I opened my first rewards card while planning my wedding, and the points I earned got us 12 free hotel nights in Scotland for the honeymoon.

Scottish honeymoon

  • I was excited to plan a trip to Scotland for my honeymoon, but
    with significant wedding expenses, I wanted to avoid paying for the
    whole trip with cash.
  • By signing up for the
    Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
    and putting our wedding-related
    charges on the card, I was able to earn thousands of points.
  • We used these points to book 12 free hotel nights in Scotland,
    but you can apply this same strategy no matter where you’re
    traveling.

  • Planning a wedding can be a great opportunity
    to open a rewards
    credit card and earn a
    sign-up bonus
    , because you’ll likely incur significant expenses
    that you can use to meet the minimum spending requirement.

I’d been dreaming of a trip to Scotland for years. After Mr.
Right got down on one knee, he suggested making that dream come
true as our honeymoon.

The idea of an adventure in the moody Highlands sounded dreamy,
but we had no desire to pay full price for a Scottish vacation in
June. We wanted to start our life together on the right foot
financially, which left no room in our budget for a high-cost
honeymoon.

Luckily for us, credit card rewards were able to help us slash
the total cost of our trip.

Read more:
The average honeymoon costs nearly $5,000 — here’s how to pay for
yours using credit card rewards and sign-up bonuses

Our Sapphire Preferred strategy

Once we decided that Scotland was our destination, I had months
to strategize. Not only did I scope out the sights, but I also
spent time looking into how we could pay for the trip with rewards.
Credit card travel points were the obvious choice.

Based on my tight budget, I had never signed up for a travel
rewards card in my life. Without the resources to hit the minimum
spending requirements for the bonus of most cards, it just did not
seem worth it to me. However, we were planning a wedding — and
the associated costs
can add up quickly
!

I took advantage of that opportunity to land a
sign-up bonus
. After weighing my options, I went with the

Chase Sapphire Preferred card
. At the time, I was able to score
50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for $4,000 of spending in the
first three months. Plus, our wedding spending was helping to stack
up more points.

With both the sign-up bonus and other spending, we ended up with
about 70,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards points
.

Read more:
The best credit card sign-up bonuses available now

Cashing in our points

Although you may be able to get more value out of your Chase
Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to certain travel
partners like Singapore Airlines or Virgin Atlantic, we did not go
that route. Instead, we
redeemed these points
for hotel stays directly on the Chase
Ultimate Rewards portal.

I sought out deals on the portal to stretch our points as far as
possible. If you make the choice to book these deals far in
advance, you could stand to save big time, as prices tend to
increase the closer to the travel date you book.

In total, we spent 14 glamorous nights in Scotland. 12 of those
nights were completely free thanks to Chase points. We chose to pay
for two of those nights because we wanted to stay at the Kingshouse
Hotel along the West Highland Way. The view was definitely worth
that splurge!

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The accommodations we chose through the Chase Ultimate Rewards
portal were lovely. In fact, some were extremely luxurious hotels.
It was nice to spend our honeymoon in nice hotels instead of our
typical cheap accommodations. Plus, we slept better knowing that
the room was free!

Other trip costs

Of course, we still had to cover our airfare and a rental car.
However, the combined cost of airfare and a car for 11 days only
set us back around $2,000.

Our rental turned out to be a sporty hybrid with almost 60 miles
per gallon, so we spent very little on fuel. As far as food, we
made sure to choose lodgings that offered free breakfast. With a
hearty Scottish breakfast, we usually just snacked for lunch and
ate a light dinner. We were pleasantly surprised at the low cost of
food around the country.

Read more:
Why you should pay for your car rental with a card that offers
primary car rental insurance

All in all, the trip was relatively affordable as far as
European vacations go. Without the
Chase Sapphire Preferre
d sign-up bonus, the hotels could have
easily added another $1,000 to $1,500 onto the total price tag. The
other option would have been to stay in cheaper accommodations, but
we didn’t want to sacrifice quality. After all, it was our
honeymoon!

How to pay for your honeymoon with points

Not everyone wants to go to Scotland. However, you can fund your
honeymoon to anywhere in the world with the right travel rewards
credit card.

For most destinations, a card like the
Chase Sapphire Preferred
is a great option. Since I signed up,
the sign-up bonus has increased from 50,000 points to 60,000
points. You’ll still need to spend $4,000 in your first three
months in order to snag this deal.

Read more: The
best rewards credit cards available now

You can fund a lot of travel with that 60,000-point bonus. You
have lots of flexibility with the Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Although we chose to use the points for hotels, you could use them
on airfare, car rentals, or travel experiences — either through
the Chase portal or by transferring to partner airline and hotel
programs.

If you’re planning an unavoidably expensive wedding, then take
advantage of that opportunity. Sign up for a travel rewards card
and watch the points add up. You’ll be able to better enjoy your
honeymoon knowing that you put your expenses to work for you and
saved money as a result.

Click
here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from our
partner The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: All our
credit card reviews — from cash-back to travel rewards to
business cards — in one place


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I opened my first rewards card while planning my wedding, and the points I earned got us 12 free hotel nights in Scotland for the honeymoon.