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Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard Review: Rewarding for Dedicated Amtrak Travelers

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard Review: Rewarding for Dedicated Amtrak Travelers

The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® offers excellent travel perks for frequent Amtrak users.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Quick facts

  • Credit needed:
  • Sign-up bonus:
  • Earning rate:
  • Annual fee:
  • Foreign transaction fee:
  • Other benefits: Annual companion coupon, annual upgrade coupon, elite status boost, single-visit station lounge pass, 20% food and beverage rebate

Pros

  • Solid earning rate
  • Several valuable Amtrak perks and benefits
  • foreign transaction fees
  • Points are unlimited and only expire after 24 months of inactivity

Cons

  • annual fee
  • Other travel rewards cards offer more flexibility
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Is the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® worth it?

The Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® is a solid travel card that’s worth a look, especially if you like to ride the rails. Beyond offering the basics of a good travel card — including foreign transaction fees and a solid rewards program — the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® packs a punch for frequent Amtrak travelers. With this card, you can enjoy exclusive loyalty perks, such as a companion pass, food and beverage rebates, lounge access and more, all for just a annual fee.

Who is the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® best for?

The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® is best for frequent Amtrak travelers who can take advantage of Amtrak-specific benefits, like its annual companion pass. Those who don't ride Amtrak regularly, however, aren't likely to get much value from this card. If you think you'd benefit more from a more flexible rewards card, there are plenty of other great travel rewards cards to choose from.

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Sign-up bonus

Upon signing up, you’ll receive . According to Amtrak, these points are worth up to $500 in Amtrak travel. Considering the low spending threshold and the moderate annual fee, this sign-up bonus offers decent savings on Amtrak tickets.

Earning rate

The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® lets cardholders

This rewards rate focuses on travel, since you’ll earn double the points for several travel merchants, including hotels and car rentals. When it comes to everyday purchases, though, most travel rewards cards will offer better rewards rates — some will offer bonus points on grocery stores, restaurants or gas purchases.

Redeeming rewards

You have a number of options when it comes to redeeming your Amtrak rewards points. While several redemption options are available, the most valuable option will be redeeming your points for Amtrak travel. Not only will you get about $0.028 cents per point, but you'll also enjoy a 5% point rebate to your rewards balance.

Other redemption options include hotels, car rentals, cruises and various other travel promotions, as well as gift cards from numerous retailers and restaurants.

What are Amtrak Guest Rewards points worth?

One of the best parts about the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® (and the Amtrak Guest Rewards loyalty program) is the high value of Amtrak points. On average, we found the value of a single Amtrak Guest Rewards point to be roughly worth $0.028 — worth over twice as much as the average rewards program currency.

The table below shows some sample one-way coach tickets:

From
To
USD
Points
USD/Point
New York, NYWashington D.C.$1746,117$0.028
Chicago, ILSan Diego, CA$2147,580$0.028
Boston, MAPhiladelphia, PA$1896,710$0.028
Atlanta, GAMiami, FL$38113,616$0.028
Average$0.028

Note that the value of your points will differ based on the redemption option, with Amtrak redemptions worth the most. Even better, if you use points to pay for Amtrak travel, you’ll receive 5% of those points as a rebate — further boosting the value of your points.

Annual companion coupon

You'll receive a complimentary companion coupon when you first open your account and another single-use companion coupon each year upon account renewal. The companion coupon allows you to take one person with you on your journey, free of charge. This can be a fantastic value, depending on your ticket's cost. The more Amtrak zones you move through in your trip, the more expensive the tickets become. This benefit alone has the potential to cover the annual fee.

Annual upgrade coupon

You'll also receive a one-class upgrade when you first open your account and on your renewal date each year. You can use the one-class upgrade to move up from coach to business class — or business to first class.

Other benefits

Cardholders will receive a one-time day pass to any of Amtrak's station lounges. Like airport lounges, you'll have access to comfortable seating areas, snacks, beverages and Wi-Fi to make your journey more pleasurable. Note, however, that unlike the annual companion coupon and one-class upgrade, you'll only receive this day pass when you first open your account.

With the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®, you can earn 1,000 TQPs for every $5,000 you spend each calendar year — for up to 4,000 TQPs. Usually, you need to travel with Amtrak to earn TQPs; instead, everyday spending on this card can expedite your way to elite status. This boost can give you a huge push towards earning Select elite status from Member status, or can help push you nearly all the way from Select to Select Plus status.

As you move up each elite status level, you'll enjoy TQP point bonuses, additional one-class upgrades and companion coupons. The top two membership levels (Select Plus and Select Executive) will even enjoy unlimited access to Amtrak lounges.

Elite status level
Qualification
Points-earning benefits
Loyalty benefits
Member0-4,999 TQPs
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel
  • 25% point bonus on business and Acela Business travel
  • 50% point bonus on Acela first class travel
N/A
Select5,000 TQPs
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel
  • 25% point bonus on business and Acela Business travel
  • 50% point bonus on Acela first class travel
  • 25% tier status point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Two one-class upgrades
  • Two single-visit passes to Amtrak lounges
  • Priority call handling
Select Plus10,000 TQPs
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel
  • 25% point bonus on business and Acela business travel
  • 50% point bonus on Acela first class travel
  • 50% tier status point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Four one-class upgrades
  • Two companion coupons
  • Unlimited access to Amtrak lounges
  • Priority call handling
Select Executive20,000 TQPs
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel
  • 25% point bonus on business travel
  • 50% point bonus on first class travel
  • 100% tier status point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Four one-class upgrades
  • Additional one-class upgrade with every 3,000 TQPs
  • Two companion coupons
  • One auto train priority vehicle offloading coupon
  • Unlimited access to Amtrak lounges
  • Priority call handling

Drawbacks

  • annual fee — While this is a relatively low annual fee, it can still be a deterrent for consumers who would rather not pay an annual fee at all. However, there are plenty of solid no annual fee cards available to choose from.
  • Rewards aren't flexible — While Amtrak points are valuable, cardholders are mostly confined to redeeming them for Amtrak travel. In contrast, general travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express offer consumers more flexibility by allowing them to transfer their points to a variety of travel partners for greater value.

Alternatives to the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®

Although the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® provides great value on earning and redeeming points, other general travel rewards credit cards can offer more flexibility.

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: A rewarding and flexible option for frequent travelers

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, one of the best travel rewards credit cards, has historically been a good choice for all types of travelers. You’ll earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.

Thanks to its flexible redemption options, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points to book various types of travel — and receive a 25% point redemption bonus. While booking Amtrak tickets isn't one of the options, you can still book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, activities and more. With an annual fee of $95, this card is best for those looking for flexibility with their travel rewards.

Highlights

  • Credit score needed: Excellent
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earning rate: 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Verdict: A straightforward travel rewards card with valuable redemption options

If you want to keep things as simple as possible, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another strong contender. While it also comes with a $95 annual fee, unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, it doesn’t offer you any bonus for redeeming miles — miles redeemed for travel are always worth $0.01 each.

However, you’ll earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023. If you don’t frequently travel with Amtrak and want a card with simplicity and flexibility, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might be a great alternative to the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®.

Highlights

  • Credit score needed: Excellent/Good
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Welcome offer: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earning rate: 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023

Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: A no-annual-fee hybrid cash-back/travel credit card

If you're not sold on a credit card with an annual fee, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited® instead. This can be considered a top card for earning cash back on both travel and everyday purchases due to its impressive earning rate: Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

This card can also be paired with another Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, so that when transferred, your points can easily be used to redeem travel for maximized value.

  • Credit score needed: Excellent/Good
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome offer: Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.
  • Earning rate: Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Should you get the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard®?

The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World MasterCard® is a phenomenal offering for those who take trains as their main mode of transportation. It's not often that a travel rewards card — with just a annual fee — comes with a generous sign-up bonus, ongoing loyalty benefits and an expedited path to elite status.

Still, the card does lack in its flexibility of redemption options, so only avid Amtrak travelers will be able to maximize its benefits. If you'd rather have a more flexible general travel rewards card, there are plenty of excellent options to choose from.

Frequently asked questions

How much are Amtrak Guest Rewards points worth?

We value Amtrak points to be around $0.028 each — this is a relatively high rate compared to what other travel programs offer.

Do Amtrak points expire?

Yes, your Amtrak points will expire if your account has not been active for 24 months. Earning and redeeming rewards count as "account activity," so you'll want to be sure to use your Amtrak card during that time to avoid losing your points.

How much is 50,000 Amtrak points worth?

Because we value Amtrak points at $0.028 cents a piece, 50,000 Amtrak points are worth about $1,400.

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

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).