Frequent Flyer Glossary

The frequent flyer world is full of jargon! Here’s a list of the most commonly used terms that you may see used in the community.

2/3/4: Refers to a rule put in by Bank of America where they will only approve you for 2 cards per rolling 2 months, 3 cards per rolling 12 months and 4 cards per rolling 24 months. This only applies to BoA cards.

5/24: Refers to a rule put in by Chase USA where they will not approve you for certain cards if you have opened more than 5 cards within the past 24 months. 

*A – Star alliance: An airline alliance that includes Air Canada, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and others. Alliances are important because they allow you to book different airlines using a single frequent flyer program. For example, collectors of Aeroplan (Air Canada) can use their points to book flights on EVA Air.

AC – Air Canada: Canada’s national airline. 

AF – Annual fee: The fees that premium credit cards charge.

AP – Aeroplan: Air Canada’s Frequent Flyer program until 2020. Unlike other airlines, Air Canada’s program is run by a separate company called Aimia.

BoA – Bank of America: Canadian friendly US card issuer that had notoriously lack controls for approving Alaska Airlines credit cards.

DKYWIA – Do you know who I am? A term used on Flyertalk to describe self-aggrandizing people who really aren’t that important. When staff deny their often ridiculous requests, they huff up their chests and ask, “Do you know who I am?

DP – Data points: Other people’s experiences. e.g. Does anyone have any data points on the success rate of applying for 10 cards in a day? 

DCTA – Don’t call the airline: What you should do when you book a mistake fare.   

Ebates: The world’s largest cash back site. 

F – First Class: Typically used to describe a First Class ticket booked on points.  e.g. I just booked a last minute F trip on CX for JFK-HKG.

FT – Flyertalk: The world’s most popular frequent flyer forum. 

FD – Fuel dumping: Taking advantage of airline ticket combination rules to drop the fuel surcharge on plane tickets. This can save you hundreds of dollars on flights.

FYF – First year free: Credit card companies will waive annual fees in an effort to entice people to signup. You’ll typically see this when offers are described: FYF, 25k signup, $5k min spend which translates into no annual free in the first year, 25,000 points for signing up with a $5,000 minimum spend.

GCR – Great Canadian Rebates: The other major cash back site in Canada. Be sure to signup before doing any more online shopping!

Hidden city ticketing: Booking a flight with minimum of one stopover and one destination with the intent of disembarking on the stopover and never boarding the flight to the destination. This works because airlines may price a ticket from A-B as more expensive than A-B-C. 

HUCA – Hang up, call again: The adult version of “Mom says no, so ask Dad.” If you can’t get what you need from a telephone agent the first time, hang up and call again. Continue to do so until you get what you want or they catch on and say “Sir, you’ve called 15 times about this. Please stop asking.”

IIROPS Irregular operations: Anything that could affect your flight (e.g. weather, mechanical problems).

ITIN – Individual taxpayer identification number: Used in the States to declare income when you do not have an SSN. Abused by the Canadian frequent flyer community to build a credit file and sign up for American credit cards.

J – Business Class: Typically used to describe a Business Class ticket booked on points. e.g. I just booked a round-trip in J on BR for YVR-TPE. 

Manufactured spend: Making purchases with your credit card that can be easily converted into cash. Manufactured spending can cost money, but people do it because the value they derive from the points they earn exceeds the cost. 

Married segment: Two or more segments that airlines tie together to control routings. This is most common when you have a long haul flight connecting to a short haul flight. The airlines tend to want the short hauls to act as feeders to the long haul flights. In the real world, you might run into challenges finding award availbility. 

For example, searching for availability for A-B-C (with A as the origin and C as the destination) might show availability, but searching for B-C won’t because they are married segments. Sometimes award agents can override them, but YMMV.  

MBNA: Subsidiary of TD which offers some attractive cards including the Alaska Airlines Card, the Best Western card and the World Elite Card. Fun fact, the letters stand for Maryland Bank, National Association. 

Mini-RTW – Mini round the world: A special term for an Aeroplan redemption that allows you to travel around the world on what should be a return ticket.

For example, if one was flying Vancouver to Singapore, instead of two flights across the Pacific, one could elect to fly over the Atlantic once and over the Pacific once. 

Minimum spend: The dollar amount you need to spend on your credit card to receive your sign-up bonus. If it’s a time period (e.g. 3 months), it’s typically from when you are approved, not when you receive the card. If it’s after X statements, then ensure you make the spend before the statements post.

MPM – Maximum permitted mileage: The maximum distance that you can use to travel between two city pairs. People take advantage of MPM to create routings that may be more beneficial than a direct flight.

MR – Membership Rewards: American Express’ flexible points program. Note that there are several different versions. MR and MR First points have a number of transfer partners and are the most flexible points. MR Select points have fewer transfer partners.  

MR – Marriott Rewards: Marriott International’s points program. 

OJ – Open jaw: An open jaw refers to a segment on your ticket where you arrive and depart from a different city. This can be at your origin or your destination. If you have two open jaws, it’s referred to as a DOJ or double open jaw.

Open jaws are advantageous on certain types of itineraries. 

Double-open jaws (also referred to as nested open jaws) can be useful to combine into two different round trips due to cheaper fares originating in a single location. They’re also sometimes used in fuel dumping to drop the YQ.


OW – One way: Flying from one place to another. Sometimes when you make award bookings, it can be beneficial to book two one ways instead of a return trip.

OW – One World: An Airline Alliance which includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL and a host of others. 

PointsNerd: One of the best bloggers in Canada. 

POT – Point of turnaround: The furthest destination in your itinerary. It’s used to calculate your maximum permitted mileage. 

PoT – Prince of Travel: One of the best bloggers in Canada.

PY – Premium Economy: What you settle for when you can’t book F or J.

Referral: Incentive programs offered by companies to refer friends. Most often used in frequent flyer context to refer to American Express’ very generous referral program.

RFD – Redflagdeals: The site where deal seekers go to share deals.

SPG – Starwood Preferred Guest: The points program offered by the Starwood hotels.

T-x: T is your target departure date and X can refer to any number. You’ll typically see this to describe award availability. For example, Lufthansa only releases their First Class awards to program partners within two weeks of your departure date or T-14.

YQ – Fuel surcharges: Also known as Carrier Surcharges. These are the fees that certain frequent flyer programs and airlines tack on to award tickets. They’re often the reason that people get so frustrated with their “free” frequent flyer tickets.

Y – Economy: Typically used as a shortcut to describe economy award tickets.

YMMV – Your mileage may vary: Some deals come and go very quickly. This means you may get different results than someone else. Thus the caveat with deals, YMMV.

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