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There were about 2.4 million weddings in the U.S. in 2022, according to The Wedding Report. Venues, caterers, musicians, photographers and the like are in high demand, and an already pricey occasion has become even more costly. It’s expensive for wedding guests, too — according to a Bankrate survey on wedding costs, nearly 18 percent of respondents said they’ll take on credit card debt to attend a wedding.
The good news? Using the right credit cards can save you a lot of money.
If you need to carry a balance
If you’d benefit from some time to pay off wedding costs, signing up for a credit card with a 0 percent intro APR offer will spread out your payments, and it could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest. Most of the longest 0 percent intro APR offers are not attached to cards that offer cash back or travel rewards, though, which is OK 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 a 0 percent intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. After that, a variable APR of 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% applies. Note, balance transfers must be made within the first 120 days to qualify for the intro APR offer and a balance transfer fee of 5 percent (minimum $5) applies.
However, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one card that offers both rewards and a generous intro APR offer. It provides 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then a variable APR of 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent). Note, a balance transfer fee of 3 percent applies for the first 15 months or at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer you at any other time. No fee for amounts transferred at the Transfer APR.
If you’re interested in a free honeymoon
Now, on to the fun stuff. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for instance, offers 60,000 bonus points to new cardholders who spend $4,000 in their first three months. Those points are worth up to $750 (1.25 cents apiece) if you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and potentially even more if you transfer points to Chase 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 you’ll both have the chance to earn the welcome bonus. That’s way better than sharing the same account. Plus, Chase offers a 15,000-point referral bonus for each new Sapphire Preferred cardholder you send its way (up to five referrals per year).
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can also enjoy up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary for hotel stays booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025); 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 2X points on all other travel purchases; and 1X points on other purchases.
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. Some options include the CitiDouble Cash® Card (which technically provides 1 percent back when you make a purchase and 1 percent back when you pay off a purchase) and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®*.
If your venue and catering costs qualify as dining purchases — check the merchant category code (MCC) first — then you should check out one of the best credit cards for restaurants. For example, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card* provides 4 percent cash back on dining, plus 4 percent cash back on entertainment and popular streaming services and 3 percent cash back at grocery stores. It also offers a $300 welcome bonus when new cardholders spend $3,000 in their first three months.
If you’re looking for bonus rewards
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 credit 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 rewards for a free honeymoon or put cash right back into your wallet.
Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.
*All information about the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.