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I’ll come right out and say it: I really love the Amtrak Guest Rewards World credit card. Being in NYC with family in New Hampshire and Upstate New York, this card allows me to visit my family way more frequently than if I had to pay cash every time. Earlier this year, I highlighted why the annual fee-free version of this card was good, but I’m here to tell you why the version with the $79 annual fee is better, at least in my mind. Remember, you should only apply for credit cards that fit YOUR unique situation–and NEVER just because some random guy on the internet says you should. With that out of the way, here are four reasons I love this version of the Amtrak credit card.
1. Bonus points
I’ve signed up for this card twice, once in 2015 when it came out and again earlier this year. The first time, I earned 20,000 bonus points and earlier this year, I earned 30,000 bonus points. Both times required me to spend $1,000 within three months of opening the card. Bank of America has generally let you have more than one of the same card at the same time (and earn the bonus again), but as always, your mileage may vary.
Here’s why those bonuses are so great. So far in 2017, i’ve redeemed 32,401 points for 12 segments, which has saved me (by my calculation) $827.10 in travel expenses. If I had to pay for all of these trips out of pocket, there’s no way I’d be able to take other trips, like my upcoming honeymoon. This also only represents trips through August. I expect to take one more trip in May, plus other travel later in the year.
2. 5% point redemption on award tickets
Another great aspect regarding the points: when you’re an Amtrak credit card holder, you’ll earn 5% of your points back when you make an award redemption. That means my redemptions above would have costed me 34,106 points, which means I’ve saved 1,705 points with this benefit, worth about $47 — enough to cover the one way segment I took to Hudson, NY last month!
(READ MORE: Amtrak NYC to Boston Review)
3. 3 points per dollar on Amtrak purchases
When I do have to make an Amtrak purchase, it’s nice getting an increased amount of points, in conjunction with the points you earn from paid travel. With the Amtrak Guest Reward World credit card, you earn three points per dollar on all Amtrak purchases. Take the three paid trips I have above: $117, $117, and $49. Purchasing those trips on my Amtrak credit card, I was able to earn 849 points.
Those points, in conjunction with the points you earn from paid travel means you can earn up to 5.5 points per dollar on all paid Amtrak travel:
- Coach: 3 points per dollar for credit card spend + 2 points per dollar for travel
- Business: 3 points per dollar for credit card spend + 2.25 points per dollar for travel
- First: 3 points per dollar for credit card spend + 2.5 points per dollar for travel
P.S. The three points per dollar also works on the onboard Café Car!
4. Companion and Upgrade coupons
Finally, the two coupons that come with this card are a real benefit, especially for last minute travel. For my paid trip in March, Nick and I went on a (sort of) last minute visit to see my family, and using the Companion Coupon meant that when I paid the full fare ($234), Nick got to travel for free! In my opinion, that coupon not only refunded the annual fee of $79, but allowed me to save an additional $155 towards future travel (or, you know, our grocery bill)!
(SEE ALSO: Amtrak Acela Business Class Review)
You get one Companion Coupon and one Upgrade Coupon per year when you renew your card–this is a great benefit to use in two-player mode. In effect, each year you and your partner renew your cards, you get two 50% off coupons.
Amtrak Credit Card Conclusion
I could go on at length as to why this is a great card to have in your arsenal. Overall, if you live also the Northeast Corridor, or travel along the corridor often, the Amtrak credit card is a no-brainer. Not only have I saved over $800 in travel expenses, but I’ve also received a 50% off Acela Express Business Class seat, which means this is one card I’m happy to pay the annual fee on year after year.
What do you think? Is this card “worth it” in your mind? Let us know below!