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Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®: Rewarding to Dedicated Amtrak Travelers

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®
Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®: Rewarding to Dedicated Amtrak Travelers

An excellent card for dedicated Amtrak travelers.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0
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Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

4.5/5.0

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

The Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® is a stellar credit card for consumers who frequently travel with its affiliated railroad. Individuals looking for a card to replace their old Chase Amtrak credit card should be relieved – this card is arguably an even better offering than its predecessor.

Good For..

Bad For…
  • Frequent Amtrak Customers
  • Use outside of the United States (No FX fee)
  • Someone looking for a more flexible rewards program

Review: Is The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® Worth It?

The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® offers fantastic value to individuals who travel with the railroad company. The more money you charge to this card, the more Amtrak points you’ll earn – all of which can be used towards paying for future Amtrak travel. If you tend to travel with one or more people, the card also offers up an annual companion coupon, which will allow one person on your reservation to travel for free. If taken advantage of, all these benefits combined make the Amtrak credit card a strong contender.

To those readers looking for a replacement for their old Chase Amtrak credit card, the Bank of America version is a worthy candidate, despite the $79 annual fee. If you take advantage of either of the annual loyalty benefits, the $79 fee becomes justifiable. On top of this, the Bank of America Amtrak credit card offers more generous rewards on spending than the Chase card ever did.

If you’re looking for a more flexible travel rewards credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card makes for a better option. Amtrak rewards points can be transferred to a few other programs, though we recommend against such a move, as it will almost always result in your point being devalued.

Bottom Line: If you travel with Amtrak at least once a year, this Bank of America Amtrak credit card is a good investment for you. Between the rewards it offers on different spending, and the loyalty cardmember benefits, the card certainly pulls its weight, and serves as a decent addition to one’s wallet.

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® Benefits & Features

The Amtrak credit card is a great way of earning extra Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Shopping with the card earns you 3 points for every $1 spent on Amtrak travel, 2 points per $1 on general travel spending, and 1 point per $1 elsewhere.

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®
Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®
Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®
Get 40,000 bonus points after you spend $2,500 in purchases on your new card within 90 days of account opening
  • To welcome you to your new card, you'll also receive a complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a single-day ClubAcela® pass
  • To welcome you to your new card, you'll also receive a complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a single-day ClubAcela® pass
Annual Fee
$79
Regular APR
17.24% to 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The information related to the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

In addition to the above, cardholders can also earn 20,000 bonus points, if they spend at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. If you’re using the card to purchase Amtrak tickets, you will earn these points on top of the base Guest Rewards program (2 points per $1). This bonus is enough to pay for a roundtrip with Amtrak, within the Northeastern zone, within one zone, or between two zones. We estimate its value to be around $520 - based on the calculations shown below.

What Are Amtrak Rewards Points Worth?

On average, the value of a single Amtrak Guest Rewards point is $0.026 – more than the typical rewards points. At surface level, the points earned through the Amtrak credit card can be used to pay for travel with the railroad. The value of your points will differ, however, based upon the redemption option you go with. The table below shows some sample round-trip itineraries for coach nights.

FromToUSDPointsUSD/Point

New York City

Washington, DC$884,000$0.022

Newark

Jacksonville$1345,500$0.024

Chicago

San Diego$2598,000$0.032

Boston

Los Angeles$27610,500$0.026

Average:$0.026

If you use points to pay for Amtrak travel, you will receive 5% of those points as a rebate. Doing so will boost the value of individual points, ever so slightly. With the rebate, your average per point value comes out to $0.028. At these rates, the rewards rate of the Amtrak credit card comes out to anywhere between 2.6% and 8.4% (if you're using the card to get 3 points per $1). This is significantly higher than even the best rewards credit cards - though keep in mind your rewards will take a rather limited form (exchangable for mostly more Amtrak rides).

Transferring Amtrak Rewards Points

For the most part, transferring your Amtrak Rewards points to other programs is not a worthwhile venture. The points earned through the Amtrak credit card can be transferred to one of three hotel programs: Choice Privileges, Hilton HHonors, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

Loyalty ProgramRewardAmtrak Points Needed

Choice Privileges

15,000 Choice Privileges Points5,000

Hilton Hhonors

10,000 Hilton Hhonors Points5,000

Starwood

One Night Stay at Category 1 Hotel10,000

Starwood

One Night Stay at Category 2 Hotel15,000

Starwood

One Night Stay at Category 3 Hotel22,500

Starwood

One Night Stay at Category 4 Hotel27,500

Due to the low value of Choice Privilege and Hilton HHonors points, it is not immediately useful to move your Amtrak points to either of these currencies – at the end of the day, you’d be loosing, on average, approximately 50% of your total value. Furthermore, the using your Amtrak points to pay for Starwood hotel stays is also unfavorable to consumers - resulting in a per-point value well below $0.01. For example, one night at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtwon Hotel (Category 4), costs $99 - or 27,500 Amtrak points. This comes out to a value of $99 / 27,500 = $0.0036 per point.

Certain travel hackers may be able to find deals such that a move to one of these other rewards programs may be beneficial. However, this would require a significant time investment, and a lot of planning.

Tier Qualifying Points (TQP)

For every $5,000 you spend on your Amtrak credit card, you can earn 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs), which count towards earning status with Amtrak. Unlocking different tiers of this elite membership grants access to additional benefits and perks. Normally, to earn TQPs one needs to travel with Amtrak – using the card to make everyday purchases can help shortcut this process.

‘Select Membership’ – the lowest tier – requires 5,000 TQPs. This status comes with a 25% bonus to the base (non-credit card rewards) Amtrak points you earn. With 10,000 TQPs earned in a single year, your base rate goes up by 50%, with Select Plus membership. The highest tier, Select Executive, is achieved with 20,000 TQPs, and gives 100% bonus on points earned through Amtrak trips.

Companion Coupon & One-Class Upgrade

When you first sign-up for the Amtrak credit card, you receive a slew of welcome gifts, including a free Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade, and a single-day ClubAcela® pass. Furthermore, the first two benefits mentioned – the companion coupon and one-class upgrade – will be awarded to cardholders in good standing, each account anniversary.

The Companion Coupon allows you to take one person with you on your journey, free of charge. This can prove to be a fantastic value, as it can save $100+ annually (assuming a roundtrip ride). If used, this benefit can easily cover the cost of the card’s $79 annual fee. The savings is, of course, directly proportional to cost of the trip. The more Amtrak zones you move through in your trip, the more expensive the tickets become. Note that this Companion Coupon is only usable for 1 reservation per year.

The One-Class upgrade can be used to move up from coach to business class, on a single, one-way trip per year. That is, if you book a round-trip itinerary, only one leg of it will be eligible for the upgrade. The class upgrade can also move passengers up from Acela Business class to Acela First class. To show you the potential monetary value of such an upgrade, we looked at a sample ride between NYC and Washington DC. A coach ticket costs $52, for one leg of the journey. A Business Class seat, for that same trip, costs $197. Therefore, you could potentially get a $145 value out of this small perk.

How Does The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® Compare to Other Credit Cards?

It’s impossible to get a sense of a card’s value in a vacuum. For this reason, we compared the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® to some other leading options.

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® vs Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®
Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®

The Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® is a ‘no annual fee’ version of the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®. As such, the rewards of this card are dwarfed. Most notably, the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® does not offer any companion coupon, one-class upgrade, or ClubAcela® pass. If you have use for either the companion pass, or one-class upgrade, at least once every year, then the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® is the better card. Otherwise, you will need to weigh whether you spend enough money on non-Amtrak travel purchases, in order to justify the $79 annual fee. If your annual budget here exceeds $2,080, paying the fee becomes worthwhile.

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred®, one of the best travel rewards credit cards, has historically been a good choice for those who travel with Amtrak. The Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be transferred to the Amtrak rewards program. However, at the end of 2015, Amtrak and Chase Ultimate Rewards are no longer partnered, and will not be transferable. If a majority of the travel you do is restricted to Amtrak, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card won’t offer a good value – we recommend the Amtrak credit card in its stead.

Comparison Tool

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Comments and Questions

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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