Forget expirations, blackout dates and restrictions, there are some frequent flyer programs that are actually worthwhile.
For starters, Southwest debuted a new and improved Rapid Rewards program March 1 to a warm reception by travelers and industry groups alike. In fact, Southwest was Smartertravel.com Editors' Choice winner for best new frequent flyer development of the past 12 months.
Under the new system, points are earned according to the price of the ticket and its seat class (members earn 12 points for every $1 on business fares and 10 points for every $1 on anytime fares). Those points can be redeemed for Southwest flights as well as rental cars, hotels and gift cards for Amazon or iTunes.
Earn 35,000 points or more and score an upgrade to A-list status, which means priority boarding and -- better yet -- priority check-in and security lane access.
Always dreamed of being married by Elvis? Dying to learn the art of metal embossing? Here are 11 wacky ways credit card rewards customers have cashed in their points. More
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