My wife told me she didn’t want me posting this…
But what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her, right?
About 8 months have passed since V and I went to Japan for our honeymoon, and I’ve been putting off any form of documentation until today.
Originally, we had planned to put together a scrapbook, but for some reason analog art stuff just sits in my apartment untouched, for pretty much an eternity.
For example, I finally made a coffee bag poster, but I haven’t put said poster up on the wall yet because a lot of the bags are no longer sticking to the canvas as originally intended.
And my bottle of Gorilla glue is basically so dry that I can’t even get myself to complete this simple little project.
So analog scrapbook? Forget about it.
Digital scrapbook? Let’s do it!
I figured I’d use this post to talk about how we paid for our honeymoon, since a lot of it was covered by frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.
Apparently the average American honeymoon costs $5,000, and we came under this number largely because of a little bit of “travel hacking”.
In fact, we saved more money than what we actually spent through our various flight and hotel redemptions.
Total spent: $3,926
Total saved: $4,659
This means that if we had spent cash on the hotels and flights we used points for, our three-week honeymoon in Japan and Colorado would have actually cost us $8,585.
That’s definitely way more than we would have wanted or been able to spend.
So where’d we save this money?
1) Round trip flight from LAX to NRT (Tokyo, Japan) – $1551 saved
We booked our main flight through Singapore Airlines using Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
It cost us 103,448 UR , which is the equivalent of about $1,551 when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. The card allows you redeem your points for 1.5x the value for flights, hotels, and rental cars through their online portal.
Singapore Airlines was awesome, even in economy.
I highly recommend this airline.
2) 2 nights at Tokyo Hyatt Regency – $578 saved
After spending our first 2 nights in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo at an AirBnB, we switched over to a hotel for the next 2 nights, specifically, the Hyatt Regency.
This was an incredible experience, as it was one of our first major encounters of the exceptional level of hospitality in Japan.
We literally had about 5 staff members approach us when we walked through the door.
Upon arriving to our room (which was stunning, by the way) after checkout, we were greeted with a small bottle of complimentary wine as a honeymoon gift from the hotel.
The total cost for two nights was 34,000 UR, which we transferred to World of Hyatt (Hyatt’s rewards program). We splurged a little bit and did the Regency Club redemption, which gave us access to (you guessed it) the Regency Club.
Perks of the Regency Club were evening happy hours and buffet breakfasts. Having access to both of these was well worth it.
As I mentioned, the staff at this hotel was exceptional.
We wanted to attend a baseball game at some point, but really had no idea how to buy tickets.
One of the concierges at the hotel literally walked us down to the 7-11 (they are completely different in Japan), and bought us tickets through an ATM-like machine.
3) 2 nights at Ritz Carlton Kyoto – $1300 saved
This was our first Ritz Carlton experience, and suffice to say, we were blown away.
The check-in process was one of the most remarkable things we’ve ever experienced at a hotel.
When we got out of the taxi, we were greeted and asked our name by one of the staff members.
From there, we were escorted directly to our room by a Japanese-American girl from the Bay Area, who proceeded to check us in over coffee and tea.
The room was pretty damn amazing, we even had a little Bonsai by the window.
And the room had a Nespresso and pod-like tea maker with a beautiful little tea set!
There was even a TV built-in to the bathroom mirror…crazy.
4) 2 Nights at Osaka Marriott Miyako – $569 saved
Nights 9 and 10 of our honeymoon were spent in Osaka at the Marriott Miyako, which is the tallest building in Japan at 60 stories.
We stayed on the 52nd floor, and the incredible view was definitely one of the best parts of our stay there.
Although the hotel didn’t have a pool or spa, we took advantage of the Marriott Club in the hotel with our Marriott Gold status (matched through the American Express Platinum charge card).
We wrapped up our trip with a 3-night stay at an Airbnb in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo.
It was nice hopping between hotels and Airbnbs for the duration of our trip, as they each have their pros and cons.
We paid cash for all of our Airbnb stays, but considering how much money we saved on hotels by using points, this wasn’t a big deal in the end.
To accumulate this many points in such a short span of time is not that easy.
I keep pretty organized spreadsheets for all of our point-earning activities. But this is a discussion for another day.
I guess what I’m trying to show here is that travel doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. At the very least, there is a lot of money to be saved if you take the time to figure out how to save it.
More details on our actual honeymoon to follow!