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A domestic Y (economy class) discount fare for first class. Although the fare code is Y, the booking code for such fares is A or F (First Class). Similar to Q-UP fares.


If a hotel is overbooked and has no room for a confirmed guest, it "walks" a guest to a nearby hotel. The overbooked hotel generally covers the cost of the guest's stay as well as transportation to the new hotel.

Upper Upscale

Applies to hotels that are between the luxury and upscale tiers. Examples of upper upscale hotels are Westin, W Hotels, Le Meridien, JW Marriott, InterContinental and Sofitel.



Applies to hotels that are between the upper upscale and mid-tier categories. Examples of upscale hotels are Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard by Marriott.



TripIt pulls your flight, hotel, car etc. bookings into a single consolidated itinerary after you email it all your travel confirmation emails.


TripTracker provides real-time status alerts for your flights, itinerary changes, airports, weather, and miles. You register your frequent flyer accounts, and as soon as you have itinerary changes, such as an upgrade that clears or a seat changes, or have new frequent flyer miles that post, you’ll be alerted immediately.

Shoulder season

A time period between peak season (e.g. summer) and low season (e.g. winter)



The SkyTeam alliance includes Aeroflot, AeroMexico, AirEuropa, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, China Southern, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, Tarom and Vietnam Airlines

Star Alliance

Star Alliance members include Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, BMI, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, Swiss, TAM, TAP Portugal, Thai, Turkish Airlines, United and US Airways.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts include hotel chains such as Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, W Hotels, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

Starwood Preferred Guest is the frequent stay program of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Brands include Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Four Points, aloft, element, and The Luxury Collection.

Status match

When an airline frequent flyer or hotel frequent guest program matches your elite status from a competing program. Not all programs offer status match, and those that do generally require proof of status in the form of a recent program statement and copy of your elite status card.

Status match

When an airline frequent flyer or hotel frequent guest program matches your elite status from a competing program. Not all programs offer status match, and those that do generally require proof of status in the form of a recent program statement and copy of your elite status card.

Rack Rate

The published room rate. Most corporate and leisure travelers pay a discounted rate, not the rack rate.


Revenue per available room. RevPAR is the key performance metric for hotels, as it includes both occupancy rate and the average room rate per night:

RevPAR = occupancy rate x average room rate per night


Royal Ambassador

Royalty Ambassador is the top tier status level of Priority Club, Intercontinental Hotel Group's loyalty program. Royal Ambassador is by invitation only, unlike top tier status at most other hotel loyalty programs, where there is a clearly defined threshold to attain elite status. Benefits of Royal Ambassador include guaranteed upgrades (often a double upgrade is given), complimentary minibar, guaranteed 8am check-in and 4pm check-out, and welcome amenity.


A domestic Q (economy class) discount fare for first class. Although the fare code is Q, the booking code for such fares is A or F (First Class). Similar to Y-UP fares.


Abbreviation for passengers

Per Night

Used in the context of a hotel awarding frequent guest points for each guest night.

Per Stay

Used in the context of a hotel awarding frequent guest points for each guest stay, regardless of the number of nights that the stay includes.

Positive Bag Matching (PBM)

As a security measure, an airplane will not depart unless each passenger who checked a bag is also on board the airplane.


The highest attainable elite status on Singapore Airlines.

Presidents Club

Continental Airline's Presidents Club Lounges are for its BusinessFirst, International Business Class and Star Alliance Gold Elite passengers.

Priority Club

Priority Club is Intercontinental Hotel Group's loyalty program. In addition to Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, brands include Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites.


The Purser is typically the most senior flight attendant on board. Some airlines may instead use the term Cabin Manager or Chief Flight Attendant.


The occupancy rate of a hotel is the percentage of available hotel rooms that are occupied for a given time period.

Off-Peak Travel

Travel during a low demand time of year; usually excludes the times around major holidays and peak summer travel. Airlines specify peak and off-peak dates, and severely restrict or prohibit award travel during peak travel times.


(O/W) An itinerary from departing point to destination only, without return flight(s) to the point of departure.

Oneworld Alliance

The oneworld® alliance includes 11 member airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas and Royal Jordanian. Additional partners that will be joining the alliance include Russia's S7 Airlines (late 2010) and India's Kingfisher Airlines.

Open Jaw

Roundtrip (R/T) ticket with three or more points of departure/arrival. For example, an itinerary that departs from New York, arrives in LA, then departs from San Francisco and arrives back in New York. Open jaws are allowed on some award tickets.


Online Travel Agency. Examples include Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.


A joint U.S.-Canada program that expedites U.S.-Canada border crossings for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.


All Nippon Airways


Flight that flies directly to its destination, without stops. A nonstop flight is always direct, but a direct flight may not necessarily be nonstop.


Non-revenue space available. Typically describes personal travel by an off-duty airline employee. Revenue space comprises seats taken up by paying passengers.


Northwest Airlines

Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards is the Loyalty Program for Marriott Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, EDITION Hotels, Autograph Collection, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, and The Ritz-Carlton


Applies to hotels that are between the budget and upscale tiers. Examples of mid-market hotels are Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Ramada Inn, Novotel and Ibis.


Mileage Run

A number of flights (or flight with many connections) taken for the sole purpose of accumulating frequent flyer miles, often at the lowest possible expense.


Million Miler. A frequent flyer who has earned at least one million miles in a frequent flyer program. Programs differ in terms of how miles are counted; for example, United Mileage Plus only includes miles actually flown in United, whereas American Airlines' AAdvantage includes miles from all sources.


Medallion Qualifiying Miles (Delta SkyMiles program)

Multi-Airport City

A city or metro area where multiple airports can be considered as interchangeable for the purpose of airfares and routing. There may be a single 3 letter code that includes all airports, although codes may vary depending on the CRS. For example, only Sabre uses QLA to refer to multiple airports in Los Angeles.

Left Seat

Pilot (Captain) of flight

Linked Accounts

Linked Accounts enable two members of an affinity program to earn miles or points for the same account (or allows them to transfer miles/points between their individual accounts), typically using an affinity credit card.

Luxury (Deluxe)

Applies to the most luxurious, 5-star hotels that are above the upper upscale tier. Examples of luxury hotels are Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, and St. Regis.


KVS Availability Tool

The KVS Availability Tool allows fliers to find flight availability in four of the major systems: Worldspan, Apollo, Sabre and Galileo. It also gives insight into award availability for three of the major alliances: Star Alliance, One World, and SkyTeam, plus United Airline's and Cathay Pacific's upgrade availability. Other features include the ability to quickly look up visa requirements, airport taxes, and minimum connection time in each airport.


Involuntarily Denied Boarding. When a passenger is involuntarily denied boarding (involuntarily bumped) from a flight, the airline provides compensation, usually in the form of a voucher good toward future travel on that airline. Compensation may also include an overnight hotel stay and/or meal vouchers, depending on the length of time until the next flight that the passenger is rebooked on.


In-Flight Entertainment

Hilton HHonors

Hilton HHonors is the Hilton Hotel Loyalty Program. It includes not only Hilton Hotels, but also Waldorf Astoria, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, and Home2


An airport that an airline uses to transfer passengers as part of a hub and spoke model, where passengers that are not served by direct flights are transferred at the hub airport to a flight to take them to their final destination. An airline may have multiple hubs. For example, American Airlines uses Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) as hubs.

Hyatt Gold Passport

Hyatt Gold Passport is the loyalty program for Hyatt, which includes Grand Hyatt Hotels, Hyatt Regency Hotels, Hyatt Resorts, Park Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Place, and Hyatt Summerfield Suites


Gate Agent. Gate Agents work at aiport boarding gates, where their tasks include making boarding announcements, processing tickets as customers board, and handling seating assignments, upgrades, and standby passengers.

Gateway Airports

Domestic airports that are the point of departure for international destinations.


General Manager of a hotel. The GM is responsible for the hotel's overall operation and typically reports to the hotel's owner or, if a hotel chain, the corporate office. Duties include hiring and management of hotel staff, revenue management, managing major renovations or facility projects, handling any major crises or emergencies, and managing public and community relations.


Gold Passport, the Hyatt affinity program


Compliment cards that are sent to United Elite Level members, who may write a compliment or thank you on them to hand to United employees they wish to thank.

Guest Amenities

Guest amenities are the toiletries usually provided in a hotel guestroom's bathroom, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower caps, etc.


First Officer (Co-Pilot)


Flight Attendant


Federal Aviation Administration. Has the authority to regulate the safety and all other aspects of civil aviation in the U.S.


Federal Air Marshal. Federal Air Marshals are tasked with detecting and preventing hostile acts that target the U.S., and are deployed on high risk flights. The Federal Air Marshal Service was rapidly expanded following the 9/11 attacks and is estimated to employ thousands of FAMs.

Fare Basis

Refers to the practice of many airline and hotel affinity programs of determining the number of miles or points awarded, based on the airfare or room rate paid. For example, some frequent flyer programs do not award miles for highly discounted fares.


Front, Even; Back, Odd. This acronym refers to how meal orders are supposed to be taken in premium (Business and First Class) cabins. On even numbered flights, the FA(s) are supposed to start asking passengers at the front of the cabin their choices and work their way back, while on odd numbered flights, requests should be taking starting at the back of the cabin. In practice, some FAs take meal orders first from passengers who have paid full fare, and last from passengers who have received complimentary upgrades or are flying on award tickets.


Frequent Flyer



Fine Hotels and Resorts

The American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts collection includes about 600 hotels and resorts worldwide where AMEX members, particularly Platinum card holders, receive special benefits. Platinum card holder benefits include room upgrade subject to availability, continental breakfast for two, late check out and a special gift or amenity unique to that property.

Full Folio

A practice of some hotel affinity programs that award points based on the total amount of the hotel bill (e.g. room service, spa treatment, etc.) not just the room rate


A discount airfare exclusively available online, which typically does not award mileage credit.


An electronic ticket; many airline tickets are now E-Tickets, which are printed out by the passenger prior to going to the airport or from an airport kiosk, after swiping the credit card used to purchase it.

Electronic Upgrades

Paperless upgrades that are requested and granted wholly online.

Enrollment Bonus

A set number of miles or points awarded to a new member of a frequent flyer or frequent guest program


Elite Qualifying Miles. Although many frequent flyer programs permit members to earn miles in a variety of ways (including affinity credit card purchases), typically only miles earned certain ways, e.g. through actual paid flights, count toward qualification for elite status.


Elite Qualifying Points (EQP) are an alternative way to qualify for elite status. While Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) accrue at 1.0 EQM for each mile flown, EQP accrue at 0.5-1.5 per mile flown, depending on the class of travel booked: paid first class travelers earn 1.5 EQP per mile whereas discounted coach travelers earn 0.5 per mile flown.


Executive Platinum status in American’s AAdvantage frequent flyer program.

Expedited Awards

A premium service offered by frequent flyer programs, where, for an additional fee, a member may request expedited processing and delivery of a frequent flyer award. Often the expedited award is delivered within 24 hours.


ExpertFlyer, similar to KVS, provides flight, upgrade and award availability information. ExpertFlyer has a more user-friendly interface and does not require a software download. It costs $99/year for unlimited usage, including automated alerts that you can set in order to be notified when a seat or upgrade becomes available.


Extended Stay

Extended stay hotels focus on guests that stay for a prolonged period, usually more than 5 consecutive nights. Examples include Homewood Suites, Hyatt Summerfield Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott and Staybridge Suites.

Direct Flight

Contrary to popular belief, the term "direct flight" applies to any flight that uses the same flight number for the entire route, even if there is one or more stops or a change of plane. In contrast, a "nonstop flight" refers to a flight that makes no stops enroute to its destination.

DM List

Departure Management List. The DM List is used by the gate agent to assign upgrades, typically according to passenger frequent flyer status and/or type of ticket/fare class that a passenger is holding.

Class of Service

Refers to the cabin the passenger is flying in; generally international flights offer first class, business class and economy class. Domestic flight may offer only two classes, business class and economy.

Class of Service Bonus

A bonus of extra miles (often 50% or 100%) that many airlines add to a passenger's frequent flyer account when the passenger takes a paid flight in Business or First Class. Some programs add the bonus even when the passenger flies Economy, if the passenger has attained a certain frequent flyer status level.


Continental Airlines.  Continental Airlines recently announced a merger with United.


Codesharing occurs when an airline provides service under another airline's name. Both airlines' codes appear in reservation systems and on tickets, and passengers are able to accrue miles on either airline.

Companion Ticket

A complimentary or discounted ticket for a companion flying with a passenger who has bought a ticket.

Confirmed Upgrade

An upgrade to a higher class cabin (e.g. business class or first class) that is guaranteed prior to travel


Computerized Reservation System. These systems provide real-time airline schedules, seating, fares, and the ability to book reservations and issue tickets.


Bed and Breakfast. B&Bs range from the very basic, with self-serve continental breakfast, to luxurious 5-star inns with full gourmet breakfasts cooked by professional chefs, but in all cases B&Bs are not part of major hotel chains.


British Airways

Blackout Dates

Dates during peak travel seasons when airline (and some hotel) award travel is unavailable.  Typical blackout dates include around holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. in the U.S.) and peak summer travel periods.

Budget (Economy)

Applies to hotels that are the lowest tier. Examples of budget hotels include Motel 6, Econo Lodge and Super 8 Motels.


Bulkhead Seats

The bulkhead is a divider in an airplane that separates one section from another. Bulkhead seats generally offer more legroom, but also lack underseat storage space as there are no seats in front of them.


Bumping passengers occurs when an airline has overbooked a given flight and has to "bump" passengers with confirmed seats. Generally an airline will first ask for volunteers willing to give up their seats in return for compensation, typically a voucher good for a certain amount off the price of future travel (voluntarily denied boarding).  Bumped passengers are transferred to a later departing flight.

If there aren't enough volunteers, the airline then has to bump passengers (involuntarily denied boarding), often based on factors such as passengers who were last to check in, didn't have an assigned seat, and/or were traveling on the cheapest tickets. Involuntarily bumped passengers entitled to a refund of the portion of their travel for which they were bumped, and if not accommodated on another flight within four hours, can receive a refund equal to double the cost of the ticket, subject to certain maximums.

Actual Miles

The actual number of miles that a flight covers; does not take into account elite-level status, class of service, bonuses, etc.


Average Daily Rate. Total revenue for all rooms for a given period (e.g. month, year) divided by the number of occupied rooms for that period. Used by hoteliers as a measurement of economic performance.


Aeroplan is Air Canada's frequent flyer program. Points earned in it may be redeemed on Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and other members of the Star Alliance

Affinity Card

Credit card issued in partnership with a hotel or airline loyalty program. A card holder earns miles or points by charging purchases to the card.

Airport Code

Three-letter code that identifies an airport. For example, HNL = Honolulu International Airport


Group of airlines that enable frequent flyer program members of each particpating airline to use their earned miles or points for award tickets or upgrades with other participating airlines of the alliance.

Amenity Kit

Toiletry kits that airlines offer international first class and business class passengers

American Express Platinum Card

The AMEX Platinum Card offers a variety of travel-related benefits, such as airline lounge access, $200 reimbursement of airline fees (limited to one airline that you choose), the Fine Hotels & Resorts program with special perks for select hotels, companion airline tickets (but the purchased fare must be full price), baggage insurance, purchase protection, and a personal concierge service. The card earns 1 point per $1 spent for most purchases, and the annual fee is $450.


Advance purchase excursion fares. They must be purchased in 7-30 days in advance, depending on the fare and airline, and are typically the lowest available fare.


Automated ticket and boarding pass, generated electronically.


Air Traffic Control

Award Wallet

Award Wallet is a free service that allows you to track and monitor your frequent flyer miles, hotel points, and other loyalty points. It will send you automated alerts when any miles or points are due to expire, for up to three accounts; by making a donation or referring five people to Award Wallet you are upgraded to the premium version, Award Wallet Plus, which will monitor all accounts.


A person with United Mileage Plus Premier Executive 1K status, achieved by flying 100,000 actual miles or 100 paid segments.


A person with United Mileage Plus Premier Executive status, achieved by flying 50,000 actual miles or 60 paid segments in a given calendar year.


A person with United Mileage Plus Premier status, achieved by flying 25,000 actual miles or 30 paid segments in a given calendar year.


A person with United Mileage Plus Premier Associate status, the lowest elite tier. This status is only given through the invitation of another Elite member.

Star Alliance

Star Alliance members include Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, BMI, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, Swiss, TAM, TAP Portugal, Thai, Turkish Airlines, United and US Airways.

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