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The Chase Amtrak card is one of the more undervalued cards out there.  I signed up for one of these in a credit card churn a few months ago, but shortly after that, Chase pulled the plug on new signups for the card, and since then, speculation has run rampant about the card.

Finally, some actual answers

I read recently on Mommy Points that there has been some actual information to post.  Over on this Flyertalk thread, user “AGR Insider”, who is an actual Amtrak employee, stated:

The new Amtrak Guest Rewards® MasterCard® credit card arrives Fall 2015. More information will be coming soon about the new benefits and features that will make our card even more rewarding.

If you have the Amtrak Guest Rewards® MasterCard® credit card from Chase, you can continue to use your card and will continue to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points. You will receive communication in advance prior to any changes being made to your Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card from Chase.

That’s the extent of the actual information that we have, but now speculation continues!  Based on the wording of the message, it does appear that the new Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card will NOT be offered by Chase (though again, that’s just guesswork)

What about the Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 transfer?

One of the benefits of the Chase / Amtrak partnership is the ability to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak Guest Rewards at a 1:1 basis.  This is what I used for our epic Yellowstone / Mt. Rushmore trip this past summer.  The 2 sleeper car roundtrip had a cash cost of $6540, but I was able to get it for only 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards.

amtrak-6500-fare-big

 

(SEE ALSO: How I spent 350,401 miles and points)

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

We had a blast on our Amtrak trip, but due to massive delays (13 hours into Denver!), we probably won’t be riding Amtrak again.  Still, it was a great thing to check off my travel bucket list!

If the Amtrak card does move to a different issuing bank, it’s possible (likely?) that you will no longer be able to transfer from Chase to Amtrak, and that would be a real bummer

Amtrak’s 1:3 transfer to Choice Hotels – the real gold mine

The real gold in having the Amtrak card is unlocking the ability to transfer points to Choice Hotels at a 1:3 ratio.  You can only transfer 25,000 Amtrak points to Choice Hotels each year, and to do even that, you need to have either Amtrak status (impossible unless you ride a LOT), or spend $200 or more on Amtrak travel ON your Amtrak credit card.  When I last covered the Amtrak / Choice transfer option, I mentioned a workaround but it DOES require having the Amtrak credit card.

On our recent Yellowstone trip, we stayed 1 night at the Rodeway Inn and Suites in Gardiner, Montana (just north of the northern gate to Yellowstone).  It was 16,000 Choice Hotels points but had a cash price of nearly $300 (weekend night in prime Yellowstone season).  5,333 Chase points for a $300 hotel?  Sign me up!

I will keep you posted as I learn additional news about the new Amtrak credit card, but if you don’t have it, you’re likely going to want to sign up when it becomes offered later this fall!


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