Monday, February 7, 2011

Looking After the Pennies: Using Reward Miles to Help Your Wedding Budget

I am not the savviest of budget brides, which isn't great when I'm trying to pull off a 200+ guest wedding for less then $15,000.

I don't enter the online draws or visit wedding shows to get great deals and enter their giveaways. I want to be a coupon cutter but I fail miserably. I find a great coupon in a Michael's flyer, stick it in my purse and tell myself that I'll use it for wedding supplies but forget about it until after the due date.

But the one thing that I do make use of are my reward miles. I love reward miles.



I've had an Air Miles card for over 10 years now and was able to redeem the few 100 points that I accumulated grocery shopping on gift cards and a digital camera. But about 3 years ago when I FINALLY got a handle on my consumer debt, that I managed to accumulate while going to university, and could pay my credit cards off monthly I decided to switch my VISA from a basic card to one that allowed me to collect points for airfare. Since then I have redeemed over 100,000 points for plane tickets which only cost me the airport taxes and fees, plus my annual fee for the card.
Translation, I've saved approximately $3000 on airfare.
One of those flights that I purchased was for my Bachelorette Party in NYC this spring! My best friend K also used her points to get her plane ticket. After fees we spent $130/each, whereas the other girls that are going are spending at least $700/round trip.
And after the wedding has been paid for in June, I will be logging on again to use my points to purchase our domestic flights for our honeymoon, as the city we live in doesn't fly direct to New Zealand. Being able to save $1000 on our honeymoon makes collecting reward miles worth it to me!
Additionally we decided to get a American Express for the specific purpose of shopping at Costco. We both feel that we should benefit from spending money and since Costco doesn't take VISA or Master Card (which are the separate cards we have – which both accumulate points. Mine the VISA and his MC collects points for free groceries), we felt it was worth getting an American Express, so I opted for the Air Miles one which helps bump up those points each month.
I still don't collect a lot of Air Miles points, as opposed to my Aeroplan VISA, but I have been able to get enough to purchase a PS3 which I will be putting in my silent auction as one of the grand prize at our social next month.

I would like to include a disclaimer along with my praise of reward miles collecting. If you carry a balance on your credit cards and pay monthly interest it is NOT a good idea to sign up for one of these credit cards as the interest rate is always a few percentage points higher than the basic cards which means what you end up paying for in interest cancels out what you save on airfare and other rewards. In this case I would suggest sticking with the rewards cards that aren't attached to a credit card. You might not accumulate the points as fast but you won't go into debt doing it!
Happy Shopping!!

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