Chicago Seminars is one of the travel conferences that everyone in the industry looks forward to every year. This October will be special because it will be the 10th anniversary, so you know that it will be amazing. Join me at the Chicago Seminars 2019 for a weekend of networking, miles and points talk, and delicious deep dish pizza.
What is the Chicago Seminars?
The Chicago Seminars is a non-profit event where 100% of proceeds after expenses are donated to charity. It is one of the original travel rewards conferences and has retained its personal charm year after year.
When is the Chicago Seminars 2019?
The Chicago Seminars is held one weekend every year around the 3rd weekend of October. This year the Chicago Seminars 2019 will be held on the weekend of Friday, October 18, 2019, through Sunday, October 20, 2019.
When booking your flight, plan to arrive early on Friday. This way you won’t miss out on networking with the speakers and other guests.
What is the schedule for Chicago Seminars 2019?
This conference will be jam-packed with knowledge and killer presentations from 15 experts from travel rewards community. The fun starts on Friday afternoon and the party ends on Sunday evening.
The registration desk is open Friday, October 18, 2019, from 4 pm to 8 pm and from 8 am to 12 noon on Saturday.
Conference sessions begin at 5:30 pm and run until 8:30 pm on Friday. Saturday is a full day of knowledge bombs starting at 8:30 am and ends with a happy hour networking reception at 7 pm. On Sunday, the sessions begin at 8 am and ends at 4 pm.
On both Saturday and Sunday, there is a one-hour mid-day break for complimentary lunch.
Who will be speaking this year?
As usual, there will be multiple speakers presenting at each timeslot throughout the conference. This way there is always something for everyone, no matter if you’re an experienced veteran or brand new to the game.
There are so many expert speakers on this year’s roster, it will blow your mind. What a year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Chicago Seminars!
- Howie Rappaport – Chicago Seminars organizer
- Rick – Chicago Seminars organizer
- Lee Huffman – BaldThoughts.com (that’s me!)
- Dave H – Bikeguy on FlyerTalk
- Bethany Walsh – Bougie Miles
- Henning Mente – First Class & More
- Nick Reyes – Frequent Miler
- Greg Davis-Kean – Frequent Miler
- Shawn Coomer – Miles to Memories & Disney Hacks
- Tiffany Funk – One Mile at a Time
- Stefan Krakowski – Rapid Travel Chai
- Dia Adams – The Deal Mommy
- Spencer Howard – Straight to the Points
- Richard Kerr – The Points Guy loyalty and engagement editor
- Zach F
What topics will the speakers be talking about?
Most speakers will be presenting on multiple topics throughout the weekend. Looking over the schedule, I count more than 30 sessions covering a wide range of miles and points strategies to really help you maximize your miles, points, and credit cards.
|FRIDAY OCTOBER 18TH|
|4pm – 8pm||Registration Desk Open|
|530pm – 6pm||Welcome to Chicago Seminars & Tips on a Successful Event (Howie)|
|615pm – 715pm||50 ways to earn miles, points, & cash back without a new card (Lee Huffman / BaldThoughts.com)||Sweet Spots & Maximization with Hotel Points (Henning Mente / First Class & More)||Non Rev – Good, Bad, Ugly (Dave H / Bikeguy)|
|730pm – 830pm||Fly 9 people on the same award flight almost every time – Sweet Spots! (Richard Kerr)||Case Study: I went from MS idiot to earning 500K points in a month (Zach F)||Maximize Las Vegas/Hotel Loyalty Crossover – (Bethany Walsh / Bougie Miles)|
|SATURDAY OCTOBER 19TH|
|8am – 12pm||Registration Desk Open|
|830am – 930am||Credit & Rewards Cards – History Lesson, How Things have changed, and where we are now. (Howie & Rick)|
|945am – 1045am||Awards worth MSing for (Nick Reyes / Frequent Miler)||Points to Islands – The World’s Most Incredible Islands and How to Get Yourself to Them (Stefan / Rapid Travel Chai)||My 2.5 Month Family Trip (Shawn Coomer / Miles to Memories & DisneyHacks.com)|
|11am – 12p||New to the game: Understanding award charts, partner airlines, and transferring your points and miles (Tiffany / One Mile at a Time)||Advanced Credit Cards (Stefan / Rapid Travel Chai)||Leveraging Vacation Rentals – Hotels Don’t Always Make Sense (Dia / The Deal Mommy)|
|12pm – 1pm||Lunch|
|1pm – 2pm||Panel on Disney (Dia, Shawn, Richard, and Marty)||Ask Me Anything with Tiffany from One Mile at a Time (Tiffany / One Mile at a Time)||Outside the Box (Henning Mente / First Class & More)|
|215pm – 315pm||All the apps you need on your phone to save money on everything (Richard Kerr)||#40kfaraway with Frequent Miler (Greg & Nick / Frequent Miler)||Maximizing Air France Flying Blue (Spencer / Straight to the Points)|
|4pm – 5pm||Ask Me Anything / Why You’re Doing it Wrong – Dispelling Group Think in the Points/Miles World (Richard Kerr)||Ask Me Anything with Frequent Miler (Greg / Frequent Miler)||How Miles & Points Led Me to Quit My Job and Move To Nashville (Lee Huffman / BaldThoughts.com)|
|515pm – 615pm||Buying into Buyer’s Groups (Zach F)||Loyalty Program Elite Status Without the Loyalty – (Bethany Walsh / Bougie Miles)||Group Award Travel – 5+ people (Dave H / Bikeguy)|
|615pm – 7pm||Ask Me Anything with Stefan and Zach|
|7pm – 8pm||Happy Hour / Reception in Woodfield Ballroom|
|SUNDAY OCTOBER 20TH||(All Sunday Sessions are open to all)|
|8am – 9am||Open Panel Discussion on Credit Cards|
|9am – 10am||Sponsors Workshop|
|10am – 11am||Charity Raffle|
|1115am – 1215pm||Airline Breakouts – Large Roundtable discussions for major airline programs|
|1215pm – 115pm||Lunch|
|130pm – 230pm||Hotel Breakouts – Large Roundtable discussions for major hotel programs|
|245pm – 4pm||Event Closing & Open Panel on Everything Else Moderated by Stefan / Rapid Travel Chai|
Which hotel will the conference be held at?
The Chicago Seminars is held every year at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village. The hotel is located at 1000 Busse Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. There is free shuttle from O’Hare Airport, but it can be slow at times. You can take an Uber or Lyft for a few bucks if you want to avoid the wait.
The hotel has multiple conference rooms for the multi-track schedule plus an indoor pool in case you feel like taking a dip. There is also an on-site restaurant called Shelby Campbell’s Restaurant. It is popular with the attendees who want a frosty beverage or a fun place to hang out.
Is there a group rate for the hotel?
Yes, the organizers have negotiated a group room rate of $115 per night plus taxes & fees. I looked up the option to pay in points, but the hotel was reserved all weekend for Chicago Seminars attendees.
When you stay at the host hotel, your room includes breakfast for two each morning.
If you want to use points to pay for your hotel room, use the Capital One Venture or Barclays Arrival+ for your reservation, then erase the purchase with points afterward.
If the hotel is full, where else should I stay?
There are several hotels nearby where you can use points or cash. The Chicago Seminars is not near downtown Chicago, so don’t plan to stay there unless you want to drive or take an expensive Uber/Lyft and take 30+ minutes to back and forth to the conference every day.
Here are a few of the alternative local hotels for you to consider. As of this time, there are no conference rates at these hotels:
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Elk Grove Village/Itasca
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago Wood Dale – Elk Grove
- Four Points by Sheraton Mount Prospect O’Hare
- Hyatt Place Chicago/Itasca
There’s still time to apply for a new credit card to earn enough points so your stay is free. Check out our credit card marketplace for the latest offers.
If you’re looking for luxury, there really aren’t any options near the conference hotel. Your best luxury options would be downtown Chicago but then you’ll need to commute 30-60 minutes each way.
How much does it cost to attend the Chicago Seminars?
Conference registration is $125 per person. Of course, you can pay with your favorite credit card when paying online.
If you have a Discover it credit card, register for their quarterly 5% promo when paying via PayPal. h/t to Howie for sharing this little hack to save 5% on your registration!
How do I register for the travel conference?
What is included in my registration fee?
The registration fee of $125 includes access to all registered sessions, complimentary lunch on Saturday and Sunday, coffee and snack breaks throughout, and a happy hour on Saturday night.
What happens if I cannot attend this year?
All registrations are non-refundable. If you cannot make it this year, you can transfer your ticket to someone else for a $50 fee. Contact the organizers at ChicagoSeminars2019@gmail.com to request the transfer.
Sponsorships are still available
If your business caters to travelers, credit card users, or the miles & points community, you should be one of the sponsors of the Chicago Seminars. Spaces are limited, but there are still a couple of spots available.
The sponsor fee of $1,000 covers:
- 1 ticket to the event
- 8’ table near the registration desk
- 10 minutes to speak in front of all of the attendees on Sunday morning at the Sponsors Workshop
For more details, contact ChicagoSeminars2019@gmail.com.
The Bald Thoughts
I look forward to Chicago Seminars every year. It is a great opportunity to see old friends and make new ones as we discuss the latest tips and tricks in the miles and points community. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse for me to eat some Chicago deep-dish pizza! Register now before this event sells out.
Remember, that 100% of the proceeds after covering expenses will be donated to charity. So, when you see the volunteers walking around selling raffle tickets, pull out your credit card and buy a few. You never know what cool prizes you could win on Sunday morning!