Earn Miles from a Wedding to Pay for a Honeymoon

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A big milestone for many families is a wedding.  Of course weddings range in size and cost from the courthouse drop-in to Kardashian level mega-events.  Mine was of the Vegas variety, but even that cost some real cash once you get passed the “drive thru wedding” options.  Like with everything, I strongly encourage you to earn miles from wedding expenses so that you can afford an awesome honeymoon (or even first anniversary trip) courtesy of miles and points.  Goodness knows you will have spent enough cash by the time the honeymoon rolls around!


Honeymoon almost for free courtesy of your wedding

I was recently interviewed for an article on this very topic for this month’s issue of Inside Flyer, which you should absolutely read even if you don’t have a wedding on the horizon as many tips can apply to leveraging having to pay for any large purchase or event.  A statistic in that article references that the average wedding in the United States now costs $30,000.  $30,000, seriously – that’s the average?!

Okay, the bad news is that is a ton of money.  Way too much money if you ask me, but you didn’t, so the good news is that that is a lot of money you can earn miles and points on.

  • You could hit minimum spending limits on new rewards credit cards with ease.
  • You could take advantage of category bonuses if a chunk of your expenses are billed as restaurant or hotel costs.
  • You could trigger annual spending bonuses on a card that would normally be unattainable via “regular” spending.

If you are getting married or hosting a reception at a hotel such as Hyatt for example, you could even earn extra points based on the amount you spend there.  Say you indeed spent $30,000 at a Hyatt on the wedding/reception, that would translate to 120,000 bonus Hyatt Gold Passport points via their Hyatt Weddings program.  That is enough for four nights at any Hyatt in the world (at 30k points per night), and potentially many more nights than that if you aren’t at a Category 7 property.  Of course that is on top of whatever bonuses you are earning by paying your bill with a rewards earning credit card (hopefully that earns a bonus at hotels).

Hyatt Weddings

Starwood has a similar wedding program (also earn points based on how many rooms your guests book), as does Marriott, and several others.  If you use even a tiny bit of strategy it would be pretty easy for the cost of the wedding be all it takes to earn the miles and points you need to take an epic honeymoon.

As for me, we actually enjoyed both our wedding and our honeymoon in Las Vegas, so no extravagant wedding or around-the-world honeymoon for us.  However, we try really hard to take a fun trip to celebrate every year thereafter.  The first anniversary was again spent in Vegas just like the wedding, the second in New Orleans, and the rest have all been documented here.

Celebrating Three Years in a Big Suite in San Antonio

Hot Mess of a Fourth Anniversary at a Winery

Toasting to Five Years in Maui

Sixth Anniversary Trip Built for Three

How have miles and points played into your wedding(s) and anniversaries?

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  1. We had our wedding at a Hilton and happened upon a promotion on my Amex Surpass card right when our final balance was due for an additional 3 pts on top of the 12 pts they already gave us. In addition the wedding along with daily spending helped us get to the $40,000 so we also got Diamond status. 6 months after we got married we took a wonderful honeymoon to Italy, Hotels and Business Class Airfare all on points thanks to lots of tips over the past several years!

  2. We were able to book a honeymoon with an actual cost of about $30,000 at about a 90% discount with miles and points! We are headed to SE Asia with the token stop in HKG on the old us air 90k biz class award to North Asia.

  3. We primarily looked at Starwood hotels for our reception since I was staying primarily with Starwood for my business travel. The benefits they give brides vary by hotel, but the point earnings were a lot better than meeting planners. We booked at a Sheraton that gave 1 point per $1 instead of the usual meeting planner rate of 1 point per $3. We also looked at a Westin that would give us 1 point per $3, but a 10,000 point congratulations signing bonus. It sounded like it was really up to the hotel. As you mentioned, we received bonus points for our guests’ rooms. We also put it on my SPG AmEx so we received extra points from the credit card as well.

  4. It’s worth noting that because of the long tail in the price distribution, the (average wedding cost is far higher than the median (which is a far better measure of “typical” than average). According to a Slate article from last year, the average was ~$28K, but the median was ~$18K. Still plenty of spending for credit-card signup bonuses, though!

  5. Twenty six years ago my husband and I eloped and spend our honeymoon in Disney. We never regretted it. Every time I here a bride stressing over wedding plans I tell her, “there is a much easier way to do this.” We bought our first house four months later. Most young couple cannot afford a $30,000 wedding and parents were not footing the bill.

    • Oops! That didn’t sound right. I meant to say, most young couples cannot afford a $30,000 wedding and my parents were not footing the bill when I got married.

  6. Does Hilton have a similar wedding points promo? I got married at one a few months ago and was told I wasn’t eligible for any points.

    • Yes they do it’s an event planner bonus, we got one point per dollar spent for the catering and them also points for anyone booked under our room block, I want to say that was one point per dollar up to 10 rooms but I can’t remember for sure.

  7. @MP Do you know anything about wedding blocks at IHG? Is a wedding a qualified “event” for an event planner? Where can I go to find stuff like this out?

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