Coming up soon: FTU San Diego, and FTU Dallas. Don’t forget your Platinum card.


Tomorrow (Friday), I’ll fly to San Diego for FTU Advanced (Frequent Traveler University Advanced).  When I was in San Diego during a mileage run several weeks ago, I was given a tip regarding the Airspace Lounge at the airport.  The lounge is accessible to anyone willing to pay $25, but it’s also free to anyone with an AA Admiral’s Club membership or an Amex Platinum or Centurion card.  Thanks to my Citi AA Executive card, I qualify for the first, and thanks to my Amex Platinum card I qualify for the second.  The tip was this: use your Platinum card to enter. That way, just like a paying customer, you’ll get a $10 food and beverage card that can be used to order anything off the menu.  Apparently Admiral’s Club members do not get this perk.


That was a good tip.  I showed up with plenty of time to spare before my morning flight and I was hungry.  But, my Platinum card was at home. I don’t routinely keep the card in my wallet since its not particularly rewarding for everyday spend, and I wasn’t aware that there would be a Platinum card accessible lounge in San Diego.

I remembered that Travel with Grant was able to get into a Centurion Lounge without his Platinum card present, so I tried the same trick.  I told the attendant at the entrance that I have a Platinum card, but it wasn’t with me.  Unfortunately, since this lounge isn’t owned by Amex like the Centurion Lounge, they didn’t have a magic phone number to call.  Instead, they asked me to call Amex and have them verify that I owned the card.  I picked a random Amex card out of my wallet and dialed the number on the back.  Fifteen minutes later I had successfully navigated the menu mine field. The Amex representative verified for the desk agent that I owned a Platinum card, but wasn’t able to divulge the card number.  Luckily I had my card number secreted away in the Cloud and was able to retrieve it after a few minutes of fidgeting with my iPhone.  I was granted admission and given a $10 food and beverage card which I promptly used to buy a breakfast sandwich.

Now, I’m going to add my own tip #2 regarding the Airspace Lounge San Diego: Be careful when grabbing a glass.  I simply wanted a glass of water, so I made my way to the self service drink area and grabbed a glass.  Actually, I tried to grab a glass.  Maybe I hadn’t had enough sleep.  Maybe I was a bit rattled by the long lounge admission ordeal.  Whatever the reason, rather than actually grabbing a glass, I knocked it over.  That, in itself, wouldn’t have been so bad if the glasses hadn’t been lined up side by side with just enough gap between each one to set off a perfect domino effect.  One by one the glasses tipped over.  When the last glass in the row tipped, it hit a wall and fell sideways into the next row of glasses which then continued to fall one by one until hitting a wall, etc.  As I reached further towards the glasses in the vain hope of stopping the cascade, the glasses shattered loudly.  All of them.  So, there I stood in an otherwise quiet lounge with everyone in the room staring at me while a bit of blood seeped out of a cut I didn’t even know was there.  Needless to say, I was extremely embarrassed, but the lounge staff were fantastic.  They cleaned up the mess in no time (while refusing my help) and even found Band-Aids and antiseptic wipes for my hand.

Tip #3: If you’ll be attending FTU Dallas, there’s a Centurion Lounge at the airport there.  I’ll probably grab an early dinner there on Friday afternoon before heading over to the hotel. I can guest in a few people, so send me a tweet if you’re there and want in (@FrequentMiler).  If you have your own Platinum card, you can probably get in regardless of whether or not its with you.  At least, that was Grant’s experience…

So… what is this post about again?  Oh yeah, FTU.  Will you be there in San Diego?  How about Dallas next month?  For those interested, here is my presentation schedule (I’ll try not to shatter any glass during these presentations):

San Diego FTU Advanced (sold out)

A full schedule can be found here:

Saturday March 7th

  • 9:20-10:50: Manufactured Spend
  • 11:00-12:20: Ask me anything

Sunday March 8th

  • 10:30-11:50: Shortcuts to elite status

Dallas FTU

A full schedule can be found here:

Tickets are still available here:

Saturday April 18th

  • 1:00 [Breakout #2]: Using Bluebird, REDbird, and Serve to earn miles
  • 4:00 [Main Room]: Maximizing your miles with online shopping portals

Sunday April 19th

  • 10:30 [Breakout #1]: Introduction to Manufactured Spending

Dallas FTU Advanced

A full schedule can be found here:

Sunday April 19th

  • 9:00 [Breakout #1]: Shortcuts to elite status
  • 1:00 [Breakout #1]: Ask me anything

Topic Descriptions

There will be many terrific presentations at each FTU, but I only have descriptions of the one’s that I’ll be leading:

Using Bluebird, REDbird, and Serve to earn miles: American Express offers a number of prepaid cards that are great on their own as checking account alternatives, but are even better for earning points and miles. In this session, I’ll go over what you need to know to generate hundreds of thousands of miles with these cards.

Maximizing your miles with online shopping portals: Online shopping portals are a great way to earn points and miles for things you would have bought anyway. In this session, I’ll show you the inside tricks for getting rich (in points & miles) from online shopping.

Shortcuts to elite status: Hotels and airlines offer terrific benefits to their top tier elites. Unfortunately, obtaining high level status through flights and/or stays can be tough.  Instead, in this session, I’ll review how to get high level status without flights or hotel stays.

Introduction to manufactured spending: The single best way to earn points and miles quickly is through credit card signup bonuses. There’s one big catch, though: most bonuses require thousands of dollars in spend. In this session, I’ll teach the basic techniques for spending money on your credit cards in ways that result in getting all or most of your money back.

Ask me anything: I don’t have any material planned in advance for these.  I’ll take questions from the audience and answer to the best of my ability. One great thing about these sessions is that there are often audience members who know more than I do about any given topic and they’re usually happy to share the tricks they know.

Future Plans

You can find all of my upcoming event plans under the “Start Here” menu on this blog, in the page: Frequent Miler Event Schedule.

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