Business Travel 101: Amtrak Guest Rewards

This overview of Amtrak Guest Rewards will help both daily commuters and regular work travelers get the most out of their train travel.

Amtrak is a convenient alternative to flying when traveling domestically for business. On the route between Washington, D.C. and New York City, the rail carrier leaves airlines in the dust when it comes to passenger count, boasting three times as many riders than there are fliers.* Of course, these demographics can make up everything from leisure explorers to daily commuters to road warriors. But whether you take the Amtrak to work every day or rely on the train service for business travel, repeat passengers have a lot to gain when they join Amtrak Guest Rewards. From perks to points, here’s what you get as an Amtrak loyalty member.

Benefits Overview

There are four tiers to the Amtrak Guest Rewards system, and each one comes with its own set of benefits. Anyone who joins automatically becomes a Member and is able to earn or redeem points (more on points in the next section — for now we’re focusing on benefits). Once you’ve garnered 5,000 points, you can become a Select member and get:

  • Upgrades: one-class upgrade vouchers (amount: 2)
  • Amtrak Clubs/Lounges: single-visit passes (amount: 2)
  • Points Bonus: 25%
  • Discounts: two 10% off Amtrak coupons and additional discounts from partners
  • Priority customer service

At 10,000 points, you can achieve Select Plus status. As you climb the loyalty tier, you’ll retain some perks of your previous status and enjoy modified versions of others:

  • Upgrades: one-class upgrade vouchers (amount: 4)
  • Amtrak Clubs/Lounges: unlimited access and United Club access
  • Points Bonus: 50%
  • Discounts: two companion coupons and additional discounts from partners
  • Priority customer service

Finally, Select Executive is the pinnacle of the Amtrak Guest Rewards membership tier. Requiring 20,000 points to move up, the Select Executive level gets:

  • Upgrades: one-class upgrade vouchers (amount: 4) and an additional upgrade coupon when you hit 3,000 qualifying points
  • Amtrak Clubs/Lounges: unlimited access and United Club access
  • Points Bonus: 100%
  • Discounts: two companion coupons and additional discounts from partners
  • Priority customer service

At all levels, you have access to the Amtrak Guest Rewards points system, which we’ll be continuing with next.

How to Earn Points

You need points to level up your membership, and you need points to fulfill a host of other needs. So how do you get them?

  • Luckily, with Amtrak Guest Rewards, you can earn two points on every dollar spent on an Amtrak booking. With most loyalty programs offering a 1:1 ratio, we think this is a fairly generous system.
  • You can also take advantage of the points bonus system when you book Business (25%) or First Class (50%). As we mentioned above, other bonus points opportunities also exist for each upper membership level.
  • With an Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard, you can earn points on all purchases, get bonus points when you spend a certain amount, or take advantage of a better points-to-dollar ratio. Additionally, as a cardholder, you’ve got access to your own membership perks, like lounge access, upgrades, and more.
  • Buying points is also an option and very useful if you’re just shy of a status upgrade

Amtrak also has a plethora of connections in the travel industry, allowing you to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points when you book with a partner. We’re not going to name every partnership, but ones that business travelers might use include:

 

  • Hotels: Hilton Honors, Choice Hotels, Wyndham Resorts, and bookings made through Rocketmiles
  • Car Rentals: Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise
  • Airlines: United (for Newark connections only, more details here)
  • Retail: Samsonite, Best Buy, Apple, and Bloomingdale’s

Earning’s not even the fun part! Once you’ve got all these points saved up, there’s plenty of ways to redeem them.

How to Spend Points

If you’re a Joe Biden-level Amtrak fanatic, then you’re probably going to redeem your points on Amtrak bookings. You can also transfer points over to select partner programs, like Budget or Hilton Honors, and use your rewards to book other travel arrangements. Additional ways to spend points include via some retail purchases and gifts — with the ability to redeem for gift cards to places like Panera and Barnes & Noble, it’s easy to reward yourself or someone else.

The U.S. is a big place, and Amtrak fills in the gaps for trips that are too short to fly or too long to bother with traffic. Plus, with little hindrance to connectivity and someone else at the reins, taking the train is also a great way to get from one place to another all while staying productive.

How often do you use Amtrak? Tell us why you opt for train travel in the comments below.

*This data is from their 2017 fiscal year. Updates can be found here.

Business Travel Life

Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.

Mellisa Pascale
Mellisa Pascale

Mellisa is a writer and traveler. She’s studied in London, backpacked in Europe, and road-tripped around Iceland. Most recently, her travels took her to New Zealand, where she worked and volunteered while participating in the Working Holiday Visa program.

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