COLUMBUS, Ohio - One man's $7 flight to Las Vegas may sound too good to be true, but it’s possible if you know how to “travel hack.”
Bryce Conway, a banker from Columbus, Ohio, is a self-proclaimed “travel hacker” and says he hasn’t paid for a flight for himself in three years, ABC NEWS reported.
“Travel hacking is a method of earning a lot of frequent flier miles through things like credit card signups and special promotions and using those miles to book really cheap trips,” Conway, 25, said. “It’s just a way to get around a normal system with a shortcut and travel for free.”
When planning his bachelor party, Conway said he flew his groomsmen to Las Vegas for just $7 per flight, before taxes and fees. He also said he and his new wife flew to Paris for a long weekend for a total of $10, before taxes and fees.
Conway says he has figured out a way to get rock-bottom prices and he's sharing his secrets:
Conway has a stack of 23 credit cards that he opened during special promotions. He uses different cards for specific travel expenses, and a lot of it has to do with good timing.
“You see all these ads for credit cards that say, ‘Get two free flights, get 50,000 points,’” he told ABC's Rebecca Jarvis. “I signed up for a travel credit card, got the points and I jumped on the website the day they arrived … we ended up booking a flight to Panama, and then spent the second half of the week in Las Vegas, and then flew home, it was all five bucks.”
However, signing up for multiple credit cards can hurt your credit score if you’re not careful, so Conway advised hopeful travel hackers to be strategic and always carefully monitor card balances. Conway said he uses Excel spreadsheets to keep track of all of his credit cards, points, frequent flier numbers and other information.
“I applied for a card, I got a free flight, if you do that a couple of times and you structure that correctly, that’s OK for your credit score,” Conway said. “If you go out tomorrow for 15 credit cards, not so much.”
Conway said it's also wise to be flexible when flying.
“I am completely not loyal to an airline,” Conway said. “I’m loyal to the price or to where ever I can get the points, so I don’t have elite status that a lot of folks will have because they always fly Delta for work. But that’s the trade-off you get for $5, $10 flights.”
Conway also said he looks for deals on travel websites, such as rewardsnetwork.com, for alerts to specials he can cash in on.
“Last year alone I earned over 1 million frequent flier miles sitting on my couch, just through online credit card signups and promotions,” he said. “Anyone can do this, as long as you have a decent credit score and can manage that and stay on top of it. Anyone can do it.”