Just when I diss Amtrak Guest Rewards (and this doesn’t help with my trust of the program or with their customer service issues), they introduce a new redemption option — 5,000 Amtrak points convert to 25,000 Choice Privileges Points.
The extreme value here is:
- 5,000 Amtrak points yield 25,000 Choice points which convert to 5,000 miles with Air Canada, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Mexicana, Northwest, United, and USAirways. Talk about flexibility!
- 10,000 Amtrak points yield 50,000 Choice points which convert to 20 Southwest Rapid Rewards credits, more than enough (16 required) for a free ticket.
50,000 Amtrak points yield 250,000 Choice points which convert to 100 Southwest Rapid Rewards credits, which earns you a companion pass and 6 roundtrip tickets (that can be used for you and your companion.
Now, Amtrak still imposes a limit of 25,000 points transferred out of its program in a calendar year (50,000 points if you’re an Amtrak elite). But you can always transfer out 25,000 in December and 25,000 in January.
Don’t park points in the Amtrak program — they make program changes without much if any notice — and don’t park points in Choice Privileges, either, because those points expire. But this is a great new option.
By the way, don’t transfer Choice Privileges points directly into Amtrak, the conversion there is 32,000 Choice points yield 5,000 Amtrak points. Instead, transfer 25,000 Choice points into 5,000 Continental into 5,000 Amtrak.
And finally, this means that Continental points now transfer 1:1 into all of the airlines that Choice points transfer to (up to 25,000 per year, the cap imposed by Amtrak for transfers out of its program).