My Top 4 Reasons to Attend the Chicago Seminars 2017 – The Travel and Points Conference!

Written by on April 18, 2017 in Travel Tips

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Do you have a growing interest in travel points and frequent flyer miles? Or are you just passionate about travel? Consider attending the 2017 Chicago Seminars this October 20-22!

The Chicago Seminars

The Chicago Seminars is a volunteer-run event at the Holiday Inn Chicago-Elk Grove in Elk Grove Village, Illinois (about 15 minutes from Chicago O’Hare International Airport/ORD). More than a dozen travel bloggers (many from Boarding Area) discuss topics for travelers of all interests and experience levels. Loyalty programs, travel planning, credit cards (pretty much everything you could ever wonder about credit cards), travel tips for couples and families, and much more fill out the 2 1/2 day schedule.

A view from The Signature Room at the 95th®, the John Hancock Tower restaurant in Chicago.

A view from The Signature Room at the 95th®, the John Hancock Tower restaurant in Chicago.

There’s also a charity raffle with — no joke — several dozen prizes. My wife and I won a Hilton Hotels & Resorts gift card and set of packing cubes. Other lucky attendees won first class amenity kits, airline club lounge passes, thousands of points and miles, hotel stays, and more.

Last year was my first time attending the Chicago Seminars. I had a blast, learned a ton, and made several new friends. founder and editor Chris Carley attends the Chicago Seminars 2016 at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village in Elk Grove, Illinois. Yours truly in the Holiday Inn Chicago-Elk Grove lobby during the 2016 Chicago Seminars!

Registration for this year’s event is $105. Coffee breaks and Saturday and Sunday’s lunches are included. (I think one breakfast per room is included for those staying at the host hotel)

What the Chicago Seminars Is NOT

The Chicago Seminars is not a travel and adventure show. You won’t find destination exhibitors, adventure excursion reps, vacation club agents, or luggage vendors selling you their wares. (About the only places to spend your money onsite are the restaurant, bar, and charity raffle.) Those events are great and can, no doubt, help you find a dream vacation.

The Chicago Seminars, though, help you figure ways that will save you a ton of money making a dream vacation (or ten) affordable. (Here’s this year’s event schedule)

My Top 4 Reasons to Attend the Chicago Seminars 2017

Something for Everyone

Everyone — from beginners to hardcore point enthusiasts and road warriors — all learn something new each year at the Chicago Seminars.

You don’t need to hold status with any airline, hotel, or rental car company. You won’t be exiled for not having an airline credit card. People won’t make fun of you if you can’t tell your SPG from your SPF. All are welcome. In fact, perennial Chicago Seminar speaker Rene de Lambert assured a self-admitted “newbie” that “[The Chicago Seminars] is focused on those new to the game. You will have a blast!”

Rene de Lambert (from Rene's Points) -- decked out in his gift card-decorated sport coat! -- speaks during the 2016 Chicago Seminars. Rene’s Points namesake Rene de Lambert  — decked out in his gift card-decorated sport coat! — speaks during the 2016 Chicago Seminars.

Tons of Tips

I took about 30 pages of notes last year — and those were just I learned in sessions. Point redemption tips, upgrade advice, when to apply for which credit cards, other loyalty programs to should consider and much more were all discussed thoroughly.

Do you enjoy flying Southwest and want to learn more about the airline of LUV? You’ll love the Southwest roundtable during airline breakout discussions. Do you like Marriotts? Sit in on SkiAdcock’s Marriott roundtable. Plenty of travel and point advice is shared during these sessions.

A lot of extra “good stuff” is passed along during downtime with your fellow attendees.

We swapped Las Vegas restaurant recommendations during Saturday night cocktails with a new friend from Minneapolis. At that morning’s breakfast, several people gave my wife and I (who learned a few weeks prior we were expecting our first child) plenty of excellent advice about traveling with young children. We had a great timesharing trip memories and ideas with fellow Delta travelers.

You can ask pretty much anyone a question — if they don’t know the answer, they’ll point you in the right direction.

Stefan Krasowski from Rapid Travel Chai leads the Chicago Seminars 2016 open panel discussion. Stefan Krasowski (center, standing) from Rapid Travel Chai leads the Chicago Seminars 2016 open panel discussion.

It’s an Excuse to Travel!

Unless you live in Chicagoland, I guess. But if that’s the case, it’s a great opportunity for a mattress run!

Earn Points!

Yes — staying at the Holiday Inn Chicago-Elk Grove during the Chicago Seminars earns you IHG Rewards Club points! (In fact, your stay will probably trigger at least one category of the fall quarter’s Accelerate promotion.) There’s a discounted rate of $94/night (plus tax) and no award availability at the hotel during the Chicago Seminars. (I believe the hotel might be sold out for most of the dates but check back because people do cancel) Remember to earn bonus by charging everything to your room and paying with the IHG Rewards Club MasterCard!

Keep in mind there’s good elite mileage run potential to get to Chicago! Last year, I did LAX-SFO-LAX-ATL-ORD. I’m planning a two-day, four-state run to get there this year. 😉

Will You Be There?

Shoot me an email (chris at, message me on Twitter or comment below if you’re going!

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About the Author

About the Author: Chris Carley is a writer, media consultant, voice over artist, dog owner, husband, and recently became a dad! He loves talking all things points and miles. You'll likely find him in an airport lounge while on a trip that involves the most circuitous route possible leading to his ultimate destination. .


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