Tying the knot? These are the best credit cards for planning a wedding
Depending on the ceremony you're planning, these cards can help you earn rewards, give you extra time to pay expenses at zero interest – or both
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Weddings are beautiful expressions of love, but they can come with a major price tag.
In the United States, the average cost of to get hitched runs a little over $33,000 (not including the honeymoon!), according to The Knot's annual Real Weddings Study.
If managed correctly, know that the best credit cards can take out some of the sting.
Whether it's giving you a long interest-free cushion as you pay off the bill or rewarding you with cash back on the numerous expenses, here are the best credit cards for planning a wedding:
See related: 8 ways to save on wedding costs, avoid debt
Best cards for weddings
Best options for long interest-free period
As big wedding expenses pile up, a longer interest-free period can be critical.
“Usually people save some money for their wedding, but often they can't save the entire balance unless they have help from family,” says Steven Hill, co-founder of Simple Maui Wedding and Karma Hill Photography. “So, a longer interest[-free] period certainly helps give them that extra cushion, especially with those unforeseen expenses where you thought you paid for everything, but you didn't quite pay for it all.”
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card
The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card offers one of the highest interest-free periods on purchases and balance transfers available. You'll pay no interest for 20 months, giving you plenty of time to pay off the principle faster with a few other features thrown in.
- 0 percent APR for the first 20 billing cycles.
- Regular variable APR of 12.24 percent to 24.24 percent.
- Choose your payment due date.
- $600 cellphone protection (subject to $25 deductible).
- Free credit score.
- Fraud protection.
Alternative: Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited only misses U.S. Bank Platinum's incredible 20-month interest-free period by five months. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers the same interest-free promotion, with a regular variable APR of 15.24 to 25.24 percent, and a sign-up bonus as the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
However, if you or your partner-to-be has a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or a Chase Sapphire Reserve – you can transfer the points earned on the Freedom Unlimited and get a higher value if redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Here's the rundown on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card:
- 0 percent intro APR for 15 months.
- Regular variable APR of 17.24 percent to 25.99 percent that applies to both purchases and balance transfers.
- 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
- No minimum needed to redeem cash back.
- $150 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months.
- Unlimited access to your credit score.
- Zero liability and purchase protection.
Alternative: American Express Cash Magnet
If you're looking for the same 15-month interest-free period and the 1.5 percent cash back rate as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but you want a higher introductory bonus, you and your better half can try the American Express Cash MagnetTM Card. After the introductory period, the card's regular variable APR is from 15.24 percent to 26.24 percent.
You can earn $250 in statement credit cash back in two stages: The first $150 is earned when you spend $1,000 in the first three months, and the remaining $100 comes when you spend an additional $6,500 in your first year.
This card also comes with the Plan ItSM monthly payment plan, which allows you to set up a monthly payment plan for large purchases, such as your DJ, photographer or venue, with a fixed monthly fee and no interest charges.
- No annual fee.
- Earn rewards faster when you add additional cards.
- Global assist hotline.
- Exclusive ticket presales.
- ShopRunner free two-day shipping on eligible purchases.
Alternative: Citi Simplicity Card
The Citi Simplicity Card boasts a very long 0 percent APR on both purchases and balance transfers along with a number of additional benefits:
- 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for the first 21 months.
- 0 percent intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months.
- Regular variable APR of 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent.
- No annual fee.
- Citi Price Rewind, which conducts a 60-day search for a lower price on your purchases
- 24/7 Concierge – great for last-minute wedding support.
However, those great intro APR rates do come with a number of caveats, including a 5 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5), and though you have 21 months to pay off your first balance transfer at 0 percent, the rollover of funds must be completed in the first four months.
Best options for high sign-up bonus for destination weddings
If you're planning a destination wedding, it's best to get a card with a high enough travel reward bonus to cover at least your honeymoon, if not a guest's flight or hotel stay.
“I had a couple who booked at the J. W. Marriott because at the time they put their room block there and their travel rewards number, so they were going to be rewarded almost their entire honeymoon on points, and they were able to claim all the food and beverage for the wedding as points,” says Samantha Gieseke, owner of Plan Our Day Events in Houston.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
As a wedding draws closer, you're not going to have time to go online and toggle eligible reward categories each quarter. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card gives couples 2 miles on every purchase and the benefits don't end there:
- 2 miles per dollar on every purchase.
- 10 miles per dollar on hotel rooms booked and paid through hotels.com/venture.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
- $0 annual fee in the first year, $95 after that.
- No travel booking restrictions.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
Alternative: Wells Fargo Propel American Express
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card allows you to earn points on some of the most popular purchase categories while offering a 0-percent purchase APR for a year and a regular variable APR of 14.74 percent to 27.24 percent.
- 30,000 points sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
- No annual fee.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- No blackout dates on travel when booked through Go Far Rewards where you can use a combination of points and payment.
Alternative: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with the same sign-up bonus as the Capital One Venture Rewards if you spend just $1,000 more in the first three months. It's also great for a honeymoon or destination wedding, since all miles transfer 1:1 to many international travel reward programs.
- 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases; 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
- 25 percent bonus when you redeem travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Best options for earning cash back on wedding expenses
In addition to the big-ticket items, there comes a point where all these little wedding expenses come up and they all qualify for cash back when covered on the right cards.
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card is a great choice thanks to its consistency of giving cash back on every purchase while combining 12 months of 0 percent APR. The unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase goes up to 1.8 percent when using a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay for the first 12 months.
- $200 sign-up bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
- 0 percent intro APR for 12 months.
- Regular variable APR of 16.24 percent to 28.24 percent.
- No annual fee.
Alternative: Discover it® Cash Back
Not only will Discover it Cash Back match all the cash back you and your partner have earned after the first year, but there's a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months, (with a regular variable APR of 14.24 percent to 25.24 percent) which gives you breathing room to start paying back those wedding expenses without interest for a little over a year.
- Enroll every quarter to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year.
- Categories may include purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, Amazon, restaurants or wholesale clubs.
- 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
- Cash back never expires.
- No annual fee.
Tip: “I've known couples who both apply for reward cards and then combining or stacking the points they earn on wedding expenses in an effort to maximize the number of points they earn,” says Raquel Shutt, owner of Wedding Savvy Wedding and Event Consulting Inc. “This is certainly a viable tactic, but I would caution couples against running up credit card bills just to earn the points.”
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