Introducing our opening keynote speakers, Dave & Deb from The Planet D!
A little bit about Dave & Deb
We’re Dave and Deb a married couple from Toronto that founded ThePlanetD.com after cycling the continent of Africa. After following our passion for travel and adventure, we became well-known travel personalities both online and in mainstream media. We’ve had the opportunity to work as travel ambassadors and spokespeople for some of the world’s largest brands such as American Express, TravelSmith, Expedia and TripIt. We also worked closely with destinations such as Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia in our home country of Canada. Plus major media campaigns in addition to working with dozens of brands and tourism boards on individual travel projects.
ThePlanetD won back to back Gold Medals for Best Travel blog at the Society of American Travel Writers and The North American Travel Journalists Association. We have been featured in major international media outlets such as The Today Show, BBC World, Canada AM, The Social, Yahoo Travel, Mashable and Forbes to name a few.
We love to speak about travel and have spoken around the world about not only travel and blogging, but adventure, pursuing passion and what it takes to make that happen. .
We’ve been lucky enough to travel to more than 100 countries on all 7continents and inspire people to follow their dreams and push their boundaries by living through ThePlanetD’s motto “adventure is for everyone”.
How we got into Travelling
Our passion was ignited during a trip to Thailand in 2000. We were stuck in a rut and booked a 5-week vacation where we stepped out of our comfort zone for the first time in our lives. We tried new things like rock climbing and sea kayaking and we immersedourselves in a new culture. After that trip we were inspired to make life an adventure and we took our new found love for adventure home. We took up mountain biking, scuba diving and snowboarding and every chance we had we travelled. We worked in the Toronto film industry which gave us plenty of time to see the world and soon we became more comfortable on the road than at home. For the next 7 years we searched for ways to make travel a career from running cycling tours to becoming dive masters. It was signing up for the Tour d’Afrique, the world’s longest cycling race that we found our answer. We initially wanted to pitch a TV series about an ordinary couple doing extraordinary things. We had to start a travel blog for that race and it soon took off. People wanted to read about our travels and our experiences and we realized that running our own travel blog was the way that we’d have control of our own destiny and be able to travel the world. We’ve been travelling and blogging full time since 2009.
Our Favourite Points Strategy
Our points strategy is consistency and loyalty. We don’t enrol in a lot of points programs, we stick to the ones we love. We only fly Star Alliance (Air Canada) when we have a choice to build status. This year we’re already at 75k status and will definitely reach 100k status before the end of the year. Status is important to us because we receive free upgrades, perks like lounge access, priority check in and priority boarding. By remaining loyal to one brand we built points quickly and reap the rewards.
When it comes to credit cards, we focus only on American Express. Our Amex Platinum card builds rewards quickly. We put everything on that card and quickly build up free travel. We can use our Amex card to book travel and then pay that travel off with our rewards. We’ve stayed an entire week in Athens on Amex Rewards, we constantly book hotels and pay of our stay with rewards. Plus, our Platinum Card also gives us automatic gold status for Starwood Preferred Guest, Club Carlson and Hilton HHonors, You normally have to stay a lot of nights and accumulate a lot of points to get that kind of status.
We find that having an Amex Platinum Card and being loyal to Star Alliance is all we need to have top tier service.
Our Topic this year for PointsUYYZ
For the Love of Travel
Everyone loves to travel, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a person saying “I wish I travelled less.” But what is it that makes people love travel? It’s more than just seeing sights and checking destinations off a list. It is about how it makes us feel. Travel makes people better people, breaks down prejudice and is the best education. We examine what it is that keeps people spending their hard earned money on vacations. We look into the reasons that travel hacking has become so popular. Travel is attainable and reachable. More people are traveling than ever before and they are figuring out ways to see the world on a budget or through points and rewards because they love it. Travel challenges us, it puts adventure into our lives, it creates new friendships, and it opens our minds. We learn as much about ourselves when traveling as we do about the countries we visit. Why do we love travel, because it makes us appreciate life and realize just how precious this world is.
What you can get by attending PointsUYYZ
We are looking forward to learning from the experts. We travel a lot, but have never claimed to be expert travel hackers. Some people have their ears to the ground and know every deal or scheme. We also want to learn how Canadians can benefit. It seems that there is a lot of information for American travellers, but Canada has very different rules and rewards programs, we want to hear how we can make the most of more points.
What’s next on the travel itinerary
After the conference, we head to Istanbul for another travel conference and then we are going to travel around the country for a bit seeing Cappidoccia. We are then going overland through the Balkins to Tuscany in Italy. After that we plan on taking a break in Canada and then heading to Rwanda and Uganda in the New Year.
We are honoured to be able to speak in our home town to people who love to travel as much as we do. Travel is a privilege and we never take that for granted. We are lucky as Canadians to have opportunities to travel that many people around the world cannot afford and we are excited to celebrate the love of travel with everyone during the Canadian Points University conference.
PointsU Toronto will be hosted at Toronto Region Board of Trade Ballroom this October. Don’t forget to get your tickets for the event! If you want to learn more about how to best maximize your reward points or learn how to travel for cheap, come out on October 22nd!