Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard Review [2021]: Ride the Rails and Earn Rewards

Use the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard to fuel your Amtrak travel experience with valuable cardmember rewards and benefits.
Last updated Apr 30, 2021 | By Ben Walker

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

If you compare credit cards, you won’t find many cards that specifically offer rewards and benefits for train travel. But with more than 500 destinations in 46 states, it makes sense for Amtrak to offer credit card options to its customers.

As one of the best credit cards for Amtrak, the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard offers train enthusiasts and everyday Amtrak riders the opportunity to earn rewards and receive benefits to boost their train travels.

In this Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard review, you’ll learn about the benefits and drawbacks of this card, along with how to earn and redeem your points. This will help you understand more about the card and whether you should apply for it.

Rewards for Loyal Train Travelers

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

Benefits

  • 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

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee

In this Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard review:

Who should get the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard?

The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard is designed for people who often ride Amtrak trains and want to earn rewards on their travels. Because this card specifically earns Amtrak Guest Rewards points, it’s meant to be used for Amtrak travel.

Travel rewards credit cards typically provide points or miles that can help you travel more while spending less. With the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard, you earn points for qualifying travel purchases, including Amtrak train tickets and onboard purchases. You also get specific Amtrak benefits, such as an annual companion coupon and an annual upgrade coupon. Because these benefits revolve around traveling with Amtrak, the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard wouldn’t make much sense for someone who isn’t a loyal Amtrak customer.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer Bank of America
Credit card network Mastercard
Annual fee $79
Intro bonus Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days
Reward rate 3X points on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases; 2X points on other eligible travel purchases; 1X point on all other purchases
Recommended credit score Good, Excellent
Foreign transaction fee None

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earning potential: Earn 3X points on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases; 2X points on other eligible travel purchases; 1X point on all other purchases.
  • Amtrak travel rebate: Cardholders get 5% back in Amtrak Guest Rewards points when booking Amtrak award travel. 
  • Food and beverage rebate: In addition to the travel rebate, you can also get 20% back in the form of a statement credit when you use your card for onboard food and beverage purchases. 
  • Annual coupons: Receive a complimentary companion coupon worth up to $300 in Amtrak travel and a free one-class upgrade coupon worth up to $150 in Amtrak travel when you first open your account and each year when you renew your account.
  • Tier status earning: This credit card offers 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) for each $5,000 you spend on your card in a calendar year, up to 4,000 TQPs each year.

Drawbacks to the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

  • Annual fee: The $79 annual fee takes away from the overall value of the card, but it could still be worth it if you ride Amtrak often enough and take advantage of the card’s benefits.
  • Not convenient: Train travel isn’t typically as convenient as flying or driving, so you have fewer options for routes and destinations when using this card to make travel plans.
  • Redemption value: You can redeem your points for hotels, cars, cruises, and gift cards, but you wouldn’t get the same value as you would if you used your points on Amtrak award travel.
  • Limited travel partners: There is no redemption option for flights with Amtrak Guest Rewards points, and the transfer partners are limited to Audience Rewards, Choice Privileges, and Hilton Honors.

Earning and redeeming Amtrak Guest Rewards

Potential earnings in years one and two [H3]

Here's a look at how your points can add up with the Amtrak Guest Rewards World 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: $510

Year two earnings: $310

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

Note that the values above account for general travel spending, not Amtrak-specific spending. If you use your card frequently for Amtrak purchases, you’re likely to get a higher earnings rate than what’s noted above.

Best ways to earn

The best way to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points with the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard is by focusing on making purchases with it on expenses that fall within its bonus categories. For example, you can earn 3X points on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases and 2X points on other eligible travel purchases. If you stick to making purchases in these categories, you’ll earn the highest possible rate of points with this card.

Categories Rewards rate
Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases 3X
Other eligible travel purchases 2X
All other purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

Amtrak Guest Rewards points can be redeemed for multiple things, but the best redemption method on the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard is for award travel on Amtrak trains. All Amtrak award travel redemptions offer 5% of your points back with the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard, which immediately makes this points redemption more valuable than other options.

However, you still have these other redemption options available if you'd rather not use your points for Amtrak tickets:

  • Hotel stays: Use the Amtrak Hotels & Cars travel portal or transfer your points to the Choice Privileges or Hilton Honors loyalty programs.
  • Car rentals: Use the Amtrak Hotels & Cars travel portal to redeem points on a car rental.
  • Gift cards: Redeem your points for gift cards from popular companies like Budget, Celebrity Cruises, Disney, Best Western, Applebees, Amazon, and more.

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard FAQs

How much are Amtrak Guest Rewards points worth?

Amtrak Guest Rewards points are worth between 83 cents per point to more than 2 cents per point. For example, at the time of writing, a $100 Disney gift card cost 12,000 points to redeem, which equals 83 cents per point (100 / 12,000 = 0.0083333). However, a $100 1-800-Flowers gift card cost 10,000 points, which is 1 cent per point (100 / 10,000 = 0.01).

And if you book award train travel through Amtrak, you’ll get varying degrees of value. For instance, a one-way coach fare from New York City to Albany, New York costs $36 or 1,575 points, at the time of writing. That ends up being about 2.2 cents per point (36 / 1,575 = 0.022857). If you did a one-way business fare instead with the same itinerary, it would be $67 or 2,345 points. That gives you about 2.8 cents per point (67 / 2,345 = 0.028571).

What can Amtrak points be used for?

Amtrak points can be redeemed for Amtrak train travel, car rentals, hotel stays, and gift cards. Award travel on Amtrak trains typically provides the best redemption rates for your points, though.

How many points do you need for a free ride on Amtrak?

You’ll need at least 800 Amtrak Guest Rewards points to take a free ride on Amtrak with its reward travel options.

What credit score do you need for an Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard?

You likely need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard. A good credit score typically starts around 670, and excellent credit starts around 800.

How do you redeem your Amtrak Guest Rewards points?

To redeem your Amtrak Guest Rewards points, log into your online Amtrak account with your email or Guest Rewards number and navigate to the “Ways to Redeem” section of your profile. Then choose the applicable redemption option.

Other cards to consider

Although the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard provides you with great earning potential and helpful benefits, it may not be the best fit for everyone. The $79 annual fee might take too much value from the card or you may simply want more flexible redemption options. For other credit card options, consider the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard or the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

If you’re looking to avoid an annual cost, but still have useful rewards and benefits, the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard could make sense for you. This card offers the 5% point rebate from booking Amtrak award travel, but it has a $0 annual fee. In addition, you can earn 2X points on Amtrak purchases, including onboard purchases; 1X points on all other purchases.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent option if you don’t think you’ll travel enough on trains to get value with an Amtrak credit card. With this card, you can earn 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. Because this card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you have loads of redemption options available, including flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Plus, all travel redemptions made through the Chase travel portal are worth 25% more on the Sapphire Preferred.

Rewards for Loyal Train Travelers

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

Special Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in first 90 days

See how these cards compare:

Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard
Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard
  • 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
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 80,000 point sign-up bonus
  • Up to $50 statement credit for grocery store purchases
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.