Next to buying a home and paying for university, a wedding ranks up there as one of life’s big expenses. We’ve already written about great ways to save on your wedding by trimming back your expenses. But here’s another idea: use your credit card points to reduce costs on your big day.
Step 1: Find The Right Card
Select a rewards card based on what you need the most:
- The most popular cards are those with cash back offerings. They simply offer you cash value for every dollar you buy. Here’s a comparison of the top cash-back cards in Canada. The best ones come fee-free and offer one to 5% cash back on purchases. The downside; most cards offer the most back on groceries and gas, which are not your top purchases during wedding planning.
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- Travel reward cards, meanwhile, are clearly a sensible choice when you are planning a honeymoon. Time things well: you often rack up rewards in the first few months of having your card, so you won’t be anywhere near having enough points for your honeymoon until you’ve had the card and used it awhile, so sign up long before you need to book. Be aware that some travel points can only be used on select airlines: what if that airline isn’t heading to your travel destination?
- Hotel cards, for the same reason, might make sense if you’re going to travel. Cards such as the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa and the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (Note: This card is no longer available. See Marriott Bonvoy.) offer you discounts on hotel rooms, plus other perks such as reduced airline tickets and access to special events. If you also travel a lot for business, these could work well for you.
- Looking to set up your home? Retailer cards like those offered by Wal-Mart and gas retailers such as Petro Canada offer points that can be useful in your everyday life. Particularly if you’re setting up your home or renovation, I’d lean towards retailers that have house stuff.
Step 2: Double Up
Register for a joint card. Make sure you’re both eligible for rewards and double-check to be sure you’re maximizing your points for the first few months (many offer special deals and more rebates in the first three months) and that any fee you’ll be paying will be outweighed by the benefits of the card.
Step 3: Be Persistent With Payments
If you're going to pay for all your wedding expenses on your credit card, it's extremely important to pay your balance off each month - otherwise, all the points you’re racking up will be cancelled out by those high interest charges. Since you're not paying as you go, it could be tempting to go over budget. Keep track of all you spend and don't overdo it.
Step 4: Cash In
Whether it’s cash back, travel points or money you can spend setting up your home, use your credit card points wisely so your wedding costs will end up as rewards.