Last updated on May 31st, 2013 at 10:20 pm
As part of the 2013 Frequent Traveler University, I won a contest to attend the 25th annual Freddie Awards, which honors the top hotel and airline programs in the US, Europe and Asia. While I previously wrote about what I was expecting from the Freddie Awards and Frequent Traveler University, I also wanted to share what the actual experience was like as an attendee.
The Freddie Awards were held at the USA Today world headquarters, which is just a few blocks away from the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner where Frequent Traveler University took place. I arrived at the office via cab after taking a taxi from the Ballston metro stop to McLean. I immediately knew I was in the right place when I saw they rolled out the red carpet for me (sarcasm).
Inside, there were quite a few people already gathered for the cocktail party preceding the award ceremony. I met some really cool people during the cocktail party, including Jeff the Wanderer from Indulge the Wanderlust.
I also met briefly with my host for the evening, Brian the Points Guy, to check in and figure out our seating arrangements. It turns out that even though I was invited to be part of the Points Guy’s table, I was placed at a different table from the rest of the group. While we were disappointed that we couldn’t all sit together, I took it as an opportunity to get to know some of the other great people who were in seated at my table.
Before too long we were seated and ready for the awards.
First up was Gary Leff welcoming everyone to the Freddie Awards. This was my first time seeing Gary in person and it was cool to see him doing his thing. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I give Gary a ton of credit for me getting into the points and miles hobby. Without reading View From the Wing, I’m not sure I would have this blog today.
Next up was Randy Petersen, who talk about Sir Freddie Laker – the namesake of these awards. This was the 25th annual Freddie Awards, dating back to 1988. I was honored to be a part of the 25th anniversary!
I’m not going to go through each award winner, but I can say that it was fun to see which programs won. We had a good time guessing which program would win and the good folks at Le Club Accor even let us take a picture of one of the many awards they won. They clearly deserved the award!
It was a great night and a perfect introduction into the weekend! I came into the event not knowing anyone in the frequent traveler world and left this event with several new friends and business cards.
Would I attend again? Most likely, yes. While there were a few things that I disliked about the event (audio quality was poor so it was hard to hear the speakers and the food was borderline awful), the positive experiences were many as well. I am sure next year they will resolve the food and audio issues, and I would be honored to attend again!