Southwest Rapid Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards

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 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.

Last updated May 20 2011: 5:43 AM ET

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