Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard Review [2021]: Earn Valuable Points for Rail Travel

This no-fee rewards card will help you earn free rail travel with Amtrak.
Last updated Apr 29, 2021 | By Kevin Payne

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If you’re a fan of Amtrak, the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard can help you earn points towards free rail travel and take advantage of other valuable travel perks. This no-fee travel rewards card is one of two Amtrak rewards cards available through Bank of America. Find out more about this co-branded travel rewards credit card in this in-depth Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard review.

Great No-Fee Card for Frequent Train Travelers

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

Benefits

  • 12,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days
  • 2X points on purchases with Amtrak
  • 10% rebate for onboard food and beverage purchases
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks

  • Best for regular Amtrak travelers

In this Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard review:

Who should get the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard?

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard is one of the best credit cards for Amtrak riders. Most of the card’s rewards earning and other benefits are tied specifically to Amtrak purchases and redemptions. It doesn’t offer as many perks as the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard, but it also doesn’t carry an expensive annual fee. Because it has a $0 annual fee and points don't expire, casual travelers and first-time railway travelers may also find value in adding this card to their wallet.

It makes sense to apply for this rewards credit card only if you plan to use your bonus points to book Amtrak travel. The Amtrak Guest Rewards Program offers plenty of other redemption choices, but none with the same value found in booking rail travel. If you plan to use your points toward other redemptions, there are more versatile rewards credit cards available.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer Bank of America
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Earn 12,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
Reward rate 2X points on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases; 1X points on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Good, Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard benefits and perks

  • Generous sign-up bonus: New cardholders can earn 12,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Food and beverage rebate: You can earn a 10% rebate, in the form of a statement credit, on food and beverage purchases made aboard Amtrak trains with your new card.
  • Rewards travel rebate: Your rewards can go further with a 5% bonus point rebate when you book Amtrak rewards travel.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Your Amtrak Guest Rewards card comes with no foreign transaction fees, which makes it a solid option to use when traveling outside the U.S.
  • Points don’t expire: Use your Amtrak Guest Rewards points whenever you want — points earned with your Amtrak card don’t expire as long as your card account remains open.

Drawbacks to the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

  • Limited earning: With this card, only Amtrak purchases earn bonus points. You’ll earn 1X on all other purchases. Other rewards cards feature additional spending categories with bonus earning potential.
  • No airline transfer partners: Although you can transfer points from this card to hotel partners like Hilton, there are no airline transfer partners available.
  • No special coupons: Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard cardholders get a complimentary companion coupon good toward up to $300 in Amtrak travel and a free one-class upgrade coupon worth up to $150 in Amtrak travel each calendar year. The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard doesn't offer these perks.

Earning and redeeming Amtrak Guest Rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your points can add up with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent.

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: $455

Year two earnings: $335

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points earned via spending and the welcome bonus.

Note that these values reflect general travel purchases, not the bonus points you’ll earn from Amtrak purchases. If you’re a frequent Amtrak traveler, the value you get from this card will likely be higher than the amounts above.

Best ways to earn

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard only offers two ways to earn bonus points. Most of your points are earned through Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases, which net 2X points per dollar spent. Amtrak purchases include train fares and onboard purchases. All other purchases net 1X points per dollar spent. That lines up with other co-branded travel cards without an annual fee.

Categories Rewards rate
Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases 2X
All other purchases all other purchases

Maximizing your redemptions

The primary reason to earn Amtrak points is to book train trips on Amtrak. For most individuals, this is the best redemption option, and most likely, the reason you applied for the card in the first place. Amtrak redemptions start at 800 points and can be used to travel to more than 500 destinations.

Your bonus points can go toward other Amtrak purchases as well, like upgrades to business and first-class and lounge passes. There are also options beyond standard Amtrak fares, including:

  • Auto Train: Use rewards to book a trip for you and your vehicle between Washington, D.C. and Florida.
  • Acela trips: Book rewards travel on the only high-speed rail in the U.S.
  • Private rooms: Use your points to enjoy more space and privacy in a private sleeping car.

You can also redeem your points outside of Amtrak if you want. Through your Guest Rewards account, you can redeem points for:

  • Hotel stays
  • Car rentals
  • Gift cards for dining, retail, entertainment, and travel

You also have an opportunity to transfer bonus points to one of Amtrak’s travel partner programs, which include:

  • Hilton Honors
  • Choice Privileges
  • Audience Rewards

Note that you can transfer only 50,000 points combined to travel partners annually unless you’re an Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Executive Member.

There’s even an option to share points with another member if you so choose. As with most travel rewards programs, Amtrak bonus point values vary with each redemption. As a general rule, you’ll get the most value from your points when you redeem them for Amtrak purchases.

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard FAQs

Is the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard a good credit card?

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard is a decent option if you are a regular Amtrak customer and looking for a way to earn discounted or free Amtrak trips. The card offers decent value as a no-fee rewards card, though the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard offers more Amtrak-related perks. However, that card has an annual fee of $79.

What credit score do you need for the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard?

Most credit card issuers don’t publish credit requirements online, but you’ll likely need a good to excellent FICO credit score to qualify. A good FICO score is 670 and higher.

Credit scores are just one of several factors taken into account in application decisions. Card issuers look at a variety of credit factors and application details to determine your creditworthiness when you apply for a new card.

Do Amtrak Guest Rewards expire?

Amtrak Guest Reward bonus points earned with your card do not expire as long as you keep your card account open.

Can you use my Amtrak Rewards to buy a ticket for someone else?

Yes, you can use your Amtrak rewards to book qualifying travel for someone else. Tickets are sent to the rewards account holder. The individual must have the ticket and photo ID when traveling, and the name on the ticket has to match the name listed on the ID. You can also share your rewards points with another Amtrak Guest Rewards member.

How do you qualify for Amtrak elite status?

Amtrak Guest Rewards has four status levels — Member, Select, Select Plus, and Select Executive. You can reach a higher status level by earning Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs). TPQs are earned by taking qualifying Amtrak trips. You can earn even more TPQs by booking business class and first class fares, and being an Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard cardholder.

Other cards to consider

If you’re a frequent Amtrak passenger, you might be better off opting for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard. The card does have a $79 annual fee, but it comes with several perks missing from the Platinum card. Extra benefits include an annual companion coupon, an annual upgrade coupon, and a complimentary lounge pass with card opening. You’ll also receive a higher rewards rate for Amtrak purchases. Cardmembers earn 3X points on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases; 2X points on other eligible travel purchases; 1X point on all other purchases.

If you don’t plan on using your rewards towards Amtrak travel, you’re better off applying for a more versatile rewards credit card like Capital One Venture Rewards. Cardmembers can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months (or earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months). The real value of the card is its redemption options. With the Venture Rewards card, you can use points to book travel directly through Capital One, cover purchases, shop online, get cash back, purchase gift cards, or transfer rewards to a host of airline and hotel travel partner programs. You could still book Amtrak fares and use your Venture Rewards points to cover your purchase.

Great No-Fee Card for Frequent Train Travelers

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard

Special Offer

Earn 12,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

See how these cards compare:

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard
Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard
  • 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days
  • 3X points on Amtrak purchases; 2X points on other eligible travel purchases
  • Companion coupon, complimentary upgrade, lounge pass, and more
  • No foreign transaction fees
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • 100,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.