Milecards

Advertiser Disclosure

Yes, the Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card will return

by on Sat September 12, 2015 • 72 Comments
Google+TwitterFacebookEmailLinkedIn

amtrak

The Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card has been a quiet bargain for those in the know. We wrote earlier about how its 18,000 point intro bonus could very well be the most valuable for a no annual fee card if you use the points wisely for things like a sleeper room on the Coast Starlight.

And holding the card unlocks the ability to transfer Guest Rewards points out to programs like Choice Privileges.

Chase Amtrak cards going way in September

Chase is now converting holders of the Guest Rewards card to the Chase Freedom card, and after September 30th you’ll no longer be able to earn Amtrak points with a Chase card.

The Chase Freedom card that’s replacing existing Amtrak Guest Rewards cards has no annual fee, so there are no new fees to worry about. But the points it earns won’t go into your Amtrak account. They will be Chase ‘Ultimate Rewards’ points that you can use for cash back or travel.

New cards have arrived

amtrak-world-cardAmtrak has launched two new Guest Rewards credit cards from Bank of America – see the details here. One has no annual fee, and is almost identical to the old Chase card, but unfortunately it means you’ll have to go through a fresh credit inquiry with a new bank, and get a brand new card account.

You won’t be automatically converted as an existing Amtrak credit card holder, but you will be eligible for a sign up bonus of additional Amtrak Guest Rewards points.

The second card, with a $79 annual fee, has added perks like upgrade certificates, a Club Acela pass, and a companion certificate.

You can choose either one, or both if you’d like.

Will your points expire?

All the Amtrak Guest Rewards points you’ve earned will stay in your Amtrak Guest Rewards account regardless of whether you switch to the new cards.

Starting next year, Amtrak points expire after 36 months, but the clock can be reset any time you use or earn more Guest Rewards points, so it’s easy to keep your points alive as long as you’d like.

Can you still earn Amtrak points without an Amtrak card?

Amtrak also is still a partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and no notice has been issued about a discontinuation of that relationship. So if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus / Bold card you can transfer your points to Amtrak until further notice.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 1.02.52 PM

Amtrak is changing its reward chart in 2016, and some awards may cost more, especially if you use points for Sleeping Car awards, but some may cost less, like many Northeast Corridor trains.

So you may want to think a bit before continuing your relationship with Amtrak.

 

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

72 thoughts on Yes, the Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card will return

  1. Wonderboy

    Is anything being done about rectifying the loss of the zone fare? I don’t live in the Northeast corridor where I can generate many Amtrak points through Amtrak travel. With the point system that they just initiated in 2016, what would have cost me 25,000 miles on the Coast Starlight is now costing anywhere from 35,000-45,000 for a sleeper. So much for Amtrak loyalty in their Guest Rewards Program. Comments?

    Reply
  2. ThinkingAmtrak

    This is a bit off topic but Amtrak related. Can you get a 10% discount on a multi-ride pass using AAA or NARP membership?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Eric

    I signed up for the card with the $79 fee, got the amtrak points, used the points, then cancelled the card a month ago. How long do I need to wait to sign up and get the points again? Thanks.

    Reply
  4. allmail

    I need some Amtrak tickets in July. I am thinking of signing up for the no fee BoA card. Does anyone know how long it takes for the bonus points to post after I meed the spending reqirement of 1k? thanks

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @allmail – Usually after the monthly billing statement is generated for the period where you met the $1k requirement.

      Reply
  5. Thinking Amtrak

    I might be becoming an Amtrak commuter soon and thinking to joining an Amtrak rewards card. The rule for getting TQP is rather confusing. Do you get an additional TQP with a reward card (e.g. regular 2% of ticket price plus 3% from the reward card)? Any other way to get TQP?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Thinking Amtrak With the World Mastercard version you earn 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward earning status each time your eligible spending reaches $5,000 in a calendar year, up to 4,000 TQPs per year. So if you spend $10,000 on the card you get 2,000 TQPs.

      Reply
      1. Amtrakie

        I think Thinking Amtrak was asking if, with the World Mastercard, you receive a total of 5 TQP for every dollar purchased from Amtrak? My understanding is that regular Guest Rewards members receive 2 points for every $1 on Amtrak Travel. So does the credit card give you an additional 3 points for every $1 spent on Amtrak Travel (for a total of 5 points)?

        Reply
        1. MileCards.com

          @Amtrakie – It does not. Just the base 2 points for the travel itself. Then from the card you earn 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward earning status each time your eligible spending reaches $5,000 in a calendar year, up to 4,000 TQPs per year

          Reply
  6. Want to take Amtrak

    What is Chase’s credit card relationship with Amtrak? Is Bank of America the only current loyalty card provider?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Want to take Chase no longer has a relationship with Amtrak – it’s just Bank of America now

      Reply
  7. Frank Heppner

    Got the new BankAmericard last year and has been nothing but trouble. Turned down on internet purchases 3 times in last three months. one as small as $24. Was on hold more than 6 minutes each time to contact customer service. Finally found out what the problem was. Their anti-fraud buying profile is so narrow, that if you depart more than a little bit they’ll bounce it until you call to confirm. I complained, and they said they would broaden my profile, but wouldn’t give specifics. I asked if I could get turned down in a restaurant, and then have to call in for approval, and they said”unlikely, but possible.” In fairness, as this card doesn’t have an annual fee, and I don’t run a balance, they actually lose money on me, so why should I expect anything but abysmal customer service–which I receive.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mark – It’s about 2.6 to 2.9 cents per point, though you can’t redeem for ‘Value’ fares, so on trains where those are offered your real value per point is a bit lower.

      Reply
  8. ravi

    Just got an e-mail: “As of December 8, 2015, you will no longer be able to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points into Amtrak Guest Rewards® points. That means if you have an eligible Chase card with Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer any Chase Ultimate Rewards points at full 1 to 1 value by December 7, 2015. But hurry, it will be here before you know it. “

    Reply
  9. RayFlyer

    Any word of specials/promos for the new cards? First yr free (for the World version)? Xtra points for those switching from Chase to Bank of America? Or should I wait it out until BoA notices I didn’t immediately switch?

    Reply
  10. Marie lyons

    I don’t like bank America credit card can you all get a next bank so customers have choices I will really like that thank you

    Reply
  11. Dale

    Is there any information regarding the credit requirements/scores that BOA will be placing with applying for this card? I have no experience with BOA but don’t want to take a inquiry hit if their standards are too high. Any help please???

    Reply
    1. f4wt4eg44ert

      Usually, brand-specific point reward cards are easier to get than brand-free cash reward cards while they are harder to get than no-reward cards. Reward cards usually have higher interest rates that it is not always beneficial unless balances are paid off every month.

      Reply
  12. JD

    Thank you for this website. It has been very helpful since I found out about the split between Amtrak and Chase. We, the AGR cc customers/clients, seem to be afterthoughts. Nevertheless, I’m glad there will be a new AGR cc; unfortunately, it sounds like it will be BOA (ugh!), and they will screw with us, somehow. (Hope it will be smooth and customer friendly.)

    Any chance anyone knows about a cc for Greyhound or the bus market? Since we are in the Northeast and train fares are ridiculously overpriced (from my perspective), we have been doing the bus between NY and Phila. and parts of NJ.

    Reply
  13. SLW

    I already have a Chase Freedom card and it is paying 5% in rewards on gas purchases this quarter. I have a Discover card that is paying 5% on home improvement and department stores and Amazon purchases this quarter. I have a AT&T Master Card this paying 5% rewards at restaurants this quarter. None of them have an annual fee. I also have an American Express card that I use for groceries that is paying 6% cash back every quarter. Although there is a $75 annual fee with the American Express card, it has been far exceeded with rewards. It’s like a hobby to see how much I can make off credit card rewards. You have to stay on top of it, pay off in full and rotate them each quarter. I only use my Amtrak GR card for purchases that don’t have bonus categories (like insurance and utility payments). I’m thinking I can use other cards for these payments now for 1% cash back and earn enough to purchase Amtrak tix with those cash back funds … I’m still investigating as to whether it will be dollar-for-dollar the same but I expect there won’t be much difference. I await the new offerings … I may add them to the deck of cards I shuffle quarterly.

    Reply
  14. greg

    Forgive me if this has been answered before, but where was it written that Amtrak is going to come out with a new credit card soon? I am really steamed about this whole mess, and their “improved” AGR program! When I emailed AGR to express my disgust at these changes, and the fact they won’t mention the fact that they are dropping Chase, they will not respond!! Like a lot of you, we may use our remainder points, then tell Amtrak to take a hike! But, please tell me how you know another card is in the works! Thanks…….

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @greg – Yes there will be a new AGR credit card (possibly two) – most likely from Bank of America – with details this month

      Reply
  15. Joseph G

    I received my letter from Chase. My goal was to keep this card as I cancelled my Chase Marriott Visa card and have three cards total. I will keep Freedom as it’s no annual fee, but I will rarely use. I will have to get my fourth card with BOfA Amtrak card when it comes out. So, up to 4 cards again. Joe

    Reply
  16. Trip Swindell

    O.K. … I have a friend who works for Bank of America, and this is what he told me today: BoA will issue two Amtrak rewards cards on September 12. One will have no annual fee, and the other will charge $79 annually. The one with the fee is supposed to offer more perks, including a free annual companion ticket. At this point, I don’t know much about the differences between the two cards. The card with the fee also must be used to make an Amtrak purchase at least once every 30 months, or they’ll cancel the card.

    Reply
    1. george

      Considering (at least in the past) that the “purchase” of a sleeper was two for one, the companion coupon deal may be dead from the get-go unless the 241 is another “pull back” by Amtrak on sleepers

      Reply
  17. Charles Tate

    ii also,got a note from Chase informing me. I called and expressed my displeasure and told them that the only reason I have a Chase card was due to Amtrak. I posted my concerns on Facebook also. IF Amtrak issue a new card I will be one of the first to join.

    Reply
    1. george

      Why give Amtrak opportunity to do it again down the road if you take their new card…and note the redemption levels may change for some rooms. Amtrak is toast (as is Chase) for not having structured a smooth transition with a customer focus

      Reply
  18. Trip Swindell

    This change could be troublesome. I have about 20 accounts that are set up with automatic payment through my Guest Rewards MasterCard. If the new card doesn’t come out until after September, I’m going to have to call/write/fax all of these companies to change to the new Visa … then do it all over again when the new card with the new bank becomes available. I sure hope it’s worth it, considering the program is soon to be restructured.

    Reply
    1. jost saying

      How do we know the autopays won’t still be honored and converted to the freedom card with its new account? I’m not saying I know that to be the case, but there as at least half a chance.

      Reply
  19. Bill G

    Like many on the post, I am disappointed in the fact that AMTRAK and Chase could not continue a better alternative. I pay bills with the CHASE AMTRAK card and this is a major inconvenience switching cards. I have no interest in the Chase freedom card, it seems like a weak product. Once I use all my AMTRAK points up in November, Is it worth it to cancel the Chase Freedom card and apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card? Great blog, has been helpful with this matter.

    Reply
  20. Sue

    This is awful. It is the reason I got the card and the only way I could afford to get by daughter back and forth from college. Now its the way I visit her or for her to come home. Another way business is taking more away and them making money.. Its not like Amtrak is affordable unless scheduled far in advance. Checking both Chase and Amtrak sites – they both plan to offer cards with a fee to earn points!

    Reply
    1. Lynda Myles

      When I called Chase this morning they said I can’t cancel the new Freedom card without canceling the Amtrak card and closing the whole account. Your Chase Amtrak card is good until the expiration date, November in my case, but I’ll stop receiving Amtrak points on Sept 30th. I am keeping it open until I find an Amtrak Guest Rewards card and get all my monthly automatic payments onto another card.

      Reply
      1. george

        Since the whole premise of an Amtrak card is points…then if Amtrak cared (that’s a good one) it would have negotiated a deal with Chase for transfer of accounts and/or that individuals can cancel Chase card and not have it deemed against your credit. Sham(e) on Amtrak and then Chase….no customer focus

        Reply
        1. M Cook

          Amtrak does care, their employees do a pretty darn good job every day, leave those types of comments to our crappy, anti Amtrak Congress, the Teapublican party is full of them.

          Reply
          1. Rick

            I love riding Amtrak and make a couple of trips annually.

            But remind me once again – why should the 98% of Americans who never use Amtrak pay $1.374 billion in extra taxes (2015) so that my travel can be subsidized?

            Because, frankly, I think those suckers are getting ripped off by me …

        1. Concerned Amtrak Rider

          Thanks George, I never thought about that. I do not want a Chase Freedom card, I have Slate and Disney, and only got the Amtrak M/C for Amtrak points.
          So when the Freedom comes, I will not register it and hope it goes away. I wonder what they will do with my near 70,000 points.

          Reply
          1. MileCards.com

            @Concerned Amtrak Rider – Amtrak has announced is not letting the points of any Guest Rewards credit card holder expire. After the card ends, your points are good for at least 3 years, and you can extend that date as many times as you want by earning or redeeming any amount of Amtrak points. Here’s their statement:

            http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/25363931-post119.html

          2. george

            After receiving the unsolicited card from Chase I’m thinking about sending a complaint to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about Chase sending out unsolicited credit cards.

  21. William H. Dutcher, III

    I am dissapointed with the Chase break up. Why doesn’t Amtrak have it’s own
    card and try to convert customers into with out going through the
    hassel of applying for a new card and the inconvience they put you through.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Dorothy – No you won’t lose them, they are still active according to the Amtrak Guest Rewards expiration rules. As long as you use or redeem points, the expiration of your balance gets extended 3 years, and there’s no limit to how many times it can be extended.

      Reply
  22. george

    Received ltr today from Chase saying the partnership will be over at the end of Sept. They say that account will be transferred to a new card…how does one cancel a credit card (the new nonAmtrak Chase card) w/o adversely affecting credit? Merely let the card lapse by not activating the new card?

    Reply
    1. Bill Scott

      George, I received the same notice today. I believe I will call to refuse the new card, as I applied for the Chase Amtrak Card specifically because of the Amtrak advantage. I am guessing that one needs to call the number on the back of your card in order to cancel. I too will be tuned to hear any further news on this matter.

      Reply
      1. george

        Thanks…I see no reason to call…that “for sure” is you cancelling the card, thus credit impact? Why are you going to call? I plan to just quit using and when Amtrak partners-up with someone else (I sent a note today on “what’s happening” and have heard nothing as of this writing.

        Reply
    2. MileCards.com

      @George @Bill – There is no annual fee with the replacement card, so not much harm to keeping it open, but if you want to cancel call the number on the back of your card.

      Reply
      1. george

        Why call…what are you going to tell them? They will probably send you a new card, too. What are you going to do with the new card?

        Reply
        1. MileCards.com

          @george- If you decide to cancel outright you have to call. But if you want to sit on the no fee card and do nothing that’s perfectly viable.

          Reply
      2. Ed

        If you–like me–already have a Chase Freedom Visa, you might want to decline it to avoid splitting your reward points between two identical accounts.

        Reply
        1. MileCards.com

          @Ed – FYI you can combine Freedom points anytime. And note your Amtrak points won’t migrate to the Freedom account.

          Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Julia – The speculation is that Bank of America will start offering new Amtrak cards in September based on a leaked presentation, so there will continue to be an Amtrak credit card option.

      Reply
  23. Joseph G

    I have the current Amtrak/Chase MasterCard and I use it for everything!!! Love it (Git rid of my United/Chase Visa card) I don’t mind moving to an annual fee if I can get Select status as a perk. I guess I can accelerate those 5000 miles to become Select Plus

    Reply
  24. Tom Johnston

    Is it determined that the card will remain mastercard?….. Visa, Any estimate on delay, 30 days, 60? If I get a chase card and the new card is visa are my points lost?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Tom – No word on whether it will be Visa or Mastercard or which bank it will be with. But once your points are in your Guest Rewards account they’re yours regardless of the credit card situation.

      Reply
  25. Chuck

    my wife and are interested in becoming an Amtrak rewards family. Please let me know if there is a current program that I can earn points or if one will become available.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Chuck – For now if you get a Chase Sapphire Preferred card you can earn points that you can transfer to Amtrak. Still no announcement on which bank will get the new Amtrak-specific card.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X
MileCards.com Email Alerts
Hear about new offers and tips