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amtrak-6500-fareI’ve written a bunch of posts recently about redeeming points on Amtrak for train travel.  Remember Rule #3 – KIDS LOVE TRAINS!

We have an upcoming family vacation where we used 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer to Amtrak and book a roundtrip in 2 family bedroom cars roundtrip between Toledo, Ohio and Denver, Colorado.  These kind of partner redemptions are one of the reasons I think Chase Ultimate Rewards are the best ones out there.

(SEE ALSO: My (free) $6500 family train vacation on Amtrak)

(SEE ALSO: Chase Ultimate Rewards: 5 reasons I think they’re the best miles out there)

I do think that paying the cash price for premium bedrooms is crazy ($6500?  Fugeddaboutit), but 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards is not an unreasonable price I think (it’s half of what it would cost to fly us there on United, another Chase transfer partner)

Amtrak zone map

Amtrak, like many travel programs, has a zone-based award chart.

amtrak-zone-map

The number of Amtrak Guest Rewards you need to travel depends on how many zones you cross

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(SEE ALSO: Maximizing your route on the Amtrak Zone Map)

That’s how we booked a $6500 Amtrak trip from Toledo to Denver for only 100,000 points – we booked 2 bedrooms for 1 zone of travel, roundtrip, so 25,000 * 2 * 2 = 100,000 points.  The points transferred over from Chase instantaneously.

Transferring Amtrak points to Choice

4 states!

Lots of cheap Choice hotels out in the western US

Another good value for Amtrak points is transferring them to Choice Hotels.  Amtrak points (and thus, by extension, Chase Ultimate Rewards points) transfer to Choice Hotels 1:3.  So 5,000 Chase / Amtrak points transfer to 15,000 Choice hotel points.

Travel is Free had a great post detailing some of the best uses for Choice points.  There are some top end hotels that can be booked using Choice points, but more interesting to me are some of the lower to middle end hotels that can be booked with Choice points.  When I was out in the western US earlier this month, on my trip to visit every county in Utah and see Four Corners monument, I noticed that there were several Choice hotels that could be reserved for 6,000 Choice points (or 2,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards).

Although i questioned whether it was ever a good idea to stay at a Rodeway Inn, I ended up booking one for about $40 / night, and here is why I’d stay there again!

Limits to transferring Amtrak points to Choice

All righty then – have I got you excited about this gold mine of cheap hotel stays?  Time for the fine print / bad news.  There is a limit to how many points you can transfer from Amtrak to Choice, and to even be eligible to transfer Amtrak points to Choice points, you have to meet certain criteria

amtrak-transfer-choice(Emphasis mine)

So in order to be able to transfer Amtrak points to Choice hotels, you need to either have elite status with Amtrak (unlikely unless you do a lot on train travel), or have the Amtrak Mastercard and spend at least $200 in a calendar year.

I got the Chase Amtrak card as part of a recent credit card churn, though there are reports of it no longer being available for new users.  I made my spend on the card recently and am still waiting on the statement to finish posting so that my Amtrak account will then be authorized to transfer points to Choice.  I called Amtrak to try and get them to expedite that process but they said it has to wait until the Chase credit card statement posts.

I’m planning on using those points to book some Choice hotels for our upcoming summer vacation

(SEE ALSO: My (free) $6500 family train vacation on Amtrak)

What about you? Ever transferred points from Chase to Amtrak to Choice?

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