I’m just coming off an amazing weekend at the Chicago Seminars – The Frugal Travel Guy and The Points Guy did an amazing job putting on a fun and informative weekend filled with points and miles! I’m sure you will read about the seminars on many other sites, but here is a quick rundown of why you should come next year, as well as my favorite (shareable) tip of the weekend.
10. All the eggs and pizza you can eat! If you stay at the host hotel, you get all the eggs, pizza, and other food you can eat included (lunch is included for those not staying at the property as well). You may not lose weight that weekend, but you can have all the buffet style food you can eat.
9. More importantly than the food, the hotel bar/restaurant had one cent beer if you checked in on FourSquare! Your choice of 32 different drafts for one penny – can’t beat that!
8. An Office Depot is walking distance to the seminar. Coincidence? I think not. They were out of most of the “good” gift cards by the end of the weekend, but some folks did score some 5x deals before they were cleared out.
7. Watch your favorite bloggers get interviewed on camera. You can make funny faces as you walk by and try to distract them!
6. Marvel at the exact engineering at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove. Seriously, NASA must have been involved to get this level of precision.
5. Hear tips and tricks straight from the mouths of the ones who pioneered the tricks. I sadly couldn’t be in Frequent Miler’s session as I was on the panel in the one next door, but I hear his talk was amazing. I did get to hear some from Beaubo, Mr. Pickles, and more and their stories never get old. If you have never heard them speak, it is worth the cost of admission.
4. Meet 500 other people as into miles and points as you are. If you don’t have a group of people who help keep you in the loop on miles and points deals, tips, mistake fares, etc. you need one, and you shouldn’t have a problem finding some new friends here. It was also so incredibly awesome to get to meet so many folks face to face, who visit this site on a regular basis. Thanks so much to everyone who came and said, “hi!”
3. I don’t know if they can repeat this highlight next year, but for 2012 we got to experience a full-on tornado warning complete with sirens, and evacuating to a “safe room”. You don’t get to do that at your house everyday!
2. You can carpool with others who are also checking in to many affordable airport hotels each night to rack up stay credits and maximize promotions without having to explain why in the world you would check into a hotel that you aren’t staying at.
1. You get the iconic experience of being delayed on a Sunday night out of O’Hare. You aren’t a real frequent flyer if you haven’t had a delay at O’Hare!
All kidding aside, the Seminars really were amazing. I didn’t get to sit in on as many sessions as I would have liked, but that’s just another good reason to go again next year! It was also fun getting to present on elite status challenges, matches, and fast tracks to everyone who came out. I even heard that they raised double the amount of money for charity this year as they did last year! The Holiday Inn Elk Grove does a fantastic time of hosting our group, and if you weren’t able to make it this year I would encourage you to look for announcements about next year’s seminars. This year I believe tickets went on sale in March, so be on the lookout as it does sell out months in advance.
I can’t share all of the tips that I learned this weekend, but I will share one that wasn’t really new info, but I was amazed to hear how successful it can be. Some hotels and airlines give their elite members little cards or pieces of paper that can be handed out to employees who do a good job as a “thank you” for going above and beyond. In return, the hotel or airline employees get something from their respective company. As an extra and “unintended” result, the person giving the certificate to the employee may be rewarded with even better customer service….sometimes that may translate to better rooms or seats that become available. So, if your hotel or airline sends you any certificates to give to employees who do a great job, use them. I know I have some from SPG sitting in a drawer waiting to be used. Not only is it awesome for the employee to be recognized, but you may sometimes end up with an extra thank you as well.
Thanks again to everyone at the Chicago Seminars. Let’s do it again next year!