Hard-core travel experts recently shared their tips and secrets at Frequent Traveler University in Los Angeles. (Read more: Frequent Traveler University: Hard-Core Travel Tips and Tricks)
The two-day seminar this past weekend focused on how to get the most bang for your buck from airline, hotel and credit card loyalty programs. Sessions offered beginner-level tips for earning miles and points. More advanced sessions tackled which credit cards to use across spending categories — office supplies, restaurants and gasoline to name a few examples — that yield the most reward points for free travel.
More than 400 people from around the world participated in the conference. Here are some inside travel tips from the experts:
Saturday's sessions featured presentations from several BoardingArea.com and other bloggers, who provided step-by-step instructions on maximizing rewards points. Topics included credit card churning (applying for, using and canceling travel-related credit cards just for the bonus points), and finding the best "mileage run" fares and flights to achieve airline elite status at the lowest cost. (Read more: Status Check: Extreme Travelers Sit Through Taxing 'Mileage Runs')
Other sessions included tutorials on top travel-tools such as AwardWallet (a mileage/point tracking app), Google's ITA Matrix software (a powerful airfare-search tool) and new entrant MileWise.com. MileWise takes travel searching to the next level by displaying the best method a user can book airline flights or hotels, whether it be cash or using miles or points.
Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier blog, offered tips on how to be proactive in predicting flight delays, often before the airline publishes revised departure times. One idea: check with FlightCaster.com, a website that uses an algorithm to predict delays based on historical and real-time data.
Another suggestion: Did you know you can track flight status for the inbound aircraft your departing flight will use? FlightAware.com shows where your plane is coming from and if it's delayed. Knowing in advance if a delay is likely can help you negotiate alternative flight arrangements.
The next Frequent Traveler University is scheduled for April 26-28, 2013 in Tysons Corner, Va. Tickets are available to the public for $100. For more information, click here.