This is a promotion that I have not seen since Fall 2011! Of course they’ve had plenty of 30% purchase points bonus offers in the past, but a 50% offer has not been seen in years (at least one publicly available!).
Through June 30, 2014, 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.
While this isn’t nearly as good as when they had the promotion in 2011 since one-way trips only cost 3,000 points so you could get 5 trips out of the deal, this is still a good promotion. 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).
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’ve posted immediately.
Purchasing Amtrak points to transfer to Hotel points:
- 15,000 Choice Privileges points = 5,000 Amtrak points: This is only available to those with select status (unfortunately), but with this promotion you can essentially purchase 45,000 Choice Privileges points for $275. Rewards start at 6,000 points per night. Also, if you are looking for the Southwest Companion Pass, those 45,000 points can be redeemed for 12,600 Southwest points (which will count towards the companion pass). While these points are only worth $170 so there is a loss, this could be a good way to top off your companion pass.
- 10,000 Hilton HHonors points = 5,000 Amtrak points. Again this is only available to those with Amtrak status, but with this promotion you can purchase 45,000 Hilton points for $275. This means you’ll be purchasing Hilton points at .6 cents per point, so is only valuable if you are able to redeem for more then that, which is iffy with the current Hilton program.
All of the other hotel options (Hyatt and Starwood) are not worth it.
You can purchase Amtrak points here. Will you be taking advantage of this offer?