We could not afford to pay for our dream honeymoon (well, can’t since it hasn’t happened yet). But I wanted to make it happen. If you are financially responsible and have good credit and credit management, then making the honeymoon you want to come true is doable.
We will be taking an approximately $25-$30,000 honeymoon for approximately $7-$10k.
FIrst, I would see what major airline/airline alliance members fly to the destination of your choice. We are choosing American for that and personal reasons. We each already have some American AAdvantage miles. We are each opening at least one Citi AAdvantage Rewards Credit Card which comes with a 50,000 mile sign on bonus when spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Easy to do with day to day and our wedding spending. That will get us 100,000 miles on top of what we already have. We may open another one to get another 100k if needed, but not in the plan atm.
Also, all of our cards are linked to our AAdvantage rewards network account. So when we go out to eat at partner restaurants we get more mile points. We are both registered with the AAdvantage shopping, and anything we buy we try to first see if we can get it through there for more points.
To do round-trip flights in coach to our destination, we need 225,000 miles. For Business, we need 280,000. For first we need 415,000. We are shooting for business class (30 hours of flight, so worth it, plus I’m a giant). That means our $3,000-$4,000pp flight cost is now nonexistent.
Then, we plan on staying at a Conrad resort, which is with Hilton group. The Hilton HHonors Rewards Card through Citibank comes with 2 free weekend nights within a year when you spend $2,000 in 3 months (may not be fully accurate, we are beyond a year out so we haven’t gotten to this step yet so I don’t remember the spending needed off the top of my head). We each open, and we get 4 weekend nights free. There are very few hotels/resorts you cannot use them at. Ours is eligible. We will be staying in an overwater bungalow that would normally be $1,300-$1,500 per night. We want to do 10 nights (if possible), so we anticipate to leave a week after our wedding to arrive on a Friday. This way, our 10 nights will span two weekends. We can use our 4 nights, and then only have to pay for 6 nights, or $7,800 to $9,000. Now it isn’t all inclusive, so we will have to include food costs. But the card also automatically gives us Hilton Gold status so we get free breakfast, meaning we will only be paying for drinks and lunch/dinner (although a well timed breakfast can offset lunch costs). So for our budget of $15,000 we would have more than enough for desired spa, food, and drink expenses.
If there’s somewhere you really want to go, I never advocate going into debt for travel. But with a little effort you can make it happen through rewards so long as you are good with your spending and credit management. Also, if you plan to buy a home within the next 12-18 months you may not want to go this route as the credit impact could make acquiring favorable mortgages difficult. But, despite this, you can make a honeymoon happen that may, at first calculation, cost 3 to 4 times as much as you end up paying.