So I’ve been visiting New York for the amazing Contently Summit, which I’ve got a lot to share about, but the question I’ve been asked the most is how I managed to land a five-dollar flight to New York City.
People often ask for travel hacking information, and it’s incredibly complex. I really recommend Chris Guillebeau’s ebooks and courses on the topic, as well as the many resources available online.
But a lot of people don’t want to hear theoreticals. They want nitty gritty details about specific trips. So here are the steps I took for this particular trip. (And by the way, this is all completely legal.)
1. I got a Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express. The annual $95 fee was waived for the first year.
2. As a promotion, they offered 30,000 SkyMiles for anyone who meets a $1,000 minimum spend.
3. Since I’m not in the habit of putting that kind of cash on a credit card, I went to CVS and bought two Vanilla Reload cards. I used the credit card to put $500 on each card. (Total cost: $3.95 X 2 = $7.80) This process is referred to in travel hacking circles as”manufactured spend.”
4. I also got a free BlueBird card.
5. I transferred the money from the Vanilla Reload card to my BlueBird card.
6. I transferred the money on the BlueBird card back into my bank account.
7. This got me a $50 statement credit, 30,000 bonus miles, and a free bag check on each flight, as well as priority boarding.
8. I got 2500 more points over about six months by using the card and then immediately paying it off.
9. I redeemed the 32,500 points for the trip I wanted. The flight to NYC cost me 12,500 points and the return flight was at a higher 20,000 point tier. Cost: $5 for the flight. (The tickets I wanted went from $440 to $604.
Amount spent: $7.80 + $5.00 = 12.80.
Amount saved: $50 credit, $50 for the bag check, $440-604 for the flight.
Total saved: $540- $704, minus the $12.80, equals $527.20 to $691.20 in savings.