The Amtrak Credit Cards are once again featuring increased bonuses. While these cards don’t get a ton of attention since there aren’t really any great uses of Amtrak points beyond Amtrak trains, the bottom line is that these offers can be great if you like traveling via Amtrak thanks to high value for points.
The Offers & Key Card Benefits
|Card Offer and Details|
|Card Offer and Details|
The Amtrak cards went offline for a bit last year, but both of these cards came back in the fall and are are now issued by FNBO.
Amtrak points are worth more than most other reward currencies, with each point worth about 2.9c toward most train fares (or 2.56 on Acela fares). That means that the 40K offer on the Amtrak Rewards Preferred card will buy you well over $1,000 in train tickets (nearly $1200 on non-Acela service!). That’s a fantastic return on $1,000 spend.
The no-annual-fee Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard also offers an excellent bonus for a consumer card with no annual fee when you consider that you could buy well over $500 worth of train tickets with 20K points.
While these points have a very limited scope of use, they can nonetheless be highly useful to those who value train travel. I’ve taken Amtrak a handful of times over the past few years and while the trains in some cases have been quite old and a sometimes show their wear, the seats are wide and spacious and you can sometimes get a good WiFi signal on board. Furthermore, they can be a sightseeing tool in parts of the country that can make the journey part of the trip.
Is it possible to get the card with the 40 K SUB and then downgrade after a year to avoid the annual fee?
good content but selfies are a bad idea
Even though I doubt I’d ever get the card because I’m not a super domestic train guy, it is nice to see FNBO make a good offer. Haven’t seen much from that bank to make me excited about their SUBs.
Looking at DoC, however, I see that BOA did 50k, but unsure if RRV for Amtrak were as high?
Value of Amtrak points has been the same ever since they got rid of the zone-based chart. I’d guess that was around 2015?
The 2.9 cent fare is generally over valuing it IMHO since the lowest revenue fares aren’t actually eligible for point redemptions. I’m a fan of the card at 40K, but wouldn’t put it that high. There was a detailed thread in DoC on value in different scenarios.
Greg, it’s time for you to do a detailed analysis! 🙂
Oh yeah? I’ve never noticed a revenue fare that wasn’t eligible for point redemption.
It’s eligible against any ticket, but you can’t use it against the lowest fare tier. So, for a super cheap fare tier, you might only get a bit more than 1 cent.
Check out April 29 WAS to NYP one way. The 315 AM flight Coash Saver fare is $20. But, the Coash Points Purchase is 4,083 points, so you would actually only get about .5 CPP in this scenario.
Interesting. I haven’t seen that before.
Certainly sounds like you know what you’re talking about on this, so this isn’t to doubt that you’re right, but regarding that specific example, I saw that TPG posted today that Amtrak released a promotion today for “new ultra-low Night Owl Fares” that are between $5 and $20 for trains departing between 7pm and 5am on Northeast Corridor routes (basically WAS/DEL/BWI/BAL/PHL/NWK/EWR/NYP routes. Post doesn’t say how long they will be available.
The $20 fare and .5 CPP is an extreme case. The key thing is that the point tickets are not saver fares. They are more like value fares in that you can cancel them (but you lose 10%). Saver fares you can’t cancel. In reality is means that when the saver fare is a very low price, you are better off paying cash and saving your points for when saver is closer to value or you are using the Acela or a cross country room. I hate paying cash for anything, but it would seem silly to take a ticket at .5 CPP.
Sorry, I wish I could edit, here are the exact refund/cancel explanations.
Saver FaresClasses of Service: Coach on Reserved Services, Acela Business Class
Value FaresClasses of Service: Coach on Reserved and Unreserved Services, Acela Business Class
Reward Ticket Cancellations & ModificationsThe following applies to tickets redeemed using Amtrak Guest Rewards points:
One-Way, Round-Trip, or Multi-Segment Reward Travel
The points are a great value, its just difficult to justify burning a 5/24 on Amtrak.