Singaporean weddings are increasingly expensive, which can potentially leave you and your partner with a smaller budget for the honeymoon.
Fortunately, there are several ways to drastically reduce the costs of your first trip as newlyweds, all of which require just a bit of planning and financial savvy.
1. Earn a "Free" Roundtrip Flight From your Miles Credit Card
Perhaps one of the more expensive parts of a honeymoon is booking your flight. In fact, many popular honeymoon destinations require round-trip tickets costing from S$800–S$1.5k+ just for one person.
While it's generally known that miles earned from travel credit cards can be redeemed to mitigate such costs, with the right card it's actually possible to cover an entire trip for 2 people, depending on the destination.
The key is to look for a credit card that both offers a sizeable welcome bonus and also complements your spending style. This way, you'll earn an added boost upfront while maximising earnings from your day-to-day purchases. T
ravel credit cards tend to be a bit more expensive than cashback cards. Consider looking for a card that waives its annual fee for the 1st year in order to minimise costs (especially while you're managing wedding expenses).
Also check out the annual fee thereafter to ensure it's achievable–some travel cards now have a S$650+ fee per year.
2. Leverage Savings Account Interest to Cover a Few Hotel Nights
You might also be wondering how you can save on your hotel. While there's always the option of staying at a hostel or a monastery instead, chances are you can enjoy reduced rates without sacrificing on luxury or privacy.
To begin with, consider opening a savings account in advance. With a S$20k opening balance and a consistent deposit of S$900 per month–about 15% of an average monthly salary of S$6k–it's possible to earn over S$200 in half a year.
This should cover at least a 1 night stay at a luxury hotel, or perhaps 2 nights at a cheaper destination or mid-range establishment. While this won't cover your entire stay, it can certainly cut down on your final costs.
It's also worth mentioning that many credit cards offer promotions with Expedia, Agoda and more. Consider booking online to earn miles or cashback rewards. Alternatively, you can try your hand at negotiating room rates directly with the hotel.
While there's no guarantee, some hotels are more flexible than others, and there's a chance you'll be offered an upgrade even if they're unwilling to change the final price.
3. Take Advantage of Free Luggage from Sign-On Deals
Luggage can be expensive, and if you're planning a two week honeymoon it can be hard to pack light. Instead of immediately spending S$150–S$300++ on new bags, check out the latest credit card promotions first.
Offering luggage as a welcome gift is actually quite common. For example, HSBC is currently offering a free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner with built-in scale (worth S$560) for new cardholders who spend S$800 in the 1st month. Maybank is also well known for luggage promotions, and is offering a complimentary American Tourister Luggage (worth S$260) for those who also apply to CreditAble online, and spend S$300 in the 1st 2 months.
HSBC and Maybank offer credit cards with competitive rewards rates and easy fee-waivers, which makes them worth considering even beyond their luggage promotions. Maybank credit cards also have the lowest foreign transaction fees on the market, ranging from just 2.5%–2.8% (compared to a standard 3%+).
4. Don't Forget About Dining Deals & Discounts
Finally, credit card perks can substantially offset the cost of food on your trip. If you already have a credit card, chances are you have access to a broad rewards network featuring discounts at restaurants both locally and worldwide.
It's possible to save up to 50%+ on your bill at some locations, several of which may be top-level or Michelin-star awarded.
It's worth mentioning, however, that your honeymoon destination may not have such restaurants nearby. In this case, your best bet may be using a cashback card that rewards overseas dining (like CIMB Platinum MasterCard, for example).
You can also save money by dining out for lunch rather than dinner (it's often cheaper) and by trying out street food, which is often quite inexpensive.
This article was first published in ValueChampion.