Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard Review

We publish unbiased reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payments we receive from our advertising partners. Learn about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard, issued by Bank of America, offers decent value for regular train travelers—as long as you don’t mind being pinned down to just a few rewards-earning and -redemption options.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker

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.

Pros
  • High-value bonus for new cardholders

  • 5% points redemption rebate

  • 10% food and beverage rebate

Cons
  • Bonus points only earned on Amtrak purchases

Pros Explained

  • 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.

Cons Explained

  • 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.

Redeeming Rewards

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. 

Other Features

  • 10% rebate on Amtrak food and drink purchases

Customer Experience

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.

Security Features

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.

Fees

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.

Next Steps
For Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®
Compare This Card
See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 Amtrak Guest Rewards points per $1 spent with Amtrak and 1 point spent on all other purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Amtrak. "Terms and Conditions." Accessed Aug. 10, 2020.

  2. Amtrak. "Guest Rewards: Ways to Earn: Travel." Accessed Aug. 10, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "Credit Card Rewards War Reaches Inflection Point as Competition Grows, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Aug. 10, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "Bank and Credit Card Provider Investments in Easy-to-Use Digital Tools Pay Off, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Aug. 10, 2020.