Some of you may have noticed the travel blogosphere was fairly quiet this weekend.
That was because everyone was in town for the Chicago Seminars frequent flying conference.
For those of you not familiar with the Chicago Seminars, this was the 3rd year of the conference which is organized by Rick of Frugal Travel Guy.
Basically it is a gathering of 500 frequent flyer enthusiasts who share stories, swap tips, and listen to expert seminars from some of the bloggers.
This was my first Chicago Seminars, so I really had no idea what to expect.
Although I am a “blogger”, I am just as much of an obsessed fan as the next person, so it was really exciting to meet Frugal Travel Guy, One Mile At A Time, Frequent Miler, Mommy Points, Milevalue, Hack My Trip, The Points Guy, Just Another Points Traveler, Million Mile Secrets, in person.
Also it was great meeting all the Readers in person, so thanks to everyone that came over and said hello!
While you may read the Seminars I attended below and think that the information is kind of basic and there is no need for you to attend, the real benefit of these types of gatherings is to meet other Frequent Flyer and exchange information.
The Seminars really serve as a complement to all the information on the blogs.
Outside of the people I mentioned above, I didn’t really know anyone else in attendance. Therefore it was amazing how much information you could learn by randomly sitting down next to someone and start to talk about miles and points.
Not to mention all the juicy frequent flyer gossip and rumors.
Lets just say that for those of you going on the domestic portion of the StarMegaDO4, it is going to be a “dream” come true…
As for the Seminars, I ended up sitting in the following ones.
Mommy Points on Elite Status & Challenges
Although this Seminar was targeted toward Beginners, I thought Summer (Mommy Points) did an excellent job of explaining all the information.
I don’t have any Elite Status currently, so it was great to hear all the ways I can get Status without having to fly all those miles. I will definitely be trying some of her tricks to get Status, the next time I fly.
Mileage Runs with Lucky from One Mile At A Time
I had never met or seen Ben (aka Lucky aka One Mile At A Time) before in person, so I was as excited as anyone to see his Seminar.
Needless to say, Ben is a rockstar in the community since he is only 23 years old but has had top tier Elite Status since he was 15.
Before he took the floor, based on the excitement in the room, you would think Justin Bieber was about to come out.
Ben’s Seminar was extremely insightful because I have never done a Mileage Run before. He went through all the tools and tricks that he uses to find Mileage Runs, as well as which programs are best, etc.
After his Seminar, I decided that I am going to try and shoot for Top Tier Elite Status with one of the Airlines.
Award Booking with Lucky from One Mile At A Time
After Ben’s Mileage Run Seminar, he covered Award Booking.
For anyone that hasn’t seen Ben’s Trip Report Index, he has a ton of experience in redeeming miles on every airline, so it was interesting to hear how he does it.
Needless to say, on my next trip, I am definitely going to try and use some of his tricks.
Steve Belkin as a Beginner
For those of you that don’t know Steve Belkin, he is a legend in the community.
When you see one of this mistakes fares or loophole, and think “Oh if I do this 10 times, I can get 50,000 Miles”, Steve sees the same offer and thinks if I do this 100,000 times, I can get 500,000,000 Miles.
Steve talked about in detail all his little schemes and in all honesty, it is amazing some of his plans did not blow up in his face. One of his schemes, he mortgaged his house without telling his wife…
Anyways, Gary has a little background information about him. It is definitely worth a read because you would not believe some of the stuff this guy has done, like hiring Thai rice farmers to fly 8 times a day to earn millions of miles.
This was probably my favorite Seminar because it was so amusing and showcased what is possible if you go big.
Gift Card Churning with Frequent Miler
For those of you that haven’t heard of Greg and his Frequent Miler blog, it has quickly become the defacto blog for figuring out how to earn miles from churning giftcards.
I’ve been following his blog for a while and my friend Chris has been using the Office Depot technique to earn tons of Ultimate Rewards Points, but I have been so busy that I have not been able to take advantage of it yet.
So I was excited to sit in and hear just exactly how to churn giftcards.
It is pretty amazing some of the tricks and glitches he has figured out.
If you haven’t read his, One Card To Rule Them All Post, it is definitely worth a read.
Frequent Traveler University
For any of you reading this saying “Damn I wish I would have gone”, you are in luck.
Frequent Traveler University is having a similar conference in LA at the end of November.
While there will be some of the same speakers, there will also be some of the heavyweights like Gary from View From The Wing and Randy Petersen in attendance.
The ticket is $99 and they are still available for sale.
I originally wasn’t planning on going, but I had so much fun at the Chicago Seminars, that I figure what the hell, you only live once right?
Hope to see everyone there!
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