Southwest does major frequent-flier program overhaul

Southwest Airlines unveiled a major revamp of its Rapid Reward frequent-flier program, switching from a flight-segment-based system to one using points that accumulate based on how much money is spent on fares. Southwest executives, in a briefing for the media yesterday, said they had worked three years and spent about $100 million to overhaul the program into one that should especially appeal to business travelers who usually pay higher fares than vacationers. Among new perks: Points can be used for international flights operated by other airlines and a greater variety of other merchandise or services. Here is more detail from a hometown newspaper story.