Ten Notes from the Frequent Traveler University

Apr 28, 2013

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I flew home very late last night from Dulles and the Frequent Traveler University/Randy Peterson Executive Summit/Freddie Awards whirlwind in order to spend at least part of the weekend with my family.  I was sad to miss the last day of events, but it was time for me to shift the emphasis from points to mommy for a little bit.  But before I totally put FTU DC in the history books, I wanted to share ten tidbits that stood out for me.

  • Most of the folks that come to these events are extraordinarily nice and are vet willing to share their experiences and knowledge.  Even if you are an introvert by nature, you are doing yourself a disservice to miss the chat that happens between sessions, at lunch, and in the evenings.  This is where many of the real secrets see the light of day (or the dark of night as the case may be).
  • It is not at all unusual for a group to take an impromptu field trip to CVS, Staples, Walmart, Citibank, etc.  This is totally normal, and feel free to join in the fun.
  • There is always something new to learn.  There is a range of people from beginners to advanced old timers in attendance, you would have to never leave your room to avoid learning something new.  Obviously the more advanced you are the less you will probably take away, but there is always something to add to your wealth of knowledge.  That said, if you are super advanced, don’t expect that the formal sessions are really going to be geared to your level – you may do better with the informal chatting that goes on.  I think advanced is a relative term.

  • Lots of people have miles/points/travel reluctant partners – we should start a support group!  I’m really glad I will be hosting an event for the spouses at the Chicago Seminars in October as they deserve something special for tagging along to these events!
  • It is common for many sessions to become reward ticket booking oriented during the question and answer time even if that isn’t the official title.  I think redeeming sometimes takes a bit of a backseat on the internet, so in person that is often the topic of conversation.  I think that is pretty cool, and extraordinarily useful.
  • Network, network, network.  You want to know the people here as they can be not only your friends, but great resources in the world of miles and points.  There are some deals that aren’t sustainable if they hit the front page of the internet, but they are shared among friends, so become a good friend to those “in the know”.
  • Miles (The Points Guy’s dog) is as cute in person as he is on the internet.  He was the true superstar of the weekend – I mean who else here was named after miles and points!  Thanks to @thepointsguy for taking this photo.

  • The weekend can get very long with very limited downtime, so plan accordingly and don’t be afraid to miss a little of the action in order to get some rest.  I’m pretty sure some people here run on Vanilla Reloads, and don’t need sleep!
  • Make time and get out to see the city where the event is held.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what is going on in the hotel that you never leave…or maybe that was just me.  If possible, adding an extra day on the front of back-end of the weekend would be a good move!
  • Last, but not least, when going to a somewhat formal event (the Freddie Awards, not specifically FTU), always pack an extra dress.  Since the zipper on my dress died an untimely death as I was getting ready, I almost had a serious wardrobe malfunction until a friend saved the day with an extra dress.  I swear the zipper malfunction wasn’t related to the donuts I ate in the United Club!  ;)  Not sure I would have fit in with the “red carpet” motif in jeans…which is about all that was left once the dress met an untimely end.  Hurray for friends, and thumbs down for marginal packing….and marginal zippers.

That is all for now.  I very much enjoyed meeting so many people who read this blog at this conference, and I hope to meet even more at FTU Tampa in September!  If you were there this weekend, I would love to hear the things that stood out for you!

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