It’s our one year wedding anniversary this week and we figured what better way to celebrate than connect with other couples in the midst of our favorite part of wedding planning: Figuring out your honeymoon! And so rightfully so, you’ve turned to Google for a break. You plugged in something about honeymoon and tips and alas, here we are. If you’re a millennial and looking for cool honeymoon ideas, we’ve got you covered!
Part one is the simple tips, tricks, and out of the box ideas to help you on your honeymoon planning. Part two will be posted Sunday and will be the best honeymoon destinations for millennials, based on your personal travel style! So what are the best ways to save some money, earn some points, and do some cool _____ for your honeymoon?
Chances are you’re spending a bit of cash on this whole getting married thing. A friend asked me weeks before my own wedding if I had advice for him as he prepared to pop the question to his boyfriend. “Elope” I deadpanned. He laughed. I don’t think he understood I wasn’t joking. Soon he will. But the point is this: You’re going to spend some money, so make sure you earn the most points possible. How do you do this?
1. Credit cards. If you don’t have a good points earning credit card, there is no time like now to get one. Heck, with the money you’re spending you can easily sign up for 2-3 and meet the minimum spending requirement to earn some good points. Which cards to get?
Chase Sapphire Preferred
To us, if you’re just dipping your toes into the points earning pool for the first time, grab a Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here’s why: Great consumer benefits like primary rental car coverage, your annual fee is waived the first year, and you earn 2 points on all dining and travel related expenses. Your points then transfer to partners like United, British Airways, Hyatt, etc…
Bonus tip: Pay your caterer on the first Friday of a month with this card. As of now, Chase has a promotion of earning 3 points per dollar instead of 2 on the first Friday of a month when you dine out. So if your caterer is categorized as a restaurant, which often they are, you’ll earn 3x a dollar instead of 2. Think about your catering bill- that’s some significant points!
We also like the Chase Hyatt, which comes with two free nights at any Chase property in the world. So that honeymoon to aspirational places like Sydney, Paris, Tokyo, Big Sur and so on could come with two nights at an incredible property- for free!
Bonus tip: If you AND your soon to be spouse each get a card, that’s 4 days at a top property!
Fixed Value Credit Cards
We usually aren’t fans of fixed value cards like Capitol One Venture. For us, half the fun of travel is when you can redeem your miles for business or first class. Once you fly across the pacific in a flat bed, it’s hard to go back to coach willingly. And yet a lot of times when you’re planning your honeymoon, you have very specific dates and destination desires, making points a little harder to redeem. With a fixed value card like the Barclay Arrival Plus, you earn double points on all purchases, and your redemption is redeemed on paid travel. So you’ll earn points for your travel, and get to pick the dates you want!
Bonus tip: The two options above are also great to use if your honeymoon is an international one because neither has a foreign transaction fee.
Use Your Registry Wisely
“What do you mean you don’t want fine China? I mean, like, friends will come over, you’ll serve them, and they’ll be like, wow, these plates are like super cool and you’ll be like, yeah, we got them for our wedding.” While there is a slim chance the valley girl sales associate at Bed Bath and Beyond was correct, we weren’t interested in China. Turns out we weren’t interested in many physical things on our wedding registry. Like many millennials, we waited to get married until we were 30, and we had most of what we wanted and had little desire to upgrade to something nicer for the items already owned. And so we turned toward travel registries- the best choice we could have made for our personality!
We used Honeyfund, but there’s other great sites like Traveler’s Joy, Wanderable and more! You can see our wedding registry here. The gifts we received, combined with the points we used, meant that we paid $72, that’s right, $72 of our own cash for a three week honeymoon in New Zealand!
Have a backup plan
If you have the curiosity of a traveler, this shouldn’t be hard. Here’s the deal: If you’re planning on redeeming airline miles for your honeymoon, it doesn’t always work with the dates you want and that one dream destination. Laura and I addressed it this way: We liked New Zealand. We also were pretty hot on Australia. And we knew without a doubt we’d be happy to return to SouthEast Asia and explore Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. And so our pact was simple: Whichever one has award availability open up on the dates we want, is our honeymoon destination. Secretly I think Laura REALLY wanted New Zealand and I REALLY wanted SE Asia. But alas, and surprisingly, business class awards to New Zealand on the dates we wanted opened up first, so we were New Zealand bound!
Bonus tip: Look into traveling in shoulder season. Peak season is great, but surprise: Everyone knows it and tries to be there at that time! Sometimes you’ll get lucky like we did with New Zealand, but other times it’s harder. Look at where you want to go or when you want to go, and research shoulder seasons (the season between peak and off season) as a possible travel time. There might be a little more rain, a little more heat, or both, but it can make it a heck of a lot easier to redeem points!
Tell EVERYONE It’s Your Honeymoon
Every hotel you go to, repeat after me when filling out the reservation request: Looking forward to celebrating our honeymoon with your hotel. At every hotel we stayed at throughout those 3 weeks, we either got a room upgrade or a bottle of wine or some nice gift.
It also was a great conversation starter with the front desk agents and just added to the fun of the trip. If people love anything, it’s love. And so if you want to see the best of human generosity, don’t be afraid to let it slip, you’re on your honeymoon! So when booking, write the magic words in the “other requests” column and maybe end up in a room with an upgraded view, a bottle of champagne, and a nice note!
Consider the Mini-Moon
We weren’t in a position to travel after our wedding. For a couple of reasons: First, we got married in August, and each of us work in education. The time we would have had for a honeymoon would have been short, and we would have returned to work in the most busy part of our calendar year. Next, we were just tired. Our honeymoon had us hiking volcanoes and glaciers and I don’t know that we could have done that right after the wedding because, well, planning the damn thing turned out to be pretty exhausting. So we took a mini honeymoon up the coast and stayed at a charming dump of a hotel (can charming and dump go together?) with rooms that opened right to the ocean. For 2 days we just relaxed. We did our honeymoon four months later, when the timing was right for us to truly enjoy it and we’re so glad we did!
Bonus tip: Look for locations close by that you want to visit but maybe don’t get the time to do so. For a mini honeymoon, you’ll want to just be together, and decompress after pulling off the biggest event of your life. Look for a hotel, but also turn to airbnb for a charming cabin or cottage in the mountains, on the waterfront somewhere, etc…
Earn Points on EVERYTHING in Your wedding
We’re always looking for ways to maximize points. Buying stuff through a store online? Use a shopping portal like Chase Ultimate Rewards, AAdvantage EShopping, or Upromise and see if you can earn extra points on your purchase! We mentioned our catering tip above, but what about your hotel. Call your hotel and ask what promos they have for couples contemplating having a wedding at their venue. For example, Starwood has a wedding package promo for weddings before December 31, 2015 that’s pretty cool, that most people don’t know about.
- Earn up to 100,000 bonus Starpoints*
- Complimentary guest room on your wedding night
- Sparkling toast for you and your guests during the reception
- Valid on weddings held by December 31, 2015
If you’ve recently pulled off a wedding or are on the web procrastinating on planning one right around the corner, let us know your best tips and tricks!
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