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Miles & Points (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.

Miles or Cash Back? The Game's Afoot

Citi has introduced a new cash-back credit card that will give consumers yet another reason to rethink their use of travel-rewards cards.

Allegiant: Print or Pay $5 for a Boarding Pass

Just when you thought the airlines' fee-mongering had peaked, yet another airline figures out how to charge flyers for yet another service. This time, the target is your boarding pass. ... read more»

<strong>Money</strong>

Imagine you innocently go to reach for the <em>Sky Mall Magazine</em>, but instead are rewarded with a wad of cash or a $500 check, as one reader discovered. Finding money can be about as exciting as hitting the jackpot in Vegas, especially when it's in an unexpected place like an airplane, and many of our readers are big winners. Not to mention, you can now afford to buy something from the in-flight magazine, like that <a href="http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=102517807" target="_blank">Big Foot Garden Yeti Sculpture</a> you've been eyeing.

<strong>What about you?</strong>

What other weird, gross, or just plain crazy items have you found in a seatback pocket while flying? Leave a comment below, or to submit your photos, <a href="mailto:kate.hamman@smartertravelmedia.com?subject=Photo submission for SmarterTravel">send us an email</a> with no more than three images attached. 
<h2>All photos must be:</h2>

<ul><li>In .gif or .jpg format</li>
<li> No larger than 2MB</li>
<li> Family friendly</li>
<li> Original, non-copyrighted images</li>
<li> Virus-free</li></ul>

See our <a href="http://www.smartertravel.com/us/terms.html">Terms and Conditions</a> for complete details on our submission criteria.

For years, I have been suggesting to my readers that they should compare the value of any rewards credit card they're considering not with another rewards card but with a cash-rebate card.

Cash always trumps loyalty points with the same value, because cash can be spent on anything, not just travel. And with loyalty programs' value in continual freefall, who knows what the value of a loyalty point is?

Cash is solid, and flexible -- two things that frequent flyer miles are not. ... read more»

Everyone is talking about seat reclining. More specifically, everyone is talking about the Knee Defender, a terrible thing that some folks use when they're not busy tempting humankind into sin. The Knee Defender is a gadget that you clip to the seatback tray in front of you to stop a plane seat from reclining. This product has been around for a while, but it was all over the news this week after two passengers got into a fight over it and ruined the flight for everyone onboard.  

Since the story broke, the Knee Defender has been selling like crazy. The inventor of the gadget said his site received 500 times its normal rate of traffic. Still, it's unlikely that everyone's going to start using this product on planes. First, the Knee Defender is banned by most major U.S. airlines, and rightly so. Second, the Knee Defender is the worst, and any passengers equipped with basic interpersonal skills will not use it. ... read more»

Airport: Man Running (Photo: Thinkstock/Goodshoot)

Just when you thought the airlines' relentless fee-mongering had reached its peak, yet another airline figures out yet another way to charge flyers for yet another service once considered basic.

This time, the target is your boarding pass.

Here's the announcement, from Las Vegas-based Allegiant:

For travel starting September 1, 2014, a $5 per boarding pass fee will apply to passengers who choose to have a boarding pass printed out at select domestic airport locations. To avoid this charge, passengers may check in online and bring a printed paper boarding pass to the airport, or use the Allegiant2Go mobile boarding pass. Please note, this charge does not apply to passengers who are unable to check-in online or via the mobile app dues to Allegiant system restrictions, passengers with disabilities or traveling with special service requests, such as service animals, cabin pets, and passengers traveling out of non-participating airports.

Allegiant is among the only carriers worldwide charging for a printed boarding pass. Among U.S. carriers, yes, Spirit charges extra for a boarding pass. But so far, they've been alone in doing so. Making matters worse, Allegiant hasn't done a good job of communicating the fee ... read more»

Air: Woman in Airport Looking Out at Plane (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

With dozens of new domestic and international airline routes slated to launch later this year, look out for new flight service in an airport near you. ... read more»

Woman shopping online with credit card (Photo: Index Open)

J.D. Power today released results of its eighth annual ranking of credit card customer satisfaction.

The study measures customer satisfaction with credit card issuers by examining six factors: interaction; credit card terms; billing and payment; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution. The overall satisfaction level -- 778 on a 1,000-point scale -- is the highest it's been since the study's inception. ... read more»

(Photo: Aetrex)

What Is it: The Justin Boat Shoe from Aetrex.

Price and Where to Buy: $119.95 on Amazon. The shoes will also be available on Aetrex's website in September.

... read more»

Ryanair jets lined up on the runway (Photo: Airbus S.A.S. )

Is Ryanair business class an oxymoron? We'll soon know.

"Europe's favourite low cost airline" (Ryanair's self-description) rolled out Ryanair Business Plus, what it's calling "a tailored suite of travel benefits."

Predictably, nowhere in that "suite" is anything resembling a suite, or even a seat with significantly more legroom. ... read more»

Are you sitting in your cubicle at work, bored and daydreaming about the exotic islands you would rather be on? Take our quiz to help narrow down your fantasy… we'll tell you where to go for your best vacation ever! ... read more»

Credit Card: People Passing Card (Photo: iStockphoto/Marcus Clackson)

Just last month, Citi gave its ThankYou rewards program a significant lift with the addition of eight new airline programs that ThankYou points may be transferred into at a 1:1 ratio.

Unfortunately for U.S.-based travelers, all eight programs are hosted by non-U.S. airlines. So transfers directly into the likes of American, Delta, and United aren't possible.

Nevertheless, the participating carriers do represent all three of the global airline alliances -- oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star -- effectively expanding the range of redemption options to include, yes, American, Delta, and United. ... read more»

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