Amtrak

Category Archives for Amtrak.

Quik Trak Bonus

Amtrak is offering 250 Guest Rewards points for picking up a ticket at a QuikTrak machine by March 31. Log into your Amtrak Guest Rewards account and then register for the promo using code 11906.Alas the bonus is limited to one per member. Update: The promo didn’t say anything about being targeted, but a reader emails a response that it’s in invalid offer so it might just be targeted. You’d think that Guest Rewards would say that if it is, but the folks running this program are among the worst in the industry so nothing surprises me at all.

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More Devaluation of Amtrak Guest Rewards

Amtrak has announced changes to its reward chart effective January 3, 2006. Business and first class redemptions on Acela Express and Metroliner trains go up 500 points apiece (to 8,000 and 10,500 each way respectively). $50 gift cards go from 5000 points to 6000 points, a 20% increase. It used to be that Amtrak points were worth a penny apiece when redeemed for merchandise at this level. That penny-a-point parity threshold has now been breached. However, if you want to retain that purchasing power you’ll need to redeem 10,000 points for newly introduced $100 gift cards set to be on offer next month. I got the news in my online statement which arrived by e-mail today. Three weeks notice isn’t enough for these kinds of changes — but it’s better than the no-notice changes Amtrak…

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Amtrak tickets cost more at the last minute

For several years Amtrak has been using revenue management techniques in the midwest. Now they’ve introduced the concept to the Northeast Corridor. Early last month, Amtrak began charging its Northeast Corridor passengers 15 percent to 25 percent more for tickets purchased close to departure than for the same tickets bought weeks in advance. The new structure is based on the level of sales prior to departure. The more popular the route, such as the Northeast Corridor Metroliner or Acela on a Friday afternoon, the higher the last-minute rate. “If a train is almost sold out, you may pay a higher fare if you book at the last minute,” said Amtrak spokeswoman Tracy Connell. My first reaction was that this is long overdue from a business prudence standpoint, but anathema to travelers. My second reaction was…

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Finally a new Amtrak 20% off link

Amtrak is offering 20% off on service to Philadelphia. In reality, the discount applies to all Northeast Corridor trains, though Metroliner and Acela Express are as usual excluded. Discount code V735 is valid on tickets purchased through April 22, 2006 for travel through April 25, 2006. Blackout dates are: November 22-29, 2005; Dec 16-Jan 2, 2006; Jan 13-16, 2006; Feb 17-20, 2006; April 13-17, 2006. On itineraries where V735 is not available, try H542. It’s a 15% discount that seems to work on most trips, including Metroliner and Acela Express. It’s only valid through December 15.

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Double Points on Amtrak

Register to earn double points on Metroliner and Acela Express trains through the end of the year. (Whenever there’s a bonus that requires registration, register. You may not think you’ll be getting on a train, or flying between two cities, but you may wind up surprised — registering for the bonus gets you the miles you never expected.)

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Amtrak 5th Year Anniversary Bonus Promotion, Including Free Points

Amtrak is offering three bonuses for its 5th anniversary. 200 points for registering for the promotion. 2400 points for earning Amtrak Guest Rewards points with three partners by June 30. 2400 points for spending $3000 on the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard between April 15 and June 30. The 200 points are a free gimme. If you have the Amtrak credit card, $3000 in spending over two and a half months is easy to qualify for for most. I used to highly recommend the Amtrak credit card as indispensable because it has no annual fee, it charged only 1% on foreign currency transactions, and Amtrak points could be transferred 1:1 into United. However, Amtrak pulled the plug on United transferred and MBNA is increasing the foreign exchange transaction fee to 3%. I no longer recommend acquiring…

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The travesty of Amtrak’s program changes without warning

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) covered Amtrak’s abrupt end to transferring Guest Rewards points into United Mileage Plus miles. One of the best deals in the world of frequent-flier programs recently disappeared, a reminder to travelers that the good bargains in the world of loyalty don’t last forever. For several years, in the tight-knit community of frequent travelers, Amtrak’s Guest Rewards program developed a cult-like following. Reason: The program could be used as a clearinghouse for unwanted frequent-flier miles from Continental Airlines, which has developed a reputation for being stingy with the free seats on its airplanes. Using a three-way swap that is rare among loyalty programs, Amtrak members would transfer Continental miles into Amtrak points — then take the points and turn them into United miles. They did this because they believed…

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