Update: Points.com is sending out emails to those that made transfers, informing them the transfer was unsuccessful.
Priority Club points can be purchased for 0.7 cents each using the techniques outlined in this post. Basically you can make cash & points bookings (where you’re paying $70 in place of 10,000 points), and then redeposit them, with 10,000 points posting back to your account instead of $70.
Well, for whatever reason points.com is currently letting you exchange Priority Club points for Amtrak points at a very favorable ratio, 1,000:1,333.
While you can redeem Amtrak points for train travel, you can also redeem them for gift cards in a variety of programs at a rate of one cent per point. For example, you can get a $100 Hyatt gift card for 10,000 points:
Or you can get gift cards with AMC, Applebee’s, Barnes & Noble, Bath and Body Works, Bloomingdales, CVS, GAP, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Maggiano’s, Olive Garden, Pottery Barn, Red Lobster, etc, at the same rate (10,000 points gets you a $100 gift card).
So this is basically an opportunity to get gift cards for half off. $70 gets you 10,000 Priority Club points, and that gets you 13,333 Amtrak points (worth roughly $133 in gift cards, though you do have to transfer in the right increments).
The Amtrak rules for points.com say you can transfer a maximum of 50,000 points per transaction and a maximum of 100,000 points per year, though that doesn’t seem to be enforced.
The big risk here is of course that they don’t honor it. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen. If you have Priority Club points it’s a no brainer to take advantage of this. If you actually need to buy Priority Club points to take advantage of this, be prepared to get stuck with Priority Club points….
This should be fun to watch.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)