Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard is not as extravagant as its pricier sibling, the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard. But if you’re a regular Amtrak rider who’s not interested in paying an annual fee for a rewards credit card, and who still wants to earn points toward Amtrak travel, this card is an option.
The card is best for travelers who stick almost exclusively to Amtrak. That’s because you get the most value from your rewards by using them to buy more Amtrak travel. Beyond that, you can only transfer your points to a few non-Amtrak rewards programs or use them for a few other types of rewards.
If flexibility is your goal, we recommend you look for another card that doesn’t box you into a limited rewards program. That said, if you do rely on Amtrak, you’ll get more value for your spending here than with many other travel rewards cards.
High-value bonus for new cardholders
5% points redemption rebate
10% food and beverage rebate
Bonus points only earned on Amtrak purchases
- High-value bonus for new cardholders: If you spend at least $1,000 with this card within the first three months, you’ll earn a bonus worth a total of $600, according to our numbers. That’s a great value, especially for a card with no annual fee.
- 5% points redemption rebate: Every time you redeem your points for an Amtrak travel reward, you’ll get a 5% bonus back into your account. For example, if you redeem 10,000 points, you’ll get another 500 points deposited into your rewards account.
- 10% food and beverage rebate: If you buy any food or drinks while you’re on an Amtrak train, you’ll get a 10% discount in the form of a statement credit.
- Bonus points only earned on Amtrak purchases: You’ll always earn at least 1 point for every $1 spent. But you can only earn bonus points on Amtrak purchases, and only 1 additional bonus point per $1 spent. Other rewards cards offer bonus points on a wider range of spending categories, so you probably won’t rack up points very fast with this card.
Bonus for New Cardholders
Currently Amtrak and Bank of America are offering a two-tier bonus consisting of 20,000 bonus points (worth $500 when redeemed for Amtrak travel, according to our calculations) and a $100 statement credit that will post to your account within 12 weeks. To earn both of these rewards, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000 within the first three months after you get this card.
When you tally everything up together, you could earn a bonus worth up to $600. That’s a very good bonus, especially for a travel rewards card with no annual fee.
Earning Points & Rewards
You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Amtrak purchases with this card, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. That’s about standard for co-branded travel cards without an annual fee, though some cards let you earn higher rates on travel with their brand, and some offer bonus points on other types of purchases, such as groceries.
However, here’s the kicker: Even though you won’t earn as many points, the points you do earn are quite valuable. By our calculations, each point is worth 2.5 cents when redeemed for travel with Amtrak. Consider this: If you use your card to buy Amtrak tickets (earning 2 points per $1), and then redeem your rewards for even more Amtrak tickets, that translates into an effective discount rate of 5% (2 points x 2.5 cents = 5 cents). That’s a pretty good discount for train travel.
The best way to use your points is to pay for Amtrak travel. The exact points cost will vary, but in general, you can expect to get a value of around 2.5 cents per point when redeemed this way. Plus, you’ll get the equivalent of 5% of your points added back into your account when you cash in for Amtrak travel.
To redeem your points, simply search for the travel dates you want and select “Points” in the menu. Unfortunately, you’ll need to have enough points in your account to cover the cost of the trip—you can’t pay for a fare with a combination of points and dollars. This requirement limits the flexibility of your rewards. However, if you don’t have enough to cover an entire ticket, you can purchase fare and amenity upgrade coupons with your points instead.
You can also use your points to pay for hotels and car rentals through the Amtrak Hotels & Cars portal. Again, the point cost may vary, but you’ll have a decent selection of 29,000 car rental locations and 350,000 hotel choices.
The worst redemption options are gift cards, which bring your point value down to 0.8 cent each—about a third less than if you redeem them for travel directly with Amtrak.
You can transfer your points outside of Amtrak to one of three other programs (Audience Rewards, Choice Privileges, or Hilton Honors), but you’ll need to reach at least the Select tier level in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program first (5,000 Tier Qualifying Points, or TQPs). You can also transfer rewards if you opt for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard instead of this card and hit a $20,000 spending requirement in a calendar year.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
There are three keys to getting the most value from this card. First, make sure you earn the extra-valuable new cardmember bonus. Next, always use this card to pay for Amtrak travel purchases. Those purchases are worth the most rewards points—and the most TQPs, 5,000 of which you’ll need to reach the first tier of status in Amtrak’s loyalty program. Finally, redeem your rewards points for more Amtrak travel tickets.
- 10% rebate on Amtrak food and drink purchases
Bank of America isn’t particularly well-known for its excellent customer service. In fact, a 2019 J.D. Power survey awarded the bank a rating of “About average,” and it only ranked number seven out of 11 card issuers. Bank of America does offer a few handy perks, however, such as a free FICO score, 24/7 customer service, and a well-regarded mobile app.
Bank of America offers the usual collection of big bank account security tools, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases, account monitoring and alerts, and two-step authentication for some online transactions. One thing missing is a “virtual account” number system for extra-secure online purchases, which an increasing number of credit cards offer these days.
Bank of America doesn’t charge any outrageously high fees with this card. It’s nice that there’s no foreign transaction fee, but given that the only foreign country Amtrak visits is Canada, you might want to consider another card if you’ll be going to other countries and want to earn rewards at a faster clip than this railroad card’s rate of 1 point per dollar.