See you in San Diego?

UPDATE: The San Diego event described below is now sold out, but please see the last section of this post for details about a chance of buying a ticket.

I spent the day yesterday developing an awesome new Google Docs spreadsheet.  I had hoped to reveal it today in all its glory, but its not yet done.  Maybe tomorrow… or the next day…  I think that you’ll find it helpful once I release it.  At least, some of you will.  We’ll see.

So, instead of writing about the spreadsheet, I’ll write about something completely different: FTU Advanced San Diego.

FTU stands for “Frequent Traveler University.”  Twice per year, there is a big FTU event with many speakers and many attendees (usually over 400).  Sessions cover topics such as best ways to earn points and miles, award booking techniques, saving money on travel, etc.  The last big FTU event was in Seattle in the Spring.  The second one this year has not yet been announced.

I always enjoy attending and speaking at FTU.  It’s a lot of fun meeting people that are just as crazy as I am when it comes to points and miles.  There are a couple of problems with the format, though.  First, it’s too big.  In my experience, events with fewer people tend to be more fun.  Second, for those who have been in the game for a while, it’s too “beginnerish”.  There tend to be many novices at these events (which is fine, by the way!), but that means that presentations tend to be tailored towards those beginners.  Long time players of this game may find the presentations boring.  They’ve heard it before.  They’ve read it before.

Enter FTU Advanced

FTU Advanced is a new series of seminars focused on the advanced crowd.  The idea is to have fewer attendees, more advanced topics, and more time with each presenter for in-depth discussions.  The first FTU Advanced was in Chicago in July.  I missed it because I was in Europe at the time, but I heard it went well.  The second one will also be in Chicago, just a couple of weeks from now.  Both FTU Advanced events sold out in less than a day

Now, the next scheduled FTU Advanced will be in San Diego.


Registration will go live on Tuesday September 16th at 8am EST.

FTU Advanced San Diego Basics:

  • Where: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina, San Diego, California
  • When: March 6-8, 2015
  • What: Details and registration link here
  • Registration Price: $249
  • Hotel room price: $165 per night
  • Speakers: Ben Schlappig (One Mile at a Time); Greg Davis-Kean (hey that’s me!); Stefan Krasowski (Rapid Travel Chai); Scott Mackenzie (Hack My Trip); Randy Petersen (Milepoint Founder); and Daraius Dubash (Million Mile Secrets)

What to do if the event sells out

Previous FTU Advanced seminars sold out quickly.  If you want to go, but you miss out on the open registration, there will be one more opportunity — It so happens that I have access to a few secret codes that will let you signup even if the event is sold out.  If the event is sold out but you’d like a chance to get one of my top secret codes, please comment below.  Simply tell me why you want to go to FTU Advanced San Diego.  I will then use my top secret, not yet defined algorithm for picking the “winners” who get to buy tickets.  Make sure to write “Pick Me!” in the comment so that I’ll know to consider you for a spot.

What if the event is sold out and you don’t get picked for one of the secret codes?  I have a feeling that more FTU Advanced seminars will be announced soon.

Now back to my spreadsheet…

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »


  1. Thank you for telling us about FTU Advanced San Diego. I first heard/read about it from this post!

    I find it odd that they’ll open registration live at 8AM EST, which is 5AM PST —— especially when the location is in San Diego, CA! I would think the organizers would have targeted west coast folks hence the location but I really do hope the event does not sell out because of the folks out east! 😉

    • Overstating that a bit ABC, 30% of the speakers are clear credit card salesman. The rest are good at what they do and don’t pump the cards.

      • At the first FTU advanced, there was virtually no credit card pimping. The one talk about credit cards was given by Rapid Travel Chai, who actually gave a very unbiased talk about credit cards and poked fun at certain bloggers who push them.

    • Grant,

      I might’ve considered going if you were going to speak, particularly about MS techniques but alas that isn’t so. I’m about as close as you can get. Live in University City, ’bout 3 miles from the hotel. It would be interesting to stop by and see all those faces, maybe even that bowtie guy. Not going to knock him since he got me interested years ago. Now I do more advanced stuff and read Grant’s blog.

      • Thank you Kent. Here is a good (free) compromise. If anyone is near SD (I know there are plenty of miles/points collectors down there), come to the event on Saturday night and meet in the lobby around 5pm. After we wrap up for the day, we tend to go out to dinner and talk miles and points some more. It would be a great way to see some of your favorite bloggers and network with some locals 🙂

  2. I have to confirm one thing with my wife before I book tickets. Family stuff getting in the way of the hobby…crazy I know. Anyway, I might need one of them special codes Greg – so PICK ME! 🙂

  3. @Greg – The schedule does not elaborate what time the event ends on Sunday. I am inquiring merely for flight scheduling. Does anyone have a clue?

    • From plenty of past experience, the event typically goes through 4-5pm on Sunday. With that said, some people leave early to catch flights. I would stay as late as possible if you have the choice between various flights.

  4. Pick me!!!

    I’ve been dying to go to an advanced FTU for a while now, but it never coincided with my schedule or was too far away. This one would be perfect for me because it fits my schedule and is close by– I’m in LA. 2 tix would be great, 1 would be OK as well. Thanks!

  5. Pick me!

    Please 🙂

    Why? I’m super fun. Helpful. Curious. Determined to maximize my points and miles earning. A loyal reader. Surely that’s enough?

    I have to miss Chicago this year for my daughter’s Walk for the Cure (type 1 diabetes), and I’m missing the Phoenix one because my husband’s schedule doesn’t fully allow me to enjoy my hobby.

  6. Geez…..slept late today to take a day off from work and as soon as I saw post the link was sold out…… from SFO to SAN with Avios would be sweet………..I don’t just want to “be picked” I “need” to be picked…………..1 would be fine 2 would be great…….

  7. Pick me, I’ve been in the beginner to intermediate phase of the miles game for a few years now. Need to make the next step, and I think FTU Advanced can help me do this!

  8. Greg, I’ve literally had the purchase page opened the last 2 hours trying to find a moment to purchase amongst my work today (can’t get off the phone), and when I went to click, it was sold out!

    “Sorry, there are not enough tickets left to complete that sale!”

    Just shaking my head! Can’t believe it. This must be a record sell out.

    Anyway, I live in San Diego, so it would obviously be very convenient for me to attend, and much more likely for me to make it to this one than any of the other’s around the country. I got the wife’s approval, so that in itself makes the sellout that much more of a bummer. With a 2 year old running around, that’s always a tricky proposition.

    If you have any extra codes to purchase specially, I would appreciate consideration. Thanks, Mike

  9. You might want to emphasize you are not giving away free tickets. People may be inferring that. I’m assuming you are giving away just a free code, they still have to pay, unless those codes will get tickets gratis, then count me in.

    Wonder what the cost of the seminar would be without the presence of Randy. Just a thought.

  10. Pick Me!
    I just moved to LA and would love to go to an event that doesn’t require me to use any miles or points to get there. As much as I love to fly, jumping in the car for a couple hours sure is easier. I’m looking for new leisure travel partners too and this would be a great way to meet fellow miles junkies. I ask great questions, laugh at all jokes, smile pretty, will help keep the often male dominated gender ratio balanced, and even have an original tip or two to offer!

  11. This Budget Travel Girl (btg) has so much more to learn and I would just love to attend the FTU in San Diego! My fingers and toes are crossed!

  12. I’d really love to go. I’m missing the west coast do in November because of something previously scheduled out of town, and was at work and unable to sign up when the tickets went on sale today.

  13. Pick me please!
    I live less than 10 miles from the Hyatt and have always wanted to attend an FTU but my heavy travel schedule has never made it possible.
    As a Hyatt Diamond who does not need accommodations, I would gladly offer to attach my #/status to another attendee’s reservation as an inducement to be chosen.

  14. Hey Greg!

    I can’t believe how fast this sold out — I think the east coasters got a head start. I’m from San Diego as well and would be THRILLED to have the opportunity to attend. Thanks in advance for your consideration!

  15. Pick Me!

    I live in New York but would love the opportunity to travel to San Diego (with miles, of course 😉 and pick the brains of some of the greats. I run a popular personal finance site, Money Crashers, and live a very flexible lifestyle that allows me to be on the go anytime. Travel hacking is another world that I’d like to learn more about in-depth so that I can more easily travel the world and help others do the same.

  16. Pick Me! I live across the bay in Mission Beach a 15min walk/ swim/sail away from the event! I already have a lot of experience travel hacking with cards, mileage spend and using travel points for amazing trips such as a first class A380 trip on Emirates using 90K Alaska miles traveling LAX-DXB-HYD. I would love to learn more tricks and share my successes with like minded people.

  17. Pick Me!

    Cause this is a 7X deal for me! 6X cause I follow all 6 of you closely (everyday, every single article) and would love the chance to interact with you all and the extra 1X cause I have always wanted to visit San Diego – so multiple dip deal for me!

  18. PICK ME

    Wow, what a quick sellout. I am about to hit 2MM on Delta and need to improve my skills for point gathering with hotels, Bluebird (AMEX build now that VR’s are gone for this)and fare construction. I read many blogs and would love to attend!

    Thank oy for your consideration

  19. Wow, I wish I could pick everyone. I’m going to give everyone until Thursday to find this post and to comment before I pick anyone.
    And, to clarify, if you “win” all you get is the ability to buy a ticket. The tickets are not free.

  20. Pick me!!! I was all booked set for the Phoenix meet up, only to be denied, now San Diego, too, would absolutely love the opportunity to attend and learn from a great collection of bloggers!

  21. Oh, please Pick Me! I live in San Diego county, and I’ve never had a chance to attend a FTU of any kind, though I’ve been collecting miles/points with various techniques for years. I’ve only just begun meeting some of my local fellow frequent flyer enthusiasts, and I am dying to meet more people, especially people whose blogs I read on a regular basis. But, ironic as it sounds, I have very little opportunity to travel (due to limited vacation days) so a local FTU Advanced would be absolutely ideal for me. Thanks so much for doing this!

  22. Pick Me! I want to attend to learn more Manufacturing Spend techniques beyond Bluebird. I also want to learn more about techniques on booking revenue tickets.

  23. Pick me! I’m moving to San Diego in a few months and haven’t had the opportunity to attend any of the FTUs in Chicago. I’m also MSing a sizable portion of my income currently, so I’d love to be able to swap some of the intermediate/advanced methods I’ve uncovered!

  24. PLEASE Pick Me! You’re amazing, all of the speakers are amazing, and I would LOVE to attend an advanced session to soak in all of the info I need to progress in my #1 most fabulous hobby – TRAVEL! I attended the FTU in Portland this past year and found it to be too basic for me, so to be able to book this sold out advanced session would be so awesome! Thank you so much!!!

  25. Pick me (pretty please 🙂 )
    I live in Long Beach, but was out of town for the last one in LA. Now I have much more experience, and would very much like to learn more, especially more MS techniques.


    PS. Your blog, and Loyalty Lobby are the two travel blogs I follow religiously. Yours for getting the points, and his for finding ways to use them for hotels. I really admire the depth of your postings. It shows that you do your homework.

  26. Pick me.

    I have been involved in the pursuit of points and airline tickets and hotel rooms for awhile now and want to increase my knowledge and network with other enthusiasts so I can take more trips! I am in LA area, and it also gives me another reason to make the drive to San Diego.

  27. Pick me! I live in San Diego and have followed many advices from your blog and accumulated many miles and hotel award points to put them to use in creative and fun ways. Pick me!

  28. Pick Me!! I have recently started a business around helping travelers earn and redeem frequent flyer miles. We now have more than 40 customers, and are investing in building a web platform for managing and tracking credit card applications which will integrate with Award Wallet, TripIt Pro, Credit Karma, and I want connect with other mileage enthusiasts and learn strategies that will help us build a better product and deliver more value for our customers.



    • Hey Erik,

      I’m in the process of building a similar web platform. Could we arrange for a Skype date to chat a bit?

      Maxlovesaamiles at gmail

  29. All,
    I’ve picked 5 random “winners” who will still get a chance to buy a ticket to this event. I’ve emailed each winner at the email address used to write their comments. Winners are: Anita, Rajiv, Kay, DrSifu77, and Dany.

  30. “Pick Me” for Advanced FTU. I live nearby and just recently retired. Need some assistance with using the 2 million points and miles I have accumulated for retirement travel plus advanced ideas for building more points and miles now that I am no longer working.

  31. I have one ticket available at face value plus the transfer fee to this event. If interested, please me me know. You can contact me at the saverocity forum under my handle “little nemo”

    There is a posting on that forum as well.

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