Are you ready to start booking flights for a fraction of the cost? Good. Because in this article, we are going to walkthrough, step by step with screenshots on booking with travel hacking.
This is the second part of a beginner series on travel hacking. In my experience, the content that I have come across has been a little too much, a little too fast, so here I am slowing it down a bit. This is a step by step walkthrough, but make sure you read part 1 if you havent yet. It will give you a broad idea on what’s going on.
I created an awesome spreadsheet to help people pick cards and maximize bonuses. It’s not required to follow along, but it is highly recommend. To get it just click on this link and share this series. You get an awesome new tool, and more people get to learn how to travel hack. It’s a win-win.
Ok, with the shameless plug out of the way…
Let’s get started
First and foremost, you will have to choose the best card for you, but since this is a walkthrough, I am going to show you how to get a card that I have used and recommend: The Gold Delta SkyMiles by American Express®.
If you use the spreadsheet that I gave you then you can follow the “Apply” link in it. If not, then just click here. The link in the spreadsheet will take you right to the application page. If you clicked the link then you will see the following page. Click the “Apply Now” button.
The Application Process
Right now you should be in the application process. You should see a screen that looks like the above. Fill it out and once you are done, you will see a pop up as below. Hit the “Agree and Submit” button in the bottom right.
Once you submit your application, you MIGHT get a response right away, or you might have to wait for a response via email or snail mail. It all depends on your credit and other stuff. Regardless, hopefully you will be awarded the card.
Spend That Money
The next step is to meet the minimum spending requirement. For this card it’s $1000 in the first 3 months. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the 3 months is up before you will be awarded the miles, so I guess you can check back in 3 months…also, I dont have a screenshot for this… I suck.
Go ahead and keep reading though.
Cashing in your miles
Here’s the fun part. It’s time to spend those miles on a sweet FREE flight. If you got the spreadsheet I made for you then you can click on the “Login” link to easily access your account. Otherwise (for those of you that dont want to share) you can click on this link.
You should now be on the Delta SkyMiles page where you can log in in the top right. You will need your Delta SkyMiles number, and if you didnt have one before, then Delta should have created one for you when you got the card. Should be in your email somewhere…
Now log in. Once you do so, you should see the following screen with many options. Obviously, we want to use our miles.
When you click to use your SkyMiles, you will see another screen with options to shop with your miles, donate your miles, pay for random crap with your miles, upgrade a flight with your miles, and more. But the one we want is the “Award Travel” section to book that flight.
Finally, you get to a page about the SkyMiles. To book a flight, you want to click the “Book Award Travel” section.
Choosing a flight
When you FINALLY get to this page, you get to the fun part. Here is where you actually begin the process of BOOKING YOUR FLIGHT FOR SUPER CHEAP!!!
As you can see above, I chose the departure, destination, and dates similar to my recent booking. NOTE: In my screenshot I chose a One Way flight, but you can do round trip or multi-city. I also chose the option for flexibility in my dates because although the price may not change, the award’s cost may. We’ll get to that next.
Above, you see the following screen (If you did not choose flexible dates then you might skip this). Here is a calendar view of the month I chose. You can see a bunch of color coded dates showing the cost in miles. If you need more detail on the cost, you can click the links in the legend which take you to this page. It’s a rundown of the cost for flights in award miles.
Finally, it’s time to book your flight. Above is a screenshot of the flight options for flights from SFO to JFK on November 11th 2014. As you can see, it would cost $5.60 in fees and 25,000 award miles which is actually more expensive in fees BUT cheaper in miles for the flight that I booked. Overall, this flight was cheaper.
I didnt have enough miles in my account to go to the next pages so I have no more screenshots, but from here on out, it’s basically just inputting your information for the itinerary then confirming that you want to spend the points. After that you will get an awesome email with your booking confirmation and you will be so stoked, you might even send me a message 🙂
For those of you that wanted to try this, but dont want to fly from SFO or into JFK, check out this link. It is an interactive map of all the places where Delta flies so play around with the options. Here’s what flights look like out of San Diego.
I hope you guys followed along easily and enjoyed that. Let me if you followed through in the comments. If you didnt get the spreadsheet above, get it here. And please share this if you found it useful. I will be following up soon with some advanced tips and useful links to take it even further.