Join Us in Chicago at the First FTU Advanced!

The organizers of the semi-annual Frequent Traveler University have decided to try a new idea — more personal, more focused, more detailed — with the launch of the first FTU Advanced conference this summer in Chicago. We’ll be heading to the Chicago Marriott O’Hare from July 18-20, and I hope some of you will be able to attend.

FTU Advanced registration

Unlike regular FTUs, this one is much,¬†much smaller and capped at 125 attendees. Compare that to 600 at last year’s event in DC and the 400 expected at Seattle later this month. With fewer people, we can not only look at discussing more advanced material but also try to present it in a way that is more valuable to attendees. Here’s how Gary Leff describes it on MilePoint:

Smaller, more intimate, for greater in-depth discussion.

More advanced. FTU events welcome everyone, at all experience levels, and of course everyone is welcome. But the program will feature a more focused conversation geared to people that have spent more time with the activity.

A different program. We’ll be able to go more in-depth, and we’ll be able to go more hands-on. There will be internet in the meeting rooms to facilitate learning by doing, not just telling and showing.

After speaking to the organizers, I can tell you that this will not be your average FTU. Some people worry that FTU is just a lot of discussion on applying for credit cards and other “basic” stuff. I don’t think that’s an entirely fair accusation since that information¬†is¬†useful and novel to a large fraction of the population. But for some of us who have been going for years and use the event for social networking, it would be good to have a classroom to match our skills.

At some point you have to graduate from high school and move on to college. And at some point you graduate from FTU and move on to FTU Advanced. Here are some of the topics:

  • Award Booking on American Airlines
  • Award Booking on United Airlines
  • Award Booking on Other Airlines (Delta, Alaska, Avios, etc.)
  • Using KVS Tool & Expert Flyer to Search for Fares and Availability (fare construction)
  • Maximize your spending (beyond Bluebird)
  • Maximizing Hotel Loyalty Programs and Promotions
  • Visas, OTAs, Car Rentals, ATMs, and More Tips for International Travel
  • Advanced booking techniques for revenue tickets

So now for the shocker: This event will cost $199, or roughly double that of most FTUs. Why so much? A lot more is included, and the event is still just about breaking even. For your registration fee you’ll receive:

  • Open bar cocktails on Friday evening (past FTUs have limited type and/or quantity of beverages)
  • Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday (new compared to past FTUs)
  • Lunch on Saturday and Sunday
  • Meeting space with internet (not all FTUs have this)

Heck, you could make your money back on the bar alone. But if that doesn’t sway you, consider that the host hotel is offering a room block at only $99 plus tax. That’s better than some recent room blocks, even if only by $10 or $20, and it adds up over a weekend.

Because of the small event, tickets will sell out fast. Be sure to register on Ticketbud and book a room at the Marriott once it opens up.

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  • WBTM

    Organizers should consider offering an event price without the Friday evening mixer. Nondrinkers are unlikely to perceive much value in the increased fee.

    • Scottrick

      The breakfast and the internet access are also new compared to recent events.

  • Joey

    Will you be one of the speakers there? I really find your blog posts informative and analytical. I don’t fly that much and I recall last year reading your post arguing Alaska Airlines MileagePlan may be the best frequent flier program for average fliers like me. In addition, your post on intro to fuel dups was awesome. A few months ago I did read through the FT and found a few 3Xs but never had the courage to actually buy ’em. Anyway, if you do have a session or two at FTU advanced, I’ll definitely go to them.

    • Scottrick

      Well, that depends. I originally didn’t think I would be “expert” enough to talk at this event, but I have been asked to speak. Are there any other topics you’d like me to cover? I don’t think fuel dumping will be on the formal agenda, though it may be discussed informally.

      • Joey

        Sorry for the delay on this but giving it some thought, I hope the following topics will be covered (in addition to the ones you listed in your blog post): status matching (both hotel and airline), CC retention offer negotiations, advanced ITA matrix (how to use it to search for mileage runs or complex itineraries), mathematics of travel hacking, etc.

        • Scottrick

          Thank you for the suggestions, Joey. I should probably get back to Gary this weekend.

  • Jenn

    It says sold out already. :(

  • cj

    its sold out -anyone who cant make it ill buy there ticket

  • Aptraveler

    Whoa, it’s sold out already! Is that a glitch or that’s all folks??

  • James

    Does the bar accept Amex GC’s ? (just kidding, but most of the attendees will want to know)

  • Helen S

    An advanced FTU is a great idea! Tickets sold out already! Wow! Maybe I can go next time.