Amtrak Is Having Its First-ever Rewards Sale — What to Know

With the sale, reward points work out to just 3 cents each — with the option for earn up to 30 percent more for free.

<p>Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure</p>

Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure

Amtrak’s first-ever points sale allows train lovers to buy Guest Rewards toward their next trip.

“Need additional Amtrak Guest Rewards points to complete a redemption? Just top off your account, and you'll soon be on your way,” the rail company wrote on its website about the promotion.

Until Feb. 29 travelers can buy Amtrak points and can earn up to 30 percent more as a bonus. These Amtrak Guest Rewards points can be purchased in 500-point increments with the following tiers to activate each bonus level:

  • Buy 1,000 to 3,500 points and get a 15% bonus

  • Buy 4,000 to 7,500 points and get a 20% bonus

  • Buy 8,000 to 50,000 points and get a 30% bonus

These points are only valid toward future Amtrak travel and not elite status earnings for the rail program’s Select, Select Plus, or Select Executive levels. Travelers will be able to purchase Amtrak points at roughly 2.9 cents per point at the best rate.

There’s a limit of 50,000 points purchased in a calendar year unless you’re a Select Executive member. Amtrak also says it may take up to 72 hours for the points to reflect on their balances, so buying Guest Rewards may not be a good idea unless your trip is far enough out.

However, this new offer allows travelers short of their next award ticket to get there at a discounted rate. For instance, a first-class Acela ticket from New York-Penn to Washington, D.C.-Union Station costs at least $250 one-way, while equivalent point redemptions will require 9,000 points.

Therefore, travelers can purchase the extra points required for their next train ticket while there’s an ongoing bonus. Besides buying points, travelers will receive them at a rate of 2 points per $1 spent on cash tickets. There’s also a 25 percent bonus for business class and a 50 percent bonus for Acela First Class reservations.

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