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UPDATE 10/19 – With the Chicago Seminars coming up this weekend, I thought I would rerun this post.  If you’re going, please stop by and say hi – I love to talk miles and points with other “weirdos” like me.  If you’re a member of our Points With a Crew miles and points group, we have an event in the group where we’ll use to coordinate meetups and things like that.

So if you haven’t heard by now, the Chicago Seminars 2017 are coming up during the weekend of October 20 – 22, 2017.  If you were still on the fence for it, I am told that there are still a few tickets available.  You can access the registration page here, and there is also a Flyertalk thread with all the pertinent info.  I believe cost is $105 which is pretty reasonable IMO

I will actually be speaking, so I’m excited to be there and meet many of you.  My topic is:

  • Saturday 4pm – How to Maximize Hotel Points with Category 1 and 2 Redemptions (Dan / Points with a Crew)It seems that many folks talk about how they stay for free in 5-star hotels using miles and points. And while that is one way to travel, did you know that in some programs, you can get up to 20 nights at a lower level hotel for the SAME amount of points as 1 night at a top-tier hotel. And we’re not talking about roach motels here – these can be some pretty nice places! Learn how to maximize your hotel points with Category 1 and 2 redemptions.

If you saw my 2016 talk, this will be fairly similar but updated with new changes for 2017

My (likely?) Chicago Seminars schedule

The other day, I went through the Chicago Seminars schedule to pick out which sessions I was planning on attending, and I thought I’d share my choices here.  All of the sessions will likely be good, and so you may get more value out of a different session.  That’s a long way of saying that, as with everything, YMMV :-).  I believe you do have to pick which sessions you want to see when you make your ticket and they do ask that you keep to that as much as possible.  Having said that, I never saw any bouncers at the doors… 🙂

So, besides my amazing talks which you should totally come and see, here are the 7 Chicago Seminars talks I’m planning on seeing

  • Friday 6:15pm – Advanced Mileage Run Techniques (John / laptoptravel) – Beyond the simple hit & miss or ‘fare alerts’ a hobbyist might stumble upon, this session will provide some rarely shared techniques to make Mileage Run discoveries more efficient and productive. This seminar is not for the inexperienced; it is best if you come with some knowledge of using either Kayak or Priceline Multi-City Booking Tools, ITA Matrix or comparable first-hand experience in constructing your own Mileage Runs. I will share with you some insight on how to tweak even other’s fare alerts to meet your needs or improve upon the rewards. I will share a couple of my own Mega Mileage Run examples to the participants. This seminar will also include a brief question and answer session near its conclusion.  I’m also interested in Booking Travel for Five or More, but I saw that in 2016 so I was guessing the content would be similar
  • Friday 7:30pm -Mattress Running for Hotel Status & Promotions (John / laptoptravel) – This seminar will show you how to identify opportunities to capitalize on hotel promotions to maximize your return on investment. This seminar will also teach you how to plot and plan a systematic approach to a mattress run. As an example, I will share my personal example of 16 stays in 16 nights; with no consecutive nights at any property. This seminar is for anyone that is willing to put in some time to research and put together an action plan for success. No prior knowledge or experience with mattress running is necessary. I will share with you insight on where to identify opportunities to achieve and maintain hotel elite status and quantify the true costs of getting and keeping that status. This seminar will also include a brief question and answer session near its conclusion.
  • Saturday 945am – Advanced Credit Cards (Stefan / Rapid Travel Chai) – Banks are getting smart, so we need to be smarter. Learn the latest developments and techniques for maximizing credit card rewards and benefits. Explore little-known cards, cards for heavy manufactured spend, and more.
  • Saturday 11am – Airbnb Tips & Hacks (Scott Grimmer / Mile Value)Scott stays with Airbnb almost 300 days a year. If you want some good advice on picking the right Airbnb, saving money, and negotiating price this is for you.
  • Saturday 1pm – Expert Reselling of Gift Cards and Merchandise (Shawn Coomer / Miles to Memories) – This session is NOT for the beginner. You should have experience in reselling as the basics won’t be covered. Learn how to scale your operation properly, and maximize your return with reselling. Looking to make it a full-time operation? This is for you.
  • Saturday 2:30pm – Sustainable and Enriching Family Points and Miles Strategies (Richard Kerr / Travel Hacking 101) – Richard shares everything he considers as a traveling family of four on how to get the most points and miles and get the most out of his points and miles. He’ll share the backpack on top of a diaper bag with a baseball cap trick to make people think the Southwest seat is full and discuss how to strategically book the same flight with different programs so you can protect yourself in case of delays and cancellations.
  • Saturday 5:15pm – You Can Fight Citi Hall: Lessons From a Shutdown and Arbitration (Eddy) – A real example and experience from one of our own who just concluded an adventure battling Citibank after they closed his four credit card accounts, bank accounts, and ThankYou points account confiscating about 500,000 ThankYou Points. You’ve got always to keep your head in the game, and if you want some lessons learned about what matters to the biggest reward currency providers out there, this is for you.

Again, here’s the link to register for Chicago Seminars 2017.  Cost is $105 / ticket

Will you be at Chicago Seminars?  Which speakers / sessions are you most looking forward to seeing?

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