When Purchasing Amtrak Points Makes Sense

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I wrote about this offer when it was first announced, but I wanted to re-bring up this Amtrak promotion as it is a great deal!

Through June 30, 2014, Amtrak is offering an up to 50% bonus on purchasing their points. While purchasing points and miles is typically not a great deal, this is one opportunity that can save you money.

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With this promotion you can get a 10%, 30%, or 50% bonus when purchasing Amtrak points depending on the number of points you purchase:

  • Purchase 1,000-4,500 points: Get a 10% bonus
  • Purchase 5,000-9,500 points: Get a 30% bonus
  • Purchase 10,000 points: Get a 50% bonus!

So if you purchase 10,000 points at $275, it will result in 15,000 points. For Northeast travel on Amtrak (which I am most familiar with), this will result in close to 4 one-way trips in the Northeast Zone from Vermont all the way down to Virgina. Each one way is 4,000 points, so if you have 1,000 points in your account (or you can transfer 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) you will have 4 one-way trips which means you are paying $68.76 per trip. If you do not have 1,000 points, you can wait till January of next year and purchase the points required – which will cost $27.50 (you are maxed out at purchasing 10,000 points per account per calendar year). If you need to purchase the extra points that means you are ultimately paying $75.63 per one way trip.

While you are able to snag $49/one-way fares if you plan far enough in advance, fares only a few weeks in advance could be well over $90 one-way. The great thing about Amtrak as well is that redeeming points is extremely easy and typically always available (although there are some blackout dates during holiday times). So on those last minute fares, or even fares booked in advance that are on peak times, spending a fixed $75 is a great deal!

As mentioned previously, you are only allowed to purchase 10,000 points per calendar year in your account, but you are able to redeem points for anyone, so if you’ve already hit the maximum you can purchase points from a friend/family members account and then redeem in your name. Unless you are a Select Executive member there is no annual limit. Additionally, they say purchased points take 72 hours to post, but in my experience they post immediately.

You can purchase Amtrak points here. Will you be taking advantage of this offer?

Note: This might be a targeted promotion. You will need to sign into your account to see if this offer is available to you. 

Comments

  1. Awesome post! $40 is an excellent price for that distance. Do you know if point purchases code as travel for Chase or Barclays? Great deal if you could get points or reimburse with Arrival card miles.

    • @DRK – I am not sure where you see $40?! You are purchasing points from points.com and typically they do not get coded as “travel”.

  2. Makes sense for a lot of the regionals as well that are 1,500 point redemptions. If your ticket cost is more than $27.50 it would be a good deal. Weekend trains often hit $50-60 or more.

  3. A couple of years back, I traveled Amtrak for business for a few months and accrued roughly 9,500 points. They sent me a notice saying my miles expired and so I purchases a couple of things on their shopping website and also purchased some miles. Turns out, one cannot prevent expiration of one’s miles by taking these actions–the only way to prevent expiration is by traveling on Amtrak. So I lost the points. So this is a good deal only if you are not in danger of going down the same road that I discovered.

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