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My fiance and I used points and miles to travel to South America. When we chose Kauai for our wedding, we took two airline tickets from our wedding budget. This is because we knew we could book them with our credit card points. That's how we did it.
Keep in mind that we focus on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not on things like interest rates and late fees that far outweigh the value of points or miles. It is important to exercise financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balance in full every month, making timely payments, and spending only what you can afford to repay.
Find the best travel award credit cards for us
The travel award credit card you choose should depend on your future travel destinations. For us, we want to get our plane tickets for free, and this is where Chase credit cards really radiate.
Our first Chase travel reward card was that Chase Sapphire preferred, We each applied and received the 60,000 points sign up bonus by meeting the minimum spending requirement of $ 4,000 in the first three months.
The points flowed into our accounts and we were very happy about our first free flight tickets. These points are known as Chase Ultimate Rewards and can be transferred to various hotel and airline partners, including Hyatt, Marriott, British Airways and United.
We've found that Chase Ultimate Rewards points allow you to fly almost anywhere in the world. United, Southwest, British Airways, Air France and others are transfer partners that accept Chase Ultimate Reward points.
How we fly selectively to our wedding
After figuring out how to transfer points and book our first plane tickets for free, we were thrilled. This made choosing a wedding even easier once we were engaged. We have applied for new credit cards for the honeymoon.
Chase business credit cards are the way to go as they offer huge bonus points for sign-up points. Fortunately, I have my own freelance design and writing business so I could sign up for it Ink Business Preferred credit card, This card gave me 80,000 points after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $ 5,000 in the first three months. Points are also worth 25% more when redeemed for travel.
All of this takes time to plan, but we had over a year and a half before the big day.
The first step was to collect the points
The minimum spend on this card was $ 5,000 in the first three months to earn points. We pay out our credit cards in full every month, so we had to make sure that what we put on the card could be paid out.
We put a few bills on the card and did all of our grocery shopping with it. After three months we had reached the minimum expenses and the points came in. We only touched her when it was four months later to buy our tickets to Kauai. At that point, we had collected another 20,000 points, both through purchases and by referring a friend to the card.
Next we found the flights we wanted
We decided to fly southwest from Phoenix to Kauai as it had the most direct route. But we had to wait again. This is because airlines have their own guidelines on how far in advance you can book tickets both in cash and with rewards.
Southwest varies, but they always announce it in advance. We could book the tickets for our wedding in June 2020 on December 11, 2019.
Finally we transferred the points and bought the plane tickets
On December 12th, we signed in to our Southwest account (you'll need an account if you want to transfer through Chase points) and found the flights. When searching, we always choose the option for "points" instead of dollars. This way we get a total for the exact number of points we need to transfer from Chase to the airline. Our total for two tickets was 94,254 points.
Next, we opened another browser window and went to the Ultimate Rewards Center on the Chase website. There is a clear button to transfer the points and a place to enter our Southwest Rapid Rewards number. The points appeared within a few minutes and we booked the tickets.
We paid a total of $ 22.40. This is a security fee that is not covered by Ultimate Rewards points.
How we plan to fly out the family almost free of charge
The use of points for our wedding in our destination didn't stop with our two free tickets. I applied for a different Chase credit card in November. It is that Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance business credit card, We move and I get a new office. Therefore, meeting the minimum spend of $ 5,000 (for 70,000 Rapid Reward Points) in the first three months was not a challenge. The card currently offers an increased bonus of up to 100,000 points – 70,000 points after spending $ 5,000 in the first three months, plus another 30,000 points after spending $ 25,000 in the first six months.
The most important thing was to make sure that I reached the minimum expenses at the beginning of a calendar year. This is because the points from this sign-up bonus (and card spending) will count towards the Southwest Companion Pass. With the Companion Pass I can bring a friend or family member with me almost free of charge on every flight. I would still have to pay taxes and fees, but that's it.
Purchasing the Companion Pass at the beginning of the year is essential as it is valid for the entire calendar year in which you earn it and for the following year. We want it until February or March.
To receive the Companion Pass, you need to collect 125,000 qualified Rapid Rewards points and then we'll be there! Of course, it seems like an easy solution to transfer any remaining Ultimate Rewards points from my Chase cards to Rapid Rewards – but that doesn't count for the Companion Pass.
In the next few weeks I plan to apply for the staff Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card, You currently receive a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after spending $ 1,000 in the first three months.
Our renovation projects and the upcoming move should prompt us to pay the minimum and be eligible for the Companion Pass in 2020 and 2021. This means that I can fly my family to our destination wedding almost free of charge.
Once that's done, I'll just think of Mai Tais on the beach and watch the sun hit the ocean's edge as we tie the knot.