Chicago Seminars Recap

by on October 31, 2011 · 35 comments

in Chicago Seminars, General TPG Business

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I had a fantastic time this past weekend in Chicago. I got to see a lot of friends and meet a ton of new interesting people. Throughout the informal networking and expert sessions I picked up a bunch of tips and tricks so overall it was a very productive weekend.

Joining me on behalf of TPG and I had new TPG Managing Editor Eric Rosen, Danielle Kelly and her sister Emily.

Danielle and Emily holding down the fort

We hosted a TPG reader reception for about 70 people and even gave away some Bose QC15 headphones and Amex/Chase points to those who won TPG trivia. Since we were one of the sponsors of the event, we also gave out more points on Sunday and $1,000 in Tripalertz credit- so overall I’m happy I got to meet a lot of loyal readers and also gain same new ones along the way.

Thirsty mileage collectors at TPG happy hour

TPG reader Sheri enjoying her brand new Bose QC15 head phones!

On Saturday I had the opportunity to team up with Rick, The Frugal Travel Guy, and run a session on the best way to maximize transferable credit card points (Amex Membership Rewards Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards). We even have some video of my portion, but its currently being uploaded/edited, so I’ll be posting it later this week.

For now, you can download the TPG Seminar Presentation and feel free to ask any questions. I’m hoping we were able to record a majority of the presentation, so stay tuned for that.

Key points:
1) Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket with collecting only a specific type of airline miles – diversify!
2) Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are the most lucrative transferable points programs
3) Transferable points programs give huge flexibility – especially to transfer points to others
4) Not all transfer partners are equal – understand the positives and negatives of each partner
5) Leverage transfer bonuses when they come around, because they are fickle. This summer was very active, but now it’s pretty quiet.

The discussion in the room during my presentation was very collaborative and people were sharing lots of information on how they best utilize their points. In general, since so many of us are minting hundreds of thousands of miles with the lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses, it’s important to learn how to actually use those points!

This was actually my first seminar and I will definitely be back next year (in fact I’ll be helping Rick organize it next year). Additionally, I talked to some TPG readers like Frugal Travel Lawyer and we discussed running some smaller meetups around the country/world. While this site has become a collaborative community and there’s lots of sharing of ideas in the comments, you just can’t beat in-person meetings. Feel free to comment on your thoughts – is that something you’d be interested in?  I like them because I don’t always write about all of the top deals/loopholes because they will get shut down – however in person meetings “off the record” are a great way to share tips without worrying about them getting closed off. Just a thought!

Hanging with Tom Stuker, the guy who flew 10 MILLION miles on United, and TPG reader and points world socialite Susan (Miff)

Anyway, stay tuned for the videos and definitely try to attend this event next year – you won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mike

    An in-person meetup in NYC would be great. Don’t you live in NYC? No need to fly to Chicago to share tips :)

  • Charles Clarke

    Looks like you had fun.

    FWIW, the presentation saved as a .zip file for me. I had to rename it to a .pptx for it to display properly. If someone else has the same issue, change the suffix. Nice summarization of what you’ve covered here on the blog. :-)

  • Anne Woodyard

    It was great to meet you, Brian. And your presentation was terrific – really insightful and helpful. The local meetups are a great idea – count us in!
    Anne & Kirk
    Music and Markets Tours

  • Ed

    +1 for a Seattle area meeting!

  • Ramosz83

    I agree, I would metro-north it down for one!

  • JohnnieD

    Definitely would like small meet ups. NYC/metro area would be great!!

  • Jimgotkp

    +1 a NYC or Philly one would be great!

  • Mile Jorge

    Great presentation! Great Tips! Thanks for happy hour and raffle!

  • Frugaltravellawyer

    So glad I got to spend some time with you and your wonderful team this weekend. Looking forward to planning local small group meetups with you. Thank you for all of your helpful tips.

  • Ozaer N.

    Way to go Brian!!! this posting was awesome…..I really wanted to attend, but I couldn’t make it…..I would defly love to see ‘regional’ meetings….like, one in the Pacific NW, (SEA.PDX) or say, one in the Southwest, (LAS, LAX, SAN, etc)…..and so on……I think this way, it would give everyone an opportunity to attend and meet our hero’s!

  • Steve

    Thanks so much for posting. I had planned on attending, even paid, but I had to cancel. I had a close friend pass away the night before I was to fly to Chicago. I then had another friend pass away Fri. night. I was glad I cancelled although I missed an incredible conference.

  • Shids

    TPG threw the best party of the event, free booze and free food and to top it off was extremely generous with the prizes given to the attendees that evening as well as those given at the main seminar the next day. A heartfelt thank you to you.
    Glad I had a chance to meet you and Eric and learn about a new direction you are heading with your company. I think you will do well on the talk show and TV circuit.
    Your seminars were well presented and more important very informative. One would never know you were a seminar Newbie.
    I would like to participate in regional TPG chapter in Miami, to share ideas and get the deals out of Miami.

  • IPBrian

    Had a great in at the ORD DO…just sorry I didnt get a chance to chat with you while I was there! I exhausted myself the first night, not going to bed till 5am (whoops) that I crashed at 6pm on Saturday! Gotta plan better next year.


    Seattle would be fantastic!

  • Cory

    Was good to meet the rock star of the show, The Points Guy. Was a bit too crowded for my liking but a good happy hour event. Hope to see you again on the road somewhere.

  • D

    I would come down from BOS for something in your hometown TPG.

  • Dave

    Would love to have an NYC meetup!

  • PanAm

    Really enjoyed your talk! Was my first DO but won’t be the last.

  • Bonesaz


    Great to meet you in ORD, and get a chance to chat. Thanks for the Free Drinks!
    Would definitely be interested in meeting in smaller groups, at a large show like that and not knowing to may people it is difficult to get the best tips and tricks since people don’t know or trust you yet. But in a smaller session it is much easier. Actually I got a lot of good info in the breakout sessions on Sunday, which were done in smaller groups. Phoenix would be best or the West Coast for me :)

    I’d also wouldn’t mind helping in organizing something (especially in PHX) but the West Coast would work as well. Let me know.

  • Hoko

    Smaller meetups would be great. I do them occasionally with close FT friends but would love to meet new people. WAS area works best for me but I could hop on a bus up to NYC pretty easily

  • Farscapeone

    Just returned to LA from the Chicago Seminars. Agree with everyone, you and your staff did an outstanding job sponsoring, presenting and hosting at the conference.

    Would definitely be interested in a regional meet in Southern California or Las Vegas.

  • Carolyn

    I was there in Chicago, and it was great to meet you. We need a meet/greet in LasVegas soon. That would be the cheapest/best venue for the West Coast. Thanks for everything!

  • Jasond1400

    I would definitely go to a smaller seminar on the west coast. I’m upset I couldn’t make it to ORD. Networking and sharing tips is the way to go. Thanks for all your post. I really enjoy your blog.

  • SonyaM

    Small meet-ups would be great! New York & west coast are fine ideas….but keep some in Chicago as well for us midwesterners!

  • LisaA

    Another vote for NYC!

  • Deb K

    How about the Asheville NC area for a meet

  • qbrain

    You had booth babes! That is awesome and hilarious at the same time.

    I like the idea of smaller meetups. Chicago is huge at this point.

  • FrequentMiler

    Brian, it was great meeting you. Yes, smaller meetups would be great.

  • Carberrie

    Have some meet ups in NYC!!!

  • Mark Schroeder

    Like the deck…any more presentations from the Seminar that are floating around?

  • Laurie

    Come to Seattle or Portland! The west coast is beautiful.

  • Allegria254

    It was very nice to meet you and your team personally( it is amazing how tall you are). I think smaller meetups around the country and even world is a great idea. If it happens I am looking forward to it.

  • Simon

    +1 for Southern California – some decent mileage runs to/from Carlsbad (CLD) appear occasionally. I would be happy to host a “DO” at my house (< 10 mins from CLD) – I put on one helluva shindig!!

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