What Can You Do With Your Hotel Points and Airline Miles?

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I just got back from an long weekend in San Francisco and Las Vegas, which included dinner with a spectacular view overlooking the fountains at the Bellagio hotel.

When I tell stories of my travels, friends and acquaintances wistfully say that they wish they could figure out what to do with the miles they’ve accumulated on an airline or points they have earned via credit cards or hotel stays.

The theme is that people want to travel more, but don’t usually know where to learn how.

One great way to learn is to spend a weekend at Frequent Traveler University. Never heard of it? Here are some helpful answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Frequent Traveler University (FTU)?

A Frequent Traveler University is a like crash course where you get a ton of information in just one weekend that it would take you quite long time to learn otherwise.

Speakers that have worked years to understand the complex travel landscape have been selected for their depth of knowledge, and share their knowledge with you.

What’s an example of one of the FTU speakers?

If you scour magazines like Conde Nast Traveler, Town & Country, Executive Travel or the Washington Post, you’ve probably read about or seen –

Ben Schlappig, One Mile at a Time

At the ripe old age of 25 he has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Up in the Air” article, and his list of interviews and appearances includes Forbes Magazine and NPR.

When can I go to a FTU?

The next Frequent Traveler University Advanced event will be in Las Vegas, NV April 29-May 1, 2016. Perfect for a weekend get-away where you can attend the sessions that interest you and then you have the rest of the days/evenings to yourself to enjoy Las Vegas!

What can I expect the weekend to be like?

The weekend is kicked off with an optional networking cocktail reception at the host hotel on Friday night.

Saturday the learning begins at the host hotel (The D Las Vegas) around 9am as speakers offer tips, tricks and information on everything from hotel and airline programs to “mileage running” and advanced routing redemptions. Sometimes speakers debate the pros and cons of an elite program with each other, with audience members gaining different perspectives on the program. Other times there are sessions where award booking examples are done live. There’s a lunch break, and the day usually ends around 4pm.

Saturday night is yours to enjoy, and while some people go out to dinner with other attendees you can always just do your own thing. Sunday morning the sessions start up again around 9am, and even though there’s another full day of speakers and Q&A you are welcome to leave early to catch a flight if needed.

What do I need in order to attend? Any background knowledge?

Frequent Traveler University events are open to everyone at all experience levels, with no background knowledge necessary. Many people scribble notes furiously or take notes on a laptop, and then go home and apply what they’ve learned. Some make new friends at the events, and it is not unusual for people to discuss their own miles/points with folks over dinner or between sessions. If you’re wondering if you’ll fit in at an FTU, trust me when I say you absolutely will. There’s a friendly vibe, a shared interest and all you need is the willingness to learn. You can hang back and quietly take notes, or jump right in and ask questions about those 20,000 airline miles that you’ve been dying to use.

Are there any contests or prizes?

Each Frequent Traveler University event includes a charity aspect, and the FTU Las Vegas will be no different.

On Friday night after the cocktail reception, you can continue the fun by participating in the first ever FTU charity Blackjack Tournament: Industry VIPs and travel writers versus frequent travelers. Never played cards before in a casino environment? No worries. This tournament is a great opportunity to play blackjack in a friendly atmosphere. The dealers will be professional casino “Go-Go” dancer dealer/entertainers. It also gives you the chance to compete against some of your favorite travel writers and industry VIPs.

Great prizes include up to 50K SPG points courtesy of Starwood Preferred Guest. Tickets for the Blackjack tournament are $50, and all proceeds go towards the InsideFlyer Kiva charity Lending Team. Your ticket also includes $25 in match play coupons that can be used at The D Casino, which makes this not only an amazing opportunity for charity but also a fabulous “deal”.

Click here to secure your optional Blackjack tournament ticket.

Click here to Register for the FTU weekend. The cost is just $199 for the entire weekend.

Here are some of the fun sessions that will be in Vegas (and not all sessions repeat at every FTU event) –

— What is it like to live in hotels full time?
— Finding Cheap Premium Fares
— Introduction to Mileage Running: Costs and Benefits
— International Upgrade Methods and Strategies
— Using ExpertFlyer
— Live Award Bookings
— Advanced booking techniques for revenue tickets
— Non-traditional awards and miles

Confirmed speakers include:

— Tahsir Ahsan (Bengali Miles Guru)
— Tiffany Funk (One Mile at a Time)
— Greg Davis-Kean (Frequent Miler)
— Edward Pizzarello (Pizza in Motion)
— Daraius Dubash (Million Mile Secrets)
— Summer Hull (Mommy Points)
— Matthew Klint (Live and Let’s Fly)

What’s included?

For only $199, your FTU Signature Only ticket gives you access to two days of expert-led sessions, a welcome cocktail reception “Vegas style” that includes outdoor space on the Traverse City Patio overlooking the Downtown Las Vegas Skyline on Friday night, and lunch on both Saturday and Sunday.

The all-day Manufactured Spend boot camp intensive is sold out, but fear not. For those with interest in Manufactured Spend, there are still sessions on the latest and greatest opportunities on both Saturday and Sunday that are included with the FTU Signature Event. It also gives you the opportunity to attend a variety of the other sessions available during the weekend. There will be 3 sessions running concurrently during the day so attendees at the FTU Signature Event will be spoilt for choice.

Is there a special rate at the conference hotel?

It is not a requirement to stay at the host hotel during the FTU, but there is a special group rate offered. The host hotel for the weekend is The D Las Vegas. The rate is $99 for single/double occupancy on Friday and Saturday nights (04/29 and 04/30). You can also extend your stay before or after the event for $29 on Thursday night (04/28) and Sunday night (05/01). Note that there is a resort fee of $20 + tax added to all room rates.

To book your room, click HERE (use Special Offer/Group Code DCIFTU) or call +1.800.274.5825 and request group code DCIFTU.

I’ll be speaking at Frequent Traveler University Las Vegas about Leaders Club, (the loyalty program of Leading Hotels of the World) and would love to meet some readers. Will you be there?

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