The Benefits of Attending an FTU, and Why It’s Worth It For You to Be There

I’ve heard a lot of mixed feelings recently about attending Frequent Traveler University events, and wanted to write a post dedicated to the benefits of attending, to help convince many of you that may be on the fence.

First and foremost, I’ve been attending many of these FTUs, and have gained a ton of knowledge. Recently, I’ve been brought on to help organize and run the events, and am really honored to be apart of such a great team. So, now on to the reasons why I think it’s worth it for you to attend as well…

Attending FTUs isn’t free, but it’s a nominal cost for the knowledge you’ll gain. Typically, it is about $150 for a “basic” FTU and $250 for the advanced version. There are hotel costs, conference rentals, a/v equipment, food, administration and other miscellaneous costs that need to be paid for, so while you may see the fee as a hindrance to attending, you should know that there’s a behind the scenes cost to putting on such a large scale event, even with the offset of sponsorships from major companies.

Networking with Fellow Travelers and Bloggers

You’ll have plenty of time to talk to fellow travelers, and the experts that teach the various sessions – most of which are major bloggers, including many from this blog conglomerate, BoardingArea. There’s typically a cocktail reception on Friday, and also plenty of times throughout the weekend where you’ll be able to gain inside knowledge just based on the fact that you’re stuck in a hotel with hundreds of other likeminded travelers. This is where I typically pick up the most information, aside from the sessions themselves.

A Forum to Ask Questions

There are a number of sessions on a variety of topics, but you’ll have the chance to ask questions in each. It’s a professional environment where you aren’t ridiculed for asking a specific question, and you’ll be in the room with other individuals who most likely have the same question as you, and were wondering the same thing.

Learn Tricks and Tips You Can’t Read Online

Many of the tips and tricks taught at FTUs can’t be published online, either because it is “inside information,” or it’s difficult to explain in an online format. You’ll be able to see visual demonstrations on how to use programs such as ExpertFlyer and ITA, and also be able to see the process to book a complicated award live on a big screen projection.

It’s a Time to Get Your Inner Traveler Out 

Okay, admit it. When you’re traveling with family, sometimes you feel awkward trying to use your elite status or talk about the next best way to get those few extra points. At an FTU, you’re in a hotel where everyone else is on the same page as you, and wants to learn the tricks of the trade. When you’re in the elevator, you’ll be able to talk Bluebird and Serve. Over lunch, you can chat mileage runs without being ridiculed. In between sessions, you can browse at the amenity kits up for raffle like a kid in a candy store, At an FTU, this is where you can get your inner traveler out without being made fun of.

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Comments

  1. Joey says

    If going to an FTU is not affordable, I would highly recommend people to go to the local meetups near your town. I’ve found networking there to be easier especially for MS tips/tricks since MS tends to be more community/regional based than national.

    • says

      There are “national” meet-ups like FTUs, etc. and then some bloggers and smaller groups host smaller meetups. For example, there’s a smaller meetup in late February near Los Angeles, and one in early March in Charlotte. These are each hosted by different bloggers and blogging groups. The best way to stay abreast of this information is to read the travel blogs, and follow on forums such as FlyerTalk and MilePoint. Bloggers often post the information about their meet-ups multiple times on their blogs, so you’re bound to catch it at some point.

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