One of the longest standing annual miles & points “events” is the Chicago Seminars, which has been held at the Holiday Inn in Elk Grove, Illinois (near Chicago O’Hare Airport) for the past eight years.
Eight years. I’m getting old.
The Chicago Seminars will be returning for a ninth year, and will be held October 19-21, 2018.
Ben and I actually met in-person for the first time at a Chicago Seminars many moons ago, so the event is always covered in nostalgia for me. The fact that Howie has this event down to a science so that very little changes year to year probably helps with that. While there are plenty of new folks each year, seeing the same faces in the same format (including the staff at the host hotel) always makes it feel more like a family reunion to me than anything else.
This is an all-volunteer event, with all the proceeds going to charity. The $111 registration fee includes access to all sessions (based on space availability), lunch Saturday and Sunday, along with coffee breaks.
That being said, if you have dietary restrictions you may want to plan on making alternative meal arrangements, and possibly even going as far as to rent a car. There isn’t much in the area (there is a restaurant on-site with a sports bar style menu, and a Starbucks and a Taco Bell within walking distance), and as of last year Postmates didn’t deliver to the hotel.
Here are the links with all the most important info:
- Chicago Seminars ticket registration link
- Holiday Inn Elk Grove group booking link
- Chicago Seminars speakers list and schedule
As is traditional for this event, there is a very diverse assortment of speakers spread over two dozen sessions. I generally like to focus on the very beginner sessions, and will be giving a spiel about booking your first award. I’ll also be doing what I expect will be a very poorly-attended Ask Me Anything, as it’s opposite a couple of other great sessions, and then will moderate some of the panels on Sunday.
The Chicago Seminars generally attract a good mix of people new to miles and points and savvy veterans, which makes for a fun weekend. We typically have the entire hotel for ourselves, which makes for a cozy event, with lots of great conversations in the bar and hallways. If you haven’t been to an event like this, and can make it to Chicago in a couple of weeks, I highly recommend it!
I know many of us are last-minute planners, so hope to see lots of you there!