(EXPIRED) Amtrak offering 25% off awards

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Amtrak is offering 25% off on point redemptions booked between July 14 and 16, 2020. Amtrak awards are already fairly reasonably priced; with these savings they can certainly be a good deal for those comfortable traveling by train.

The Deal

Key Details

  • The Reward Travel Sale is not available on all departures and all dates and blackout dates apply.
  • Seating is limited, and seats may not be available on all trains, or all times.
  • Routes and schedules are subject to change without notice.
  • Once travel has begun, no changes to the itinerary are permitted; other restrictions may apply.

Quick Thoughts

The biggest hangup on this deal is not being shown the discount when doing a search. You wouldn’t know whether or not you are looking at discounted rates since Amtrak no longer uses an award chart. You’d think that they’d want to make customers aware that they are looking at a discounted price, but I don’t see anything in the search results making that clear.

That said, what makes this sale particularly appealing for those with Amtrak points is that it seems to extend well into next year. For example, I looked up tickets from New York to Philadelphia next April. I see coach prices starting at $45 and business starting at $79.

The same trains are available for very reasonable point prices:

You can do the math and see that those are great values per point:

  • Coach: $45 / 1449 = 3.1cpp
  • Business: $79 / 3.86cpp

I did not search to cherry pick an example — that was literally my first and only search. Either of those are excellent values from Amtrak points (and some trains may be even better deals).

Amtrak provided a table of example point rates, though note that they list Philadelphia higher than shown above.

Personally, I’m not ready to ride on Amtrak yet at this point. I actually like the train, but having taken Amtrak several times over the past couple of years, I have to say that none of the trains have felt cleaner than a below-average New York subway car. That mattered less to me before than it does now.

That said, if I had Amtrak points in my account, I would certainly consider booking travel for a year from now as it should be flexible (I believe you can cancel an Amtrak award as long as you haven’t begun travel, but Amtrak enthusiasts feel free to chime in below in the comments).

Unfortunately, this deal is too short to take advantage of the recently-increased offer on the no-fee Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard (recently increased to 20K points and a $100 statement credit after minimum spend). Still, it’s a great example why the Amtrak cards can be a great value to those who like to travel by train — while a 20K offer may not sound exciting, the ability to get nearly 4 cents per point makes it a lot more appealing. Of course, we haven’t seen this kind of sale before, so I wouldn’t apply for that card now banking on a future award sale.

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