honors takes it a step further and allows points pooling among 11 program members.
Because couples typically stay in the same hotel room, you can extend your stays by pooling points. Marriott and Hilton (must be an elite member) allow booking five nights for the price of four when redeeming points, and you can take advantage of this perk by combining your rewards. Even better, consider the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card* which offers the fourth night free on award bookings to cardholders.
Consider a Card With 0% APR
We don’t recommend starting off a married life with consumer debt, but if you can’t cover 100% of the wedding cost upfront, you can apply for a credit card with an extended 0% APR period to pay for the remaining costs.
For example, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, followed by a variable APR of 16.74% – 26.74%. A balance transfer fee of either 3% or $5 applies, whichever is greater period on purchases and balance transfers. This means that you have almost two whole years to pay off the wedding expenses that you put on the credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance within the allotted time frame to avoid paying interest.
When searching for the best credit card for wedding expenses, consider signing up for a card with flexible rewards that earns bonus points in your spending categories, such as dining or travel. And let’s raise a glass to the referral programs and pooling opportunities that can help increase your rewards balance.