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Deal alert: Get a free Amtrak Acela ticket after buying a paid round-trip ticket

Dec. 01, 2020
4 min read
(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz / The Points Guy)
Deal alert: Get a free Amtrak Acela ticket after buying a paid round-trip ticket
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Everyone loves a BOGO sale! Amtrak is back with another Acela promotion where you’ll get a free ticket after taking a qualifying round-trip.

You’ll have to take two qualifying one-way trips on Acela from now through Feb. 10, 2021, and spend a minimum of $49 each way. The one-way Acela coupons are redeemable for Acela Business class travel from Dec. 4, 2020, through March 15, 2021. If you’re an Amtrak Guest Rewards member with Select Executive status, you’ll earn coupons redeemable for Acela first-class travel.

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Here a few examples of what you can book:

Stamford, CT to Wilmington, DE for $106 round-trip:

Screengrab from Amtrak

Boston, MA to Philadelphia, PA for $138 round-trip

Screengrab from Amtrak

New York, NY to Washington, DC for $138 round-trip:

Screengrab from Amtrak

If you decide to book this offer, make sure you pay for the tickets with a travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which are both among the best cards for general travel purchases.

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You might also consider applying for one of Amtrak’s two co-branded credit cards issued by Bank of America. The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® is offering 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening and the no-annual-fee Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® is offering 12,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. TPG values Amtrak points at 2.5 cents each, making each of these bonuses worth $500 and $300 respectively.

The information for the Amtrak Guest Rewards and Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

As TPG reported earlier this year, Amtrak has been testing new high-speed train cars, with service tentatively set for sometime in 2021. The new interiors feature sanitary improvements as a nod to the coronavirus pandemic and can hold 378 passengers. The new trains will include touch-less bathrooms, more space between customers, and no-touch overhead bins.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amtrak also instituted enhanced cleaning procedures and mandated masks for current service. As I reported over the summer, the rail company announced that it could “remove customers or ban them” from future travel if passengers don’t comply.

Related: Why I’m (temporarily) switching my loyalty to Amtrak

Bottom line

Acela tickets have dropped in price, with some routes as low as $53 one-way, which means you could score a free round-trip Acela ticket for just over $100. Considering Amtrak tickets pre-pandemic could cost as much as a plane ticket, having the ability to score a round-trip ticket at a steep discount is a big deal. So if you need to hit the rails in the next few months anyway, this may be your best option.

Featured image by (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.