Chicago Seminars Recap

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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!

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