Com­ing and Go­ing A new South­west point sys­tem.

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL - cogo@wash­post.com.

South­west changes its fre­quent flier pro­gram; part of Fla. turn­pike goes elec­tric

South­west, points taken

We’ll miss you, 16 cred­its that earned us a free ticket on

South­west. Sure, the re­wards had to be used within two years, which some­times put the pres­sure on. And no, they couldn’t be ap­plied to in­ter­na­tional flights, which forced us to visit states we nor­mally would have flown over en route to Europe or Asia. But we un­der­stand that things must change, like your Rapid Re­wards pro­gram, and we are will­ing to give your new fre­quent flier plan a chance. Just please, don’t make us do too much math.

“I think the new pro­gram is a huge im­prove­ment over the old pro­gram,” said Tim Win­ship, edi­tor-at-large of Smarter Travel. The old pro­gram’s “num­ber one sell­ing point was its sim­plic­ity, and that has been sac­ri­ficed for the new pro­gram. But I think it’s a worth­while sac­ri­fice, con­sid­er­ing all the other ben­e­fits.”

Pre­vi­ously, trav­el­ers earned a credit for each one-way flight they took on South­west. When they’d earned 16 cred­its, they got a free ticket. So what can fre­quent South­west fliers ex­pect now?

Start­ingMarch 1, pas­sen­gers will col­lect points based on ticket cost and cat­e­gory. ( Vir­gin Amer­ica and JetBlue fol­low a sim­i­lar model; the ma­jor car­ri­ers typ­i­cally em­ploy mileage-based pro­grams.) For ex­am­ple, from cheap­est to most ex­pen­sive: Wanna Get Away earns six

points to the dol­lar; Any­time, 10 points; and Busi­ness Se­lect, 12 points.

“You know what you’re earn­ing and you know it’s based di­rectly on what you’re spend­ing,” said Win­ship. “You don’t just get what you pay for; you pay for what you get.”

Re­deem­ing points is also con­tin­gent on the fare scale: Wanna Get Away, 60 points to the dol­lar; Any­time, 100 points; and Busi­ness Se­lect, 120 points. For the best value, all fin­gers point to theWanna Get Away fare: For ex­am­ple, use 6,000 points on a $100 WGA $220 BS flight flight. vs. 26,400 on a

air­line Dur­ing will the grand­fa­ther tran­si­tion, in the the old 1,200 cred­its, points valu­ing each. Pas­sen­gers them at may also pur­chase ad­di­tional cred­its to reach a free ticket.

Some of the other big changes in­clude the abo­li­tion of ca­pac­ity con­trol, so pas­sen­gers can use their points on any seat on any flight at any time. Also, the points will not ex­pire as long as the cus­tomer keeps the ac­count ac­tive within two years. And for the first time in the car­rier’s his­tory, pas­sen­gers can cash in their points for in­ter­na­tional air through part­ners of the do­mes­tic car­rier. They can also earn and spend points at more than 800 busi­nesses, in­clud­ing ho­tels, rental car com­pa­nies and cruise lines.

For info: www.newrapid re­wards.com.

Florida’s cash­less tolls Driv­ers on a por­tion of

Florida’s turn­pike must keep the change start­ing Feb. 19, when a stretch of the road be­comes fully elec­tronic.

The toll­booths be­tween ex­its 1 (Florida City) and 47 (Mi­ami-Hollywood/Fort Laud­erdale line) along the Homestead Ex­ten­sion will no longer ac­cept cash or coins. In­stead, driv­ers may pay through the Toll-by-Plate sys­tem, which snaps a photo of the li­cense plate and mails a bill to the reg­is­tered owner, plus a $2.50 ad­min­is­tra­tive fee. Or they can pur­chase a miniSunPass sticker, avail­able for $4.99 at 888-865-5352,

www.sunpass.com, or at var­i­ous re­tail­ers and toll plaza lo­ca­tions.

For rental car driv­ers, most of the ma­jor com­pa­nies will al­low their cus­tomers to place the toll charges, plus ser­vice fees, on their credit cards.

Travel ticker

The Dali Mu­seum in St. Peters­burg, Fla., de­buts its new

$36 mil­lion build­ing on Tues­day. Tick­ets will be avail­able for pur­chase at the door start­ingWed­nes­day. Info:

www.sal­vadordal­imu­seum.org. Re­port­ing: An­drea Sachs. Help feed CoGo. Send travel news to:

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