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About a year and a half ago, Amtrak totally revamped their Amtrak Guest Rewards program. They moved away from a fixed redemption program and instead decided to go revenue based. Overall, people hate changes. They are used to one program and bam, the program fully changes and arms go flailing. While this change definitely did have an impact on many Amtrak members, especially those who like to redeem for their comfortable luxury bedrooms, there was definitely a silver lining for some reward redemptions.
I’ve lived in the Northeast most of my life and have taken Amtrak quite often between both New York-DC and New York-Boston. For these Northeast Regional fares, it required a fixed 4,000 points to redeem for a free train ride. By no means a lot of points, but it did not matter if your train cost $59 or $259.
I actually just had the opportunity to book a train on points for the first time since the change took place. I booked a train for my daughter and I to take home from New York and I couldn’t believe it when I saw it would cost us just 4,865 points total! This is a steal especially since it would have required 4,000 points EACH under the old system!
I was thrilled to see that the change actually saved me points! This is a reminder that change sometimes can be good. If you book early enough, you might find that you’ll need very few points to get to where you want to go!