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After marrying your forever partner, what better way to start a new chapter in your lives than on a trip of a lifetime? Whether your dream honeymoon destination is South Beach or the Southern Hemisphere, spending time with your sweetheart immediately after exchanging vows is a great move.
But we don’t need to tell you that your dream honeymoon can get expensive. And, if you’re planning to splurge — really, what better way to splurge than on a honeymoon? — The price of your trip can easily run into the thousands of dollars. Between flights, hotels, transportation, food, and more, a honeymoon can be a huge expense. Thankfully, travel rewards can help you save hundreds or even thousands during your honeymoon.
I can speak from experience. My husband and I are getting married in 2022, and with all the wedding planning in preparation for our big day, we knew we wanted to honeymoon somewhere special. We had a once in a lifetime splurge trip in Southeast Asia. Instead of paying for airfare, we use travel awards.
Now that we’re off our honeymoon, we can confirm our splurge was the right one. In fact, our flight was so good we didn’t even want to get off the plane. Imagine a bed in the sky, food and great service at a good restaurant on the ground. Here’s how we booked an $18,584 honeymoon flight for less than $175—and how, with a little effort, flexibility, and homework, you can do the same.
To kick off our Southeast Asia adventure, we flew from New York to Singapore. At 9,537 miles and 18 hours and 50 minutes, Singapore Airlines’ nonstop flight from JFK, New York (JFK) to Singapore (SIN) is currently the longest flight in the world.
Since it was our honeymoon, we decided to splurge on business class – especially considering it was an almost 19 hour journey. While we could have chosen to stop in Frankfurt en route (maybe even fly the A380 Singapore Suites First Class), we flew direct. And, after experiencing the great food, great service and very comfortable sky flat beds, we’re so glad we did.
Singapore Airlines charges between $3,600 and nearly $10,000 for a one-way business-class seat on the route. On the day we flew, the airline was charging $6,516 per person for business seats—that’s $13,032 for both of us. Obviously, this is beyond our budget. Instead, we used travel awards and only paid $11.20 out of pocket. Yes, you read that right—a little over $11 in total.
That’s because we opted to redeem flights with KrisFlyer miles on Singapore Airlines. One-way travel between New York and Singapore costs just 99,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles and US$5.60 in Business Class taxes, provided you can find the availability of the Saver award. (Singapore Suites are not available on Singapore Airlines nonstop flights between New York and Singapore.)
Now, most Americans – myself included – don’t have Singapore KrisFlyer miles on hand. But luckily, earning miles is pretty easy, as the airline works with all major U.S. credit card transferable point programs. That means you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards to Singapore Airlines.
I’ve saved a ton of Amex Membership Rewards points from my Amex Platinum Card® and my Amex® Gold Card. By transferring these points, I have enough money to cover the 198,000 KrisFlyer miles my husband and I need.
Currently, the Amex Platinum Card—which we consider one of the best cards for offering luxury travel benefits—is offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of account opening. That welcome bonus alone is enough to buy a one-way business-class ticket from New York to Singapore.
Meanwhile, the Amex Gold Card currently offers new card members 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of account opening. If you earn both the Amex Platinum and Amex Gold Welcome Bonus, you and your new spouse can travel one way to Singapore in Business Class.
Learn more about the Amex Platinum Card.
Learn more about the Amex Gold Card.
Bear in mind that points are not always transferred to Singapore Airlines immediately – in some cases it may take up to 48 hours. So if you are considering transferring points to your Singapore account, you need to plan ahead.
How We Saved Almost $5,400 on Business Class Flights from Thailand to New York
After a few weeks in Southeast Asia, it was (unfortunately) time for us to return to New York. We had our honeymoon in Thailand, so when booking we considered the option of returning from Bangkok (BKK) to New York (JFK). And, we were able to find another deal-stealer using travel rewards.
Etihad Airways flies this route with a stop in Abu Dhabi (AUH). The airline charges about $3,000 per person for a one-way business class seat—in fact, on the day of our trip, the airline charged $2,776 per person, which came to a total of $5,552 for the two of us. Again, this is simply out of our budget.
Instead, we were able to find out the availability of business class rewards, and since Etihad Airways is an Air Canada partner, we were able to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan points, reducing the cost of this flight to a fraction of the cost. Specifically, we redeemed 85,000 Aeroplan points each—170,000 total—and paid about $162 in taxes between the two of us. In other words, we got this $5,552 business class itinerary for only $162.
Just like Singapore KrisFlyer miles, earning Air Canada Aeroplan miles is easy—even if you’ve never set foot on an Air Canada plane. That’s because the Aeroplan program is a transit partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One miles. In other words, you can transfer points from any of the three programs to Aeroplan and redeem them for flights on Air Canada or any of its partners (like Etihad or dozens of others).
I redeemed this 170,000-point flight with a combination of American Express Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points. With the current sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can easily earn tons of points toward this redemption. After spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months, the current 60,000 bonus points are less than 25,000 points, enough to redeem a person for a one-way business-class trip from Asia to North America. When you also consider that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid investment that goes well beyond its sign-up bonus — we even think it’s the best travel credit card for beginners — and all those bonus points aside, buying this card is An effortless effort.
If you pair the 60,000 points from Chase Sapphire Preferred with the 80,000 bonus points from Amex Platinum’s welcome offer and transfer both to Air Canada Aeroplan, you’ll get almost enough points to redeem the same we do Redemption – once you factor in the points earned from each card’s minimum spend requirement.
Ultimately, using travel rewards helped my husband and I enjoy supreme luxury in the sky during our honeymoon – something that would not have been possible otherwise. By rethinking our credit card strategy and putting the correct travel credit card in our wallet, we were able to get two fantastic flights for $173 out of pocket. Instead, we were able to spend our honeymoon budget on great hotels and great food for the entire two week trip – what could be better?
Learn more about Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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