How I Booked My $18,584 Honeymoon Business Class Flights For Less Than $200 | CNN underlined

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After marrying your forever partner, what better way to kick off the next chapter of your lives together than with the ride of a lifetime? Whether your dream honeymoon destination is South Beach or the southern hemisphere, spending some time with the love of your life right after exchanging your vows is a great decision.

But we don’t need to tell you that the honeymoon of your dreams can be expensive. And, if you’re planning to splurge, and really, what better time to splurge than on your honeymoon? — the price of your trip can easily run into the thousands of dollars. Between flights, hotels, transportation, food, and more, honeymoons can be a huge expense. Fortunately, travel rewards can help you save hundreds, if not thousands, on your honeymoon.

I can speak from experience. My husband and I are getting married in 2022, and in the midst of all the wedding planning leading up to our big day, we knew we wanted to go somewhere special for our honeymoon. We settled on Southeast Asia for our splurge, once-in-a-lifetime trip. And instead of paying for our flights, we use our travel rewards.

Now that we’ve experienced our honeymoon, we can confirm that our splurge trip was the right move. In fact, our flights were so fantastic that we didn’t even want to get off the planes. Think of a bed in heaven, food you’d love to eat at a fine restaurant downstairs, and excellent service. Here’s how we book our $18,584 honeymoon flights for less than $175, and how, with a little effort, flexibility, and preparation, you can do the same.

To begin our Southeast Asia adventure, we flew from New York to Singapore. With 9,537 miles and a flight time of 18 hours and 50 minutes, Singapore Airlines’ nonstop flight from New York-Kennedy (JFK) to Singapore (SIN) is currently the longest flight in the world.

Since it was our honeymoon, we decided to splurge on business class, especially considering it’s almost a 19 hour trip. While we could have chosen to fly with a stopover in Frankfurt along the way (and potentially even fly first class at Singapore Suites on the A380), we flew non-stop. And, having experienced delicious food, amazing service, and a very comfortable reclining bed in heaven, we’re glad we did.

Dessert to celebrate our honeymoon on our Singapore Airlines flight.

For a one-way business class seat on this route, Singapore Airlines charges between $3,600 and almost $10,000. On the date we were to fly, the airline was charging $6,516 per person for a business class seat; that would be $13,032 for the two of them. To state the obvious, that’s out of our budget. Instead, we use travel rewards and pay only $11.20 out of pocket. Yes, you read that right, just over $11 total.

This is because we chose to redeem Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for the flight. A one-way trip between New York and Singapore is just 99,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles and $5.60 in business class taxes and fees, provided you can find Saver award availability. (Singapore Airlines does not offer Singapore Suites on the nonstop flight between New York and Singapore.)

A one-way business class flight from New York to Singapore costs 99,000 miles on Saver tier and just $5.60 in taxes and fees.

Now most Americans, myself included, don’t have a stash of Singapore KrisFlyer miles lying around. But luckily, miles are incredibly easy to acquire because the airline partners with major US credit card transferable point programs. In other words, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards to Singapore Airlines.

I had a large sum of American Express Membership Rewards points saved with both my American Express Platinum Card® and my American Express® Gold Card. By transferring those points, I had more than enough to cover the 198,000 KrisFlyer miles we needed for both my husband and me.

Currently, Amex Platinum, a card we consider one of the best for luxury travel, offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 in the first six months after opening the account. That welcome bonus offer alone is almost big enough to get you a one-way business class ticket from New York to Singapore.

Meanwhile, the Amex Gold card currently offers new card members 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first six months after opening the account. If you can secure the welcome bonus offers from both Amex Platinum and Amex Gold, a one-way trip to Singapore in business class for you and your new spouse will be within reach.

Learn more about the American Express Platinum Card.
Learn more about the American Express Gold Card.

Please note that points do not always transfer instantly to Singapore Airlines; in some cases it can take up to 48 hours. So you’ll want to plan ahead if you’re thinking of transferring points to your Singapore account.

How We Saved Almost $5,400 Flying From Thailand To New York Business Class

To return to New York, we flew business class on Etihad Airways.

After spending a couple of weeks in Southeast Asia, it was (unfortunately) time to head back to New York. We finished our honeymoon in Thailand, so when booking, we discussed the options to travel from Bangkok (BKK) to New York (JFK). And we were able to find another steal of a deal using travel rewards.

Etihad Airways flies this route with a stop in Abu Dhabi (AUH) on the way. The airline charges around $3,000 per person for a one-way business class seat; in fact, on our travel date, the airline was charging $2,776 per person, which would have come to a total of $5,552 for both of us. Again, this would have simply been out of our budget.

Instead, we were able to find business class award availability and since Etihad Airways is a partner of Air Canada, we were able to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan points to reduce this flight to a fraction of the cost. Specifically, we redeemed 85,000 Aeroplan points per person (170,000 points total) and paid about $162 in taxes and fees between the two of us. In other words, we got this $5,552 business class itinerary for just $162 out of pocket.

You can book the Etihad business class from Bangkok to New York for 85,000 miles one way with Air Canada.

Like Singapore KrisFlyer miles, it’s also incredibly easy to purchase Air Canada Aeroplan miles, even if you never set foot on an Air Canada plane. That’s because the Aeroplan program is a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One miles. In other words, you can transfer points from any of those three programs to Aeroplan and redeem them for flights with Air Canada, or any of their partners, such as Etihad and many others.

I used a combination of American Express Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to redeem for this 170,000 point flight. You can easily earn a large number of points for this redemption with the current sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card. The current bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months is 25,000 points less than enough to redeem for this one-way business class trip from Asia to North America for one person. When you also consider that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid investment well beyond its sign-up bonus—we even consider it the best travel credit card for beginners—picking up the card on top of all those bonus points is a doddle.

If you combine the 60,000 points earned from Chase Sapphire Preferred with the 80,000 bonus points earned from the Amex Platinum welcome offer and transfer both to Air Canada Aeroplan, you will have almost enough points for the same redemption we did, once you have into account the points earned from the minimum spend requirement on each card.

Dinner on our Etihad business class flight.

Ultimately, the use of travel rewards helped my husband and I afford the ultimate luxury in heaven during our honeymoon, something that would otherwise have been unattainable. By rethinking our credit card strategy and putting the right travel credit cards in our wallets, we were able to afford two great flight experiences for just $173 out of pocket. Instead, we were able to spend our honeymoon budget on fantastic hotels and delicious food during our two-week trip. What could be better than that?

Learn more about Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Are you looking for a new travel credit card? Check out CNN Underscored’s list of best credit cards currently available.

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