FTU Advanced Coming To Chicago July 18-20

I’m very much looking forward to Frequent Traveler University Seattle, which will be held in Seattle the weekend of April 25-27, 2014. There have been a handful of Frequent Traveler University events prior to this across the country, most recently in Tampa, Washington, and Los Angeles.

These are mega-events that have sold out well in advance, with 400-600 attendees each.


To provide a different environment/experience, there will be an FTU Advanced held in Chicago, July 18-20, 2014. You can find the basic details here:

Here’s Gary’s description, via Milepoint:

We’ve listened and have begun to put together a more intimate event called FTU Advanced that will be held at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare July 18-20.

  • 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.

Last April’s Northern Virginia FTU drew well over 600 people. We decided to cap the Seattle event at a little over 400. Both sold out months in advance.

In order to provide a more hands-on experience and facilitate better networking opportunities we are limiting this event to just 125 people.

Tickets are $199. This is designed to be a break-even event. The cost covers:
* Open bar cocktails on Friday evening (past FTUs have limited type and/or quantity of beverages)
* Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday (this is new compared to larger past FTU events)
* Lunch on Saturday and Sunday
* Meeting space with internet

I’m working on the program now, but wanted to get the information out to everyone as quickly as possible in order to allow you to make plans. I’ll be speaking of course, and so will Lucky from One Mile at a Time. More details to follow.

Room block at the Marriott will be available for $99++ per night.

Purchase tickets here;

Room block booking link will be sent out to individuals who purchase tickets.

And remember, this event has only 125 spaces. While it will be important to act quickly, we understand that plans change and there will be a procedure to transfer tickets if you turn out to have that need.

I’ll be there, Gary will be there, and I know lots of others that have yet to be announced will be there as well. Hope to see lots of you there as well!


  1. Isn’t including open bar in the price kinda unfair to those who don’t drink or won’t arrive on Friday?

  2. @ Gene — The same argument could be made for the Sunday sessions (some people leave earlier), wifi (some people have roaming data), etc.

  3. I guess Gary will give us 100 reasons why he LOVES his Chase Sapphire card and Lucky will explain how he spends roughly 800K miles a year and flies first class to Europe or Asia every week – I would love to hear how you do it Ben! That would be really advanced…

  4. Bily, google the words ‘Mutually Exclusive’. Rene and ‘Advanced’ are mutually exclusive.

  5. @Lucky,
    You’ve spoken at many FTUs, what can one expect that hasn’t already been said by you?

  6. @Andrew +1

    They can’t discuss “off the record” things, since they already know that little known bloggers will be there who will not follow the off the record request.

    Since the speakers will be people who post multiple posts a day, what can they possibly have to say that they haven’t already posted?

    On the other hand, if one is a Travel Blogger groupie. who just hopes to have his photo taken with Summer (sorry Lucky), this could be just the event for you. šŸ™‚

  7. Robert, $25,000 divided by a few is not a bad reason neither, don’t you think? The income from the affiliate links is fading out, you need to do something, right? The FF programs are getting bad, the signups are going away (look at Amex, all the others will follow for sure). What’s left? Once you get used to caviar and Krug, it’s hard to get back to Economy. What smokes and mirrors will be here to sell in a couple of years?

  8. @ Andrew — For what it’s worth I don’t get compensated a dime for speaking at these events, and as far as I know no money is being made off of them.

  9. I’m actually shocked you aren’t getting paid for participation. I really think you should be. Why should you work for free?

    It’s not like this brings in new readers for the blog, since the very reason people go is because you are going to be there.

    My question remains, other than getting to hang with famous bloggers, what info can one possibly get from the programs that isn’t already in the blogs? Obvious problem, though, if you tell me that, now it’s in the blogs, so…. šŸ˜‰

  10. @ Robert Hanson — Ultimately this will be different than the normal FTUs in that the sessions will be much smaller, so it’ll be maybe one or two dozen people per session vs. several hundred. So it will be much more interactive.

    There are certainly different levels of “tricks” that are shared. There are things I feel comfortable sharing on the blog, things I feel comfortable sharing at a “big” FTU, things I feel comfortable sharing in a smaller setting, etc.

    Beyond the actual knowledge, many people are visual learners and struggle with “connecting” a lot of the concepts shared on blogs.

    So it’s not for everyone, but clearly it’s for some. And it’s already sold out in less than a day, so… šŸ™‚

  11. Yes I saw it was sold out! Wow that was quick! Does one need to have a KVS or ExpertFlyer account to go to advanced FTU?

  12. I was “lucky” enough to get one of the 3 tickets re-released this morning. Will be my first event and looking forward to it! Glad to start off at an advanced session since I’ve been doing this almost as long as Frugal Travel Guy it seems :).

  13. @Joey “Does one need to have a KVS or ExpertFlyer account to go to advanced FTU?”

    Expertflyer offers 5 day free trials, right? The event will only be over two days šŸ™‚

    And I pinged KVS today about giving everyone at the event 48 hours’ free, we’ll see what happens.

    I do think it could be worth a session on how to use these tools.

  14. Darn! Didn’t check the blog this weekend so missed out šŸ™ But there’s possibly going to be another FTU Advanced soon so hopefully I’m not late to that one.

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