I am not one for train travel. I like to get places quickly and I really enjoy flying. As my dad says, “It’s always a sunny day when you’re flying.” My mom on the other hand is none too pleased with all of the “scanning” that TSA is doing now. And she is refusing to fly within the U.S. as a result. So she asked me if I knew of any deals with Amtrak. I told her I would look into her options.
Right now, I don’t see any incredible deals on Amtrak. There are some deals, but none that I would list as outstanding. Here’s a link to their deal site. One that families may be interested in is that kids ride this summer for $19 on the Auto Train with a paid regular fair adult. Tickets must be purchased by June 5, 2011.
There are also credit card options for getting Amtrak Guest Reward points. Amtrak has a credit card with First USA, but it’s not your best option. There are several credit cards that allow you to transfer points to Amtrak Guest Rewards. Here are the 2 best options that I see right now:
- Chase Sapphire – This credit card comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. These points can be transferred to Amtrak 1:1. You have to spend $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months to get the bonus. There is a $95 annual fee which is waived the first year.
- Chase Continental - This credit card comes with a 30,000 mile sign-up bonus. These miles can be transferred to Amtrak 1:1. This card will go away with the merger with United, so it’s a good card to get now. You get 25,000 miles after first purchase and another 5,000 if you add an authorized user within the first 2 months. You also get a $50 credit after first purchase. There is a $85 annual fee which is waived the first year.
Tickets on Amtrak require less points than tickets on an airline. Here is a link to the Amtrak Guest Rewards Redemption site so you can see how many points you’d need for a trip.