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Attending a wedding can be expensive, especially if you have to pay to travel to the event. But you can save money on flights by earning miles & points with credit card sign-up bonuses!
If you’re new to miles & points, the trick is collect airline miles or credit card points you can use with no blackout dates. This will help you avoid frustration when you absolutely MUST travel on particular dates – like for a wedding!
Team member Keith and his wife recently got back from a wedding in New York. Using miles & points (including JetBlue points) for round-trip flights from Los Angeles saved them ~$1,000!
The best miles to collect to save money on flights will depend on your departure city and airline preferences. I’ll share some of the best card sign-up bonuses that can help you get to a friend’s wedding for nearly free!
Earn Miles & Points You Can Use Without About Blackout Dates!
Most folks (including Emily and me) got into the miles & points hobby to save money on travel. Free travel doesn’t have to be a luxurious vacation overseas. Sometimes you just want to avoid travel expenses, like paying for a flight to a friend’s wedding.
If you’re new to miles & points, I recommend reading my beginner’s guide. And if you already have a credit card and don’t know if you should open a new one, check out my post with 11 credit card myths. Opening new credit cards and using them responsibly can have a positive effect on your credit score and history!
The best type of miles or points to collect depends on your situation. But generally, I recommend collecting flexible points or airline miles you can redeem without having to worry about blackout dates!
Here are the top card offers to consider!
3 Cards to Earn Flexible Miles or Points You Can Use for Nearly ANY Flight!
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
You can use the sign-up bonus points to get $625 worth of airfare by booking through Chase’s travel portal. There are no blackout dates when you book this way and you can find flights on just about any airline. I’ve found prices on the portal are the same as booking directly or through an online travel agency.
With the Sapphire Preferred, you’ll also get:
- 2X points on travel and dining
- 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months
- Ability to transfer points directly to Chase’s travel partners like Hyatt and Southwest (neither of which have blackout dates for award bookings!)
- Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage or theft to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
- Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
- NO foreign transaction fees, great for international destination weddings!
And the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. So you can test the card out for nearly a year without paying anything. Then, decide if you like the benefits enough to pay the annual fee.
I recommend folks get this card first. Because Chase has strict application rules, which can make it difficult to get their cards if you apply for lots of cards with other banks first.
2. Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture is a popular card for folks looking to earn easy to redeem miles. You just pay for travel expenses (like airfare or hotel stays) with your credit card. Then, you can “erase” the charge by redeeming your Venture miles.
When you sign-up for the Capital One Venture card, you’ll earn 50,000 Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
With this card, you’ll also get:
- 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee, waived the first year
3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus
You can get $400 worth of flights (or any type of travel!) with the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card.
You’ll earn 40,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles (worth $400) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
And when you redeem miles for travel purchases, you’ll receive a 5% rebate. But you can’t redeem miles unless the purchase is at least $100. So if you redeem 40,000 miles, you’ll get 2,000 miles back, which you can save up to use for your next redemption!
With this card, you’ll also earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases. And the $89 annual fee is waived the first year.
3 Excellent Cards If You Already Know Which Airline You Want to Fly
1. Chase Southwest Cards
I like Southwest because:
- There are no blackout dates on award flights
- Award flight prices are based on the cash cost of the flight
- You get 2 free checked bags on every flight
- You don’t pay change or cancel fees on paid or award flights
They also have the best deal in travel – the Southwest Companion Pass.
To book Southwest flights with points, you’ll pay 70 to 80 points per $1 of the base fare. So a $100 base fare requires 7,000 to 8,000 Southwest points. You can stretch your Southwest points if you book during a fare sale.
You can earn Southwest points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. And here are other ways to earn extra Southwest points!
2. Barclaycard JetBlue Card
Link: The JetBlue Plus Card
JetBlue has no blackout dates! As long as a seat is for sale, you can book using points. JetBlue points are worth ~1.4 cents each, so 10,000 points can get you ~$140 worth of flights (10,000 points x 1.4 cents).
With the JetBlue Plus card, you’ll also get:
- 5,000 JetBlue points (worth ~$70 in JetBlue flights) each year on your account anniversary
- 6 JetBlue points per $1 you spend on JetBlue purchases
- 2 JetBlue points per $1 you spend at restaurants and grocery stores
- 1 JetBlue point per $1 you spend everywhere else
- Free 1st checked bag for cardholder and up to 3 companions on the same reservation when you use your card to pay for your ticket
- 50% discount on eligible in-flight purchases like cocktails, food, and movies
- 10% of points back when you redeem them
- Annual $100 statement credit when you purchase a Getaway Vacation Package for $100 or more
- Earn JetBlue Mosaic elite status each year after spending $50,000 or more on purchases (free 1st and 2nd checked bag, early boarding, free alcoholic beverages)
- No foreign transaction fees
The $99 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.
Million Mile Secrets team member Keith keeps the JetBlue Plus card. Because the 5,000 JetBlue points every card anniversary help to offset the annual fee!
3. AMEX Delta Cards
Link: Delta Pay With Miles
Through November 8, 2017, you can take advantage of the best-ever sign-up bonuses on the AMEX Delta cards.
These offers are great if you’re traveling to a friend’s wedding in a Delta hub like Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York (JFK and LaGuardia), Salt Lake City, or Seattle.
One perk of becoming an AMEX Delta cardholder is getting access to Pay With Miles. This makes it simple to redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent per mile. So the 60,000 to 70,000 mile sign-up bonuses with the AMEX Delta cards can quickly save you $600 to $700 off Delta flights!
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Sign-Up for Flexible Points Cards If You Have a Small Business!
If you’re a small business owner, there are many terrific cards that earn flexible miles & points.
Here are a few of the top small business card offers. The sign-up bonuses can save you lots of money on flights to a wedding!
|Card Name||Sign-Up Bonus|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000 in travel) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||50,000 Capital One Spark miles (worth $500 in travel) after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business||$500 cash back after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Here’s my post about how qualifying for a small business card might be easier than you think.
Travel expenses don’t have to be a reason to miss a friend’s wedding. Collecting miles & points can be an easy to way avoid paying for flights!
The trick is to collect flexible points or airline miles you can redeem without having to worry about blackout dates. To do that, I recommend these cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
- Chase Southwest Plus or Premier
- The JetBlue Plus Card
- Limited-time AMEX Delta Card Offers
For example, the sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred can get you $625 worth of flights!
Have you used airline miles to save money on flights to a wedding?