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How to save on weddings using credit cards

Newlywed lesbian couple drink champagne at reception with friends
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There will be about 2.5 million weddings in the U.S. in 2022, according to predictions from The Wedding Report. That would mark the largest total since 1984. Venues, caterers, musicians, photographers and the like are in high demand, and an already pricey occasion has become even more costly. The good news? Using the right credit cards can save you a lot of money.

If you need to carry a balance

After all but disappearing in 2020 as unemployment and uncertainty were high, 0 percent APR credit card promotions are back. If you’d benefit from some time to pay off wedding costs, signing up for one of these cards will spread out your payments and could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest. Most of the longest 0 percent offers are not attached to cards that offer cash back or travel rewards, which is okay if you view improved cash flow and interest savings as rewards in their own respects.

One of the best offers on the market is the Wells Fargo Reflect℠ Card, which offers 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for up to 21 months. Cardholders must make all payments on time to extend the interest-free promotion from the standard 18 months. The regular APR is a variable 13.74 to 25.74 percent. Balance transfers must be completed within the first 120 days to qualify for the introductory rate and a lower transfer fee (the greater of 3 percent or $5, rising to 5 percent or $5—whichever is higher—after 120 days).

One card that offers both rewards and a generous 0 percent term is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. It gives 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and a 15-month 0 percent introductory rate on new purchases and balance transfers. (Its regular APR is a variable 15.24 percent to 25.24 percent and the balance transfer fee is 3 percent).

If you’re interested in a free honeymoon

Now, on to the fun stuff. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for instance, is offering 80,000 points to new cardholders who spend $4,000 in their first three months. Those points are worth up to $1,000 (1.25 cents apiece) if you book travel through Chase, and potentially even more if you transfer to their extensive list of airline and hotel partners.

Here’s where it gets really exciting. You and your spouse can both get this card in your own name. It’s entirely legit and will entitle you to double the introductory bonus. That’s way better than sharing the same account. In fact, Chase pays a 15,000-point referral bonus for each new Sapphire Preferred cardholder you send their way (up to five referrals per year).

Cardholders enjoy a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

If cash back is more your jam

Many wedding costs are for items not included in typical credit card bonus categories. And everyone could use a little more cash, right? That could make a 2 percent cash back card an excellent choice. Options include the Citi® Double Cash Card (technically 1 percent when you make a purchase and 1 percent when you pay it off) and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®.

If your venue and catering costs qualify as dining purchases—check the merchant category code first—then you should check out one of the best credit cards for restaurants. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, gives 4 percent cash back on dining. It throws in a $300 bonus when new cardholders spend $3,000 in their first three months.

One more tip

Often, when you reserve a block of rooms at a hotel, you can get bonus points based on your guests’ spending. I did this when I got married. I called two local chain hotels (a Marriott and a Sheraton) and blocked off a series of rooms at discounted group rates. I told my guests they were available, they made the reservations and paid the bills and I got some free rewards points.

The bottom line

A smart card strategy, using one of today’s best credit cards, can buy you more time to pay off your wedding costs without interest, nab enough travel points for a free honeymoon or put cash right back into your wallet.

Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at ted.rossman@bankrate.com and I’d be happy to help.

All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.