Credit Cards That Make Wedding Season Travel So Much Easier

Planning a wedding is not cheap. From the venue to flowers and food, the dollars and cents can easily keep racking up. And, it doesn’t stop at the wedding day. Then, there’s the honeymoon. A trip that’s meant to be a relaxing treat for newlyweds can become a source of financial stress as travel costs are skyrocketing. Add in the amount of weddings you will be traveling for as a guest, you likely will be feeling the strain on your wallet.

Enter: credit card points. When used properly and smartly, credit card points can pay for most if not all of your wedding travel. “I’ve used travel rewards to fund staycations, international trips, and girlfriend trips,” says Danetha Doe, who is an economist and the creator of Money & Mimosas, a personal finance site. “If you are already going to spend the money, why not use a credit card that will return some of your money to you through rewards?”

Understanding Rewards

The key is to figure out the best card for you and then strategize how you will use it. Doe says the main criteria to consider for credit cards in general is APR, credit limit, and rewards. There’s also often a monthly fee to keep in mind. In terms of perks, for travel rewards cards, you may want to choose one that offers no international transaction fees or that covers the cost of Global Entry.

“It all depends on what you wish to get out of the card. Benefits are most important if your main priority is travel. If you are using a credit card to boost your credit score, then lower fees would be most important to you,” she advises.

Every card’s rewards system is different, so you’ll want to choose a card that rewards you for purchasing something you spend a lot of money on. For example, if you don’t eat out a lot, then don’t choose a card that weighs restaurant purchases highly. Bilt, a new credit card from Mastercard, rewards users for paying their rent—a huge expense for many.

“Our mission at Bilt is to be the most relevant loyalty program to our members regardless of what stage they are at in life. Our demographic of young professionals and renters of all ages have made it clear that travel is one of their priorities in life coming out of COVID. In order to be relevant, we wanted Bilt to be synonymous with making travel easier,” says Bilt’s travel director, Richard Kerr. “You can book free flights and free hotel nights with our partners starting at 5,000 Bilt Points, including 7,500 points for a flight to Hawaii. For some people that is just a couple of months of rent.” One Bilt employee actually shared the story of how she used Bilt points to pay for her honeymoon in the Bahamas.

For Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy, flexible rewards programs that allow you to transfer your points to different airlines and hotels are an important thing to consider. “I put most of my spend on transferrable cards, so when it comes time to redeem my points, I have tons of different options to do so, and so not all of my miles and points are with one single airline or hotel program,” he shares. Some of the cards he recommends for this are Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Venture, and Bilt Rewards.

Then, there’s also a difference between a credit card with travel rewards and a credit card from a major airline or hotel group. Make offers that both are good options. It just depends on your habits. For example, if you are someone who likes to shop airlines for the best deals rather than stay loyal to one airline for the points and perks, then an airline card would not be for you.

But, speaking of airlines, that’s actually not where you’ll get the most bang for your buck with points, according to financial site NerdWallet. “You may hear stories of people saving hundreds or thousands of dollars with their travel rewards. If you want to save the most cash, you should redeem points for hotel nights instead of flights, at least some of the time,” the site points out. “Spending your points on hotel nights comes with other potential benefits, like the ability to stay longer with free-night rewards, or the chance to save on food and transportation with hotel shuttles and complimentary breakfast.”

With so much to consider, the main thing is to do your research and compare credit cards to find the one that will fit your budget and needs. And, of course, pay off your balance on time so you don’t incur interest. “My top tip is to know how much you can afford to spend each month on the credit card before you open a new card. Having clarity on your credit card budget beforehand will help you avoid spiraling into unmanageable credit card debt,” adds Doe. Plus, keep in mind, many cards offer signing bonuses and offer perks just for signing up, so weigh those as well.

Keeping Doe and Kelly’s advice in mind as well as recommendations from financial sites like NerdWallet and Forbes, here are 10 credit cards with travel rewards benefits to consider as you plan to book your wedding-related travel.

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 1:1 airline and hotel transfer to 27 partners, including luxury Hyatt properties.
  • 2x points on travel purchases.
  • Trip cancellation & interruption protection.
  • Trip delay reimbursement.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

annual fee: $0

APR: 16.99 to 24.99%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on anniversary.
  • $300 back as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Annual Fee: $395

APR: 17.24% to 24.24%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 25% more value when redeemed for travel. (“For example 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards”).
  • $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2x on other travel purchases.

annual fee: $95

APR: 16.24% to 23.24%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 3x points on flights.
  • Global Assist Hotline when you travel more than 100 miles from home.
  • Baggage Insurance Plan.
  • Lowest hotel rate guaranteed (Amex will refund you the difference if you find a lower rate elsewhere).
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Annual Fee: $250

APR: 16.74% – 23.74%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening ($250 statement credit toward travel and dining).
  • 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases.
  • No expiration on your points.
  • Flexibility to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel and dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, vacation rentals, baggage fees, and restaurants.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

annual fee: $0

APR: 0% for first 15 billing cycles for purchases. Then 14.24% to 24.24%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • $200 Hotel Credit.
  • Access to American Express Global Lounge at the airport.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • 5x Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months.

Annual Fee: $695

APR: 16.74% to 23.74%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 1.5x miles on every dollar of every purchase.
  • Discover will match all the miles you earn at the end of the first year.
  • Miles can be used for travel or redeemed for cash.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

annual fee: $0

APR: 0% for 15 months. Then 12.24% to 23.24%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 50,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit.
  • 5x points on flights purchased through Chase.
  • 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck or NEXUS Fee Credit.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Annual Fee: $550

APR: 17.24% to 24.24%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 12x points on hotels and resorts.
  • 6x points on gas.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • Free weekend night reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in a year.
  • Access to 1200+ plus airport lounges.
  • No foreign transaction fee.

annual fee: $95

APR: 16.49% to 25.49%

Travel rewards and perks:

  • 6x Points on eligible JetBlue purchases.
  • Share points with family and friends.
  • Annual $100 credit after you purchase a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more.
  • 10% of your points back after you redeem for and travel on a JetBlue flight.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

annual fee: $99

APR: 0% for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. Then 16.24%, 20.24%, or 25.24%

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