Double Points on Amtrak!

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Update:  You can no longer transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak.

Never taken the train?  Now might be the time!

Deals We Like reports that you can get 2X points on qualifying Amtrak rides between March 16, 2015, and May 16, 2015.

You can get expensive train tickets for relatively few Amtrak points, and that can get you Big Travel with Small Money!  

Remember, you can collect Amtrak points WITHOUT riding the train by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points. 

For example, a family of 4 can book an Amtrak Family Bedroom from the East Coast to the West Coast, including meals, for 60,000 Amtrak points!

Shorter trips like Boston to New York, New York to Washington, DC, and scenic trains rides along the California coast are also good values. 

Double Points On Amtrak

Leave the Driving to Amtrak and Get Double Points From March 16, 2015, to May 16, 2015

Keep reading to learn how you can use Amtrak points.

Double Points on Amtrak

Link:   Double Points on Amtrak

From March 16, 2015, to May 16, 2015, you’ll earn 2X Amtrak points after you register for the promotion.

Normally you get 2 Amtrak points per $1 spent with a 100-point minimum for each trip regardless of the price.  But with this promotion you’ll get:

  • 4 Amtrak points per $1 (or 200 point minimum)
  • 1,000 Amtrak points for Acela Business Class (or 2 Amtrak points per $1, whichever is greater)
  • 1,500 Amtrak points for Acela First Class (or 2 Amtrak points per $1, whichever is greater)

See the terms for eligible city pairs.

However, you’re only allowed a maximum of 1 round-trip or two 1-way trips per day.

Double Points On Amtrak

2X Points for Travel From March 16, 2015, to May 16, 2015

Note:   You can save 25% on Acela Saver Fares for Saturday travel between New York and Washington, DC, from March 14, 2015, to June 13, 2015, when you book by April 30, 2015.

How to Get More Amtrak Points

Many folks don’t realize that Amtrak is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.  So you can instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak from cards like:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Plus
Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase FreedomChase Ink Cash
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Sapphire, and Ink Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.

How You Can Use Amtrak Points

Link:   Amtrak Guest Rewards

Link:   Amtrak Award Chart

Link:   Amtrak Redemption Guidelines

Link:   My Review of Amtrak

Amtrak uses a zone-based award chart.  So the more zones you cross, the more Amtrak points you pay.  But even so you can find good values.  Let’s look at some examples.

1.   New York to Washington, DC (1 Zone)

A 1-way Business Class ticket from New York to Washington, DC, on the Acela Express high-speed train (only Business Class and First Class seats) costs $184 or 8,000 Amtrak points.

Double Points On Amtrak

Business Class Seats Have Power Outlets So You Can Work

And in First Class, you’d pay $303 one-way or 12,000 Amtrak points.

Double Points On Amtrak

Refundable First Class Includes Meals and Lounge Access for $303

Note:   You can NOT redeem points on the Acela Express between 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time to 8:59 am Eastern Standard Time and 2:00 pm Eastern Standard Time to 5:59 pm Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday.

2.   Family Bedroom From Chicago to Seattle (2 Zones)

40,000 Amtrak points gets you a family bedroom from Chicago to Seattle.

Family bedrooms cost the same number of points as a regular bedroom, but can sleep 2 adults and 2 children!

Double Points On Amtrak

Use Amtrak Points for a Family Bedroom From Chicago to Seattle to Visit the Space Needle

Whereas a paid ticket costs $2,963!

Double Points On Amtrak

You’d Pay $2,963 for the Same Ticket

Note:  The train takes 3 days including a ~5 hour stop in San Antonio (late at night) and a ~5 hour connection in Los Angeles (not enough time to stop by Disneyland).  But everyone gets 2 free checked bags each and all meals!

You won’t have your own bathroom or shower, but they are nearby.  You can get off and stretch your legs in San Antonio, if you’re still awake!

Riding Amtrak is similar to flying in a plane.  You have to stay on the train until you reach your destination (or connecting city).  You have to book a stopover if you want to get off and explore that city.  And you can catch the train the next day, but your ticket will cost more.

3.  California Coast (1 Zone)

Traveling in 1 zone normally costs 5,500 Amtrak points for coach and 6,500 Amtrak points for Business Class.

But on “Special Routes” (short-haul trains between major cities), like the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, it only costs 1,500 Amtrak points in coach or 2,000 Amtrak points in Business Class.

A 1-way coach ticket between San Diego and San Luis Obispo costs $61.

Double Points On Amtrak

You’d Pay $61 One-Way in Coach From San Diego to San Luis Obispo

And a 1-way Business Class ticket from San Diego to San Luis Obispo costs $92.

Double Points On Amtrak

I’d Rather Use 2,000 Amtrak Points Than Pay $92 For a 1-Way Business Class Seat

Use Amtrak Points on Hotels

You can also use Amtrak points for hotel stays.  This is NOT the best value, but it could be interesting to some folks.

1.   Starwood

Amtrak points can be used towards 1-night stay certificates at Category 1 to 4 Starwood hotels:

Starwood hotels include: Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridian, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin, and W brand hotels.

One night at the Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach costs 22,500 Amtrak points.

Double Points On Amtrak

You Can Use Amtrak Points to Stay at Category 1 to 4 Starwood Hotels, Like the Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach

But you’d only pay ~$151 cash!  So I wouldn’t redeem Amtrak points for Starwood stays!

Double Points On Amtrak

It’s Cheaper to Pay Cash Than Use Amtrak Points!

2.   Transfer Points to Hilton

Link:   Hilton Award Chart

If you have Amtrak elite status or the Amtrak credit card (appears to be closed to new applicants) and spend over $200 per calendar year on Amtrak, you can use Amtrak points for Hilton hotel stays.

You get 10,000 Hilton points for every 5,000 Amtrak points transferred.

Double Points On Amtrak

Certain Folks Can Transfer Amtrak Points to Hilton Hotels at a 1:2 Ratio Like the Waldorf Astoria Rome Cavalieri

You can also redeem Amtrak points for restaurant, entertainment, retail, car rental, and cruise gift certificates.  However, it’s NOT a good value.

Bottom Line

You can get 2X Amtrak points on Amtrak trips from March 16, 2015, to May 16, 2015.  But you have to register for the promotion!

Using Amtrak points on expensive train rides like family bedrooms from the East Coast to West Coast gets you Big Travel with Small Money.  There are also good deals on shorter trips going north and south along the coasts.

Amtrak is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner!  So you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

And you can use Amtrak points to stay at Starwood and Hilton hotels or redeem for gift certificates for car rentals, cruises, dining, entertainment, and retail stores.  Although, it’s not the best use of your Amtrak points.

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4 responses to “Double Points on Amtrak!

  1. And Amtrak is fairly generous about when they allow you to book with points. They have some blackout dates, but no capacity controls. An example: On a West Coast route my family uses heavily, the discounted fare is $85, or 5500 points – a marginal value of 1.5 cents/point. But, if the same train is heavily booked, so all the discounted fares are sold out, the full fare is $165 or the same 5500 points – a very good value of 3 cents/point.

  2. Any idea what happened to the Chase Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard? It has disappeared this past week from the Chase website.

  3. Nice photo of an Amtrak train. Those outdated train cars are from the 1970’s, and are a joke. They are incredibly outdated, yet Amtrak keeps them in service. I wish they would bring better train service to the US!

  4. So can you pay for a trip with points and more earn points at the same time during this promotion?