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I’m very excited to be heading to the Washington DC area today to spend several days with tons of other miles, points, and travel junkies! Here’s what’s on tap so that you can follow along via this blog and/or Twitter (@Mommy_Points):
- Thursday Night – Freddie Awards: When I attended for the first time last year I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Who knew that the arena of miles and points had such a big and long running awards show?! This is not a little rinky dink operation attended by a few people who wanted an excuse for a mileage run. This is a big and expensive production that is attended by the heads of loyalty programs from all over the world. Not only do they attend, but they really want to win! I voted for my own favorites for the Freddies, and am looking forward to seeing who the winners are this year. I was surprised by a few last year, and I hope more of my own favorites bubble to the top this year. You know it is important when the host hotel has special key cards made up for the occasion. 😉 I plan to Tweet and blog about the winners almost as it happens.
- Friday Morning – Randy Peterson Executive Summit: This event raises money for charity, and is also well attended by those in the credit card and loyalty program industry. Last year it provided an opportunity to hear directly from those who are involved in designing promotions and card programs – both formally and through informal chat at the tables. On tap this year are a session on “The Plastic Fantastic” (i.e., credit cards). There will be representatives from all leading credit card brands and individual cards, and a discussion as to how credit cards helped pull loyalty programs through the recent economic crisis, how much longer will (or can) sky high acquisition bonuses be offered, and some of the trends they see into the not so distant future. The second session will include discussions with Bob Crandall (former CEO American Airlines), Jeff Robertson (VP, SkyMiles, Delta Air Lines), David Lim (CMO, Amtrak), Avis, National Car Rental and Hertz, Tim Doolittle, Avis Budget Group VP CRM/Marketing Analytics]. I’m looking forward to both sessions and anyone can purchase a ticket to attend this event for $99.
- Friday Night – Frequent Traveler University Kick-off Social Hour: I’m not sure what the official name for this event is, but it starts the weekend fun surrounding the FTU. There will be registration details to be covered, and cocktails galore flowing. Since I am presenting the next day I will try to avoid most (but not all) of the flowing cocktails. We’ll judge my success or failure in that endeavor the next morning.
- Saturday and Sunday – Frequent Traveler University: This should be the largest miles and points conference ever held, and it has been sold out for months (with some tickets even being re-sold over face value?!). I am presenting in two sessions on Saturday. First up will be a presentation with Daraius from Million Mile Secrets on an “Intro to Miles and Points for Beginners”. If you are new to the world of (almost) free travel, then this is the session for you. We will help get you started and heading in the right direction. My second session will be Saturday afternoon with Ed from Pizza in Motion on Making Family Travel Easy (or at least easier). Both Ed and I have young kiddos and are happy to share some unique challenges (and solutions) to award travel with children. We will also be covering many logistical tips and gear suggestions to make family travel as easy as possible. There are tons of other great sessions going on that have nothing to do with me. You can view the entire schedule here. I hope to have a chance to pick up tips at some of the sessions myself!
If some of this sounds interesting to you, but you aren’t going to be at this event then consider the next Frequent Traveler University in Tampa this September or the Chicago Seminars in October. If you are attending FTU this weekend, then be sure to read this post by New Girl in the Air to make sure you are fully registered to earn as many points as possible via Hilton promos that should help you at the host hotel!