All Expense Paid Giveaway For Chicago Seminars In October

It is hard to believe it has been just 3 short months (and 4 days) since I got back on the travel blogging wagon and started Frequent Flyer University!

In that short time, FFU has gone from 0 readers to over 2,500 readers a day!

This has been in no short order to all the wonderful readers who have discovered FFU, earned some free miles, and then told their friends about the blog!

So thank you to all the amazing readers of FFU! I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have had putting it together!

Chicago Seminars

Earlier this week, I was looking over the Chicago Frequent Flyer Seminars which will be held October 12-14, 2012.

More information on the event can be found here and here

I personally have never been but Randy Petersen was generous enough to take me along on the Star MegaDO 3 last year and that was one of the coolest experiences of my life!

On the SMD3, I also got to meet a ton of other frequent flying bloggers like The Points Guy, View From The Wing, Mommy Points, Million Mile Secrets, etc (still haven’t met the elusive Lucky) and it has been neat stalking watching them all on Facebook as they traverse the globe.

Therefore I will be attending the Chicago Seminars and am looking forward to seeing everyone from the SMD3, meeting many new friends & hopefully some readers, and learning some new travel hacking tips along the way.

The Giveaway

As most of you know, I do get a small commission on some of the products I talk about on the blog.

My posts always first revolve around stuff I actually want to write about and then if there happens to be a link I can use, I will throw it in.

For most bloggers, including myself, even if we weren’t making a few bucks off the blog, we would still be blogging because we love to help other people travel and explore the world for free. And to be honest, back when I use to write my other blog in 2009, Ahlay Travel, I actually had no idea that you could even make money from blogging so I did it out of my love of helping my friends travel for free.

That being said, since the Chicago Seminars are in my backyard and I can get to the venue for all of $2.50 on the CTA and don’t need to stay in a hotel, my only expenses are the small entry fee.

I know there are tons of readers out there that would love to go but it may be out of their budget or they are just on the fence because they might not know anyone, etc.

Since my expenses for the Chicago Seminars are basically $0 and I have made a little bit of money from the blog thanks to all the readers that are generous enough to use my links, I have decided to donate that money along with the money I am saving by not having to fly to the seminars or stay at a hotel, to sponsor 1 lucky FFU reader to fly in and attend the Chicago Seminars for the weekend all for FREE!

I am still working on the logistics and how exactly this contest is going to work, but the basics are that:

  • 1 Winner will be selected and it may or may not be determined by finding a Golden Ticket hidden in a Wonka Bar.
  • Everything for the entire weekend including entry fee, hotel, food, cab, and economy flight will be covered by yours truly.
  • Either I can book everything, or I am more than happy to let the winner book their own itinerary and I can cut them a check. That way they will earn all the miles since that it obviously a major part of the experience!

I figure most of my readers are based in the U.S but who knows, so if there are people outside of the U.S that want to come to Chicago for the weekend, you are free to enter.

I don’t see why non-U.S residents should be disqualified because they decided to live somewhere cool outside of the U.S.

Regardless of where the Winner is from, if they want to bring a travel partner, that is fine as long as they pay for their flight (or use miles). I will cover the additional entry fee.

Anyways I am still working on how to administer the contest, but needless to say I AM EXCITED!

I’ll hopefully have some more information at the end of this week on how to enter!

As the blog grows, I hope to continue to offer these types of giveaways to FFU readers as you guys are the ones that really make this blog worthwhile!

I already know that I probably won’t be able to go on the SMD4 this year, so I am definitely planning on sending a surrogate to do some real-time blogging and report back to the FFU readers on their experience!

Thanks again for all the support and for making this an excellent first 3 months!


Winner Of Chase 25,000 Ultimate Rewards Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I was thoroughly impressed by the vast list of suggestions that all the FFU readers provided!

Here are some of my favorites:

“Instead of going to the Empire State Building, you can go to Top of the Rock for great views. Going in January will be cold and windy but worth it. Go at dusk so you can see the sunset and then the stars.”

“one of the coolest things to do ( and it is also FREE) is to take the Staten Island Ferry on a roundtrip.”

“My tip is to just go get lost in SoHo for several, unplanned hours. Walk where ever you want. Shop where ever you want. Then, go stroll and eat at Chelsea Market.”

“My wife and I love to just walk through Central Park. It’s something that is missing from most major cities. New York did it right. Stop by Serendipity and get a frozen hot chocolate. Yum.”

“You HAVE to check out the Roosevelt Island Tram and Roosevelt Island itself. It’s quirky and has one the best views of the city.”

“def. try a coal-fired pizza if you can’t get a coal-fired oven locally – coal burns hotter so the crust is crispier – best if you pick a place with a thinner than normal crust.”

“Sign up for the free discount ticket listings at and, which offer savings on advance ticket purchases for select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows if that is something you are interested in.”

“First off, welcome to the Big Apple! You picked the right time to visit: Jan 17- Feb 4 is Broadway Week! Book 2-for-1 tickets here:

“If the weather is decent, climb up the Highline (a disused elevated freight railway recreated as a very, very long, very, very narrow public park).”


Stacy suggested that we should go see Fuerza Bruta. I had never heard of it before, but in the spirit of adventurism (and after watching the YouTube video), I bought tickets and we are going! For those of you living in NYC, I think tickets are normally $80, but on their YouTube channel, they have a link to half off tickets.

I will let you know how the show is! Stacy if you are reading this, I just sent you an email!

Thanks again to everyone to entered! I will definitely be using a lot of these tips and will incorporate them into my trip report!



My 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Giveaway!

My girlfriend’s 25th birthday is on January 19, and she has never been to New York City. So as a surprise, I am planning on taking her to New York for a long weekend (Jan 19-22).

While I typically use Yelp to find cool and unique places to visit and eat at, New York has so many good restaurants, shows, and generally cool places to see that I know if I only use Yelp, I am sure I’ll miss out on some real gems!

Therefore I thought I would take a page out of ThePointsGuy’s playbook and ask you, the FFU readers, to suggest some cool things to do in NYC! It can be anything from seeing a Broadway show, visiting a cool museum exhibit, dining at some hole in the wall restaurant, or even a useful tip like how to get last-minute tickets to SNL (I wish!)

For helping me plan this surprise trip to New York for her 25th birthday, I am offering 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points from my personal account to one randomly selected person!

To be entered, all you have to do is comment below with your tip. I’ll randomly pick a winner on 1/15. Be sure to leave your email when you submit your comment so I can contact you if you win.  The winner can have the points transferred into any program that Chase Ultimate Rewards allows!

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions and I’m looking forward to reading them all!