Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Is Amtrak Credit Card Worth It

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Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard

Michigan man allegedly sold nearly $450,000 worth of stolen Amtrak vouchers to travelers

Ratings and reviews are voluntarily submitted by credit card customers who have completed a customer feedback survey and are screened against moderation standards prior to publication. Ratings and reviews presented should not be interpreted as the opinions of all customers and are shared for informational purposes only. Amtrak and Bank of America make no guarantees about the accuracy and/or completeness of such reviews and assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon such customer reviews. The numerical and visual star rating represents the average total number of accepted reviews based on a five star rating scale. Featured reviews are selected based on subjective criteria for marketing purposes. Amtrak and Bank of America reserve the right to remove published reviews at any time and at its discretion.

Reviews were selected from all submitted reviews, as of 5/23/2018

Consider The Quiet Car

Several lines on Amtrak reserve one Quiet Car per train an entire car where all passengers adhere to a blissful library-like atmosphere, eschewing cell phone use, keeping conversation to a minimum, and politely donning headphones for their devices. If you don’t want to talk to your seatmate or hear someone else’s music the whole ride, this is the car for you.

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard Vs Chase Freedom Unlimited

Verdict: A no-annual-fee hybrid cash-back/travel credit card

If you’re not sold on a credit card with an annual fee, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited® instead. This can be considered a top card for earning cash back on both travel and everyday purchases due to its impressive earning rate: Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

This card can also be paired with another Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, so that when transferred, your points can easily be used to redeem travel for maximized value.

  • 660 – 850
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome offer: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy worth up to $300 cash back. Thats 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • Earning rate: Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

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Amtrak Credit Cards No Longer Available

As reported by Doctor of Credit yesterday, the Amtrak credit cards are no longer available for new applicants. Doctor of Credit speculates that this has to do with Amtrak potentially moving to a new bank partner . Given the end -of-year timing, that certainly seems plausible.

Hopefully well see a return of some sort of Amtrak credit card. Amtrak points are quite valuable for those who travel by train. I collect Amtrak points now and then through the shopping portal and Ive often been pleasantly surprised by the value one can get when redeeming Amtrak points for train travel.

Years ago, Amtrak was a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. It would be great to see Amtrak partner up with a bank program that would enable transfers from a bank points currency. Hopefully at the very least we see Amtrak and Bank of America work things out to offer these cards again, but a new issuer probably wouldnt hurt.

How To Earn Rewards From The Amtrak Credit Card

(EXPIRED) Bank of America Spending Offers On Amtrak Cards (&  Possibly ...

You’ll earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points every time you use the card. The payout structure has three tiers:

  • 3 points for every dollar spent on Amtrak, including purchases you make onboard
  • 2 points for every dollar spent on other travel
  • 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else

The limited-time offer of 50,000 points after spending $2,500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening is the big earnings attraction right now. It’s part of Amtrak’s 50th-anniversary celebration, so you should apply soon before the party’s over.

Read more: The best credit card offers right now: Earn miles, points, or cash back

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Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard Overview

  • 3X on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases
  • 2X on travel
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Companion Coupon
  • Complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass
  • One-Class Upgrade
  • Earn Tier Qualifying Points
  • 5% Amtrak Guest Rewards point rebate
  • No point expiration
  • 20% rebate on food and beverage purchases

Specialty Routes For 1500 Points

Special Routes include the following: Blue Water®, Wolverine®, Cascades®, Pacific Surfliner®, Capitol Corridor®, San Joaquin®, Hiawatha®, Downeaster®, The Lincoln Service®, Illini Service®, The Carl Sandburg®, Missouri River Runner, The Illinois Zephyr®, The Saluki®, The Hoosier State®, The Pere Marquette®, The Piedmont®, and The Heartland Flyer®.

I dont know about you, but I only know what a few of these things actually are, so I googled researched them and put the routes below. These are routes that are 1,500 points or 2,000 points in Business Class:

  • Kalamazoo Battle Creek East Lansing Port Huron
  • Chicago Detroit

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Best Use Of Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Amtrak is an awesome hidden gem/transfer that goes largely unmentioned. Yet, it has awesome short-haul redemptions for super cheap, awesome hotel transfers, and amazing value on long-hauls in a bedroom for 2-3 people. The bedrooms apparently make great travel for those with kids.

For a family, Amtrak is one of the most hassle free ways to travel. And the bedrooms or roomettes are completely private. Stick the kids in a roomette, and take the bedroom and enjoy the long haul with food included.

And the best part: If there is a seat/room for sale it will be available for points .

Transfer To Travel Partners

Amtrak Train Travel – Is It Worth The Trip?

You can transfer points to a handful of hotel partners. Though variable, transfer ratios can be pretty good for example, 5,000 Amtrak points turn into 15,000 Choice Privileges points, good for more than 2 free nights at lower-end Choice hotels.

You can also transfer hotel points to Amtrak. However, the ratios are far less favorable. You need 32,000 Choice Privileges points to get 5,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points, for example.

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Earn Amtrak Points Through Partners

Amtrak also has several other retail and commercial partners that let you earn bonus points on hotels, car rentals and more. Amtrak even operates an online shopping portal, which offers up to 18x points per dollar spent at select merchants.

You can also buy points, but we typically only recommend doing so if youre just short on the points you need for a specific award.

Earning Amtrak Points When You Ride Amtrak

The Amtrak loyalty program is free to join. When you book your next Amtrak trip, simply provide your member number and youll start earning 2 points per $1 spent on Amtrak purchases. Purchases for business class travel will earn you a point bonus of 25%, and purchases for first class travel in the speedy Acela trains will garner a 50% point bonus.

The points get credited to your account after you complete your trip. If you take an Amtrak trip within 90 days of joining the program, youll get 500 bonus points.

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Earning Amtrak Guest Rewards Points:

As an Amtrak Guest Rewards member you earn 2 points per dollar spent on Amtrak. Which wont get me very far.

However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Ink Bold and Ink Plus transfer 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak. Transfers are instant.

You can also transfer from the Starwood Amex card. SPG transfers 1:1 in increments of 5,000 points. Not my first choice, for SPG points, but I will show some incredible redemptions below, so YMMV.

Another way is to purchase points, with a limit of 10,000 points per account per calendar year. Its 2.75 cents per point, which is expensive, but there is a 30% bonus right now for purchases of 10,000 points. Meh.

You Might Call The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard The Little Engine That Could Of Credit Cards

AmTrak Guest Rewards Platinum MasterCard Credit Card 12,000 Bonus Points

Whether youre riding the train across the country or commuting to work, the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® could help you save hundreds of dollars on your next railroad trips.

The card features a sign-up bonus that could help you score free train tickets, along with promotions to make your ride more comfortable. It can add up to train perks that easily outweigh the $79 annual fee.

Just repeat the Little Engines motto: I think I can, I think I can.

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Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard* Vs Blue Cash Preferred Card From American Express

If you are looking for a credit card that offers rewards on your Amtrak travel, but want more flexibility in your earnings or want a wider array of bonus categories, check out the Blue Cash Preferred card . The Blue Cash Preferred offers the following rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases , 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. The card has a $95 annual fee.

Since rewards are earned as cash back, you do not need to redeem for Amtrak travel to get a reasonable value for your points. Cash back can be redeemed at face value as a statement credit to your account.

In addition, the Blue Cash Preferred card offers an array of benefits not offered by the Amtrak Guest Rewards cards, including Amexs Extended Warranty, Return Protection, and Purchase Protection.

For most people, the increased earnings on supermarkets, plus the earnings on a wider mix of transportation will mean that the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express offers a more compelling value proposition.

Bottom Line: Is The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard Right For You

These days, we tend to fly or drive when we take a vacation.

But if you see the train ride as part of the journey and dont mind taking the slow, scenic route, you might want to consider the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®. It can also be a great option for commuters who ride the train to work every day.

Youll not only save money by earning free rewards rides you might also be more comfortable than on a plane or behind the wheel.

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    How To Choose The Best Credit Card For Amtrak

    When choosing which credit card to use for an Amtrak purchase, you’ll likely want to focus on a card that rewards you for transportation or travel spending. Train tickets are typically classified by credit card issuers as travel spending and your ticket purchase will account for the bulk of your Amtrak-related expenditure.

    That said, you can get even more bang for your buck if the card you choose provides bonus points for spending on dining, in addition to travel. This can help you maximize the points you earn if you eat on the train and your food purchase is categorized as restaurant spending.

    But it’s not just the chance to earn bonus credit card rewards that makes a particular card a good choice for Amtrak. You also want to look at the cardholder perks. These perks can include free companion tickets, travel rebates for Amtrak spending, and other Amtrak-specific benefits. Cards that offer special perks are more common for airline travel, but there are options for those who prefer to ride the rails.

    As you read our recommendations for the best for Amtrak below, it will help to think about how the card will fit with your broader lifestyle as well. If you’re a regular commuter, you take the train every day, and you spend a fortune with Amtrak, then it makes a lot of sense to get an Amtrak-focused card. But if Amtrak is just one of many means of transportation you use, a broader general purpose travel card may be a better bet.

    Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard* Vs Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard*

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    The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard is a modest upgrade from the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard by Bank of America. The World Mastercard offers more rewards per dollar spent on Amtrak purchases, an additional rewards category, a greater welcome offer and some additional annual benefits such as the Annual Companion Coupon and Annual Upgrade Coupon.

    Considering those upgrades, the $79 annual fee is the one hurdle to consider between the two cards. Unless you are a diehard Amtrak traveler and live in an area where Amtrak is a feasible, frequent travel option, the upgraded card is likely not worth the annual fee.

    The annual benefits on the Amtrak World Mastercard are nice-to-haves but travel dates around major holidays are blacked out. Therefore, unless you know you will use the coupons on non-blackout days, the card does not stack up well against its less-premier sibling. For even the occasional Amtrak traveler, the Platinum Mastercard is likely to be a better option.

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    Banks Turning Attention To Proprietary Credit Cards

    Many banks are streamlining their credit card portfolios, ending lackluster co-brand relationships, and replacing them with proprietary cards that better align with consumer spending habits. Bank of America has introduced several proprietary cards in recent months. The latest is the ultra-premium Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Visa Infinite Card.

    Other banks have also increased their focus on proprietary credit cards, with Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo being notable examples in 2021 .

    How Much Are Amtrak Points Worth

    Amtrak points will be worth 2.9 cents per point for most redemptions and 2.5 cents per point for the high speed rail, Acela. This makes Amtrak points some of the most valuable travel points you will come across as many airline miles are worth around 1.5 cents and hotel points are usually worth less than one cent per point.

    How do you arrive at this valuation?

    Its simple just do a couple of test bookings and you will see the rates that are required for awards.

    I did a test route from New York to Washington DC and I received around 2.9 cents per point in value. The coach ticket was going for $98 and I was required to use 3,381 points which came out to right at 2.9 cents per point. I also priced out the business class ticket which was going for $109 and required 3,761 points and it also came out to 2.9 cents per point.

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    Amtraks Two Preferred Business Credit Cards

    You and your workers may save money on commuting costs by taking advantage of Amtrak if youre a business owner, and you can also get work done while on the train. There are also a number of excellent business cards that may help you earn more Amtrak points.

    The following are two of the greatest business credit cards to consider.

    How To Maximize Your Rewards

    Amtrak Credit Card Review

    To get the most value from the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard, you’ll want to use it whenever you book travel on Amtrak or make purchases while on an Amtrak train.

    For example, say you were traveling from Lorton, Va., to Sanford, Fla., on the Amtrak Auto Train. Riding in a superliner roomette for the trip, let’s say it would cost you $515. If you brought your car along as well, youd have to pay an additional charge of let’s say $258. The trip would last for over 16 hours, so you might spend another $30 on food while onboard. All told, your trip would cost you $803.

    If you used your Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard to pay for those charges, you’d earn three points per $1 on the $803, giving you a total of 2,409 points. Redeem them later for Amtrak travel, and those points could be worth up to $60.23. Plus, you’d get a 5% rebate on your points.

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    Bank Of America Pulls Amtrak Credit Card

    The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® is no longer available for new applicants. The travel rewards card is the latest Bank of America co-branded credit card to disappear from the banks website, following the likes of the MLB Cash Rewards Mastercard®, World Wildlife Fund Visa, and other co-branded cards that have been pulled in 2021.

    Bank of America often pulls credit cards from its website before discontinuing the card for new cardholders. Other co-branded Bank of America credit cards that are not appearing on the banks website include:

    It is worth noting that the credit cards mentioned above are still publicly available via the co-brand partners websites. When these cards cease to be available for new applicants is unknown. Still, those interested in a card should consider applying soon to avoid disappointment.

    Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

    The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum MasterCard is a no-annual-fee Amtrak card that could be a better choice for those who want Amtrak-specific rewards but who don’t travel on Amtrak trains often enough to justify the annual fee for the World MasterCard.

    The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Card provides a 12,000-point bonus for new cardmembers who make $1,000 or more in purchases within first 90 days of opening an account. Cardmembers also get 2X points per dollar spent on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases, instead of 3X points per dollar with the Amtrak World MasterCard. You earn 1X points per dollar spent on all other purchases, so there’s unfortunately no bonus for other travel spending.

    The card does not come with all the perks that the World MasterCard does, though. That said, youll still get a 5% rebate on points redeemed for Amtrak travel, and youll enjoy a 10% rebate on food and beverage purchases on Amtrak trains.

    Great No-Fee Card for Frequent Train Travelers

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