This past weekend I attended my first award travel meetup in a couple years (the last one I made it to was back in 2017). I’ve always wanted to make on the seminar-type events, most notably the Chicago seminars, but the timing has never worked out. With lots of other travel plans and life in general, I never could squeeze it in.

But I made sure I carved out time to join everyone in New Orleans this past weekend. It was a meetup to remember.

A Simple Pitch: Points and Miles Camaraderie

The #bigeasymeetup was unlike the past events I’ve considered. Rather than having speakers and sessions, it was simply a time for like-minded award travel enthusiasts to mingle. I had a blast. Saturday afternoon was the main event, and it was great to meet many people I’d only conversed with online. We shared conversation about our best award travel exploits, credit card earning strategies, and other award travel tips. And tickets were only $10!

But the award travel meetup wasn’t the only thing on the agenda. Most folks stayed longer and met up in smaller groups throughout the weekend. From a Friday night spent with most of the Miles to Memories crew, to a lazy morning exploring New Orleans solo on foot, to enjoying beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde, the visit to New Orleans was delightful. Yet the place ultimately didn’t matter. It was the people. The Big Easy is certainly not at the top of my list as far as U.S. destinations go, but I didn’t care. I was meeting old friends and making new ones.

This is what made the weekend. The number of folks (~100) made it hard to really talk with everyone. But making even half a dozen new friends was more than enough. I absolutely loved the time. And I’m looking forward to the nest one.

award travel meetup NOLA

Why You Should Consider An Award Travel Meetup

For years this hobby of mine was 100% online. I have only a couple friends with whom I share this love of points and miles and the wonderful opportunities they offer. It’s rare for me to engage in person with people on the topics of credit card rewards, redeeming airline miles, or planning a trip for $300 to Australia. My coworkers (and boss) all think I’m a bit crazy.

So it can be an awesome thing to head to an event where you know there will be a bunch of like-minded people. Having a common hobby makes conversation easy. I really enjoyed chatting over our four hours or so at the Urban South Brewery. Online conversation is great. But talking in person is just so much better.

But the general camaraderie is not the only reason to attend. During the weekend in NOLA, I also picked up a couple extremely useful nuggets of info that I’d never found online. This can be one of the most useful aspects of in-person meetups. For me, one was a potential new avenue of manufactured spending, a part of the hobby that is really difficult for me living where I do. If the idea works as explained, I might be able to earn a serious number of points every month!

So consider coming to the next award travel meetup, wherever and whenever it may be! Whether it is for the opportunity to learn some “in person only” tips or to simply enjoy the company of other hobbyists, you won’t be disappointed.