Transfer JetBlue to Amtrak for up to 1.45 cents per point value

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Who knew that you could transfer JetBlue points to Amtrak at a 2 to 1 transfer ratio? Benjy at MilesToMemories, that’s who.  The trick is to use Points.com to make the transfer.

Amtrak’s California Zephyr as it travels along the Colorado river. Photo taken from my Amtrak bedroom window as the train rounded a turn. Read about my trip here.

Equal Transfer Value

JetBlue points are often worth about 1.43 cents each when used towards JetBlue flights.  In practice, the value is all over the map: you can get better or worse value based on mostly unknown variables.  See: What are JetBlue TrueBlue points worth?

Meanwhile, Amtrak points are supposed to be worth 2.9 cents each for Amtrak travel except with Acela routes where points are supposed to be worth about 2.6 cents each.  In practice, Amtrak doesn’t follow those point valuations exactly, but they’re often close.

The ability to transfer points 2 to 1 from JetBlue to Amtrak means that you can trade JetBlue points for Amtrak points of roughly equal value.  Each Amtrak point is worth roughly two JetBlue points so this is a fair trade for those who want to travel on Amtrak.

It’s worth noting that you won’t get good value transferring points in the other direction.  Amtrak points transfer to JetBlue at a poor ratio: 1,000 Amtrak points = 319 JetBlue points.

Spot Checking Amtrak Value

I’d love to someday do a sleeper car bedroom on the Amtrak Coast Starlight route between Seattle and Los Angeles.  So, I compared real world cash vs point prices on a random date in July.  As you can see below, the cash price was $1,008 and the point price was 35,784 points.  This works out to a value of 2.8 cents per Amtrak point or 1.4 cents per JetBlue point.  Either way, that’s not bad.  It’s not incredible outsized value, but it’s not bad.

Transferable Points

Almost all transferable points programs offer the ability to transfer points to JetBlue:

Amex Transfer RatioChase Transfer RatioCiti Transfer RatioMarriott Transfer RatioBrex Transfer Ratio
250 to 200 plus excise tax1 to 11 to 160K to 12.5K

Both Chase and Citi offer 1 to 1 transfers to JetBlue.  This means that you can indirectly transfer these points to Amtrak at a 2 to 1 ratio.  Again, you won’t get outsized value from your points this way, but you’ll get up to 1.45 cents per point, which isn’t bad (especially for Citi points).  And, if you have the Citi Rewards+ card, the transfer to JetBlue would qualify for a 10% points rebate.  That would then mean even better value for your points.

Each of the following posts include a section with “indirect transfer partners”. These include ideas such as transferring to Virgin Atlantic and then 2 to 3 to Hilton.  And now, each of these posts include this new (to me) option of transferring to JetBlue and then to Amtrak:

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Aloha808

I wonder if the JetBlue credit card 10% points rebate stacks with this.

Brian G.

Just did this, something to consider: JetBlue limits you to 50k point of Points.com exchanges per year. I needed 26.500 Amtrak AGRs so had to use another method. I transferred 10k Hilton Honor points for the remaining 1,500 Amtrak AGRs needed. Bad value at 6.66 HH to AGR, I value HH at $0.005 each, so $0.033 per AGR. But cheaper than buying AGRs at $0.037 per point.

JetBlue to Amtrak took less than 12 hours.
Hilton to Amtrak took about 4 hours.

Avi

Is this dead? I’ve been transferring Jetblue and Aeroplan to Amtrak using this method for a couple years, most recently about a month ago, but when I just logged in to Points.com, it doesn’t show any transfer partners anymore.

Avi

Works now for me too. I guess they were doing maintenance on the website or something yesterday.

[…] ideally with many confusing steps but without losing value along the way.  The recent finding that JetBlue points convert 2 to 1 to Amtrak points set my wheels spinning.  Let’s see what we can cook up in the […]

Mike

Wish I knew a way to transfer out Amtrak points to something useful. Stuck with 120K from the days when 40K booked a sleeper car two zones. Now we travel with a dog who can’t even ride Amtrak ughh

jeph36

This is probably at least a decent deal to keep Amtrak points from expiring – normally 24 months from last activity but extended due to COVID. My balance is only at ~800 points from some Milwaukee-Chicago roundtrips during non-COVID times, so I will probably not worry about them expiring. But if I had a bigger balance I would want to keep it alive with a trick like this.

EricF

Also can use the Amtrak shopping portal for extension of expiration. My favorite use of the portal is Tire Rack for 4 Amtrak points/ $ spent.

Last edited 1 year ago by EricF
Joe Y

Not sure the 2.8 cents per Amtrak point is a consistent value (at least during the pandemic). I just booked a Northeast Regional coach ticket from New York to Washington, DC using 2,627 points. The cash price was $39 so that’s about 1.5 cents per point. I travel a lot on the Northeast Corridor and I’ve consistently seen redemption values of between 1.5 and two cents per point since April. Just my two cents (no pun intended).

Dan

Amtrak actually introduced non-refundable/not fully changeable lower fares in either late 2019 or early 2020. Points get redeemed against the cost of more expensive tickets, so when saver fares are available, points are really worth the amount of flexibility you may need for that trip.

Joe Y

Ah, I see. Do you know whether (outside of special pandemic-inspired rules) tickets purchased with points are fully refundable and changeable in the same way tickets purchased in the higher fare buckets are?

Joe Y

Ah, gotcha. Good to know!

SamBam

Oh and Master Greg….the coast starlight is really only good south or north from Bay Area to/from LA. The best part of the coast starlight should be going past majestic Mt Shasta in the Siskyous mountains. But going north and south you pass Shasta in the middle of the night. Shame. Seattle to Bay Area not that amazing. If you’ve never seen Shasta it’s a must.

Andy

The northbound Starlight is usually a few hours late by the time it passes Mt. Shasta, causing it to pass by around sunrise.

SamBam

Forgive me but i don’t get the math with Chase and Citi going from 1 to 1 and then 2 to 1. Huh? Upon further review….the jet blue part!!! No need for response. Play on.

Last edited 1 year ago by SamBam
Allan

I did a crazy conversion a few years back with points.com. It was Amex (30% Bonus) > Aeroplan > La Quinta Rewards (20% loss) > Wyndham 1:1 transfer total 60,000 points. Booked a four night stay in Aspen worth $2,500 through New Year’s Day. Gotta keep an eye out for these types of conversion deals that don’t happen too often.

Dee

This is great! My husband and I are sitting on about 70,000 Amtrak points right now. Part of our estate planning is to keep our points-earning to Chase & Amex so our kids don’t have a gajillion banks to deal with when we die. When we use up our current Amtrak points, we have a way to replenish without getting BofA cards.

losingtrader

Can you ride the Snowpiercer?

THEsocalledfan

Greg,

Isn’t there some kind of Amtrak to choice trick that could then be done?