Free Flying {Saving Money on the Honeymoon}

A few months after Kyle and I got engaged, we started thinking of ways we could save money on our wedding. Sure, you can cut corners here and there, do a DIY project or ten, but I felt that might only save us a few hundred dollars in the end. We decided to open up a new airline miles credit card. This way we could put all of our wedding expenses on the credit card, and hopefully end up with some airline miles in the end, to reduce the cost of our honeymoon flights.

Lake Petén Itzá,

We researched TONS of airline credit cards to decide what might be the best bet for us. Which one accumulates the most reward points? Which airline flies the most places (since we still didn't know where our honeymoon was going to be)? Which has the best perks? Which airline is the nicest to fly?

Pyramid II in Tikal, National Geographic

We narrowed it down to a few, and ultimately decided on the Chase United Explorer card, despite the fact that United didn't meet the criteria for 'nicest airline to fly.'

You can earn 30,000 points right off the bat, just for signing up. And with an international round trip saver awards ticket costing 35,000 miles, this was a great start! We started putting every wedding expense and every personal expense we possibly could on there. I mean, ALL of our expenses went on there: gas, groceries, taxes (although you don't get points for those, dammit), dinners, and every wedding deposit I could possibly make. We've also flown United every opportunity we had to travel. I wanted to earn those points as soon as possible so we wouldn't miss out on a good award ticket.

  Lake Atitlan,; Volcan de Agua and the Santa Catalina convent arch, Dave Wilson Photography

Within about 6 months, we had accumulated 70,000 points, enough for two round trip tickets! Well this was still 9 months away from our wedding, so we decided to keep saving miles and see if we could reach a first class 'Saver' ticket, which is 60,000 round trip. I am so stoked to say that we just booked two first class round trip tickets to Guatemala almost completely on points! We ended up purchasing a few hundred of our remaining points, but what would have cost us $2,400 for two tickets only cost us $750 in the end!

As great as it all sounds, I have to divulge that it was a pain in the ass process. United is incredibly hard to get on the phone when you have questions, and because this credit card is so new, the United airline people aren't really in sync with the Chase credit card people yet. Plus, I had to check for flights at least twice a week to see when a fully first class 'Saver' ticket would come up ('Saver' tickets are in limited supply and high demand). Often the Saver flights are 'mixed class' meaning one or more of the legs of the flight is in economy.

It's been a game of chance, and although we could have ridden it out until we collected 120,000 miles, we decided to purchase the few thousand deficient miles we had because there were 2 fully first class tickets available with suitable departure and return dates. So frankly, it's been quite stressful. BUT, being the saver that I am, completely worth it in the end since we only spent as much as we would have spent on just one economy ticket. And now we get to fly first class for our honeymoon. HOW EXCITING IS THAT?!

I wonder how many couples actually do this. Did anyone else do this? Any advice for the other brides out there? I'd love to hear! And be sure to tell us which credit card you used.

P.S. I've sprinkled pictures of Guatemala, where we're going for our honeymoon, throughout this post. I'll do a full post about our honeymoon plans later!