As I look back on the past weekend, I am incredibly happy with how everything turned out. In an attempt to keep things intimate and interactive, we limited our attendee numbers to 100 and it certainly helped to facilitate lively discussion and learning. The feedback that we received from the event was nothing short of fantastic and I am incredibly happy that everything went off without a hitch.
For those that didn’t attend PointsU … you should have. There was so much good information available provided by the leading experts from around Canada and amazing prizes to be won thanks to our very generous sponsors.
I don’t know that I can provide a very thorough wrap up on a session by session basis because for the first time, I was doing more facilitating and teaching that attending sessions, which was a bit of shame because I would have loved to have sat in a lot of the sessions.
The Marriott In-Terminal Hotel at YYC
I CANNOT say enough good things about this hotel. In fact, I am going out of my way to stay at the hotel again before we start our luxury round-the-world trip in December. The hotel is brand new and you can tell that it has been very well maintained since it has been opened. The lobby is incredibly impressive and gives you a sense of how great the rest of the hotel is. In a word, it is stunning.
When I checked in, I was advised that I had been upgraded to a corner suite with tarmac views and … WOW … the room was so much more than I could have asked for. Floor to ceiling windows that wrapped two walls with a view of the tarmac? As an aviation nerd, sitting there watching the planes go by and the ground crews servicing the plane … I mean I must have spent a good 2 hours just watching over the course of the weekend.
Fireside Chat with American Express’ Laura Cocksedge
Among all the incredible talks, there were some sessions that really stuck out in my mind as a real treat for attendees.
American Express continues to be a sponsor of PointsU and it certainly was great to hear directly from Laura what it was like to launch the Cobalt card as well as understanding how some of the decisions are made at American Express when launching a new product. There were certainly some interesting questions from the audience after the session and there was definitely interest in speaking with Laura after her session 😉
Manufactured Spend Session
I won’t speak to the content of the Manufactured Spend session but there was most definitely a lot of information shared as well as a lot of insight on how to do MS properly. The session was curated by Ricky Zhang (of Prince of Travel) and myself and I believe that it was an eye-opening session for a lot of people that had no idea that there were so many MS possibilities in Canada.
I remember when I first started out in MS and lamenting that Americans had so many more options than Canadians when it comes to Manufactured Spending but times have certainly changed, especially if you have the right mindset.
Now, before you ask about what methods there are for MS in Canada, you should read about why I won’t discuss them here and why it is so important for you to attend a conference like PointsU.
America the Beautiful
This session about how to obtain US credit cards, curated by Allen Chao and Jeffrey Kwok (of Canadian Kilometers) was a crowd pleaser! So much so that we quickly ran out of room in breakout room.
For those that missed it, I have written a very thorough guide on how to get started in obtaining US credit cards but the session allowed for more thorough discussions regarding the practical aspects of obtaining US cards like the strategy on which cards to get first and any pitfalls you should watch out for.
I cannot stress how important it is to network with your peers in this hobby. A lot of the top secret information that gets shared is done within the network that you build. At PointsU, we try to get everyone up to speed on the latest developments but because the conference only happens once a year, it’s difficult to stay relevant throughout the year if you don’t have a network helping you through it all. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be an expert if I didn’t have my network.
Saturday night we were SPOILED by the Marriott who not only put on a great party with great food and drinks, but they also sponsored the entire evening! Marriott went absolutely above and beyond for the entire event and they while I have been a Marriott loyalist for about a year now, this only serves to reinforce and validate why I have been such a fan. Not only did they roll out the red carpet for us during the conference, I heard amazing things about how guests were treated at the hotel as well.
If you didn’t have a late night or early morning flight, the party went on well into the evening both at the M Lounge (which is fantastic by the way) and the Yakima, the restaurant in the lobby of the Marriott.
I could not be happier with how the event went and can’t wait to do it again next year … probably during a month where it can’t get to -20C.
Special thanks go to Marriott for being a sponsor and being absolutely amazing to work with as well as WestJet who provided some incredibly generous prizes for 3 lucky attendees.
Photo credits for the images in this post go to Jason Binstock and Allan Yong (PekFlyer)