Randy Petersen puts the smack down and gets the straight story on Amtrak transfers to Choice Hotels.
I recently reported that Amtrak reduced the value of transfers to Choice Hotels with no notice and then removed the option altogether.
- [Members are] again be able to transfer points from Guest Rewards to their Choice Privileges account at a rate of 5,000 to 15,000 points, and transfers will be completed for members who were in the middle of a transfer when the closure occurred. According to Blakey, the exchange option will remain in effect through the end of 2007, at which time changes to the program will be instituted. As of Jan. 1, 2008, the Guest Rewards exchange program will only be available to elite members (Select and Select Plus) and members who hold an Amtrak co-branded MasterCard. Elite members will be able to transfer at a rate of 5,000 Guest Rewards points to 15,000 Choice Privileges points.
A few members have reported points being removed from their Choice Privileges accounts, points which had been transferred from Amtrak Guest Rewards. According to Blakey, the only members who have been impacted by these removals are those who opened more than one Amtrak Guest Rewards account, which violates the programs’ terms and conditions. He told us that any points removed from Choice Privileges accounts will be returned back into the members’ Guest Rewards account.
Amtrak twice made changes with no notice, then retracted some already-transferred points, but is putting those points back in accounts. They’ve also made the transfer option available again but just for the next two weeks, and next year you’ll need to get their co-branded credit card to be able to make Choice hotels transfers (at the new, lower rate).
At least they’re honoring redemptions already made, and coming clean on what they’re planning.
It was too good a deal to last — especially with a program that has such a bad reputation as Guest Rewards.