Glossary of Travel Terms

 
Maui Beach Palm Tree

(Danielle’s cheap lodging in Maui was about 20 steps from this quiet beach.)

We use a few unconventional terms throughout this site, so we thought it would be helpful to define them in one page. We will try to keep this list updated as new terms are used. If you find other terms you think should be on this list, please leave us a comment below.

  • Airline Miles Credit Card: This is a type of travel credit card that racks up miles directly with an airline’s frequent flier program. We recommend using these rewards to fly on really expensive flights (like overseas flights) because you can often redeem these miles for just $5 to $80 in fees, thus saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars off the regular airfare price.
  • Airline Travel Voucher: Airlines give you one of these when you volunteer to get bumped from your flight. Vouchers are as good as cash to buy a ticket from the issuing airline and usually have no redemption fees or blackout dates, resulting in a true, 100% free-of-charge airfare ticket (assuming your flight costs less than your voucher value). Read about how to earn vouchers in Step 3.
  • Binge Travel: When people save up all their vacation time and money to take one big trip once a year, or less.
  • Bump: When you volunteer to change from your original flight to a different flight, usually in exchange for an airline travel voucher.
  • Domestic Flight: A flight within your country.
  • Fringe Season: The 1-3 weeks of “off-peak season” immediately adjacent to “peak season”. Because peak and off-peak seasons are often determined by weather patterns with a 1-3 week variance, you can often get the same travel experience as peak season for the lower price of off-peak season, plus fewer crowds and shorter lines. Also, the exact date of peak and off-peak can vary by individual hotels and airlines. To find out when peak season is for your destination, try a web search for “[destination] peak season”.
  • Hub Airport: Each airline has a few airports where they own more gates than other airlines so they can use those gates as hubs to connect flights to smaller airports. In the United States, airlines often have a hub airport on the east coast, west coast, and central U.S. Find out which airline uses your nearest airport as a hub, because chances are good that airline’s rewards program and miles credit cards will be easiest for you to earn and redeem the most free flights. To find out your nearest hub airline, try a web search for “which airline uses [yourcity] as a hub”.
  • Miles: When used in the context of “credit card miles” or “frequent flier miles”, “miles” references the invisible currency of miles used to redeem cheap airfare. Some credit card and frequent flier programs use the word “points” instead of “miles”, perhaps to avoid confusion with the physical miles flown or to be redeemed. We use “miles” and “points” interchangeably on this site.
  • Points: An invisible currency used to redeem cheap airfare. Some credit card and frequent flier programs use the word “miles” instead of “points”, so we use both terms interchangeably on this site.
  • Statement Credit: Some travel reward credit cards allow you to redeem your reward in the form of money deducted (a “credit”) from your bill (A.K.A. your monthly “statement”). This is akin to getting money back on a travel purchase. The credit card legalese often refers to this as a “statement credit”.
  • Travel Rewards Credit Card: This is a type of travel credit card that offers a statement credit for any travel purchase charged to the card, usually within the past 90 days. These rewards aren’t tied to any airline or travel brand, and can often be redeemed in increments as low as $50. As such, we recommend using these rewards on lower-cost travel purchases, such as domestic flights, hotels, and rental cars.
  • Value Bonus: When time, place, circumstance, and/or personal interests creates extra value for the same or less money than otherwise available. For example: an independent hotel owned by a chef who knows all the best local restaurants is a Value Bonus to any foodie traveler.

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