Tag Archives for Amtrak.

Amtrak 2016 limits premium award seats

Amtrak 2016

Today, January 24th 2016, Amtrak’s new award program has gone into effect.  You can read about the new program here: Amtrak Guest Rewards 2016 — Better than expected. My take and recommendations.  For award travel, the new program has advantages and disadvantages over the previous program.  One of the biggest advantages was supposed to be the elimination of blackout dates.  The new program charges points at a fixed value compared to the ticket price so…

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Should you transfer Chase points to Amtrak?

Transfer Chase to Amtrak

Monday December 7th will be the last day to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak Guest Rewards.  Should you transfer?  If so, how much? Are you planning an Amtrak bedroom or roomette trip?  Can you book by January 23rd 2016? The Amtrak Guest Rewards program will change dramatically as of January 24th, 2016.  As of January 24th, Amtrak points will become worth about 2.5 cents each (or slightly more) towards Amtrak travel (see this…

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Manufacturing Choice. Is it worth it?

Manufacturing Choice

Last month I asked “Should I bet on Choice?”  Thanks to my Chase Amtrak card (which is now a Freedom card), I had a short term opportunity to convert up to 25,000 Amtrak points to Choice at a 1 to 3 ratio.  In the aforementioned post, I said that I wasn’t going to do the transfer.  In the end, though, I changed my mind (and several reader comments helped convince me to do so).  Ultimately…

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Planning your next Amtrak adventure before its too late

Amtrak 2016

Given the upcoming changes to Amtrak’s Guest Rewards program, I thought it would be fun to point out some sweet spots in their current award chart and give examples of a few potentially awesome routes. Plus, I’ll throw out some tips for stretching your points even further. First, a little background… Background Next year, the Amtrak Guest Rewards program will change dramatically.  They’re moving from a fixed zone-based redemption system to a revenue based system. …

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Arches, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion, and more via trains, planes, and automobiles

National Park Tour: Hoover Dam

Here it is. Our fantastic trip west to visit four national parks and the Hoover Dam… Amtrak Wolverine to Chicago Nine of us (across two families) began our trip west in business class on Amtrak’s Wolverine line, from Ann Arbor to Chicago.  The four and a half hour trip was pleasant and uneventful. Business class is slightly roomier than coach and includes complementary newspapers and a free non alcoholic drink per person. In Chicago, our…

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Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card review

Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card

Bank of America has recently unveiled their new Amtrak branded credit cards: Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard and Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum MasterCard. Are they worth applying for?  Are they worth using?  Are they worth keeping?  Answers follow… Basics World MasterCard Annual Fee: $79 Standard signup bonus: 20,000 points after $1,000 spend in 3 months Earning rate: 3X Amtrak, 2X qualifying travel, 1X elsewhere Big spend bonus: Earn 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points towards earning status…

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Amtrak’s California Zephyr

California Zephyr

I recently traveled west from Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a group of family and friends to visit a number of national parks: Arches, Bryce, Grand Canyon, and Zion.  We used Amtrak points (transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards) to make the journey west from Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The first leg of our trip was in business class on the Wolverine route to Chicago.  The next leg was aboard the California Zephyr where we enjoyed private sleeper…

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Should I bet on Choice?


In March, I wrote that the Chase Amtrak card was no longer being offered to new customers.  This was disappointing because the credit card is key to unlocking a special redemption option:  Once you’ve racked up $200 in Amtrak charges, the credit card gives you the ability to convert Amtrak points to Choice Privilege hotel points at a terrific 1 to 3 ratio (5,000 Amtrak points become 15,000 Choice points).  Even without Amtrak points, one…

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