Below are some terms you will see used throughout the site and what they mean.
Admirals Club: American Airline's Lounge. This is a place you can go before your flight if you have access and enjoy complimentary food and beverages, WIFI, work stations, etc...
Annual Fee: The cost of owning a credit card. Most cards come with a fee that can be waived in the first year. When you're looking at which card to apply for, make sure the value you would get is more than your annual fee.
Aspirational Awards: Usually international First or Business Class tickets that deliver an over-the-top experience
Award Ticket: A plane ticket booked using miles. You will not earn any miles on these tickets. Also known as a "free ticket" or "mileage ticket".
Bonus Spend: Dollars spent on categories that give 2 or more points per dollar like travel or grocery or gas or dining. This helps multiply your points quicker.
Business Class: Not quite first class but still awesome and usually significantly cheaper. Airlines are increasingly offering a better business class product. Usually better value to redeem for business class than first.
Centurion Lounge: Airport lounge operated by American Express. Membership comes with the Amex Platinum card. Locations only in: DFW/LA/LAS VEGAS/HOUSTON/NEW YORK (LGA)/ MIAMI/SEATTLE/SAN FRAN. Centurion Lounges have better food and drink options than Admirals Club/United/Delta clubs, but the network is significantly smaller.
Co-Branded Credit Card: A card offered by one of the banks in conjunction with an airline or hotel program. These cards earn points/miles in the currency of the co-branded partner (think American Airlines miles or Starpoints).
Codeshare Partner: Airlines partner with other airlines for marketing help to fill their planes. Example: you can book British Airways flights on American Airlines' website.
Credit Limit: The amount of credit the bank allows you to spend each month.
Credit Score: Think of your credit score as how hot a bank thinks you are. The higher the number, the more attractive you are, which increases both the likelihood of getting approved for a credit card and the total credit line you'll be extended. You can improve your score by paying off your cards every month and keeping a low Credit Utilization Rate.
Credit Utilization Rate: The amount of credit you have used as a percentage of your total extended credit. Say you have spent $3,000 this month and you have two credit cards, each with a $5,000 credit line. You have used $3,000 of your total credit available ($10,000), which means you have used 30% of your available credit. You want this to be the lowest number possible.
Domestic Award: When you redeem miles for flights in the USA.
Economy: Another word for coach. Ugh.
Everyday Spend: Generally represents purchases that don't fall into the "bonus" categories that usually only earn 1 point per dollar like Amazon purchases.
First Class: The best seating cabin on airplanes. It's SOOOOOO much better.
Hard Pull: When you apply for credit, the lender will pull your credit score, resulting in a temporary drop in your credit score- this is a hard pull.
International Awards: When you redeem points/miles for flights originating in the USA to another country.
Legacy Carriers: The "big three" domestic airlines- American, United, Delta
Low-Cost Carriers: LCC's are discount airlines that don't offer premium seating- think Southwest, Spirit, Frontier
Premium Credit Cards: Cards that come with high annual fees that offer higher end benefits like lounge access and hotel programs.
Premium Economy: A newer coach option that usually has more leg-room, a wider seat and sometimes upgraded foot and drink offerings.
Priority Pass: A lounge network made up of independent lounges that some premium cards grant access to. Most of these are average, but still nice if you want some peace and quiet. Stronger international presence.
Revenue Ticket: A plane ticket that you pay for. These flights earn miles.
Signup Bonus: An introductory offer for a credit card to get you to sign up. These are the best way to boost your point/mileage accounts.
Statement Credit: A credit on certain spend (usually airfare) that helps offset annual fees. Can be extremely valuable depending on the card.
Status: Your standing with an airline/hotel chain. Loyalty is rewarded with free upgrades, preferred seating/rooms, breakfast, etc... You want status. If you don't have it, good luck getting anything!
Transfer Partner: When you earn points in one program and can transfer them to another to book an award. Generally you will earn in one program that has the highest earn rate and then transfer them to book an actual award.