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Best, worst frequent flier programs

The idea of getting free flights to anywhere in the world is enough to persuade consumers to sign up for airline miles. But not all frequent flier programs are created equal, and in some cases, consumers come to think of them as worthless rather than a gratis giveaway.

"It struck me how wide the depth was of frequent-flier satisfaction," says Brian Karimzad, director of MileCards.com. "When you look under the hood, while each program can get you anywhere in the world for close to the same mile price, there are differences that separate how consumers view them."

Here are the seven best and worst parts of the nation's five largest airline miles programs, based on a MileCards.com survey in December 2013 of 1,600 members of frequent flier programs.

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