Reminder: Only Days Left To Transfer Chase Points To Amtrak

If you’ve been on the fence about taking a trip on Amtrak using Ultimate Rewards points, now is the time to make a decision.

As Travis covered earlier this year, Amtrak is making big changes to the Amtrak Guest Rewards program.

The new AGR program

The major changes include:

  • Amtrak will switch from a zone-based award chart to revenue redemptions
  • Chase will no longer be issuing the co-branded Amtrak credit card

With the co-branded credit card moving from Chase to Bank of America, Chase will lose Amtrak as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Back in October Amtrak announced that the last day to transfer points is December 7, 2015.

Effective December 8, 2015, the option to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Amtrak Guest Rewards will be discontinued. Members may continue to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points into their Amtrak Guest Rewards accounts through December 7, 2015.

While the deadline for Ultimate Rewards transfers is imminent, you still have some time to plan your trip if you decide to transfer points over to Amtrak. Revenue redemptions don’t start until January 24th.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak

My wife and I have been thinking about taking our girls on a train trip. We hoped to wait until they were a little older and had more patience. But, these changes made it a now or never proposition. So, we decided to go for it and needed to transfer points to Amtrak.

Chase transfers are pretty straightforward. If you’ve transferred points to any of their other partners, this will look familiar.

First you pair your Amtrak account with Ultimate Rewards.

Chase_Amtrak_Transfer2

Then input how many points you want to transfer and click “continue.”

Our tentative plans only involve one zone. So, we needed to transfer 25,000 points for a family bedroom ticket.

Chase_Amtrak_Transfer3

And then finally, you review and submit your request.

Chase_Amtrak_Transfer4

The transfers are immediate. I double checked on the Amtrak website to confirm the 25,000 points made it into my account.

Amtrak_Points_Transfer_Confirmation

Now we just have to figure out where exactly we are going and book the trip before January 24th when the revenue redemption program kicks in at Amtrak.

Does anyone else plan on transferring points to Amtrak Guest Rewards before the deadline?

Comments

  1. I know Amtrak isn’t as sexy as Lufthansa (or even Spirit) but it used to be a great mileage redemption opportunity. 4,000 (used to be 3,000) for any one way trip in the Northeast Corridor.

    A couple years back my wife and I each got 32,000 points for the Amtrak CC. Just this summer we finally used up our points, basically giving us 3 years of free travel to visit her family in the DC suburbs. (NYC->DC trips usually average $80-100 each way).

    Amtrak still represents in my mind the best way to get from NYC to DC or Boston, but sadly their frequent flier program is no longer as exciting.

  2. Remind me — if we book under the old program, are we permitted date changes after Jan 24th without reticketing? How about origin/destination changes within the same regions? (I’m assuming a change of regions would require reticketing under the new program.)

  3. I transferred 25k UR this weekend & booked a one zone bedroom from San Fran to Denver for July. We have been talking about a train trip, too, so the deadlines forced action. It was all really easy & made me sad it will no longer be available. @Josh, I asked about ticket date changes & she read to me about the program changes but I was not clear & really felt like she wasn’t either. I felt like she was saying I would have to make up the difference in points if I made changes. Looking forward to the trip. 🙂

  4. @JB – That is correct for the one zone bedroom price. Here is the entire redemption chart: https://www.amtrakguestrewards.com/redeem

    @Michelle – We’re probably doing the same route but not sure which direction we’re traveling yet.

    @Josh – Sounds like you’d get repriced with the new chart if you made the change after Jan 24 based on what Michelle posted.

  5. Thanks for the reminder! Excited for the change… as someone who exclusively travels between DC and NYC – this is great. Tickets are routinely $49-89 a week or two out so this brings down the # of points needed significantly.

  6. Please clarify — Is the 25K one way or round-trip? If it’s one way, are you flying back to your departure point? We live in L.A. and looking at the Amtrak map for the Western Zone I’m thinking I may try to maximize the distance traveled, so maybe we could travel all the way up to Montana next summer and still staying within a single zone. However, getting back home may be tricky if the 25K price is only one-way…

  7. @Laura – 25k is the one-way price. We plan on incorporating flights to and from the train into our trip.

  8. If you really want the most bang for your buck check out the one way trip from GPK (Glacier Park) to DEN (Denver, CO). You’re talking $4k+ value for 25k points! But you have to be okay with the idea that the train adventure is the or as much of the purpose than the destination.

    My wife and I did this with our 5 and 7 year old this past summer and they had a blast. The girls felt like they were on a great “adventure” with the Amtrak bunks. The family rooms had more than enough space, meals included and included day stops in Portland and Sacramento (5-6 hour layovers perfect for a quick look around). Two days in Glacier on the front and two days in Denver on the back end.

    Hands down one of the best (affordable + memorable) week long vacations we’ve ever had. I’d do it again, but they’re hungry for something different so I cashed in one more trip and this summer we’ll visit some family in El Paso and take two separate night trains with layovers in LA and Seattle before ending up for a week in Vancouver, BC.

    Happy Travels!

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