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Amtrak Guest Rewards has been going through a bit of a makeover (read: devaluation). As it currently stands (for a few more weeks), there can be incredible value found for using Amtrak Guest Rewards points (usually transferred 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards) for long-haul sleeper trips
(SEE ALSO: Maximizing your route on the Amtrak Zone Map)
My family and I were able to use 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (transferred to Amtrak) for 2 family bedrooms to go roundtrip from Ohio to Denver. This a trip that had a cash price of over $6500!!
Although we had a blast on our trip, dealing with some of the Amtrak delays made me wonder if I was ever willing to take an Amtrak trip again. On the other hand, calling in to complain and get Amtrak compensation got us a voucher for $1100 on a future trip, so we do need to figure out somewhere to use that on in 2016.
(SEE ALSO: The comprehensive guide to Amtrak: everything you need to know)
Changes to Amtrak Guest Rewards
Back in August, Amtrak Guest Rewards announced changes to their 2016 program (“devaluation”). Chief among them was the fact
Another casualty was the Chase Amtrak credit card. All those of us who had the Chase Amtrak card have been converted to Chase Freedom cards, and the new card is issued by Bank of America, and is not as attractive of a card.
The big loss is that it’s much harder to unlock the ability to transfer Amtrak points to Choice Hotels (at a 1:3 ratio!), which was one way that we got a bunch of Choice Hotel points to use on our vacation
(SEE ALSO: Ranking the 8 hotels we stayed at on our vacation)
(SEE ALSO: 4000 Choice Hotels points for signing up and 4000 more on your first stay)
Chase to Amtrak point transfer ending December 7th
As was expected (when they lost the credit card to Bank of America), Chase announced that their partnership with Amtrak would be ending, effective December 7th. It was originally posted on Flyertalk by AGR Insider (an Amtrak employee)
Effective December 8, 2015, the option to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Amtrak Guest Rewards® will be discontinued. Eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards customers can transfer points into Amtrak Guest Rewards through December 7, 2015. To see if your Chase card is eligible or to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak Guest Rewards, visit http://www.chase.com/ultimaterewards.
December 7th (Monday) is the last day to transfer Chase points to Amtrak, and the current AGR award chart expires in January, so you’ll have a few weeks to book awards at the current prices. Personally, I’m still trying to figure out if or how many points I want to transfer – what about you?
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I transferred 40,000 for future sleeper trips in 2016. Ultimately, although the use for sleepers was a tremendous deal, using AGR points for short weekend trips for myself and relatives to places like San Diego and Santa Barbara end up being more of a value, even if they aren’t 1500 points any more.
Oh man, how did I miss this news? There goes my grand plan to use my Chase Ultimate Rewards for a cross-country train trip. On the plus side, I’ll be able to sign up for the new Amtrak MasterCard and garner the signup bonus once again.