Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard Review [2020]

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The Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard is such a solid travel credit card. With strong bonus earning categories and additional perks, it’s hard to not love this card.

In this review article, I’ll show you why this card might be arguably one of the most valuable travel rewards credit cards on the market.

Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard overview

  • 3X on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases
  • 2X on travel
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Companion Coupon
  • Complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass
  • One-Class Upgrade
  • Earn Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs)
  • 5% Amtrak Guest Rewards point rebate
  • No point expiration
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • 20% rebate on food and beverage purchases

Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard Review

Daniel Gillaspia

Welcome Bonus
Bonus Earning
Perks

Summary

The Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard is a solid card for train travelers in the Northeast region and offers some of the most valuable travel points available.

4.3

Bank of America application rules

Bank of America just switched up their application rules and now you’ll have to deal with more complicated eligibility rules.

As you will be able to see below, there are a lot of rules to keep in mind when going for this card.

Tip: To make things easy on yourself, I suggest you use the free app WalletFlo so that you can automate your eligibility for credit cards and boost your approval odds!

If you want to figure out eligibility manually here are the main rules:

You can’t get approved for more than: 

  • Two new BOA cards in a 30 day period
  • Three new BOA cards in a 12 month period
  • Four new BOA cards in a 24 month period
  • Applicants with a BOA deposit account will not be approved if they have opened seven or more credit cards in the past 12 months.
  • Applicants without a BOA deposit account will not be approved if they have opened three or more credit cards  in the past 12 months

Welcome bonus

The bonus you get on this card will just depend on when you apply.

The standard offer is for 20,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening.

However, we have seen offers for 30,000 points and even 40,000 points although the spending requirement did jump up for the 40,000 point offer.

You can also sometimes find an offer with a $100 statement credit. If you can find a 40,000 point offer with a $100 statement credit, that is a beast of an offer!

20,000 points will be worth around $600 which is a pretty good amount of value for a travel rewards credit card.

There are quite a few different ways you can utilize your points and I recommend you checking out the ultimate guide to Amtrak points which breaks all of those down.

But here are some examples.

First, as you would expect, you can use your points on train rides. To give you an example of the pricing here are some sample routes:

RouteClassPrice (in points)
Los Angeles to TucsonCoach1,691
Chicago to St. LouisCoach1,070
Houston to New OrleansRoomette5,520
New York to BostonBusiness4,000
New York to Washington DCBusiness6,314
Sample Amtrak bookings with points.

You can also use your points for lounge access or shell out 10,000 points for upgrades.

By the way, if you want to learn more about the Amtrak cancellation policy you can find out details here.

You can also use your points in different forms such as booking hotels, gift cards, etc.

You should be aware, I did some test bookings on various hotels and cruises and gift cards and I was not very impressed with the results.

In some cases if you use your Amtrak points for hotels or cruise gift cards you would lose as much as 73% in value.

Therefore, unless you have absolutely no use for your points on Amtrak, I would highly advise to avoid those redemption avenues because you’ll be missing out on a ton of value.

Rows of seats inside train cabin
The best value for your points will be on a train rides.

Bonus earning potential

  • 3X on Amtrak purchases
  • 2X on travel
  • 1X on everything else

3X on Amtrak purchases

Given the high valuation of Amtrak points of 2.9 cents per point, this makes this card one of the most valuable travel credit cards out there. 

You’re getting close to 9% back on Amtrak travel when using your card which is pretty insane compared to the percent you get back with other travel cards.

Based on a return on spend perspective, you could argue that the Amtrak credit card is the most valuable co-branded travel credit card.

2X on travel

Earning 2X on travel with this card is also super impressive because of the high value of the points. You are basically getting close to 6% back on travel which again is super competitive.

The travel category is also very broad and includes merchants like: airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, motels, inns, and resorts, steamship/cruise lines, commuter rail, passenger rail (where Amtrak is not the merchant of record), and travel agencies.

1X on everything else

1X on everything else is very solid since that is close to 3% back on all purchases.

So as you can see, the Amtrak credit card might be the most valuable travel rewards credit card in terms of value put back in your wallet for travel purchases.

The only drawback is that your points are really only valuable on train travel which limits the redemption prospects for a lot of people.

For that reason, travelers wanting more options likely will be more interested in cards like the Amex Green Card that earn flexible points that can be used on different types of travel.

But if you are a train person or live near a dense network of Amtrak routes such as in the Northeast, this card could be extremely valuable.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend with smart automation!

Pool and beach area of hotel with surrounding palm trees
Earn Amtrak points on all types of travel such as hotel stays.

Amtrak Benefits

The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard will hook you up with a lot of great benefits.

Companion Coupon

Upon opening your account and each anniversary of your card membership, you will receive a complimentary companion coupon.

This benefit will consist of two one-way coupons each valid for one free companion rail fare with the purchase of one regular (full) adult rail fare.

The free companion and paying passenger must reserve at the same time and travel together at all times and each coupon is valid for travel as one one-way reservation.

For roundtrip usage, both directions of travel must be reserved at the same time. Travel blackout dates apply.

This could be the most valuable perk of the card since you’re basically getting a buy one get one free ticket, twice. It looks like you may be restricted to coach fares or to business class on Acela to use this perk based on reports.

But even if that is the case, you could still knock down the annual fee with one good use of the companion fare.

You can easily apply your companion pass discounts by signing into your account and utilizing the”Discounts” field or “Coupon/Promo code” drop-down menu.

Simply choose your companion discount that you’d like to apply and it should be applied instantly to your booking on the next screen.

One-Class Upgrade

You will receive a One-Class Upgrade upon account opening and each year when you renew your card membership.

The One-Class Upgrade Coupon is valid for one space-available, one-way, one-class upgrade.

You can use these to upgrade from Coach to Business class or from Acela Business class to Acela First class, on a single travel segment or leg. But you can’t use them to upgrade to sleeping car accommodations.

Travel blackout dates may apply so be sure to look into those.

Tip: On Acela Express trains, an upgrade from Acela business class to first class could cost more than $100. So if you optimize this benefit each year, this perk alone could justify the annual fee.

Upgrade coupons can be applied to existing reservations within the window of time referenced on your coupon.

You can apply your upgrades by logging into your account and locating the reservation and then simply selecting upgrade and choosing the upgrade coupon you would like to use.

Once you have confirmed the upgrade, your new ticket should be available instantly. This can be done on the website Amtrak.com or on the app.

Lounge Pass

After opening up an account, you will receive a complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass upon account opening. You should note that this is not an anniversary benefit.

A Station lounge pass grants single entry at any ClubAcela, Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge or Amtrak First Class Lounge and is valid for bearer and one guest, or bearer’s spouse/domestic partner and children under the age of 21.

No same-day ticket required for use.

A lounge pass would typically cost you $35, so this is a nice little added bit of value. The issue is that there are only a small number of lounges. So unless you have travel plans in one of those cities, this lounge pass may not do you much good.

 Your Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass will be mailed to you within 2 weeks of account opening.

Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs)

Amtrak will allow you to earn 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward earning tier status each time your eligible spending reaches $5,000 in a calendar year.

You’re limited to 4,000 TQP’s so that means that you can use a total of $20,000 in spend to boost your elite qualifying points.

To reach the first level of elite status known as the “Select” level you will need 5,000 TQPs so you will not able to achieve that level via spend but you can get pretty close.

Elite levelTQP requirement
Memberup to 4,999 TQPs
Select5,000 TQPs
Select Plus10,000 TQPs
Select Executive20,000 TQPs
Amtrak elite levels

5% point rebate

As a cardholder, you will receive 5% Amtrak Guest Rewards point rebate

Each time that you choose to use your points for an Amtrak ticket you receive the 5% rebate on the points that you redeemed.

Keep in mind that this is a rebate so you will have to have the total amount of points required to complete the redemption — the rebate cannot be applied to achieve the total points required for the redemption.

So let’s say that you redeemed 1,000 points for a ticket, you would receive 50 points back.

But let’s say you only had 950 points for a ticket and needed 1,000, you would not be able to redeem for the ticket.

20% rebate

You can also receive a 20% rebate in the form of a statement credit on your food and beverage purchases.

Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard FAQ

Do you get elite status with the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard?

No, you do not get elite status. However, for every $5,000 you spend you can earn 1,000 TQPs up to a total of 4,000 TQPs.

Do you get lounge access with the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard?

You do not get a lounge membership but upon account opening, you will get a complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass.

Can you get upgrades with the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard?

Yes, every year you will receive one complementary one class upgrade. In addition, you could use the points earned from the welcome bonus for upgrades starting at 10,000 points.

What is the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard annual fee?

The annual fee is $79 and it is not waived.

Does the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard have foreign transaction fees?

No, there are no foreign transaction fees.

Is Amtrak a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards?

No, Amtrak is no longer a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Can you downgrade the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard?

There is a no annual fee version of this card known as the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum MasterCard. This card may be a downgrade option but some people have had issues downgrading to this card so it may not always be possible.

Final word

If you plan to use Amtrak this credit card can be a pretty valuable asset, allowing you to travel for free and take advantage of some perks along the way.

But if you are an avid train traveler, this card could easily be the most valuable travel credit card due to its high point valuations, bonus earning potential, and all of the other perks mentioned above.

Cover Photo by Bill Dickinson.

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