Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard® from FNBO Review 2024: Top Rewards and Benefits for Amtrak Travelers

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
The Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard® is our recommendation for Amtrak travelers because of its valuable rewards and benefits.
Updated March 3, 2024
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We think the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard® makes sense if Amtrak is one of your preferred ways to travel. You simply won’t find these specific Amtrak rewards and benefits anywhere else, making this a unique proposition for Amtrak travelers.

But if you don’t have any train travel planned with Amtrak coming up, there are better travel rewards cards available.

Let’s explore our Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard credit card review to see if this is the right fit for you.

Train Lovers Can Earn Rewards

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®
3.5

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®

Current Offer

Earn 40,000 bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles

Annual Fee

$99

Rewards Rate

3X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points per $1 spent on dining, travel, transit, and rideshare; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

In this Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard review

Key takeaways

  • We recommend the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard if you plan to frequently use Amtrak and don’t mind paying a $99 annual fee for Amtrak-related rewards and benefits.
  • We don’t think the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard makes sense if you’re not much of an Amtrak traveler.
  • You have multiple redemption options with Amtrak Guest Rewards points, but using them for Amtrak travel will typically give you the most value.

Who should get the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard?

If you frequently use Amtrak for travel, the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard is the card for you.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred can help you earn valuable Amtrak points on everyday purchases, as well as your Amtrak travel. And you can take advantage of cardholder benefits, including a roundtrip companion coupon, one-class upgrade, and station lounge pass that you receive on account opening and your card anniversary.

Keep in mind that if you don’t tend to use Amtrak very much, this card likely isn’t worth it because it has a $99 annual fee and mostly benefits frequent Amtrak travelers.

Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO)
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $99
Welcome offer Earn 40,000 bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles
Rewards rate 3X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points per $1 spent on dining, travel, transit, and rideshare; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Why we like Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard: benefits and perks

  • Welcome offer: Earn 40,000 bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles.
  • Earn rewards: Earn 3X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points per $1 spent on dining, travel, transit, and rideshare; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Food and beverage rebate: Receive a 20% rebate (in the form of a statement credit) on onboard food and beverage purchases.
  • Points bonus: Receive a 5% rebate if you redeem your points for Amtrak travel.
  • Anniversary coupons: Automatically receive a roundtrip companion coupon, one-class upgrade, and station lounge pass upon account opening and each card anniversary.
  • Faster tier status: Earn 1,000 TQPs (Tier Qualifying Points) each time you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your card. Amtrak Guest Rewards tier status can provide benefits such as access to Amtrak Lounges, exclusive offers, companion coupons, one-class upgrades, and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees: Avoid having to pay foreign transaction fees on purchases you make abroad or from foreign merchants.

Tip
The Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Card could be issued as a World Mastercard or Platinum Edition Mastercard depending on your credit card history and other factors. The type of Mastercard benefits you receive are contingent on which version you may be approved for.

What we don’t like about this card: drawbacks

  • $99 annual fee: You have to pay a $99 annual fee for card membership. This isn’t a huge cost, but it’s something to consider as you weigh the value of card benefits and perks. For an Amtrak credit card with a $0 annual fee, consider the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Mastercard®.
  • Inflexible rewards program: If you want to get the most value from your points, you can’t use them for much else than Amtrak travel. There are other redemption options available, but they don’t provide as good a value. The best travel credit cards generally have more flexible redemption options that still provide a decent value.

Earning and redeeming Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred 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 Preferred Mastercard. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation 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: $622

Year two earnings: $322

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

Best ways to earn

Category Rewards rate
Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases 3X
Dining, travel, transit, and rideshare 2X
Everywhere else 1X

The best way to earn points with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred is by using it as much as possible on purchases you already plan on making that align with the card’s bonus categories.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred provides a few good ways to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points, including 3X points on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases, and 2X on dining, travel, transit, and rideshare.

In general, this gives you three decent earning avenues with Amtrak travel, general travel, and dining purchases.

Maximizing your redemptions

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

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

We recommend using your points for Amtrak travel because that’s likely to provide you with the most value. For example, check out these cash and points prices for the same Amtrak itinerary:

Amtrak screenshot

Amtrak screenshot

This multi-day cross-country journey from Chicago to San Francisco costs $200 in coach, or 8,875 points for the same seat. That’s a redemption value of about 2.25 cents per point ($200 / 8,875 = 0.022535).

If you go for the private room instead, that’s $1,174 or 41,677 points, which gives us a redemption value of about 2.8 cents per point ($1,174 / 41,677 = 0.028169).

These types of redemptions are common with Amtrak and will generally provide you with more value compared to using points on gift cards or other options, which tend to hover around a value of 1 cent per point.

FAQ

Is the Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred Mastercard worth it?

It’s worth it if you frequently travel with Amtrak, as you can take advantage of earning and redeeming more rewards. You also receive useful benefits each account anniversary, including a roundtrip companion coupon, a one-class upgrade coupon, and a lounge pass.

What credit score do you need for the Amtrak Mastercard?

You typically need at least a good credit score, or a 670 on the FICO scoring range, to qualify for an Amtrak credit card. But keep in mind that your credit score is only one factor that credit card issuers take into account when determining your eligibility for a credit card.

How do Amtrak Guest Rewards work?

Anyone can join Amtrak’s loyalty program, Amtrak Guest Rewards, for free to earn and redeem Amtrak Guest Rewards points. The primary purpose of the program is to help you earn points on qualifying activities, including Amtrak travel and purchases with partners. You can then redeem points for Amtrak fares, hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards.

Other cards to consider

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Preferred makes sense for frequent Amtrak travelers, but it’s not our recommended choice for general travelers who might not use Amtrak as much. If you fall into the latter category, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Card Welcome offer Rewards rate Annual fee
Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard® Earn 40,000 bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles 3X points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases; 2X points per $1 spent on dining, travel, transit, and rideshare; and 1X points per $1 spent everywhere else $99
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $95
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 Venture Rewards has a simple rewards rate and flexible redemption options. You can redeem your miles toward past travel purchases, which could include Amtrak tickets, flights, and hotel stays. You can also redeem miles toward Capital One Travel bookings or transfer miles to over 15 travel partners.

Learn more in our Capital One Venture Rewards review.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is typically recommended as one of the best credit cards available to travelers. That’s because you can use it to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and transfers to travel partners.

Learn more in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Train Lovers Can Earn Rewards

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®
3.5

Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®

Why We Like It

Earn 40,000 bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles

See how these cards compare:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 19.99% - 29.99% (variable) purchase APR
  • 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 Preferred Mastercard makes sense if you frequently use Amtrak for train travel. With specific Amtrak-related rewards and benefits, this is a unique card that’s well-suited for Amtrak travelers.

If you don’t use Amtrak or don't plan on using Amtrak, this isn’t the right card for you. Use our dedicated page to compare credit cards and find a credit card offer that’s a better fit 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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