A Lookback At DansDeals Seminars; Secret Secrets Are No Fun?

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I’ve been blogging about credit cards and miles since 2004 and in that time-frame I’ve come across all kinds of juicy tricks and secrets. The key is figuring out the right balance between what to share and what to hold close to your chest.

Price mistakes often die very quickly, so there’s no reason not to share those. They’ll be corrected within a short period of time regardless of whether I publish it or not.

Other tricks are a judgement call. I try to get the balance correct, though I have made errors. Will the trick die prematurely if published broadly or will it die anyway? Should they be shared in forums and is it possible to contain them only there?

After 8 years of blogging I came to the conclusion that perhaps an in-person seminar would be the best compromise. In it I could try to bring beginners up to speed and share all sorts of tricks that I hesitated to share online. My only request from attendees was that they keep things discussed in the seminars offline. A bit naive perhaps, but worth a shot I figured.

Between 2012-2015 I ran 15 DansDeals seminars which were attended by some 5,000 people with every cent of the tens of thousands of dollars from the admissions fees going to the non-profits that hosted each seminar.
View the rest of this post after the jump:

 

I covered a wide range of topics via a powerpoint presentation that grew to nearly 200 slides. Some tricks were explained at length, some were mentioned ever so briefly due to time constraints. But even after a 2.5 hour seminar I always stayed and answered dozens of questions for another hour or more.

As a lifelong introvert and non-public speaker I found the seminars to simultaneously be completely draining but also oddly rewarding. I met hundreds of people each night who knew so much about me but I’d never remember their names and faces. For reasons I still don’t understand they would ask to take a selfie and tell me how I changed their lives. People often told me they were surprised to see how down to Earth I was in person, how I had answers and the patience for all the questions asked, or that they appreciated my self-deprecating sense of humor, though I guess that just means I give off a different persona online? It was all surreal and it provided such different feedback than the comments and emails I usually rely on. But the next day I’d be physically exhausted and have no voice left.

Dealing with local politics and norms (should seating be gender-segregated, mixed, or some combination thereof, etc.) was difficult to say the least. No matter which way it was done there people who were furious.

Eventually other bloggers started coming to the seminars. They promised not to share secrets divulged, but many did make their way onto their blogs.

Some of those tricks, like how I pulled off a 12BM and a 24BM for Alaska Airline’s cards, were killed off by those bloggers after they attended seminars. It was changed to applying for 4 cards from BOFA or 5 Alaska cards but those blog posts started after those seminars and of course once something like that goes public it never ends well. That’s life I suppose.

Airlines like Avianca, American, Delta, and United and several banks closed many the loopholes I talked about as well.

And it was difficult to balance the needs of a crowd that varied from beginner to expert. Sure I could split things up and run separate seminars. I split things up into 5 seminars at the Smilow Pesach program in 2014, but that worked because I was invited there with my family for the entire Pesach to do just that. I wouldn’t want to spend that much time away from my family otherwise.

So it’s not much of a shock that I haven’t run a seminar in the US since 2014 and any seminar since March of last year.

But all things considered, they were fun times:

 

Crown Heights 6/25/12:

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Boro Park 5/5/13:


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Lakewood 5/7/13:

 

Chicago 6/6/13:

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Cleveland 11/9/13:

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Los Angeles 12/23/13:

 

 

 


 

 

Teaneck 1/7/14:

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Five Towns 1/8/14:.

dd5t

 

 

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Miami 6/19/14:

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Boro Park 6/24/14:

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Monsey 6/25/14:

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Crown Heights 11/19/14:

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Jerusalem 3/7/15:

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Twitter was also a good place for instant feedback.

Some people came to 2 seminars in a row:

 

 

While others admitted that they lost me. The first part was geared towards beginners, but you could see people’s eyes glaze over afterward:

 

 

Or that I just talk too darn fast:

 

But there was lots of positive feedback as well:

 

 

 

 

 

 

DDF member “meshugener” captured what I was trying to do the best,

“Thanks Dan!
You’re quite a good speaker… Directly to the point, very easy to understand.
In just two hours, he basically said everything there’s to read on DDF… even what’s in JJ’s signature…
Wish I had such a seminar 2 years ago, wouldn’t have to spend so much time DDFing…”

 

I’m not sure I actually accomplished that, but that was the goal at least.


At the seminars I was able to share tricks and secrets that are best left offline or at least written in code like the “Verrazano trick” the “train trick,” the “UPS Method”, the “insufficient funds” trick, among many others.

One trick I spoke about was one that the bloggers admitted they had never heard of, the United award expedite trick. Shortly after the seminar it started making its way around several blogs, though changed from how to do it online to having to call up to do it.

I suppose it was changed for plausible deniability?

But last week I saw it posted on a blog with the simple online trick that I demonstrated in all of my seminars, so I may as well share it with my readers as well if it’s going to be on every blog. I won’t scream it out in the title, but if you’ve read this far, here’s how I presented the trick in the seminar slides.

Last Thursday I searched for a one-way flight from Newark to San Francisco on Friday. The cheapest flight was $680.

That’s a great time to use miles. United had lots of 12.5K saver award space, a value of a whopping 5.4 cents per mile.

However unless you have a United Club card or have elite status you’ll get hit with a $75 expedite/close-in fee:

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The workaround is simple enough. Book an award for travel more than 3 weeks in advance, such as for 10/4.

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After booking it will say that it’s confirmed but is awaiting ticketing:

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Wait until it says that it’s been ticketed and click on change flights:

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Then just type in he actual date of travel and, surprise, you’ll be looking at the good old United.com layout:

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Select the flight of your choice and you won’t pay a dime for the change as you can make free changes within 24 hours of ticketing.

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Did you gain anything from attending a DansDeals Seminar? Feel free to share your feedback in the comments.

Leave a Reply

64 Comments On "A Lookback At DansDeals Seminars; Secret Secrets Are No Fun?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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Jerry

Can’t you do an online seminar?

dantheMAN

I went to your seminar and did this trick recently!!! Thanks

rita

Time for another Lakewood Seminar

Agoldsc1

Or another one in the USA?

Anonymous

That bloggers post was deleted after a couple of hours. I assume you’ll do that to?

matovu

Dan,
went to 3 Seminars.

have made thousand’s of dollars with miles since 2012 when you hooked me into this.

I have flown to countless places.did lot’s of it in F, showers…. e.t.c.

and become a small expert and go to guy in my little community as well..

TimT

So long as you never mention the “sooper seekrits”.

Josh

I went to the Teaneck seminar and learned to get over my fear of opening credit cards!

luvtotravel

ups method? seriously??

Ariella

I did learn lots from the Seminar, thank you!

Anonymous

When is your next new York seminar? I would love to attend the next one

LS

I always said I would go to the next one and then there was no next one! A great charity auction idea would be a lunch 1:1 with you. Would be awesome!

High end hobo

No mention of points of yours which suddenly went missing after Seminars?

Also the close in trick doesn’t work so well online when changing to XN space.

P.S. please do another seminar, for pros, and vet the attendees berforehand.

BBPAPA

So Dan, are you giving up on the seminars altogether?
If not, would like to see you give another one in Brooklyn or Queens.

My son went a few yrs ago. Said it was a ton of info but didn’t understand it all since he was new to it.

joetraveler

I have heard (unofficially) that this trick will disappear in October once United installs their new restrictive award rules. Is this your understanding?

Myi

Dan/jj you guys still do a great job with the ms, keep up the good work! And yes there’s lots of speed bumps in life! Got to ride over it!
Thanks for your amazing pieces of art you’ve posted over the years!

Joseph

Would it be a possibility to have an online seminar?

Shimmy Atlas

So proud to be featured in this article! Yes I was a beginner but I learned so much! I’m a Dansdeals chossid now! Thanks Dan for all your hard work!

Dan

@Jerry:
That would be even more problematic.

@Anonymous:
I purposely buried it and didn’t blare it out in the title…

@LS:
I’m not nearly that exciting.

@High end hobo:
Don’t need to give any more thiefs any wise ideas.

Right, I’ve noticed that XN issue as well.

@BBPAPA:
I think I’m done but I won’t say never.

@joetraveler:
It’s definitely possible.

@Myi:
Thanks.

@Shimmy Atlas:
Awesome!

Yitz

Oh come on Dan i thought youd share something good! This is very well known its also publicaly available/written outright on other blogger sites like MMS

Welder

I attended the CH seminar in 2014 and that really taught me a lot, and jump-started me into this hobby, even as some of the info went over my head.

I would love another seminar, now that I’m more seasoned, even without “secrets”. There’s still much you could share, like award program analysis and sweet spots, for example.

And yes, I love the idea of a pro seminar with vetting attendees!

Also, I read about this close-in trick, online, over a year ago.

Dan

@Yitz:
I’m aware. He attended the Monsey seminar+afterparty and later posted the BOFA and UA tricks after promising not to.

Why would I want to kill others tricks?

Yankel

Dan

Start with private sessions.

I’m sure they’re a lot who would be interested.. And if you do start, let me know 🙂 Hatzlacha

Bear

Second the 1:1 lunch and pros seminar.

Anonymous

@Dan:
Yeah, I noticed that and figured that’s why you did it this way. Much better for anti search engine activity. Thanks.

BTW, I’m sure you notice the demand for another seminar… 🙂

Could be prescreened with admission only if someone can vouch for you isn’t a bad idea, like High end hobo suggested.

Anonymous

@Yitz:
The fact that MMS wrote about it should be an alert. That person has never written anything original. Ever. That stuff was stolen straight from the DDS, after promising specifically not to, and without a word of credit being given to the source. Dubash is among the filthiest in the business.

danfan

can we learn about the ups method?

Mahyar

your seminars were the best, would love if another one could be arranged somehow. It would certainly raise a lot of tzedaka money!!

sb

@Dan
Always rewarding when a ddfb post triggers a dd post… or at least i think it did 🙂
that being said I still dont know what the heck the ups method is and i’ve been to a seminar… any help? 🙂

Anonymous

@Dan: if you knew he was there you should have thrown him out! I hate when 1 idiot ruins things for others

Something Fishy
SG

Interesting the UPS method is not dying…😂

Ryan

Any seminars in houston in the future?

Shlomo

Please create an online seminar series you can close registrations whenever you want charge a monthly fee release 1 course a month and share insider info on that course.

Sillypainter

This post was well worthed, it woke up “Meshugener” from his hibernation.

SoCal Dude

There’s my picture…front row & center at the Los Angeles seminar!
Proud to have offered to help with an LA seminar & grateful for the lifechanging benefits provided to my family by Dan & DDF members. It’s a cool group!

Beth

You could always do small CLE dinners and we’ll treat 😉

Ups

So whats the ups method

BKYW

As an unsophisticated user, I hope this simple $75 saver doesn’t go away. Too much money out of pocket for no reason. I think that none of the sites that had it have come close to your following.

Miracles

Dan, you said you were “physically exhausted and have no voice left” – contact me when you’re in Jerusalem for voice sessions. Trust me, it’s worth flying out for them 🙂 Someone who uses their voice properly doesn’t have an issue with losing their voice. It would be a zchus to help.

Also, did you mention this trick in the Jerusalem seminar? I just can’t recall that one. I remember other awesome ones though!

Dan

@sb:
Lol, no. I wrote this last week and have been sitting on it since then.

@Anonymous:
Lol, I don’t think that would have been feasible or a good idea.

@Something Fishy:
That’s in the pro seminar.

@SoCal Dude:
And we’re glad to have you.

@BKYW:
Just as big as DD and it was shouted in the headline.
I posted it discretely for a reason.

Anyway, there’s a decent chance that on 10/6 it may end anyway when they rework their booking system.

@Miracles:
Next time I’m in Jerusalem I’ll have to look you up.

And it was in the Jerusalem seminar, glad you enjoyed.

Jeremy

What if it takes more than 24 hours to ticket?

Dan

@Jeremy:
Ticketing typically takes a few minutes, but either way the 24 hour clock starts once it’s been ticketed.

LoLo

I agree with High end hobo.

“please do another seminar, for pros, and vet the attendees berforehand.”

Just hope that i pass your vetting..

sb

@Dan: hehe oh well. I’ll keep trying. and if i succeed you’ll pm me the ups method 🙂

Mordechai

Hi Dan – I’ve been to two of your seminars. The first one in Chicago was wayyyy over my head. When I was a bit more experienced I went to the one in Boro Park and had a really, really great time and learning experience.

I think that the trend we’re seeing is that a lot of the best kept secrets and methods are going underground and on private forums – I’d love to see a DDF-Level 2 (I know you tried–but with a higher barrier to entry not based on H/Ts and post count, but on experience and what one has to offer to the community).

Up the ante with seminars. Make the barrier to entry a bit more difficult. It can be like a DO but bigger.

What are your thoughts?

Dan

@LoLo:
How do you propose this vetting process happen?

@Mordechai:
Glad to hear.

But with all due respect, if you’re making blog posts for TPG, sister blog of MMS, both owned by BankRate (and who knows which other banks) but each only disclosed several years after the sale, it’s unlikely that you would make it through this mysterious vetting process 😉

But congrats on the gig, let us know if you get invited to Brian’s sweet looking crib in the Hamptons 😀

Dan

@Dan:
On 2nd thought, maybe we should make the seminar at his place http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4-Kettle-Ct-East-Hampton-NY-11937/32660963_zpid/
😉

Anonymous

@Dan: DDF members with a minimum qualifying post count for a start.

eli

@ dan — can u share ur ppt slides??

Anonymous

@Miracles: can you help Hillary ? At least till after the debates.

Trump 2016

savta

Thank you so very much for all the info the you give I have a looseleaf full of cc i have traveled with my miles to more places than i ever imagined. I attended 2 of your seminars in teaneck and monsey. I also always check the forums when i need info on how to do something. Thanks once again

Anonymous

Please don’t forget the amateurs (like me) that just don’t get the lingo yet. We can use an intro seminar too and don’t worry we’re quick learners!

Miracles

@Anonymous: That’s a challenge.

Yeshiva

I remember in yeshiva guys would do this with the mega bus $1 bus fare. So cool wish I’d had known this about United but will keep in mind for next time. thank you for everything just went on a huge honeymoon : )

Moish

Perhaps you could set up some kind of DPC (Dan’s Private Client). Then, if you know someone who knows someone, you can get in, even if you’re a complete miles am haaretz.

Welder

@Dan:
Maybe a combination of A. DDF profile analysis, and B. reference system for those that aren’t known to the community, or who otherwise need to be vouched for.

Moshe

Dan,

Great post…add me to the list of Dans Deals attendee wanna bees….amazing what you created out of nothing other then your tenacity and hard work. Even more impressive is your ability to overcome your fear of public speaking.

Come out or retirement!!!!

Happy to be on the vetting committee to keep the bad apples out!

Shabbat Shalom.

Anonymous

@LS:

Agreed. Or to top ten bidders.

Yitz

@Dan
How did MMS end up in monsey? where does the guy live??

yed

I attended the one held on Motzei Shabbos after Purim in Jerusalem, But only made it to for the second half because i came in from another city and wasn’t able to make it on time, I wish there was another one in Israel where I can make up for that!
Thanks

Anonymous

@Yitz:
He made big travel with small ethics.

BrooklynDan

Thanks for the United Trick. Last month, I was looking into last minute flights and wasn’t able to consider United because of $75 fee. Now I needed a last minute flight back from LA next motzai Shabbos and was able to book the saver fare with the trick. Shkuyach!

CH

@dan what’s the chance of a future NY seminar?

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