Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard® Review 2024: For Amtrak Travelers

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
The Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard® doesn’t provide a high rewards rate or many benefits, but it could still make sense if you regularly travel with Amtrak.
Updated Feb. 13, 2024
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We think the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard® makes sense if you frequently travel with Amtrak and want specific rewards and benefits associated with Amtrak. If you’re not interested in train travel, this likely isn’t the card for you.

Let’s dig into the details in our Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard credit card review to see if it’s a right fit for you and your family.

Earn Rewards Toward Train Travel

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard®
3.2

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard®

Current Offer

Earn 12,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

2X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points on dining; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

In this Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard credit card review

Key takeaways

  • We recommend the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard if you frequently use Amtrak and want a card with specific Amtrak rewards and benefits.
  • We don’t think the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard makes sense if you don’t have at least an occasional Amtrak trip planned.
  • Note that you can redeem your rewards points for a variety of things, but redemptions for Amtrak travel tend to provide the most value.

Who should get the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard?

If you frequently use Amtrak for train travel, there’s not much that can compete with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard.

It doesn’t provide loads of benefits or much of a rewards rate, but you can specifically earn increased rewards on Amtrak tickets and redeem points toward future Amtrak journeys.

For earning rewards on everyday spending, this card isn’t very good. And if you don’t tend to use Amtrak that much, there are better travel credit cards than the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard.

Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO)
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $0
Welcome offer Earn 12,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles
Rewards rate 2X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points on dining; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Why we like Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard: benefits and perks

  • Welcome offer: Earn 12,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles.
  • Earn rewards: Earn 2X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points on dining; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • $0 annual fee: Avoid an annual cost with a $0 annual fee.
  • Food and beverage rebate: Receive a 10% rebate (in the form of a statement credit) on onboard food and beverage purchases.
  • Points bonus: Receive a 5% point rebate if you redeem your points for Amtrak travel.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Avoid paying any foreign transaction fees on applicable purchases, including purchases made abroad with your credit card.

What we don’t like about this card: drawbacks

  • Limited bonus categories: There aren’t many bonus categories, making it difficult to earn increased rewards on different types of purchases such as groceries or general travel.
  • Not great for everyday use: The available bonus categories don’t provide the best earning potential for everyday purchases. That’s not terribly surprising since this card is suited for frequent Amtrak travelers.
  • Not many benefits: The Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard® has more benefits, including a companion coupon, one-class upgrade, and a station lounge pass that you receive upon account opening and card anniversary. Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred cardholders can also earn tier status (and the benefits that come with status) quicker by earning 1,000 TQPs (Tier Qualifying Points) for every $5,000 in qualifying purchases.

Earning and redeeming Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your rewards can add up with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard. To calculate these values, we used a point value of 1 cent ($0.01) per point.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $491

Year two earnings: $371

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus or sign-up bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

Category Rewards rate
Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases, and dining 2X
Everywhere else 1X

The best way to earn with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard is by using it to earn 2X points on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases, and dining. This could come in handy if you frequently travel with Amtrak and tend to dine out a lot.

Maximizing your redemptions

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard earns Amtrak Guest Rewards points that can be redeemed for:

  • Amtrak travel
  • Hotel stays
  • Car rentals
  • Gift cards

In general, redeeming your points for Amtrak tickets will give you the most value for your points. For example, here are a few one-way ticket options from New York to Washington, D.C., in cash and then the same options in Amtrak points.

Amtrak screenshot 1

Amtrak screenshot


You could buy a first-class ticket on the 2103 Acela for $243 or use 9,720 points, which gives you a value of 2.5 cents per point ($243 / 9,720 = 0.025).

You could also buy a business-class ticket on the 89 Palmetto for $143 or use 5,077 points, which gives you a value of about 2.8 cents per point ($143 / 5,077 = 0.028166).

Values for gift cards and other travel redemptions can vary, but they’re typically around 1 cent per point.

FAQ

What credit score do you need for the Amtrak Mastercard?

You typically need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for an Amtrak credit card. A good credit score is at least 670, according to the FICO scoring model. Note that credit issuers also consider other factors other than just your credit score to determine your eligibility.

What is the credit limit for the Amtrak Mastercard?

FNBO doesn’t publish a maximum credit limit for the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard, as it depends on your creditworthiness factors. Qualified applicants could receive an Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard or Platinum Edition Mastercard version of the card.

How do Amtrak Guest Rewards work?

Amtrak Guest Rewards is a free-to-join rewards program that lets you earn and redeem Amtrak Guest Rewards points. You can earn points by purchasing Amtrak tickets and participating in different partner activities, such as staying in hotels, renting cars, and shopping. Points can be redeemed for Amtrak travel, hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards.

Other cards to consider

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard could make sense for frequent Amtrak travelers, but it’s likely not the best option for everyone else. If you want more flexibility with your rewards, consider the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Card Welcome offer Rewards rate Annual fee
Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard® Earn 12,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles 2X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points on dining; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else $0
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases $95

The Capital One VentureOne provides a simple earning rate and a $0 annual fee, making it an easy-to-use everyday rewards card. You can redeem miles toward past travel purchases, which could include Amtrak tickets. But you also have the option to use miles for bookings through Capital One Travel or by transferring to over 15 hotel and airline loyalty programs.

Learn more in our Capital One VentureOne Rewards review.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers more bonus categories than the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard, giving you more opportunities to earn valuable rewards. The Sapphire Preferred doesn’t give you the option to redeem points toward Amtrak tickets, but it could still make sense for earning points on any Amtrak travel you purchase.

You could then redeem your points toward travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, transfers to travel partners, and more. Chase Ultimate Rewards is widely considered one of the best credit card rewards programs.

Learn more in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Earn Rewards Toward Train Travel

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard®
3.2

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard®

Why We Like It

Earn 12,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles

See how these cards compare:

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 19.99% - 29.99% (variable) APR; Balance transfer fee applies
  • 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Rates and fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Bottom line

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard makes sense if you frequently travel with Amtrak and want to earn increased rewards on your ticket purchases. This card has a $0 annual fee but doesn’t provide as many benefits as the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®.

As a general travel rewards credit card, the Amtrak Guest Rewards falls short with its lack of bonus categories and travel redemption options. For better options, use our dedicated page to compare credit cards and find the right credit card offer for you.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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