Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
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 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.
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.
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