A wedding may be a major expense, but with some careful planning, you can turn it into a free honeymoon. Here’s how.
2020 wasn’t a great year for weddings, but lovebirds will hope that 2021 holds more promise. As Singapore moved into Phase 3, capacity restrictions for weddings are increased, with relaxed regulations on wedding banquets and entertainment as well.
While weddings amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be smaller scale affairs than before, they’re still going to be relatively big ticket expenses for many young couples. So for those carrying out their nuptials this year, here’s how you can earn the most rewards for all those wedding payments – hopefully a honeymoon this year won’t be out of the question!
How to plan wedding expenses
The first step, if you haven’t already done so, is to list down the various wedding expenses you’re expecting to incur and their timing.
- When are you planning to purchase your rings?
- When is the wedding banquet deposit due? What is the payment schedule like after that?
- When do you need to pay the wedding photographer/videographer for their services? What payment methods do they accept?
- Are you planning to rent or buy gowns and suits?
- How much will the bridal car rental cost?
Once you know the total quantum and timing of your outlays, you can start planning which cards you’ll use to maximise the miles earned, and when you’ll need to apply for them. There are two things to think about:
- Sign-up bonuses
- Category spending bonuses
Sign-up bonuses are one-time awards that banks grant to new customers (typically defined as those who do not hold the bank's cards either now or in the past 12 months), which can be unlocked with a certain amount of spending within a given time frame (typically three months).
At the moment, the following sign-up bonuses are available on the market. All these cards have a minimum income requirement of just $30,000, which makes them widely accessible.
|Spending Requirement||Base Miles||Bonus Miles|
|Citi PremierMiles Card||$9,000 (3 months)||10,800||34,200*|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||$3,000 (3 months)||3,300||10,000|
|DBS Altitude AMEX||$6,000 (3 months)||7,200||30,000^|
*Must pay first year’s annual fee of $192.60
^Must pay first year’s annual fee of $192.60
|If you happen to earn at least $150,000 per year (and don’t mind paying a hefty $1,712 annual fee), you can apply for the AMEX Platinum Charge Card, which will award you up to 134,375 miles when you spend $20,000 in the first 6 months of card membership.|
By spending $18,000 over 3 months, you can earn a total of 95,500 miles. For perspective, a round-trip Business Class ticket on Singapore Airlines to Tokyo costs 94,000 miles, so you’ll be well on your way to a honeymoon.
Even better, these bonuses can be enjoyed once per person, so both you and your spouse-to-be can apply for a card, effectively doubling your payoff.
If you think you may have trouble meeting the spending requirement by yourself, it’s possible for one member to apply for the card as the principal cardmember, and give the other a supplementary card. Supplementary cardmember spending will count towards that of the principal cardmember; for example, each of you could spend $3,000 on the DBS Altitude AMEX to unlock the 30,000 miles bonus. However, this means you’ll only enjoy the bonus one time (as opposed to twice, if both of you applied as principal cardmember).
Category spending bonuses
Perhaps you’re no longer considered a ‘new customer’, or you’ve already maxed out your sign-up bonuses. Not to worry, there’s still plenty of category spending bonuses to take advantage of.
Category spending bonuses refer to transactions where it’s possible to earn bonus points with selected credit cards. These are important to maximise, as banks will award up to 4 miles per dollar on certain transactions – many times more than the usual 1.2 to 1.4 miles per dollar you might earn on general spending.
This is particularly useful for payments that can be made in stages, such as a wedding banquet. That’s because the bonus points you can earn are capped each month, so by staggering your payments, you can utilise the cap of different months, earning even more points overall.
Here’s what I think is the best game plan, for those who really want to get the most bang for their buck. First, both parties will need to apply for the following cards:
- HSBC Revolution
- UOB Lady’s Card (as the name suggests, this card is female-only)
- UOB Preferred Platinum Visa
- UOB Visa Signature
Next, you’ll use these cards to start paying off your hotel banquet, up to $9,000 (or $11,000, if your partner qualifies for the UOB Lady’s Solitaire) per month, generating 36,000 (or 44,000) miles at a time.
|UOB Lady’s Card||N/A||$1,000|
(or $3,000 with UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card)
|UOB Preferred Platinum Visa||$1,000||$1,000|
|UOB Visa Signature||$2,000||$2,000|
(or $7,000 with UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card)
|Banquet payment per month||$9,000|
(or $11,000 with UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card)
A few points to note here:
- For the UOB Lady’s Card, you must declare ‘travel’ as your quarterly bonus category- this allows you to earn 4 mpd at hotels, such as the one you’re paying for your wedding banquet
- For the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, you must add the card to your mobile wallet and make payment that way. Any other method will not earn 4 mpd.
- For the UOB Visa Signature, you must use contactless payments. Either add the card to your mobile wallet, or tap the physical card. Any other method will not earn 4 mpd. Also, a minimum of $1,000 must be charged to the card each statement month to trigger the 4 mpd rate.
I won’t lie, there’s a fair bit of micromanagement to be done. But the alternative is that you use a general spending card like the UOB PRVI Miles and earn 1.4 miles per dollar, which means your $9,000 payment would earn a paltry 12,600 miles a month. That’s 65% less than what you otherwise could do!
What about non-travel options?
With leisure travel suspended indefinitely, some of you may be tempted to cash out your credit card points for statement rebates or shopping vouchers.
Resist the temptation; banks offer extremely poor rates for such redemption options, and if you want to go down this route, you might as well have used an unlimited cashback card in the first place (earning up to 1.6% cashback with cards like the Maybank FC Barcelona Visa).
The best way to get value out of credit card points is to redeem them for airline miles. Travel may not be possible in the near term, but when it returns, you’ll be glad you didn’t blow your points on some NTUC vouchers.
A wedding will likely be one of the biggest expenses in your life, but with the right credit card strategy, that spending could be turned into a FOC honeymoon.
The crucial thing to do is keep track of your sign-up bonus and category bonus spending. You don’t want to ‘overspend’ on a particular card, which will lower the efficiency of your overall accumulation strategy.
Read these next:
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Amex KrisFlyer Credit Card Review: Entry-Level Card For All Miles Beginners
Which Are The Best Cards To Earn Miles While Shopping?
UOB Lady’s Card & UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card Review (2023): Earn 6 Miles Per S$1 on Dedicated Categories
How Does COVID-19 Change Your Miles Strategy?
Best Credit Cards To Use For Wedding Expenses
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Credit Card Signup Bonuses: How to Maximise Miles with Big Ticket Spending
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