In case you missed the announcement, the next Frequent Traveler University will be held December 5th-7th in Washington DC.
This will be the largest FTU event yet, which means even more speakers and chances to mingle with other mileage nuts. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, but you can still pre-order tickets this week to secure your spot.
I’ve been getting several messages a day from readers asking for more details, or for my opinion on whether or not they should attend.
So who, in my opinion, is FTU best for?
One of the sessions at FTU Seattle
1 | The Miles & Points Aficionado
Seriously, this is the main reason to attend.
No other events have this concentration of award travel enthusiasts, and it’s ridiculously fun.
Whether you want to swap notes on favorite travel experiences, discuss ways to maximize ANA awards or reminisce on the best deals from the 2010 SkyMall bonuses, you’ll find someone with similar interests and stories to share.
2 | The Newbie
On the one hand, I tend to think all the information is already “out there” for public consumption (that’s why I write a blog).
On the other, I recognize it’s not necessarily digestible for many people. With an endless number of forums and blogs it can be hard to sift through and find what’s relevant, and while I try to consolidate information and strategies here, there are over 7,400 posts on my blog alone.
That’s a lot of words to process, and getting a good “baseline” of key info can be a good way to launch yourself into the hobby.
3 | The Social Learner
Everyone learns differently, and while I’m happy learning by reading websites while in my bathtub, I realize others are more visual learners.
Some people do better when they can ask questions “live” or see visual demonstrations. These events are typically a mixture of slides, dialogue, and Q&A sessions, which combine to accommodate a broader range of learning styles than just blogging alone.
Every time we’ve had one of these events I’ve gotten feedback along the lines of “NOW it all makes sense!” because someone had a lightbulb moment that enabled them to put all the pieces together.
4 | The Manufactured Spender
If you know (or want to know) the secret handshakes for manufactured spending, this is your event.
This isn’t my world at all anymore, but the hardcore MSers definitely have a place here. They seem to gather around tables and cluster in corners with Greg, Stefan, and other people who actually know what’s going on. Their techniques and strategies make my head hurt, so I’m not one of those people, but if this is something interesting to you, you’ll find other people who want to share “war stories” at these events.
5 | The Mileage Hoarder
Are you good at earning miles, but struggle to redeem them efficiently? Earning and burning are equal parts of this hobby, and it seems like people really struggle more with the latter half.
We always have a few sessions on award bookings, and then Gary and I try to answer lots of redemption questions in our Q&As as well. I also generally bring along at least one of my award booking colleagues, and many of the folks from other booking services are often on hand as well, not to mention the “quiet experts” in this hobby who don’t necessarily post online. If you want to sit in the bar and discuss your travel goals, someone knowledgeable is typically going to be around and happy to walk through your award ideas with you.
6 | The Traveler
Do you want to learn more about travel beyond miles and points?
Another unique aspect of this particular event is that it will be done in partnership with USA Today. They have great relationships with some of the big names in travel, and are bringing in some additional resources. That means you’ll have even more opportunities to learn, and the chance to connect with some of the big names in travel.
On top of that, people like Matthew and Stefan will be around to talk about some of the horrible places they’ve dragged their wives to destination travel, which otherwise doesn’t get a lot of exposure in our circles.
Overall, I think these events have something for everyone. Heck, I learn things every time, and miles and points occupy 90% of my brain!
If you fit into any of the above categories, I’d definitely look at getting tickets sooner rather than later. You only have a few days left to pre-order tickets before they go on sale to the general public, and these events always sell out.
I hope to see lots of you there!