Winner Of The SMD4 Seat Giveaway!

Now the moment that everyone has been waiting for…

There were over 1,000 entries in the StarMegaDO4 seat giveaway contest and I was extremely impressed by all of them!

The winner of the StarMegaDO4 seat giveaway is Josephine from Los Angeles!!!!!!

Josephine submitted 10 entries during the contest and the one that won her the seat was this post on Facebook.

After selecting her name Saturday morning, I was laughing because I thought the shopping part was a joke so I sent her an email saying, that was really creative.

Anyways, I gave Josephine my phone number and told her to call me so I could get all of her info and discuss the logistics of this little giveaway.

To my surprise, she was not joking about the shopping part and she is a 34 year old graduate student at USC getting her Masters of Fine Arts in Film & Television production, which is pretty cool.

After attempting to act like I know anything about film, we disused how to approach trying to get tickets to the SMD4.

I had previously been on the SMD3, so I was content in trying to secure Josephine a seat first and then trying for myself, however Josephine apparently has the equivalent of a Graduate Dissertation due in November.

So instead of her getting a seat on the SMD4 and then not being able to go, she said that I should try first for a seat and then try to get her one if anything was still available.

She said that if that plan worked out then great, if it didn’t, than she would just take the United and Hyatt gift cards so her and her husband could go vacation in Hawaii after she completes her MFA program.

SMD4 Ticketing

At 8:55am Monday morning, I booted up MilePoint and in an attempt to snag 2 tickets to the SMD4.

At 9:02am there still wasn’t a link on the site to officially sign up, so I started reading through MilePoint threads and sure enough there was some glitch on their end which was preventing the site from updating with the link to register.

Within a few minutes the link was eventually up and I furiously clicked away.

I opted to go with Economy because it was the cheapest at $999.

I personally thought Economy would go the quickest but from reading MilePoint, apparently Economy Plus and Tommy Class (where the middle seat of every row is blocked off), went even faster, so I guess I got lucky going with Economy.

As I rushed to fill out my form, I didn’t realize that they needed participant’s United MileagePlus Number and Hyatt Gold Passport Number!

Thankfully I had AwardWallet bookmarked, so I quickly copy pasted those account numbers in.

The final wrench in the tire was that at the end you had to provide your Passport number.

Looking back, this seems kind of obvious, but then again because this was only for the domestic portion, I guess I didn’t think they would need a Passport.

Again luckily, when I went to Montreal a couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a picture of my Passport on my iPhone as a precaution just in case I lost it. Also I quickly realized that it is easier to fill out Customs forms by looking at your phone for your information instead of physically pulling out your Passport.

So I quickly found my Passport number and plugged it in, double checked all my info and hit send!

As I write this, I realize I should have taken some screenshots for Readers to see but according to, my order did go through!

I didn’t receive a confirmation email or anything so hopefully I am not writing this post Monday night and then find out tomorrow that in fact I am on the waitlist or my order didn’t get processed properly!

Regardless, as soon as my order was in, I went right back to at 9:07am to try and snag a seat for Josephine but it was all sold out…..

I then checked the MilePoint threads and it seems that many people who tried right after it launched were not able to get seats : (

I am kind of disappointed that I couldn’t also get Josephine a ticket, but I am sure she will have fun in Hawaii and I’ll be sure to get you a grab bag of SMD4 goodies!

As for everyone else that entered the SMD4 seat giveaway, I appreciate all the time you spent Facebooking, Tweeting, and Emailing.

I got quite a few emails from people who saw all the posts on Facebook and Twitter, and were wondering how to go about collecting miles. That in itself makes this contest all worth it.

As I stated months ago, I will be at the Chicago Seminars in October, and since it is in my backyard and I won’t have to pay for any of my flights or hotels since I live here, I will most likely be sponsoring a FFU Reader to come enjoy the Windy City on Frequent Flyer University’s tab, so stay tuned for that!

Thanks again to everyone that entered, and if you ended up buying a seat and will be on the SMD4, comment below or email me!

Can’t wait to meet everyone!



Only 1 Day Left For StarMegaDO4 Seat Giveaway!

Hope everyone had a fun 4th of July!

Just a reminder that the StarMegaDO4 all expense paid seat giveaway ends on Friday, July 6th at 11:59PM.

There have been some GREAT entries so far on Facebook, Twitter, and via Email!

Keep up the good work!

Full instructions on how to enter the giveaway can be found here

I caved and ended up trying to get a seat on the International Leg of the SMD4 because those people get early access to the tickets for the Domestic Leg. Unfortunately even for that there was already a wait list, so I was added to the queue.

Outside of this giveaway, if you want to try your hand at securing a seat on the SMD4, the ticketing for the Domestic Leg officially opens on July 9 at 9am Central Time.

I am sure it is going to be a mad rush!

I have no idea how they allocate tickets for the SMD4, so I will be there with everyone else trying to snag 2 tickets for myself and for the winner of the giveaway.

Wish me luck!


Drumroll Please: The StarMegaDO4 Giveaway!!!!!!

And now the moment that everyone has been waiting for….

The StarMegaDO4 giveaway!!!!!

I have been talking about this for a while now but the logistics of the SMD4 and running the contest were quite complex, however it is now time to release the kraken!

What You Talking About Willis

For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about when I say StarMegaDO4 or SMD4, it is basically a frequent flyer / aviation enthusiast’s dream!

More information can be found in my previous post but for the last 3 years, 200 or so frequent flyers have chartered an entire commercial airplane and jetted around the world for a week. On previous MegaDOs, participants have gotten behind the scenes access at various airports, visited Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier Headquarters, got serious facetime with Airline Executives, and even have gotten to fly actual United flight simulators!

Thanks to Randy Petersen, I was fortunate enough to go on last year’s StarMegaDO 3 and it was an amazing experience!

Although it was a whirlwind trip comprising of 3 countries, 6 cities, and over 11,000 miles in 5 days, it was well worth the jetlag!

I am a big fan on the concept of paying it forward and since Randy gave me the opportunity to go on the SMD3 last year, I think it’s only fair that I provide that opportunity to someone else.

I am fortunate enough to have a real job outside of Frequent Flyer University, so any money that I receive when FFU Readers sign up for Credit Cards goes directly into a separate account with ING Direct that I don’t touch. I use this separate account as a means to give back to all the loyal FFU Readers and fund any giveaways and contests for the site.

That being said, I will also be sponsoring a Reader to come to Chicago for the Chicago Seminars in October, and more than likely the OneWorldMegaDO in January 2013 if they decide to do that again.

So when you sign up for a Credit Card on FFU, you can give yourself a big pat on the back because your hard work of earning free frequent flyer miles is directly helping fund these once in a lifetime giveaways for FFU Readers.

Hopefully one day you will win!

The Prize

As described above, 1 lucky FFU Reader will be chosen at random to tag along with me on the StarMegaDO4.

I will cover all expenses for the trip including:

  • Positioning flights for getting to and from San Francisco & Chicago
  • The $999 Coach ticket for the U.S Charter portion of the SMD4
  • Your own room at all Hyatt hotels during the trip
  • Meals if needed

Basically you are my guest for the entire duration of the SMD4.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) as more and more people have heard about the great experiences people have had on the StarMegaDOs, the more people end up signing up for the MegaDO the following year!

The only problem with this exponential growth is that there are only a limited number of seats on the Chartered Airplane.

Since I don’t have any special connections,  I will be in line with everyone else trying to snag 2 seats. 

I am fairly confident that I will be able to get 2 seats, but in the event that I am unable to secure any seats on the SMD4, whoever wins the SMD4 giveaway will get a $1,500 United Giftcard and a $500 Hyatt Giftcard that they can use to have their own vacation of their choice.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that because the SMD4 is really a once in a lifetime experience, but it is important to have a contingency plan.

If you are selected as the Winner of the SMD4 giveaway, I will email you and ask you to the provide the information that is need to register for the SMD4 like Passport Number, Date of Birth, etc.

Date & Schedule

The SMD4 has 2 parts – the U.S Chartered portion and the optional European portion.

I am doubtful that I will be able to do the European portion, since that would be almost a full week off of work, so I will most likely just be doing the U.S portion.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 – Charter begins in San Francisco with a Hyatt reception as well as a meet and greet with representatives of EVA Air and Singapore Airlines. Charter then flies to Houston for a Texas BBQ party and a stay at Hyatt.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 – Charter departs Houston for Chicago for a face to face meeting with the CEO of United and other United Executives. There will also be a reception and tour of United.

Friday, November 16, 2012 – Star Alliance Reception in Chicago.

The Contest

If you read FFU on a daily basis, you know that my number one goal for the site is to help other people learn how to travel for free.

It is for that exact reason that I’ve created The Beginners Guide and am always accessible via email to answer any questions, big or small, related to frequent flying.

When coming up with how I wanted to administer this contest, the one thing I realized is that most people don’t even know that websites for frequent flyers even exist!

If more people knew how easy it is to take world class vacations for free, I am fairly certain they would jump at the chance to do so!

Therefore I think it is time to tell them!

How To Enter

To enter the SMD4 giveaway, simply complete any of the following entry methods below.

You can enter once a day, and are free to do all 3 if you want.

If you came across the site because of a friend who was entering the SMD4 giveaway, you are free to join in as well!

I know there are some technology adverse readers (ie. my mom), so I have included a non-social media way to enter as well!

For all of the entry methods, you need to sign up for FFU Email Updates because that is how I will contact you if you win!

Sign Up For FFU Email Updates

  • You can sign up for FFU email updates by submitting your email address in the box to the left.
  • I promise that you won’t ever get spammed, as it is automatically set up to send ONLY 1 email a day with a summary of the day’s posts.
  • This is how I will contact you if you win! So if you don’t submit your email address, I won’t be able to contact you. 

Entry Method 1 – “Like” Frequent Flyer University on Facebook

  •  Your status update can be anything, good or bad as long as you use @FrequentFlyerUniversity in it.

Entry Method 2 – Follow @FrequentFlyerU on Twitter

  • Again, please surprise me. It can be funny, silly, goofy, etc. It doesn’t matter to me!

Entry Method 3 – Email Your Friends


Contest Duration

From what I have read the SMD4 registration opens on July 9th, so this contest will run until Friday, July 6, 2012 11:59PM Central Time.

I will export all of the names from everyone that enters via Facebook, Twitter, and Email into Excel and then use a random number generator to select a winner.

If you win, I will contact you via email on Saturday morning or I may show up at your doorstep with a big fake check and a camera crew. I haven’t decided yet.


If you have any questions, please email me at

Good luck to everyone and remember that all it takes is 1 entry to potentailly be the winner!