Chase Transfers to Amtrak End December 8

Chase no longer issues the co-brand Amtrak credit card. Alongside Amtrak’s new revenue-based loyalty program comes a new co-brand credit card partner, Bank of America. Here are details of the new Amtrak credit cards.

Under the new program points are worth 2.5 to 2.9 cents apiece… kind of. That’s less than a 6% rebate for paid Amtrak travel, but represents good value for points transfers or credit card earning.

Last month both Chase and Amtrak said that Ultimate Rewards points would continue to transfer to Amtrak “until further notice” which I took to mean that such transfers would indeed be ending. (Amtrak did use different language regarding transfers from Starwood, saying those ‘would not be impacted’ at this time.)

I suggested,

I also tend to think that if you’re interested in using Chase points with Amtrak, it might be worth proactively transferring some. I won’t be doing that, but I could imagine some will want to.

We now know that December 7 is the last day to transfer points from Chase to Amtrak. December 8 it will no longer be possible. According to Amtrak,

Effective December 8, 2015, the option to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Amtrak Guest Rewards® will be discontinued. Eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards customers can transfer points into Amtrak Guest Rewards through December 7, 2015.

I don’t view this as a great loss for the Ultimate Rewards program. I’ve never used the option, and far prefer transfers to Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, United, and Hyatt.

But for those that used the transfer options it’s a loss (December 7 will be a day that lives in infamy?). And I’m hoping that Chase sees it as a loss, such that:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s definitely, definitely a loss, especially for Californians who were making 1,500 UR redemptions.

    List of UR devaluations:
    -United deval
    -Hyatt deval
    -7% rebate elimination
    -UR mall deval (removal of travel partners)
    -removal of 1.33 cent per dollar UR redemption for revenue plane ticket
    -removal of Lounge Club access
    -removal of Amtrak transfers
    -Southwest deval
    -Avios deval
    -First Friday elimination
    -elimination of Mastercard CSP; means you have to pay 1.4% forex with Visa abroad

    It’s nowhere close to the gravy train it once was.

  2. @stvr I don’t think it’s fair to lump (a) all Chase cards into one list, and (b) the devaluations of all programs into that list. All you’re really saying then is that loyalty programs have changed over the past few years and not saying anything unique about these cards.

  3. I transferred 2000 points from Chase to Amtrak earlier in the month. I needed to top off my account so I could book my Roomette DEN/PDX.
    All aboard!!

  4. Amtrak was one of my favorite transfer partners. In fact, I transferred to them more than anyone else. I transferred 20k a few weeks ago preemptively. I’ll probably transfer another 10-20k before the cut off and that’ll cover my train travel for the next few years as long as I book early enough and stick to coach seats.

  5. @Gary — okay, let’s just take the CSP…

    -7% rebate elimination
    -UR mall deval (removal of travel partners)
    -removal of Amtrak transfers
    -First Friday elimination
    -elimination of Mastercard CSP; means you have to pay 1.4% forex with Visa abroad
    -barriers in place to deny sign-up to people who have multiple credit cards

    Still pretty ugly.

  6. @stvr most people didn’t have the mastercard, and first friday was a temporary program introduced 3 years ago (and since extended annually) not part of the original card offering. You’ve also got to balance that against additions to the card like SQ and VS transfers, and primary car rental CDW.

  7. Gary–I have plenty of UR points and I would love to transfer 40,000 of them to Amtrak so I can use later for say, a 2 zone Bedroom. However I may not be able to book that trip for say 18 months. Is there a downside to transferring them now? Thanks.

  8. I am sure glad I don’t have to push CSP these days. It’s rapidly becoming incredibly mediocre. Get it, get the bonus, and then dump it. If you’re locked out by the 5/24, no sweat, you’re not missing much.

  9. What happens to the points already in your Amtrak account when it goes revenue based?? If I have 40,000 point in it at the date it becomes revenue based (by transferring UR points today) will one be able to use them to obtain a 2 zone bedroom (the current cost)??

  10. Gary–Thanks for that info, but how do you arrive at those numbers?? If accurate that would mean the UR points are valued at 2.5-2.9 cents apiece….yes??

  11. @Jonathan Evans see my discussion of the Amtrak changes:
    http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2015/08/27/amtraks-new-revenue-based-program-details-revealed-heres-what-it-will-mean/

    That will explain how much Amtrak points are worth. And indeed if you use Chase points for Amtrak redemptions you get that much value out of them (although a handful of fares aren’t eligible to redeem against which reduces their value, eg http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2015/08/30/ouch-amtraks-new-revenue-based-program-will-be-much-worse-than-we-first-thought/) then they’d be worth that much to you.

    I have not revised upward my valuation of Chase points from 1.9 cents apiece however.

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