I ride Amtrak occasionally when I need to go from D.C.  up to New York, but definitely not someone who rides enough to rack up a bunch of points in their program, Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR).  Yesterday, I received an email from B of A to apply for their new Amtrak credit card.  You might think that I am not interested, but you couldn’t be more wrong.  The card comes in two versions, AGR World MasterCard and Platinum MasterCard.

Amtrak CC

The Platinum card has no annual fee and comes with a 12,000 point offer for $1,000 spend and little other benefits, so no thanks.  The World card is the one to get.  It has a $79 annual fee, but comes with a 20,000 point offer, and more importantly a Companion Coupon giving you a buy-get-one-free deal (with no extra fee unlike the airline version).  Here are all the key benefits:

Amtrak Benefits

You might be saying that you don’t live near an Amtrak route, but you should still get this card.  Why?  Hear me out.  Please read this post from my friend Greg at the Frequent Miler.  He and his family took a great overnight train ride from the Midwest to several of the national parks in Utah.  The trip report made it look spectacular.  Imagine doing that on two for one with your companion certificate.  I priced out Greg’s trip from Chicago to Green River, UT and it came in at $892 one way for a bedroom for two.  Using the companion ticket could easily be worth savings of  that much or more depending on how far you wanted to go.  Great for a family vacation.  More than two people traveling?  Then use  your 20,000 points for a free ticket for the extra people.  Got a big family and need more free tickets?  Just transfer points in from Chase Ultimate Rewards or SPG.  Rumor is that the Chase UR will be going away soon, so act on this fast if that is you strategy.

On top of that, the one ticket that you do buy for the companion fare can be at a good discount, either 10% for a veteran or 15% if you have the Veterans Advantage card.  My wife loves riding the train as she enjoys the slow travel aspect, so I am sure we’ll be using this card and its benefits.  Seems like a good idea for a nice relaxing vacation no matter where you live.

 

Posted by glenn | 2 Comments

2 responses to “Is the New Amtrak Credit Card Right for You?”

  1. Gregory says:

    How would the companion pass work when booking a bedroom since the price you pay for the bedroom already covers up to 2 people in the bedroom?

  2. Henry says:

    Thanks for the good tips on the new card. Knowing about the changes in using points starting in 2016, we went ahead and used up a lot of points for some special trips.

    Amtrak points come in very handy when using the Auto Train from DC-VA to Florida, which is our favorite way to travel south as all seats include meals.

    We also booked a one-way trip from NY Penn Station to San Diego next summer. We can then take a reasonable flight to San Francisco and hang out at the Marines Club, one of the best clubs in the USA.

    If you have the time to travel that far via train, it is an amazing journey. Using points to acquire a bedroom is the way to go.

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