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Amtrak just came out with a promotion where you’ll receive a 30% bonus on all points purchased. This is a promotion that they quite often, although the cost of purchasing points increased drastically this past summer and the value is nearly not as good as it used to be. This promotion ends December 31, 2015.
In the past, you could purchase up to 10,000 points per calendar year per account, plus the bonus. They have increased that amount to 15,000 points, which is great if you need to purchase a ton of points, but unfortunately with that change the cost per point also increased. In the past, the cost to purchase 10,000 points was $275. Now, it is $395 which is significantly more expensive. Usually when there is a bonus, 30% is the norm, so you are still getting the same bonus but for more money. This means that where it used to ultimately cost $91 per Amtrak ride in the Northeast, it now costs $131! That is not a price I would just speculatively purchase points at. A few years ago you could actually end up purchasing points for about $55 one way in the Northeast! Those days are gone and it is now close to triple the price! And remember, in January Amtrak is changing their entire point redemption system.
Some things to know:
- The terms with purchasing points state that they can take up to 72 hours to post, however, in my experience they post immediately
- You can only purchase up to 15,000 points in a calendar year –> they’ve upped the limit from the previous 10,000 point cap per year!
- You can redeem your points for another passenger (this means if you’ve already hit the 15,000 point amount for purchases, use a friend/family members account)
The two reasons this can be beneficial for some: 1) Just shy on points for redeeming for an award; or 2) Looking to redeem for a last minute trip and the cost of purchasing points is actually cheaper then purchasing the lowest fare available directly.