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Here at Point Savvy we travel quite often. Not just to rack up miles and points, but also for business. For years, Amtrak travel has been the most convenient way for us to reach clients in the northeast, and continues to be our mode of choice. Booking Amtrak tickets is pretty easy, the seats are comfy, and the trains run generally on time while offering us a great space to get some work done.
That said, Amtrak tickets for it’s Northeast Corridor can be very pricey, and can make a trip to New York City even pricier. To save the most when booking Amtrak we suggest taking the Northeast Regional Saver and start your booking at least two weeks in advance. A little planning goes a long way.
Here’s a quick example of taking a train from Washington, D.C. Union Station to New York City Penn Station on Saturday, October 8. There are many options to travel on Northeast Regional trains to enjoy a $49 fare.
Sign up the Amtrak Guest Rewards loyalty program and you’ll earn 2 Amtrak Rewards points for every dollar that you spend on your tickets. What’s more, unlike many other promotions, Amtrak fares qualify for 50% off kids fares as long as the little ones are 12 or under, and are traveling with an adult. That may be enough to make orchestra seats to see a Broadway play a little more palatable for mom and dad.
See below how the fares will only increase to $73.50. That’s just $24.50 for one child traveling with an adult with the same itinerary on October 8.
One of the best things about Amtrak travel is the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard offered by Bank of America. You’ll earn 20,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new card within 3 months of your account opening. This point bonus is worth more than 6 trips on the Amtrak Northeast Regional for 1 adult (3,036 points per trip coach redemption) or 4 trips with an adult traveling with 1 child (4,554 points per trip coach redemption) bringing the value to $350 in Amtrak travel.
See below for one trip traveling with a child with Amtrak Guest Rewards points on the same October 8 itinerary.
If you find you want to enjoy Amtrak travel for more than just an annual trip, the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard offers a set of bonus categories.
Easy way to earn even more Amtrak Guest Rewards points
• 3 Amtrak Guest Rewards Points for every dollar you spend with Amtrak, including travel and onboard purchases.
• 2 points per dollar spent on other qualifying travel purchases. This category applies to non-Amtrak travel purchases, and the terms and conditions of the card’s application page defines this to include “airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, motels, inns, and resorts, steamship/cruise lines, and travel agencies.” This is a great way to earn a bonus with other travel providers.
Another Amtrak travel perk is the 5% rebate when you redeem your points for an Amtrak ticket. This rebate will automatically post back to your Guest Rewards account and is uncapped. So if you take the example above and redeem 4,554 points you’ll get 227 Amtrak Guest Rewards points back into your account, bringing your redemption amount down to 4,330.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll also enjoy other benefits when you open your account:
• Complimentary Companion Coupon: Valid for a free companion rail fare with the purchase of a regular adult rail fare.
• One-Class Upgrade: Valid for one space-available, one-way, one-class upgrade from coach to business class, or from Acela Business class to Acela First Class, on a single travel segment or leg.
• Single-day ClubAcela pass: Valid for bearer and one guest, or bearer’s spouse/domestic partner and children under the age of 21.
The complimentary companion coupon is a buy one, get one free offer. It’s valid on one-way and round-trip tickets, but keep in mind there are some restrictions. There are travel blackout days and these fall around important holidays where people travel the most. Saver fares are not counted as “full fare” tickets. This also doesn’t apply to other discounts like AAA and senior fares.
The upgrade certificate is valuable especially if you travel on Acela and use it for Acela First class. You will enjoy unlimited drinks and a meal served on white tablecloths. It is not valid for an upgrade to sleeping car accommodations.
The ClubAcela lounge pass will get will be mailed to your home address within two weeks of your account opening.
As a cardholder you will easily cover the $79 annual fee as you’ll automatically get the companion coupon and upgrade certificate every year when you renew your account. This is a card to consider if you are a point savvy traveler.
Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®
- Get 20,000 bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases with your new card within 90 days of account opening
- Earn 3 Amtrak Guest Rewards points for every $1 you spend with Amtrak®, including travel and onboard purchases
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on other qualifying travel purchases
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get a 5% Amtrak Guest Rewards point rebate when you book your Amtrak redemption travel
- Earn 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward earning status each time your eligible spending reaches $5,000 in a calendar year, up to 4,000 TQPs per year
- Enjoy a complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a single-day ClubAcela® pass for access to ClubAcela, Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge℠ or First class lounges upon account opening
- Receive a complimentary Companion Coupon and One-Class Upgrade every year
13.24% – 23.24%% variable