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Earn a boatload of bonus Amtrak points when booking hotels and car rentals

Sept. 12, 2019
4 min read
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All aboard! For the entire month of September at The Points Guy, we'll be exploring the world of train travel with reviews, features, deals and tips for maximizing your trip by rail.

It appears that Amtrak wants in on the fun of TPG train month —they've published a promotion offering thousands of bonus points for booking hotels and rental cars through their site.

The details

  • You must book and complete travel by Oct. 20, 2019, at 11:59 p.m Eastern Time
  • Limit one hotel bonus and one car bonus per member
  • You'll earn bonus points in addition to the normal base points you'd get from a hotel or car rental booking
  • Only valid for members making their first booking on each hotel and car rental through Amtrak Hotels & Cars
  • You will receive your points within two weeks of your completed reservation

Amtrak also states that if they smell anything fishy (such as creating several Amtrak accounts to get this one-time bonus multiple times), they'll retract the bonus points. They didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

Here's a rundown of the deals you can book.

Bonus points for hotel stays

  • Spend $150 to $299 — get 1,000 bonus Amtrak points
  • Spend $300 to $449 — get 2,000 bonus Amtrak points
  • Spend $450 or more — get 3,000 bonus Amtrak points

TPG values Amtrak points at 2.5 cents each, meaning if you spend $450 on a hotel, you're essentially getting a $75 rebate in the form of Amtrak credit, on top of the base points you'd normally earn through Amtrak's portal.

You can normally buy Amtrak points for 3.77 cents each. This promotion can help you "buy" Amtrak points at a slight discount while giving you a free hotel. For example, the Conrad Chicago offers 13,600 Amtrak points per night, and costs $597.43 (after taxes). You'll get an extra 3,000 points for spending more than $450, giving you a total of 16,600 points. You've effectively purchased Amtrak points at a value of 3.6 cents each, and you've got a night at a five-star hotel.

That's a lot of Amtrak points. Again, according to TPG's valuation, 16,600 Amtrak points is worth $415. Just note that you won't earn hotel points or have your elite status recognized when booking through Amtrak.

I live in Cincinnati, so a leisurely jaunt to Chicago costs as little as 1,760 points. I can usually book a roomette for between 6,000 and 7,500 points each way. You can see how far Amtrak points can go.

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Bonus points for rental cars

  • Spend $150 to $249 - 500 bonus Amtrak points
  • Spend $250 to $349 - 1,000 bonus Amtrak points
  • Spend $350 or more - 1,500 bonus Amtrak points

If you're looking to rack up Amtrak points, this is a far less profitable angle. You've got to spend a lot of money for relatively few Amtrak points. I recommend passing on this one, and instead book directly with the rental company. They've often got some kind of promotion going on (like this latest one from Avis).

Plus, there are cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that offer elite status with National and Avis (meaning almost certain upgrades and fast check in). But as is the case with hotels, you likely won't reap those status benefits if you book through Amtrak as there's no place to put your rental car loyalty number.

You can check out our guide on credit cards that offer elite status for car rentals.

Featured photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
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.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023