Update: The Friday night event is now confirmed to be a tour of the WestJet hangar at YYZ. How amazing is that?! Get your tickets now!
The Canadian Points University, or PointsU for short, is back for another year!
This will be the fourth annual nationwide gathering of the Canadian Miles & Points community, and will take place at the Toronto Region Board of Trade on the weekend of September 29, 2018. This is the second time that PointsU is being held in Toronto, after the 2016 edition at the same venue.
The Miles & Points community here in Canada is small but tight-knit, and PointsU is the biggest occasion for all of us to get together for a few days to share new tricks, learn from the best minds in the game, and enthuse about our latest points-funded adventures around the world.
PointsU YVR, the inaugural PointsU conference was held in Vancouver in early 2016, and from what I’ve heard, it was a resounding success that left everyone imbued with knowledge and inspiration and thrilled at the prospects of building their networks further at future conferences.
Later that year witnessed PointsU YYZ, the first Toronto edition. This was the first conference that I myself attended, where I was able to discover that I wasn’t alone in my pursuits and that I could share my passions with an entire community of like-minded individuals. In fact, it was partly the result of attending that conference that I ended up launching Prince of Travel.
That was followed by PointsU YYC in November of last year – we had a new interactive format over in Calgary, in which attendees engaged in mini-workshops rather than hour-long sessions with individual speakers. We also had a spectacular evening bash that was put on by the Marriott In-Terminal Hotel YYC, which you can read all about in my roundup post of last year’s conference.
Given the success of the previous editions, we’ve all been eagerly anticipating the 2018 event, and that's why I'm so excited now that PointsU YYZ 2.0 is only a few weeks away.
You can find more information on the event over at the official PointsU website. Event tickets are $219, although you can get a $20 discount by using the PRINCE discount code. So for $199, you’ll get the following:
- Friday, September 28, evening: There’s usually an evening bash on the Friday before the main event. The details aren’t finalized yet, but from what I’ve heard, this year’s Friday night reception is planned as a special one-of-a-kind event that you won’t get anywhere else.
Back in 2016, we enjoyed a spread of light hors d’oeuvres in the ballroom of the Fairmont Royal York, before revelling in a tour of the Royal Suite, the iconic hotel’s finest living quarters that hosts the Queen on her visits to Toronto. Think along those lines for 2018, but bigger!
- Saturday, September 29, morning: We get together at the Toronto Region Board of Trade bright and early and sink our teeth into a full day of sessions on travel tips, credit cards, redeeming points, and anything and everything within the realm of Miles & Points.
Morning highlights include "The Catch-Up Session", in which we all get to share what we’ve been up to since the last session, as well as a rundown of the best current Canadian credit card offers.
- Saturday, September 29, afternoon: A lunch keynote takes place with Kevin Crowe, the founder of Give a Mile, who will share with us the inspiration behind his charity and why we ought to share the privilege of travelling on points with those less fortunate than us. After that, we get into the thick of the afternoon sessions, including the Advanced Aeroplan session that I will be leading.
Longtime readers know that I’m a huge proponent of maximizing Aeroplan to fulfill every imaginable travel-related wish you may have, so if you’re interested in sharpening your knowledge on how to make Aeroplan work for you, you’ll want to be in your seats for this one!
That’s followed by a session on the principles of manufactured spending, something that’s rarely discussed outside of in-person events like PointsU. If you’d like to learn more about MS, this event is one of the best occasions to develop a grasp of the topic, and maybe even learn a new trick or two!
- Saturday, September 29, evening: A quick Ask the Experts session is followed by the now-legendary Saturday night reception. After the amazing event that Marriott helped put on for the Calgary event last year – replete with made-to-order entrées and an open bar – I can’t wait to see what the organizers have in store for us this time around.
The Saturday night showpiece also tends to be where most attendees realize the bulk of the value of their event ticket, since as you can imagine, the networking opportunities at the largest gathering of Canadian points collectors are unparalleled.
With gourmet food and free-flowing drinks to keep you revved up long into the night, you can expect to accelerate your growth in Miles & Points, no matter where you are on the learning curve, by many orders of magnitude.
I’ve witnessed – both in myself and others – countless connections that were originally formed at PointsU events which eventually blossomed into hugely beneficial friendships for both parties, so I really can’t emphasize enough the importance of a networking event like this.
Ultimately, $199 can seem like a lot of money to pay for a conference that’s primarily focused on saving money, but the reality is in fact quite the opposite. Take it from someone who was similarly on the fence back in 2016 – if you’re interested in learning about using points for travel and you’re serious about taking your game to a higher level, then I have no doubt that the $199 admission cost will repay itself many times over.
Prizes & Sponsors
I have a great deal of admiration for the organizers behind the PointsU Conference, and once again they’ve managed to secure an impressive array of sponsors for the event. In particular, Marriott Hotels & Resorts is the Gold Sponsor, and given that they’re the best hotel rewards program for Canadians, it’s great to see them engaging heavily with the points community and helping out with our event.
I’ve also got a very good feeling that another major player within the Canadian travel industry has been lined up as a potential sponsor – this has to do with the Friday night event I mentioned previously. Stay tuned to the Sponsors page on the PointsU website for more information!
The sponsors will be offering a variety of prizes for attendees to win, so by purchasing a ticket, you’ll be automatically entered into a draw for some very exciting prizes, including up to 30,000 Marriott Rewards points and 25,000 Aeroplan miles!
Get Your Tickets Now
PointsU Toronto 2018 will take place on September 28-29 at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, located in the First Canadian Place building in Downtown Toronto. If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, make sure to use discount code PRINCE for $20 off. Head over to the PointsU website to buy your tickets!
For newbies to Miles & Points, PointsU serves as the perfect bootcamp, filled with friendly faces who are eager to help you get started on your dream of travelling the world luxuriously yet affordably. For the veterans in this community, it’s an annual celebration of the game we play, an ideal setting to brush up on the hottest deals and the latest tricks, and an occasion to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. I hope to see you all there!