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Credit Cards

Best credit cards for wedding expenses: Get rewarded for your hotel, catering and honeymoon

Using a credit card to pay for your wedding can earn you rewards, but carrying a balance will cost you in the long run.

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Planning a wedding can be a stressful experience, especially when the average wedding costs about $30,000, according to Zola 

There are ways to save on wedding expenses, like limiting the guest count and having your ceremony off-season. But you can stick to your budget and still have a wedding that costs as much as a down payment on a house.

To make the most of your wedding dollars, pay with a credit card whenever possible. With the right card, you can earn travel rewards you can use toward your honeymoon or get cash back to help cover the bills. Some credit cards offer a 0% introductory APR for over a year, which can be a low-cost alternative to a wedding loan.

Ahead, CNBC Select takes a look at the best credit cards for wedding expenses, considering factors such as rewards programs, welcome bonuses, standard APRs and more (see our methodology below).

Best credit cards for wedding expenses

Best for travel rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    5 Miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

 

Who's this for? The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is ideal for paying for wedding expenses because of its valuable yet flexible rewards program. Your expenses don't neatly fall into a single card's bonus spending categories and, with the Capital One Venture Rewards card, they won't have to since you'll earn an above-average return on everyday purchases.

Capital One miles can be redeemed at a fixed value of one cent per point to offset travel purchases made in the last 90 days or to book new travel through Capital One Travel. This means that you can pay for your honeymoon or travel-related wedding expenses the day that you open your card and then offset those purchases later once you've earned the card's welcome bonus. Alternatively, you can stretch the value of your miles by transferring them to a variety of airline and hotel partners, such as Air Canada Aeroplan, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Etihad Guest and Accor Live Limitless.

Cardholder benefits include no foreign transaction fees (which is great for destination weddings), a credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership and two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through the Partner Lounge Network.

Best for paying for your honeymoon

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.49% - 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Travel℠
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate, including: IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy™ and World of Hyatt®
  • Travel protections include: auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a top choice if you want to save on your honeymoon. Not only does it offer generous rewards for common spending categories, such as dining and travel, but Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are ideal for booking your post-wedding getaway.

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can redeem points to book travel through Chase TravelSM at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can also be transferred to airline and hotel loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Airlines MileagePlus, Air Canada Aeroplan and World of Hyatt. In many situations, you'll get more value by transferring points. For example, 75,000 points is worth $937.50 in travel booked through Chase, but you could transfer those same 75,000 points to World of Hyatt and put them toward a two-night stay at a Category 7 hotel — like the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, which can easily cost more than $1,000 a night.

The card's $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit is also a nice honeymoon perk, as are comprehensive travel and car rental protections and no foreign transaction fees.

Other benefits include a 10% points boost on your card anniversary and special discounts on purchases made through DoorDash and Instacart+.

Best if your wedding venue is a hotel

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.; 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations; 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Who's this for? The Citi Strata Premier Card is great for hotel weddings because it earns either 10X points when booked through CitiTravel.com or 3X points on hotel spending not booked through the site, including boutique accommodations to large chain resorts.

With the Citi Strata Premier card, you can choose the hotel that has the best price or location for you and still maximize your rewards. Plus, you may still be able to earn additional points through the hotel's loyalty program.

Citi ThankYou® points can be redeemed for a flat rate of one cent per point for travel, gift cards or cash back. The Citi ThankYou® points rewards program also has valuable airline and hotel transfer partners. For example, you can transfer 50,000 Citi points to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles to book two round-trip business class tickets to Hawaii.

The card also comes with an annual $100 hotel credit when booking a single stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through the Citi Travel portal.

Best for catering

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

Who's this for? After the venue, food is the second largest expense in most weddings. The American Express® Gold Card is designed to reward you for dining purchases, with a high 4X points in this category.

Travel rewards experts generally value American Express Membership Rewards® points at two cents each, yielding an effective 8% return at restaurants. Amex points can be transferred to a variety of airline or hotel partners, including Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Choice Privileges.

While the card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), there are benefits that offset it, like a monthly dining credit of up to $10 for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment) and a monthly Uber Cash credit worth up to $10.

One caveat is that not all catering services are guaranteed to qualify as dining purchases. If you pay for catering from a local restaurant, that could earn the bonus cash back, but food services provided by a wedding venue may not qualify as dining purchases.

Best for entertainment

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 4% on eligible streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    4% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

 

Who's this for? The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card* earns a sizeable 4% back on cash back on entertainment purchases.

Traditionally, the entertainment category includes movie theaters, theme parks, sports arenas and concert venues. While less likely than catering companies coding as dining, your band or DJ may code as entertainment in the eyes of the card issuer. It all comes down to how the merchant classifies itself to the payment processor, so proceed with caution.

The cash-back rewards with the Capital One Savor Cash card don't require a lot of effort to redeem and can cover any type of expense. Points and miles are generally a bit more complicated and only valuable when used for travel.

Best for no annual fee

Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Fair/Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Who's this for? If you don't want to have to keep track of bonus spending categories or worry about justifying a card's annual fee, the Citi Double Cash Card is the one for you.

This card has no annual fee and earns a solid 2% cash back on everything — 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your bill.

If you decide to take your rewards game up a notch, you can pair this card with a Citi-ThankYou-points earning card like the Citi Strata Premier Card and unlock the ability to transfer your points to various travel partners (one cent in cash back equals one transferrable ThankYou point).

Best for 0% APR offer

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers.

  • Regular APR

    18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Who's this for? If you don't have the cash on hand to pay for your nuptials, a wedding loan may look attractive. But a 0% APR credit card could be a less expensive alternative.

With the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card, you can get a 0% intro APR for 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 18.24%, 24.74%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter). Balance transfers made within 120 days from account opening qualify for the intro rate, BT fee of 5%, min: $5.

The Reflect® card doesn't earn rewards, but the interest you save during those first 21 months could exceed the value of even the best card bonuses.

How to choose a credit card for your wedding expenses

Finding the right credit card for your wedding expenses comes down to two main things: What are your biggest expenses and how do you want to be rewarded? Once you have a good answer to those questions, you're well on your way to maximizing the return for your wedding costs.

You may also find that the best card for you didn't even make our best credit cards for wedding expenses list. For example, if you're booking a Marriott property as your venue and paying for a package deal, then most of your expenses will be Marriott hotels. In that case, a card like the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card could be good because it gives you automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and earns 6X points for eligible purchases made directly at Marriott properties. Terms apply.

How to decide if a wedding loan makes sense

If you're considering financing part or all of your wedding costs, it might be cheaper to take out a personal loan for wedding expenses than putting them all on a credit card.

The rates, fees and repayment terms for a wedding loan will vary by lender and depend on your circumstances. If you have a higher credit score, you'll be able to secure a lower interest rate. As you compare lenders make sure you can afford the monthly payment and that you understand how much interest you'll pay over the life of the loan and any fees you may be responsible for.

Shorter loans will have larger monthly payments, but you'll pay less interest because you're paying off the loan more quickly. A longer repayment term will have a smaller monthly payment and over the life of the loan, the interest you pay will end up being more.

As you compare lenders, look at different loan terms and avoid early repayment fees if you can. Lenders like LightStream Personal Loans and Upstart Personal Loans don't have early payoff penalties.

LightStream Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    7.49% - 25.99%* APR with AutoPay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, auto financing, medical expenses, and others

  • Loan amounts

    $5,000 to $100,000

  • Terms

    24 to 144 months* dependent on loan purpose

  • Credit needed

    Good

  • Origination fee

    None

  • Early payoff penalty

    None

  • Late fee

    None

Terms apply. *AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Excellent credit required for lowest rate. Rates vary by loan purpose.

Upstart Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    7.8% - 35.99%

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, wedding, moving or medical

  • Loan amounts

    $1,000 to $50,000

  • Terms

    36 and 60 months

  • Credit needed

    FICO or Vantage score of 600 (but will accept applicants whose credit history is so insufficient they don't have a credit score)

  • Origination fee

    0% to 12% of the target amount

  • Early payoff penalty

    None

  • Late fee

    The greater of 5% of monthly past due amount or $15

Terms apply.

FAQs

Depending on your vendors, you can generally pay for the majority of a wedding with a credit card. Some vendors may charge a transaction fee, however, and a 3% credit card fee could easily wipe out any savings you receive from a rewards program.

You and your future spouse need to be realistic about your budget: You might be able to put your reception on your cards but, if you can't pay the bill on time, the interest can add up quickly.

Credit card rewards are a great way to pay for a honeymoon and get something in return. However, you should plan as far in advance as possible as flight and hotel award availability can dry up quickly, particularly for more desirable destinations.

Bottom line

Weddings are expensive, but can also be an opportunity to amass a stockpile of credit card rewards.

The best wedding credit cards have solid earnings on everyday purchases and may even provide an exceptional return on specific purchases. Before you hit the apply button, decide what type of reward is the best fit for you and what categories most of your wedding expenses will fall into. Knowing those two things will make it easy to find the right credit card for you.

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Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value for wedding expenses, CNBC Select analyzed 230 of the most popular credit cards in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit score and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every article is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of financial productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

* Information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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