And the Winner of 1,000,000 TrueBlue Points Is...
When I first announced our Into the Blue: Marathon to a Million contest a couple of weeks ago, only two things were certain — that we would get some excellent photo submissions from readers' travels and that one person would be walking away with one million JetBlue TrueBlue points. After selecting our five semifinalists, flying cross-country in JetBlue's Mint class and participating in a wild scavenger hunt across the city of San Francisco, I'm thrilled to announce the winner of the competition: Brian Biros.
Winning a million points was no easy task. On Friday, we flew the five semifinalists and their guests to New York. The contestants, their guests, several TPG staffers and I all went out for dinner to celebrate the start of an exciting weekend ahead — and enjoyed some great food at ACME. If you've never been, it's a sexy French-Italian bistro in NoHo. From there, the contestants went back to their hotel, 11 Howard, to rest up before leaving early Saturday morning for San Francisco.
Saturday morning, the contestants woke up early and anxious for the competition to get started. We all headed for JFK where we boarded JetBlue's A321 and flew, quite comfortably, to San Francisco in the Mint cabin — my favorite way to travel cross-country in business class. My dad accompanied us on the trip, and I got to sit next to him in Mint for some quality bonding time — when neither of us were sleeping. In fact, I managed to get nearly five hours of sleep on the flight. Next, the group had a nice brunch at Marlowe in San Francisco, after which the contestants hit the ground running — literally — through the streets to experience the scavenger hunt we designed. (Action photos and video from the scavenger hunt, coming soon!)
The day culminated with a reader meet-up at The Firehouse at Fort Mason, where I got the chance to interact with readers and learned how points and miles have been able to change lives. Watching TPG grow every year, hosting new events, and meeting new people are some of the most exciting things about my job. We've been doing giveaways and events, but never have we done anything on this level.
So where is the winner going with his million points? Brian, who flew from Morocco to participate, is still weighing the options. Karen, his sister and teammate, is changing her honeymoon plans from Hawaii to somewhere in the Caribbean. Stay tuned for an update from our winner.
I want to send out a huge thank you to JetBlue and Barclaycard for partnering with us to put on this amazing event. When we went to them not too long ago with this idea of celebrating our one million likes on Facebook, they started planning right away. In my experience of working with so many companies with big legal departments, it can be hard to get programs like this off the ground, but both JetBlue and Barclaycard were amazing to work with. JetBlue just won the best airline for customer service in 2016 and I can say, from my perspective, JetBlue really has its act together it. It really makes me happy and excited to fly with the carrier.
As per TPG policy, this whole weekend was not free of charge. We still paid a portion of the cost, but we never could have been able to put on such an amazing event without the partnership of JetBlue and Barclaycard.
And while it's amazing to give away one million points, being able to hear from readers and see everyone interact were some of the highlights of the weekend. Almost every single reader that I talked to at the event has gotten so much from the site. This community we've built, sharing deals and helping people help each other in the comments section of each post, really enhances our travel. This past weekend reiterated why I love what I do and why I love our readers so much — so, thank you all! On a final note: While we can't promise to give away a million points again any time soon, we are coming to many more cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and Houston over the next few months. What city do you want us to visit?
Congratulations again to Brian!