Rules of Engagement, #1 – The Credit Card Game

These rules are so important to being a budget savvy shopper (bride, groom, event planner – whatever!) that they’re getting high priority here at Unveiled Savings. Read all the way through to find out how to get a five night stay with airfare just for paying your event deposits!

Without further ado…

Universally Awesome Credit Cards

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Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably received invitations to sign up for new credit cards by mail, been offered a stadium blanket when you get your college’s card, or heard about some limited time offer from an airline. Truth is, there are dozens of excellent offers out there, yours for the taking. Later, I’ll discuss in detail the pros and cons of opening credit cards, but for now I just want to highlight how this can work for you.

Assuming you intend to charge wedding (or other event) expenses, you can receive a round trip flight for almost any charge that exceeds $1,000. What?! Yes, that honeymoon doesn’t have to be your first major expense as Mr. and Mrs.! Here are my top recommendations, but I encourage you to contact me directly prior to opening a card; often, there are better deals – or, at the very least, I can provide you with a referral link which helps me earn free trips, too. And I do love a free trip!

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred: although this card comes with an annual fee of about $100, if you are going to spend $4,000, you can get 40,000 points in return. These points are worth at least $400, but are better used toward airfare – they can be worth over $1,000 at that point, perhaps as a round trip flight for a pair of travelers! This is my go-to card, which I’ve had for years and use for any expense that doesn’t fall under a category bonus or sign up bonus.
  2. Chase Freedom: if you are not a big spender (although, with wedding planning…it is largely unavoidable) you can get a $100 statement credit by spending only $500 on this card. Or, if you’ve also got the Sapphire card, those dollars can be used for airfare. Of course, I’ll elaborate more on this in a future post.
  3. Discover It: this card allows you to take advantage of the very generous Shop Discover (now Discover Deals) portal, which is where I plan on sending you for major rewards on your flowers, etc!
  4. The card that goes with your favorite travel chain: if you’re a loyal Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, United, Delta, or Southwest patron, there is a card for you – we just need to find it! I have taken advantage of so many offers and enjoyed many free flights and nights, just by getting the right credit card.

Maximizing Miles Earned

Keep in mind that many cards offer revolving bonuses of 5%. For example, Discover might offer 5% back at gas stations. Now, be creative – instead of just buying gas at the gas station, stop in and consider buying gift cards for places you shop, such as the grocery store, department store…this is a great way to get 5% on more of your purchases, and will also help you meet a spending requirement. If you need to spend $4,000, and that far exceeds your monthly expenses, consider buying gift cards to use in the future – as long as you’re able to pay the credit card bill at the end of the month without accumulating interest, this will be a great way for you to earn a ton of miles!

Proving My Point – 5 Nights Plus Airfare in Aruba

 

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Assume the following:

  1. $2,000 photographer
  2. $750 dress
  3. $500 DJ
  4. $1,000 florist bill
  5. $2,000 venue deposit
  6. $2,000 caterer deposit

That’s $8,250. Ugh!

Maybe your dream destination is Aruba – there’s a fancy Marriott there, and you want to spend five nights for free. A round trip flight from Baltimore to Aruba is only about 24,000 points on Southwest, or 48,000 for a couple. Here’s how you can get that done:

Assume you were to open the Chase Sapphire Preferred card – remember that it has a spend requirement of $4,000 in the first couple months. Done! Your reward? 40,000 miles, plus 4,000 miles for the $4,000 you spent earning one mile per dollar. Still $4,250 to go…

That Chase Freedom card only requires $1,000 spend in three months, and the reward is 10,000 points. If you’ve also got the Sapphire card, you can combine the points. You’re at 55,000 points, and your airfare is free! Done! Still $3,250…

Ritz Carlton (a Marriott partner) happens to offer a card with enough points for a 5 night stay after $3,000 spend. Perfect!

Check it out, folks. You already had to spend over $8,000 in just a few months. But, now you’re getting free airfare and a five night stay in Aruba…for nothing more than taxes and fees!

Convinced? Leave a comment or send me a message if you need some help with your particular dream getaway!