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I had a conversation with someone yesterday about how to earn miles and points during the super popular summer wedding season. Much of it isn’t substantially different than the ways we earn points in everyday life, but sometimes the large amount of money that people have to spend at once to attend weddings makes them more interested in finding ways to maximize those expenses. In case you fall into that category, this post is for you!
Buy the wedding gifts via a shopping portal:
Many people register for wedding gifts at retailers that pay out pretty well via online shopping portals. We’ll leave the discussion of whether or not they will actually use that $75 cup and saucer set for another day. If you decide to buy off the couple’s registry, then it makes sense to do it online via a shopping portal to maximize your miles and points. Here are a couple example payouts for common wedding gift retailers (note that these were accurate as of May 2013, but they will change over time):
- Macy’s: 4x via US Airways Dividend Miles Storefront, 3x at Ultimate Rewards and AAdvantage Shopping
- Bed, Bath, and Beyond: 2x via Ultimate Rewards and AAdvantage Shopping
- Crate & Barrel: 3x via Ultimate Rewards
- Kohl’s: 10x via Ultimate Rewards
- Neiman Marcus: 8x via British Airways E-Store, 6x US Airways Dividend Miles Storefront and 4x via Ultimate Rewards
- Nordstrom: 6x via Ultimate Rewards, 4x US Airways Dividend Miles Storefront, and 4x via AAdvantage Shopping
I use evreward.com to quickly compare various shopping portals to see who is providing the highest payout. Naturally this is done after you have decided on what you want to purchase, and searched to make sure you are getting the best deal possible for that item. Though sometimes it is best to just buy it from the retailer where the couple is registered so it can be taken off the registry immediately and they don’t receive duplicates. I do want to also point out that some retailers specify you will not earn points when buying off a registry. In practice this is not always true, but be aware of those terms.
If you plan to give a gift card (or purchase a gift using one), then remember to purchase a gift card at a retailer that provides a bonus on one of your credit cards. This includes 5x at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store via the Chase Freedom (they have an extensive collection of retailer gift cards) 5x at office supply stores via the Ink Plus® Business Card, and 2x at grocery stores via American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card. Many other cards also provide bonuses at certain types of retailers. You can also buy the gift card online via a portal, though whether or not it pays out in points depends on the retailer and the type of gift card purchased.
Additionally, if you are buying yourself a new outfit to wear to the wedding then you would go through these same steps to maximize that purchase.
Earn miles and points for your travels:
If you are having to travel to the wedding, then make sure you are earning miles and points along the way. At the very least register for the loyalty programs for the hotels and airlines you are utilizing, but also look to see if there are any promotions going on that could result in you earning additional points. If there is a promotion, you usually need to register for it prior to your hotel stay or prior to booking your airline ticket.
Ensure the group room block is the best deal:
Many times the bride and groom set up a group room block at a hotel for their guests. This is often done for convenience and to secure a decent deal for their guests who are traveling to attend the wedding. Sometimes it is easiest for all involved for the guests to simply book via that room block to keep things organized and stream-lined. However, if you are on a budget then it makes sense to do a little online pricing to make sure you are getting the best rate possible for that hotel. You can do that via sites like Travelocity.com or Hipmunk.com, or just play around on the hotel’s website with different discounts you might be eligible for like AAA or AARP. Of course, if it is a chain hotel you could also consider using points instead of cash to bring down the out-of-pocket costs of attending the wedding. If you don’t particularly care if you earn hotel points on the stay, then consider booking via Rocketmiles.com or PointsHound.com that could net your hundreds or thousands of miles just for booking via that site.
From wedding gifts, to bachelor parties, to traveling to the wedding, it can all add up very quickly. I love weddings, but my wallet is glad that most of my friends are now passed that stage (though some are on their second weddings). However, when we do attend weddings, we are sure to maximize our points earnings to the fullest!
Let me know if I left out your favorite wedding points maximization tip!
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