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Will You Transfer Chase Points To Amtrak Before 12/08?

Update: Monday, 12/07, will be the final day that Chase points can be transferred into Amtrak points.

Originally posted on 10/14:

Amtrak is moving their co-branded credit card business from Chase to Bank of America and the last day to transfer Chase points to Amtrak will be 12/07.

It’s not something that I’ve taken advantage of, but some people will definitely mourn the loss of the transfer option.

If you are going to transfer points, it’s worth bearing in mind that the entire program will shift from a flat-rate zone program to a revenue based award program effective for redemptions made on 01/24. You can however book 2016 travel before 01/24 using the current zone based award chart.

The new program will value points made for redemptions at a surprisingly high value of about 2.56 cents per point on Acela trains and 2.9 cents per point on other trains. However the new program excludes saver fares from point redemption, and that muddles the true value of some redemptions.

At any rate, here is a link to the current zone based award chart and here is a link to the zones under the current program. Cities like Atlanta and Denver that straddle a zone can be used in either zone for lower rates.

-Currently you can use 1,500 points in coach or 2,000 points in business class for routes like Chicago-Detroit, Los Angeles-San Diego, Chicago-Milwaukee, Chicago-S. Louis, Portland, OR-Vancouver, BC, and Kansas City-S. Louis.

A ticket from Portland, OR-Vancouver, BC on 10/25 is $97 in coach or $151 in business class. Under the new program coach will go up from 1,500 points to 3,347 points and business will go from 2,000 points to 5,210 points.

-A ticket from Boston-Washington DC on 10/25 is currently 8,000 points/$305 in Acela business class or 12,000 points/$441 in Acela first class. Under the new program business will go up to 11,895 points and first will go up to 17,199 points.

-A private bedroom for 2 people with a private shower on the Silver Meteor route from NYC-Miami on 10/25 is currently 25,000 points or $1,469. Under the new program this would cost 50,681 points.

Meals for all passengers on the Silver Meteor route, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are included. You can even request complimentary kosher meals! Bedrooms have climate control, fresh towels and linens, bottled water, etc. Need more space? Redeem for 2 bedrooms and 2 adjoining bedrooms can be opened up into a suite. Learn more about Amtrak Bedrooms here.

You can even combine 2 bedrooms to make a bedroom suite with 2 bathrooms and 2 showers in it.

You can always use your miles to fly back home once the train nostalgia has worn off 😉

-A private bedroom for 2 people with a private shower with all meals included from NYC-Denver on 10/25 is currently 40,000 points or $2,530. Under the new program this would cost 87,285 points.

-A private bedroom for 2 people with a private shower with all meals included from NYC-Los Angeles on 10/25 is currently 60,000 points or $3,116. Under the new program this would cost 107.502 points.

Some routes do get cheaper though.

-A ticket from NYC-Washington DC on 10/25 is currently 8,000 points/$160 in Acela business class or 12,000 points/$281 in Acela first class. Under the new program business will go down to 6,240 points and first will go up to 10,959 points.

-A ticket from NYC-Washington DC on 10/25 is currently 4,000 points/$88 in northeast regional coach or 6,500 points/$133 in northeast regional business class. Under the new program coach will go down to 3,036 points and business will go up to 4,589 points.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

Points can be transferred from Starwood (which can be earned on the Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX) even after 12/07 at a 1:1 ratio.

Will you be transferring Chase points to Amtrak? Have a grand train ride planned? Hit the comments and let us know!

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50 Responses to “Will You Transfer Chase Points To Amtrak Before 12/08?”

  1. Anonymous Says:
    1

    Thought about it , not sure
    Maybe last min I might

    ReplyReply
  2. Dov Says:
    2

    i have searched for bedrooms ny-mia and have found zero availability. have you ever tried searching this route?

    ReplyReply
  3. Anonymous Says:
    3

    It’s really bad
    One there going away from chase and two there changing the program
    I went rt NYC Baltimore and paid 10500 points for one way business and one way coach

    ReplyReply
  4. Dan Says:
    4

    @Dov:
    I searched for everything in this post and gave the sample date.

    ReplyReply
  5. Yoel Says:
    5

    I didn’t even know the Chase-Amtrak program existed until this post. Finally found a useful way for me to redeem my Chase points.

    Thanks Dan!

    ReplyReply
  6. Gabi Says:
    6

    Can you tell me who in their right mind will travel by train in a bedroom suite NYC-MIA?

    It’s a cramped suite that’s worse than a cruise. Flight is 2.5 hours and even a car is more enjoyable than this since you can explore new cities…

    ReplyReply
  7. Dan Says:
    7

    @Gabi:
    Personally I agree with you.
    But some people hate flying and others are very nostalgic about trains.

    I had a friend that wouldn’t stop raving about his Amtrak experience after trying it out.
    Still wasn’t enough to get me to try it though.

    ReplyReply
  8. Auto Train Fan Says:
    8

    I went down to Florida on the Auto Train with my kids in a room. 18 plus hours. They had the time of their lives. We ate dinner at 5, went to sleep early with the rocking motion of the train and woke up had a late breakfast and we almost there. They were very accommodating in the dining room. It stops in Sanford, FL, near Disney and we went there for a day too.

    We went Chanuka time and the conductor allowed (actually encouraged) us to light Chanuka candles in the smoking car. We even got our next door train neighbors to join us for the lighting. We drove the other way back north and stopped at various places including, Savannah, GA, which is really worth the small detour.

    It obviously doesn’t compare to the speed of a plane, if getting to Florida is the only goal, but it is certainly a great experience worth having at least once.

    ReplyReply
  9. Dan Says:
    9

    @Auto Train Fan:
    Very cool, thanks for sharing!

    How old were your kids?

    ReplyReply
  10. Nitantnel Says:
    10

    My kid would be thrilled with this! If only I can fit this into my schedule…

    ReplyReply
  11. Amtrak Insider Says:
    11

    I work for Amtrak so if anyone has any further questions about availability or accommodations, please reply here and I’ll do my best to answer.

    ReplyReply
  12. Thenewguy Says:
    12

    This amtrak ny to Miami thing interests me very much. I have a 1 year old and don’t want to fly because I don’t think that will be so good to fly with her. (I always hated the screaming kids in planes when they weren’t my kids, so I don’t want to be THAT guy).

    So my question is, how does it work with kids on the train? Is there room for a baby? Or bad idea?

    ReplyReply
  13. Anonymous Says:
    13

    @Thenewguy: As a last minute decision to spend last Pesach in FL, the only option without paying over $600 per person EACH WAY for a party of 14 was to take the train. No rooms were available, so had to travel in coach.

    I think it would be advisable that Amtrak CEO and all other top management be REQUIRED to take that trip, so they see what’s wrong with Amtrak!

    Bathrooms are totally unacceptable!!!! Seats are uncomfortable!!! Trains DO NOT RUN ON TIME. NY Penn station is hot, dirty and overcrowded.

    Long stretches of the way have no cell phone service, and no WiFi is available on the train!

    ReplyReply
  14. JM Says:
    14

    I plan to xfer point to my Amtrak account, but I’m not sure how the new redemption plan will affect me. I currently LOVE that I can book a ticket from San Diego to LA/Valley for 1,500 points that would normally cost $30 – $42 (> 2 cents a point). What will that translate to under the new program?

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @Amtrak Insider:
    Great to have you here!

    Should I be tempted to redeem for a bedroom suite for my family of 4 before the price doubles in January 🙂

    @Thenewguy:
    If you have a bedroom I don’t think you’ll bother anyone.

    @Anonymous:
    Can’t even imagine that trip in coach.

    @JM:
    Won’t be too bad, non-saver fares will be a value of 2.9 cents per point, so a $30 trip will be just 1,035 points with the new program.

    A $45 trip would be 1,553 points.

    ReplyReply
  16. JM Says:
    16

    Just ran the 2016 estimator myself – actually looks BETTER than under the current plan for these fares!

    ReplyReply
  17. Dan Says:
    17

    @JM:
    Yup, the big increases hit the roomettes and bedrooms.

    ReplyReply
  18. oner Says:
    18

    I just transferred my UR points. How long does it take?

    How many points to go from Orange County to San Diego?

    ReplyReply
  19. oner Says:
    19

    Just booked Irvine to San Diego!

    ReplyReply
  20. Amtrak Insider Says:
    20

    @Thenewguy: Kids are very welcome on Amtrak, and up to one infant under the age of 2 rides free per paying adult. I think you’d find that you would be more comfortable in a Roomette or Bedroom, as there is more room and a bed as opposed to sitting in coach all night. That said, overnight coach has a seat pitch of approximately 50″, which is about a foot and a half more than most airlines!

    ReplyReply
  21. Amtrak Insider Says:
    21

    @JM: Under the new plan, a $30 ticket will require 1,035 pts, and a $42 ticket would require 1,449 pts. So you come out ahead either way.

    ReplyReply
  22. sam Says:
    22

    @Amtrak Insider:

    Are the kosher meals from Borenstein?

    ReplyReply
  23. Amtrak Insider Says:
    23

    @Dan: I think you’ll find that in the off-peak periods, the points differential won’t be nearly as great as you suggest. For example, for February 7, New York to Miami, 2 adults in a full Bedroom, the cost would be $1,008, or 34,776 points. Take off an additional 10% for AAA. Under the current model, it is 25,000 points. So roomettes and bedrooms will see an increase but not nearly as much if you book far ahead and in the off-season.

    ReplyReply
  24. Dan Says:
    24

    @Amtrak Insider:
    Fair point, and a better comparison would be to take a route and compare it for a day on each month of the year.

    Still even at 35K points, that’s a 40% increase from the 25K you need now.

    ReplyReply
  25. Amtrak Insider Says:
    25

    @sam: Yes, the kosher meals on Amtrak are very similar to what El Al first class meals were in 2010 (not sure what they are serving there now). These are the current offerings, all OU Glatt/Pas Yisroel/Cholov Yisroel:

    Breakfast:
    Mozzarella cheese omelet, with mushrooms and breakfast potatoes, juice, bagel, cream cheese, breakfast pastry, fruit cup, condiments, and flatware.

    Lunch/Dinner Options:
    Persian style beef stew, roasted potatoes, vegetables.
    Roasted chicken breast, wild mushroom sauce, basmati rice, vegetables
    Baked salmon, lemon chickpea sauce, basmati rice, vegetables
    All entrees come with salad, dinner roll, dessert, condiments, flatware

    ReplyReply
  26. sam Says:
    26

    @Amtrak Insider:

    thanks thats really detailed
    another detail – any idea what the hechsher is on the beef they use?

    ReplyReply
  27. Reb Yid Says:
    27

    @Anonymous: As they say, “Amtrak: The cost of a plane, the luxury of a bus”

    ReplyReply
  28. MosheD Says:
    28

    @Amtrak Insider: fair but the whole beauty of points are those last minute trips that cost a fortune in revenue. If iI book aheads can get a flight to Mia for under $150 with the recent fare wars. There is no value there. Essentially all you are offering, post devaluation, is the “Experience of a train”.
    Also keep in mind that an AA flight is just 12.5k UR

    P.S. Sorry for the ramble, but good to have an insider here and I’d love to hear your take

    ReplyReply
  29. esther Says:
    29

    new york – washington dc for 4000 points was great! i’ve transfered my UR points to Amtrak many times and then just booked an award ticket.

    I will be mourning the change!

    ReplyReply
  30. Anonymous Says:
    30

    @Dan: The silver lining of the Amtrak booking for points is (or maybe was) that there are no capacity controls or redemption levels.

    SO, when we were unsure about who would travel when (we didn’t all go together) just book a refundable fare for the possible trains you might want to take, and cancel just before you are ready to book using points, in case availability is no longer there (as was the case coming back from FL. Most of us came on a one way 12 passenger van rental from Avis which cost less than $150 for 8 days + whatever AMEX charges for the insurance, I think it is $25 for the rental, whoever didn’t fit in the Van went on the train).

    ReplyReply
  31. Anonymous Says:
    31

    @Amtrak Insider: Did you ever take the train NY to MIA? Is anyone at Amtrak aware of how bad the experience is. The bathrooms are truly a 3rd wold experience!!!

    ReplyReply
  32. sam Says:
    32

    @Amtrak Insider:

    Are you on the dansdeals forum?

    ReplyReply
  33. Nathan Says:
    33

    I’m not sure if this is still the case but there was a pilot program to eliminate dining car meals on the silver routes.

    ReplyReply
  34. Dan Says:
    34

    @Nathan:
    Not on the Silver Meteor.

    ReplyReply
  35. King Says:
    35

    @Amtrak Insider: join the conversation here!

    http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=16802.0

    ReplyReply
  36. Amtrak Insider Says:
    36

    @Anonymous: Many times. It’s enjoyable in a bedroom, but the Auto Train is even better. I would say hands down the best overnight train on Amtrak is the Auto Train.

    @sam: Just joined.

    @Nathan: Still a pilot. On the Silver Star Trains 91/92.

    ReplyReply
  37. Sammy Says:
    37

    @Auto Train Fan: I did the autotrain trip twice with 6 kids. They absolutely loved it. They constantly bug me to do it again.

    ReplyReply
  38. Sammy Says:
    38

    @Amtrak Insider: I haven’t tried any others. But I really enjoyed the autotrain. We were 8 people and got lucky to get the whole downstairs for ourselves.

    ReplyReply
  39. Steven Says:
    39

    @Amtrak Insider:
    Hello Amtrak Insider!
    I’m considering taking the train with my family of 6 (4 girls, aged 10 months to 8 years).
    Questions:
    (A) Which would you recommend as the most scenic route? Perhaps a west coast ride from Seattle to somewhere in CA?
    (B) Would this route have the 2nd floor bedroom suite? I’m thinking with the 6 of us, that we could fit in there. Would it be horribly cramped?
    (C) About how many points are we looking at for such a trip next summer for one-way (we’re flexible on the date) and does that point amount include the 6 of us and all our meals?
    Thanks so much!
    Steven

    ReplyReply
  40. Amtrak Insider Says:
    40

    @Steven:

    a) The top two scenic routes (in my opinion) are between Denver and Emeryville on the California Zephyr, and Los Angeles – Seattle on the Coast Starlight. The northbound from LA is more scenic in my opinion because you are along the coast in daylight, although the southbound train is nice in the summer as well.

    b) Assuming you go with the Coast Starlight, the train does have Superliner Sleepers with Bedrooms, and if there is enough availability, you can “en-suite” the rooms. It might still be slightly cramped. Each Bedroom fits two adults comfortably, but probably up to three children. You may also wish to look into the “Family Bedroom” which is on the lower level. It can fit up to two adults + two children comfortably, and you could also book a roomette for the remaining two.

    c) There is really a wide swing of points under the new system based on when you wish to go, but if you PM me in the Amtrak forum on DD, I can try and help narrow down some dates for you. Yes, that amount would be for 6 people and all the meals.

    ReplyReply
  41. jack f Says:
    41

    Is there. A NY- Pittsburgh route? Details anyone??

    ReplyReply
  42. Nathan Says:
    42

    @jack f. Yes there is— the Pennsylvanian leaves NYC once a day and takes about 9.5 hours.

    ReplyReply
  43. joetraveler Says:
    43

    Can redemptions made before 1/24/16 be used for travel after that date, throughout 2016?

    ReplyReply
  44. Dan Says:
    44

    @joetraveler:
    Yes.

    ReplyReply
  45. Yis1 Says:
    45

    Dan- I’m confused –
    Is the main point aht:
    A) The Chase program will be changing, costing many more pts?
    or
    B) They no longer will accept Chase points at all.
    If (B), then why all the discussion of the new program’s point value?
    Thanks for clarifying.

    ReplyReply
  46. Dan Says:
    46

    @Yis1:
    The point is that tomorrow is the last chance to transfer Chase to Amtrak.

    But before you transfer a bunch of points for a private bedroom for future usage, its important to note the changes that will take place in January.

    ReplyReply
  47. Amtraker Says:
    47

    @Dan….I have heard conflicting reports of whether the names have to match on the chase and amtrak account…can anyone confirm?

    I take the Amtrak on the NE route quite often, I am curious to see if the off peak travel gets cheaper. If a ticket was less than $80 I would just pay cash.

    I have taken the AutoTrain, was great fun. I would never do it in coach…

    ReplyReply
  48. iahphx Says:
    48

    Travelers travel “for the experience” and I think an Amtrak sleeper trip is a worthwhile experience at the current Chase “prices.” I’ve done a few over the years and, while Amtrak’s service is often less than great, it’s usually not bad either. As long as you have the time (this is NOT “efficient” on-time transportation), I think it’s something every traveler should try at least once.

    As Amtrak Insider has noted, I think the train for first timers to focus on is the California Zephyr. If you want to do one-night for 25,000 points, travel from Denver to San Francisco. For two nights, the whole route, Chicago to San Francisco for 40,000 points. And that gets you the whole bedroom for all your passengers including meals. That usually means 2 people, but if you have young kids, it’s the same price for 4 (2 of the beds are pretty small though, and won’t really accommodate teenagers).

    Honestly, I don’t think there are that many “more unusual” things you can do with 25,000 or 40,000 points. I recommend you only do it one way and fly the other — one or two nights on a train is enough.

    ReplyReply
  49. Clare N Says:
    49

    Amtrak Insider – Currently the Autotrain is 21,500 points for 1 person in coach plus auto. I tried using the estimator, but had trouble. What will the price range in points be for same after changeover?

    ReplyReply
  50. Miriam Says:
    50

    For those of us who live in Silver Spring/Washington (there’s a lot of us here) or Baltimore and can’t / don’t want to drive in to NY and back, Amtrak is excellent. We use it all the time.

    With the new program, regular coach shouldn’t necessarily be so bad.

    I just transferred quite a few points.

    The other good thing is that they changed the points expiration policy. Under the new plan, redemptions count as eligible activity, which is great!

    ReplyReply

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