2012 Chicago Seminars Dates Published

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The host hotel now has rooms available for booking using the official link!  This hotel will sell out, so don’t delay if you want to stay at the host hotel.  Rooms at the overflow hotel will be released once the host hotel has reached capacity. 

Here is some additional info about the hotel room from The Frugal Travel Guy:
*Award Nights are not available nor are any other discounted rate. The only applicable rates are:
$79 per night plus tax includes one breakfast coupon
$89 per night plus tax includes two breakfast coupons
*Transportation is included in the room rate to/from O’Hare Airport as well as to/from our sister hotel, the Holiday Inn & Suites O’Hare
*Included in the Seminar Registration fee is lunch and coffee breaks
*Please note that the reservation must be guaranteed to a credit card and the first night is non refundable

I love to plan ahead, so I was excited yesterday when I learned the dates of the 2012 Chicago Seminars.  For those who haven’t been before, the Chicago Seminars are a weekend full of sessions primarily about earning and redeeming miles and points of all shapes and sizes.  I went as an attendee last year, and you can read about my experience here.  I have been asked to speak at this year’s Seminar, so I will both be presenting at my session while attending a few others this time around.  Rumor has it that there will be two tracks this year – a beginner track and a more advanced track.  If this happens, it will be a good improvement to the seminars so that everyone can find something useful to them.  Even if it doesn’t, you can still pick and choose the sessions that best meet your needs.

The Chicago Seminars will be held October 12 – 14th at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village.

Last year the registration fee was $75 and covered your admission to the events as well as your lunch both days.  I do not know if that is the same amount this year, but I doubt it is far off.  This is not a money making endeavor, so I know the organizers (Frugal Travel Guy and The Points Guy this year) work very hard to keep the costs as low as possible.  At $75 the admission to the conference is a heck of a steal.  The Frugal Travel Guy has said that the hotel rates will be the same this year as they were last year.  Last year the host hotel, Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village and the overflow hotel, the Holiday Inn Chicago O’Hare Rosemont , were both under $100.  I believe the rates were around $80 per night.  I do know that the host hotel sold out pretty quickly, so if it is important to you to stay at the host hotel don’t delay once the official booking begins in the near future.

I have received several emails from people asking if it is worth it to attend.  I can tell you that I made it a priority to attend last year – and at that time I was not a speaker, and I had barely even started blogging when I signed up.  I was just going to learn.  I think it was worth it, and I can almost guarantee that everyone who attends will learn something either in a presentation or from another attendee, but if you are already pretty well versed in earning and redeeming miles and points, don’t expect to walk out of there with a magical code that will unlock all award seats or something like that. 😉  Do expect to add a few more earning and redeeming skills to your repertoire, meet great people, and have some awesome conversations about miles, points, and travel.

I will be presenting on the US Airways Grand Slam in the beginner track, so if that is a topic you are interested in I would love to have you join in that session.  The timing is actually perfect since we will hopefully by smack in the middle of the Grand Slam at that time.  If it isn’t a topic you are interested in, there will be tons of other great sessions by The Points Guy, One Mile at a Time, View From the Wing, Frugal Travel Guy, and more.  Some of the more popular sessions filled up in advance last year, so that is another reason to register as early as you can.  That way you can make sure you get in the sessions that sound the more useful to you.

I’ll post again when the registration process is officially open.  Hope to see you in October in Chicago!

Also, if you went in a previous year, feel free to share your thoughts about the seminar so that those who are considering going this year can make a good decision about whether or not they want to attend.


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  1. I am very excited for this as I live about an hour West. This will be my first time attending.

    I checked last night and the hotel had rates for $72. Why can’t we book our rooms yet?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. As a beginner I’m a bit lost as to where the registration links might appear – will you be so kind to blog the website address when it opens? Thanks and I hope to make it!

  3. I heard that the $75 cost goes to pay for the travel and accommodations of speakers and their friends… is that true?

  4. I’d love for you to address “free” hits that require personal information. It has always seemed odd to me that many bloggers/posters explicitly quantify cash but not the time or distribution of valuable personal information.

    Last year’s Grand Slam posts were really helpful because I was just lurking along and seeing how much effort, selling of personal info, time, and good tips there were.

  5. As one of the organizers I’ll respond to Jasons post. We gave each of the speakers a $350 travel allowance and paid for their room. NONE of their friends got anything. It also pays for your lunch for two days, coffee breaks, tax, tips, meeting rooms and I think we even got a drink coupon for everyone at the Halloween party in the fee if not mistaken.

    Just to further clarify your comment, this is a 100% volunteer effort with any and all additional proceeds donated to charity.

    I’d check your sources of information in the future for the facts

  6. “I’d check your sources of information in the future for the facts”

    geez, sorry for asking… in my defense that was what i was doing

  7. Mommy Points- you do a great job. Its nice to read your perspective on travel. When will registration open for the October seminar, so I can be watching for it

  8. @Sara – Hi! I double checked and yes, I think I’m using it correctly. Maybe my post wasn’t clear? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personally_identifiable_information

    For example, sharebuilder registration states “You’ll need these handy so you can speed through account sign-up
    Your Social Security number
    Employer’s name and address (if employed)
    Routing and account numbers for the bank you’ll use as a source of funds”. This is all perfectly logical to ask for given the financial transactions Sharebuilder makes.

    I consider my social security number to be personal information.

    It isn’t a big deal to pass on a hit that requires a social security number and it is my choice to do so, but in my opinion, sharing my social security number is not “free” as its privacy and security is of high value to me.

    I really appreciate all the blog and the seminar being made available for such a great value. Just suggesting that when stating the price on Grand Slam posts/seminar i.e. ‘Hit 5. Sharebuilder – “free”'[1] could be enhanced with something like “Signup requirements: e-mail, physical address, legal name, social security, employer info” during the seminar. Or a spreadsheet with this info as a bonus for the seminar attendees since MommyPoints provides so much great info to the blog readers already.

    [1] http://mommypoints.boardingarea.com/2011/10/10/81-68-for-25000-milesfree-domestic-round-trip-ticket-us-airways-grand-slam/

  9. It amazes me that ppl think speakers should come at their own expense and still give ‘free’ly of their time and expertise. I have learned so much at these “Dos” and am amazed at how freely the information from the speakers (they are truly experts) is given. They spend a lot of time creating their presentations and patiently answer questions. $75 for 2 days of info is nothing, it could easily cost a couple of hundred and would still draw a crowd.

  10. @Jay, glad you will be able to make it! As for the hotel, I don’t know 100%, I just know that is what the organizers say to do. It might have something to do with us committing to fill a certain number of rooms and making sure we get credit for it, but that is just a guess. It may be totally unrelated.

    @Martina, the registration links will be posted on Milepoint and Flyertalk, but they will also likely be talked about on many blogs (including this one), so just keep checking back and we’ll make sure you don’t miss it.

    @Jason, looks like Rick weighed in below, but you are correct that some of the registration money goes towards getting speakers there. I had never heard the rumor about friends, but as Rick pointed out no love for friends of speakers. Ha ha. 😉

    @reeder, I’ll keep that in mind. May be useful at least as a handout for sure. Thanks!

    @Sara, I apologize for any and all typos I may be guilty of. 😉

    @Nickfromct, I completely agree!

    @Rick, thanks for sharing the details of what the registration fee does and does not cover. 😉

    @Jim, hopefully we have gotten him an answer in the end.

    @Jason, let me know if you have any other questions and I will do my best to get you an answer.

    @jiml, I don’t know the exact date, but I think it is pretty soon. I promise to post again as soon as I know it is live. Thanks for the nice comment.

    @k2o, I agree that all of the speakers I have seen at these events put a lot into wanting to share quality information. While I would go again and even present if my expenses weren’t covered, it certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable to have a small travel allowance to bring the speakers in.

    @MJ, can’t wait to see you there!

  11. How about starting your beginner’s guide a bit early?

    Should we be booking two different hotels for the two nights of the seminar so we can get two US Air Grand Slam hits out of it?


  12. @reeder You’re not giving out the personal info for nothing. Sharebuilder is a financial site. By the same token, you have to give your SSN to Chase (for example) to get a “free” credit card bonus.

    @Jay Standard practice in conferences. Hotel wants everything handled under one umbrella for ease of handling and Rick/Brian get credit/are required to fill a certain number of beds. It rarely turns out to be a better deal to register on your own at a conference – and for this, you def. get your money’s worth.

    @Rick Yes on the drink coupons.

  13. @Anita, love the question about hotels and the Grand Slam! We will have to see what the minimums are this year, but I will most likely be doing a bit of hotel hopping myself for the Grand Slam purposes! 😉 I would probably just book regularly for now and then adjust when the GS rules come out. For example, by last year’s rules you would have had to have both nights at the Holiday Inn (since it was such a cheap rate) to earn enough points to count as a hit.

    @Richard, thanks for sharing! I think I ended up with two drink coupons for Halloween.

  14. At any conferences the speakers usually get paid or get a travel allowance. I’ve not heard of many conferences that have speakers just coming for no reason. Many of my professional conferences are over $200 for just one day, at around $75 for two days including some possible food or whatever, that is a steal.

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