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It’s January, and that means a slate of new points and miles promos, including one from Amtrak that just launched this morning. The Ride and Shine promo from Amtrak Guest Rewards works when you take 3 qualifying roundtrips on the Acela between January 5-February 28, 2015, you earn one free roundtrip for travel July 1-August 31, 2015.


Though the promo language says “roundtrip,” per the terms themselves, you can actually earn free rides based on one-ways as well. You basically earn two free one-ways per six one-ways that you travel. You can only travel two one-ways per day and each must cost at least $90, so that makes it harder to train-hop up and down the east coast to accrue those free rides quickly. Those free rides are for business class redemptions unless you are a Select Executive member, which should open up first class to you. (The Acela only has business and first class, not coach.) You can earn up to four free roundtrips.

You have to be an Amtrak Guest Rewards member and register for the promotion in order to participate.

Worth It?

Acela business class tickets between Washington D.C. and New York Penn Station start at $158 and range up to $238 depending on the time of day. Those between New York Penn Station and Boston South Station range between $113-$132.

Max out this promo by taking some of Acela's shorter routes.
Max out this promo by taking some of Acela’s shorter routes.

So in theory, you could take six one-ways between New York and Boston for $113 each, but then redeem your free rides for two one-ways between Washington D.C. and Boston of up to $236 value each way. So for spending $678, you could get $472 in value – nearly a 70% return – and you could probably get that even higher if you take some of the line’s shorter routes like those between Baltimore-Philadelphia or Providence-Boston (as long as you hit that $90 per-segment minimum).

This promo differs from Amtrak’s usual double points promotions, and is an interesting change. It could be a great way for those hardcore east coast train commuters to earn a few free rides for their summer vacations, because remember, you cannot use your free rides until July (and not over the July 4th holiday weekend). However, hopefully Amtrak will release a more general promo as well where Amtrak customers who don’t ride the rails just up and down the east coast can earn double points and/or free rides as well.

Here are the rest of the terms & conditions:

Take six qualifying one-way trips on Acela from January 5, 2015 12:00:00am through February 28, 2015 11:59:59pm and get two free one-way Acela trips. Minimum spend of $90 per one-way segment is required for travel to qualify. Limit of two qualifying one-way segments per day. Free trips are redeemable for Acela Business class travel (First class travel for Select Executive members) from July 1, 2015 through August 31, 2015 and are subject to Acela award travel time-of-day restrictions on weekdays. Standard blackout dates apply: July 2 – 3, 2015; July 5, 2015. A maximum of four free one-way trips may be earned. Must be an Amtrak Guest Rewards member and register for this offer to participate. Register online at Other terms and conditions may apply.

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