Amtrak

Category Archives for Amtrak.

The Final Word on Amtrak to Choice Points Transfers

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.From NotiFlyer[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…

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Amtrak Transfers to Choice Hotels Over

First Amtrak reduces the value of points transfers to Choice Hotels with no notice whatsoever. Now the option to transfer to Choice is gone entirely, a matter of days later. This just piles on the history of customer unfriendly business practices for this program (limiting the number of points transferred out of the program in a year with no notice, dropping their partnership with United with no notice). The Carlson folks run the program like a true clown operation.

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New Amtrak Guest Rewards Redemption Option

Just when I diss Amtrak Guest Rewards (and this doesn’t help with my trust of the program or with their customer service issues), they introduce a new redemption option — 5,000 Amtrak points convert to 25,000 Choice Privileges Points. The extreme value here is: 5,000 Amtrak points yield 25,000 Choice points which convert to 5,000 miles with Air Canada, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Mexicana, Northwest, United, and USAirways. Talk about flexibility! 10,000 Amtrak points yield 50,000 Choice points which convert to 20 Southwest Rapid Rewards credits, more than enough (16 required) for a free ticket. 50,000 Amtrak points yield 250,000 Choice points which convert to 100 Southwest Rapid Rewards credits, which earns you a companion pass and 6 roundtrip tickets (that can be used for you and your companion. Now, Amtrak still imposes a limit…

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Hall of Shame: Amtrak Guest Rewards

So you have to ride the train, and at least they give you points for that. But that’s more or less all you can say about Amtrak Guest Rewards. I used to like their 2500 point award, one-way in the Northeast Corridor for unreserved service. I’d keep some tickets on hand. Of course, Amtrak doesn’t even have unreserved service anymore. And they upped the point requirements with just hree weeks’ notice. And they both imposed maximum points transferred out of the program in a year and dropped United as a partner without any notice at all. These more or less made me not trust the Guest Rewards program. But their problems go even farther. Amtrak Guest Rewards has just implemented online award booking. In other words, they’ve entered the ’90s. But there’s a glitch. In…

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Amtrak Small Business Program Signup Bonus

Amtrak’s new small business program allows you to earn points in addition to the standard Guest Rewards program both for your travel and those that enter your small business program membership number. Accounts in this program earn 25% of the base points earned on Amtrak by each traveler. Through December 31, 2007 enrollment code STR07 yields a 1500 point signup bonus. (I got a copy of the offer and ignored it, so thanks to Samit for beating me over the head with it…)

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New Amtrak Guest Rewards Credit Card Debuts

The new Amtrak Visa is now up and running, offering 8000 bonus points with first purchase and no annual fee. Since it’s a Chase card, it may be churnable (Thus far, only the United card seems to disallow signing up over and over to pocket multiple bonuses). Now, I still recommend the Starwood American Express as the best all-purpose credit card. And specific charges warrant some special-case cards. But as far as truly no annual fee cards go, this one isn’t bad… although I don’t trust the underlying Amtrak Guest Rewards loyalty program, given its history of making changes without any notice whatsoever — miles used to be transferrable to outside programs without a cap and United used to be a transfer partner, for instance. Both changes were made without notice. And an increase in…

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New Amtrak Guest Rewards Credit Card Coming in the Fall

As mentioned back in January, the old MBNA–>Bank of America Amtrak Mastercard was discontinued. Now details of the new co-branded relationship have come out… This fall a new Amtrak Mastercard will be issued by Chase, with no fee and a 2500 point signup bonus. If you pre-register (you’ll need to log into your Amtrak account) with promo code 42507 you’ll get an email when the card is available and an extra 2500 point signup bonus for a total of 5000 points. You will receive a total of 5,000 points with this Bonus Offer. 2,500 bonus points will post to your Chase credit card account and appear on your Chase statement and an additional 2,500 bonus points will post directly to your Amtrak Guest Rewards account and appear on your Amtrak Guest Rewards statement. Amtrak is…

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Buy 3, Ride Free

Taking a cue from recent airline promotions, Amtrak is offering Buy 3, Ride Free on Acela. 3 roundtrips or even 6 one-ways on the Acela Express by May 19 earns an Acela Business class or Regional Coach class roundtrip. Registration is required. And in one of the more annoying clauses I’ve seen (for folks like me looking for every angle), they’ve pretty much ruled out the possibility of doing the promo cheaply or quickly: Minimum spend of $75 per qualifying trip one-way or $150 per roundtrip. Limit of one qualifying roundtrip or two one-ways per member per day. Grr.

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Amtrak Mastercard Update

The Amtrak Mastercard is on hold — no new applications are being accepted. Amtrak and Bank of America are ending their relationship. Only purchases that are posted prior to the closing date of the May 2007 statement will earn Amtrak points. Presumably a new bank will partner with Amtrak over the next few months, but there’s currently no new partner in place.

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