Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card - no annual fee.
Bank of America and Amtrak have launched two new Amtrak Guest Rewards credit cards. These come as Chase Amtrak Guest Rewards cards are being converted to Chase Freedom cards that don’t earn Amtrak points.
You can now apply online, and here are the details:
Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard
Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Plus MasterCard
How does this compare to the old Chase Amtrak credit card?
There was only one card from Chase, and it had no annual fee, with 2x points on Amtrak purchases and a 5% rebate on Amtrak redemptions.
That makes the new ‘Platinum Plus’ card with no annual fee almost identical, so no big loss to report there.
The key change is with the old Chase card, if you spent $200 per year on Amtrak tickets on the card, you earned the right to be able to transfer your Amtrak points out to partner programs like Choice Hotels. That’s a right normally reserved for Amtrak’s elite ‘Select’ level members.
Now with the new cards, that’s not possible unless you get the $79 annual fee ‘World’ level card. Even then you have to spend $20,000 a year in purchases on the card, and that only earns you the right to transfer a maximum of 25,000 points to outside partner programs.
There is some good news that will benefit more people though: the no annual fee ‘Platinum Plus’ card has no foreign transaction fees, an upgrade from the old Chase card, as does the $79 annual fee ‘World’ card.
The intro deal of 12,000 points is similar to what Amtrak offered in the past as a base offer, though it’s possible targeted, higher offers could emerge.
Is the $79 World card worth it?
The new ‘World’ level card with a $79 annual fee could be worth it for a few reasons…
First, the 2x points per dollar on travel purchases could net you $79 in extra value if you spend more than $3,000 a year in travel expenses. That’s because Amtrak points will be worth about 2.6 cents each toward most fares when the 2016 changes to Guest Rewards take effect, so an extra 3,000 points would get you about $79 in extra value.
Second, the upfront and annual companion certificate can save you over $100 if you use it each year. We don’t have the fine print yet, but the old certificates sometimes offered for signing up for the Chase card were valid on most regular Coach fares, but not any Acela, Sleeping Car or Business Class fares.
If you have an old Chase Amtrak card, you’ll have to apply fresh for either of these cards, and you’ll probably be bombarded with communication from Amtrak and Bank of America in the coming weeks.
What about Bank of America?
We hear mixed things about Bank of America’s card service.
One thing to note though, is they have a history of letting people hold multiple accounts of the same card, so you can separate your personal expenses, which some people use to their advantage.
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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
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