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Update 3: People have been asking me which part of the deal is the most tenuous. In my opinion if this deal were to fall apart it would be the ending/weakening of the Amtrak-Choice transfer at a 1:5 basis. Once you bring your AMEX/Amtrak/Continental/Starwood points into Choice you will be in a much better position…

Update 2: There is some confusion about the length of life for the free Southwest tickets. Southwest credits are valid for 2 years. Once you get 16 credits it turns into a free systemwide RT ticket, which is valid for 1 year from the date of issue. Once it expires you have 2 more years to reinstate it online for an additional year at a cost of $50. You have up to 5 years to reinstate it over the phone, but you will need to save the award ticket number, as that gets deleted from your account 2 years after the award expires.

Update: Moshe is reporting in the comments that it seems he is getting 25,000 Amtrak points for just 20,000 Starpoints. Please post your own findings in the comments!!!

Sneak peak-Among many other possibilities: Just 40,000 Starpoints or 50,000 Continental miles/AMEX points can get you 12 free Round trip tickets on Southwest and a yearlong Southwest companion pass!

This deal is truly incredible, yet there are so many ways of exploiting it that it may get very complicated…

The deal is good if you have any of the following currencies:

-AMEX MR points. (Good job to all those who got in on the 25,000 AMEX MR Business Gold Card deal!)

-Amtrak Guest Rewards points.

-Continental Onepass miles.

-Starwood Starpoints.

Step 1: (Optional, only necessary if you have AMEX MR points)

AMEX MR Points can be transferred into Continental Onepass miles on a 1:1 basis via the AMEX website. (25,000 AMEX points=25,000 Continental miles)

Step 2:

Continental Onepass miles can be transferred into Amtrak Guest Rewards points on a 1:1 basis by calling the Onepass service center at 713-952-1630. (25,000 Continental miles=25,000 Amtrak points)

Starwood Starpoints can be transferred into Amtrak Guest Rewards points on a 1:1 basis by calling Starwood at 888-625-4988. There is some inconsistency with the 5,000 point bonus. Some people are getting 25,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points for 20,000 Starpoints, while others are only getting 20,000 (Officially the 5,000 points bonus is only for when you transfer Starpoints to Airline partners, not Amtrak. In practice, Starwood seems to be giving many people the 5,000 point bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints over to Amtrak.)

Step 3:

Amtrak Guest Rewards points can be transferred into Choice Privileges points (A hotel loyalty program) on a 1:5 basis via the Amtrak website. (25,000 Amtrak points=125,000 Choice points)

You can transfer out a maximum of 25,000 Amtrak points per calender year. (Amtrak elites can transfer out up to 50,000 per calender year)

Step 4:

Choice Privileges points can be transferred into Southwest Rapid Rewards credits on a 5,000:2 basis via the Choice website. (5,000 Choice points=2 Southwest credits. 125,000 Choice points=50 Southwest credits. 250,000 Choice points=100 Southwest credits.)

Choice Privileges points can be transferred into Air Canada Aeroplan miles, Alaska Airline Mileage Plan miles , American Airlines AAdvantage Miles, Continental Onepass Miles, Delta Skymiles, Mexicana Frecuenta miles, Northwest Worldperks miles, United Mileage Plus miles, or USAirways Dividend miles on a 5,000:1,000 basis via the Choice website. (5,000 Choice points=1,000 miles)

Choice Privileges points can be used for Choice hotel stays via the Choice website. You can nab a $400 hotel room in Manhattan for just 20,000 points/night.

Choice Privileges points can be used for over 240 luxury hotels worldwide starting at just 24,000 points/night!

OK, so before going on, let’s recap a bit:

-You can now transfer Continental miles/AMEX points to 8 other airlines without losing a single mile in the process. (25,000 AMEX points=25,000 Continental miles=25,000 Amtrak points=125,000 Choice points=25,000 miles on 8 other airlines!)

-You can transfer 20,000(if you’re lucky) or 25,000(if you’re not so lucky) Starpoints into 25,000 Continental or United miles without the huge devaluation of transferring directly at a 1:2 basis.

-You can turn 25,000 Continental miles/AMEX points or 20,000-25,000 Starpoints into 6+ nights in expensive hotels.

Now for the fun part:

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards:

-16 credits is enough for a free systemwide Round Trip ticket.

(Every 16 credits you earn gets you a free Southwest drink coupon if you’re 21+)

-32 credits is enough for a free Round Trip ticket to Hawaii on ATA.

-100 credits earned from any source within a 12 month period earns you a free companion pass!

The companion pass:

-Does not cost any credits, it is a free perk.

-Is valid for 12 months after it was earned.

-Allows you to bring along another person for free whenever you fly Southwest, even if you are flying on a free mileage ticket!

-Is valid for a seat anywhere that Southwest flies.

-Must be made out in a specific person’s name. That name can be changed up to 3 times after you set the original name.

-Is not subject to any blackout dates or capacity controls-you can confirm a 2nd seat for free whenever you fly.

-Does not require you to pay for regular flying taxes, you only responsible to pay $2.50 per segment for 9/11 security fees.

So, 50,000 Continental miles/AMEX points or 40,000-50,000 Starpoints will get you 50,000 Amtrak points, which will get you 250,000 Choice points, which will get you 100 Southwest credits!

Jackpot, right?

There’s just one hiccup in that logic, unless you have Amtrak elite status you can only transfer a maximum of 25,000 points out of your Amtrak account per calender year.

That’s actually not too big of a problem: it doesn’t say anywhere that you can only have one Amtrak account!

If you would rather keep life simple and not have 2 amtrak accounts you can also transfer 25,000 points out this year, and then the other 25,000 points on 01/01/08.

OK, Jackpot! 12 Round-Trip tickets and a companion pass (6 award flights for 96 credits, times two because of the companion pass) for just 50,000 Continental miles/AMEX points or 40,000-50,000 Starpoints!

One caveat: Amtrak Guest Rewards has earned a bad reputation for axing United as a transfer partner overnight without any prior warning back in 2004. Amtrak may end this transfer opportunity at any time, so:

1. Do not delay-do this ASAP!

2. Do not let points idle in an Amtrak account, transfer them to Choice points ASAP.

As far as how this values a mile, here are a couple quick guesses:

-4,000 Continental miles is enough for a $400 Manhattan hotel room. Value=.10/mile

-50,000 Continental miles is enough for a 12 Round-Trip tickets and a companion pass. Value=???? It all depends if you use those tickets for $100 flights or $1,000 flights and how often you use the companion pass!

So is it worth getting 8 free Southwest credits for enrollment? Absolutely! Is it worth using Obopay to generate Continental miles? That’s your call!

Questions, Suggestions, Errors? Please leave a comment!
Please do not post this article on any other website without explicit prior permission. Thank You!

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Dan Rules


In all honesty this is the best post I have seen in 2 years here.



Thank You


Amazing Deal! If you transfer to southwest, do your free tickets expire after 12 months or just the companion ticket?


I don’t play the mileage game and have too few miles to do this deal, but it looks pretty hot to me!


Too bad I dont have southwest coming to my city…

Pit Fan

this sounds like a crazy deal.

can southwest flights be used on someone elses name?

and I guess the companion is just for you.

Thank you.

Pit Fan

also are these free tickets on southwest to anywhere they fly or only within the usa.

Dan from Chicago

If you are transferring Choice Points into an airline on a 5,000:1,000 basis what do you gain?

25,000 Amtack points = 125,000 Choice Points = 25,000 airline points. You are back to where you started


I called starwood and transfered 20,000 plus the bonus into 2 amtrack accounts

1) the person on the phone told me that I do get the 5000 bonus on each transfer. If he said I get it and it goes automatically, will I actually get it?
2) how long does it take to show up by amtrak?


well i just answered one question on my starwood accout it says by both transfers 5000 bonus


1st of all thanks for the compliments-this post obviously took a lot of time to work on, so I appreciate the kind words.

Pit Fan-
The Southwest award flights can indeed be in anyone’s name, so putting the companion ticket in your own name would be an intriguing strategy.

Also while Southwest is seeking to fly internationally, they currently don’t. My guess would be that when they do start to fly internationally that rewards from before that period would be good for the international flights.

Dan from chicago:
The key here is that you can transfer AMEX or Continental miles on a 1:1 basis to 8 other airlines. Usually mileage transfers involve a huge loss of miles (see!) so that is what makes that aspect of the deal so unique.

Thanks for reporting your experience! Please keep us updated when the Starpoints reach Amtrak to confirm that you got
25,000 points for just 20,000 starpoints!


this is what it says in my spg account now:

Earn +5000 10/31/2007 AIRLINE TRANSFER BONUS
Redeem -25000 10/31/2007 AMTRAK TRANSFER
Earn +5000 10/31/2007 AIRLINE TRANSFER BONUS
Redeem -25000 10/31/2007 AMTRAK TRANSFER

I will let you know when thy post


So did it only take 40K starpoints out of your account?

Some Guy

In response to a question on the post about 8 free RR credits:
Yes, you can open up another RR acount even if you have one (I have 2 from the islip promo) so if you are doing this deal you can combine the 2.


Anybody know how long it takes for the Onepass miles to reach Amtrak Guest Rewards once you transfer them?


All of the transfers will probably take an average of about a week.


The transfer from Amex to Continental was instantaneous.


yes, it only took out 40,000


I didnt include this in the original post because it may not be 100% accurate, but nevertheless…

It seems like AMEX to CO is instantaneous.
CO to AGR is every Monday.
SPG to AGR is every Wednesday.
AGR to Choice is every Thursday.
Choice to Southwest is every Tuesday.


do the names need to match on each account. it seems like a great way to get miles out of my continental account and top of some family members in American. can tha work
My continental to my (new)Amtrak then to family members American?

Mendy S


What is Choice Rewards, how does it work??? I’m a big fan of rewards and miles and never heared of it. What to you have to do to get the rewards from Choice rewards?

Do you know where i can get a Cell phone with out a contract for AT&T service for a good price???

Thanks Dan… Keep the Deals and Free stuff Coming!!!

You da bomb

I have all my miles on Delta. Is there any way i can do something with them?


dan: I wonder if you can open two separate southwest accounts to get the 8 credit bonus twice (use slightly different names)

sweet deal

this is hawwwwwwwwwwwt!


just checked my RR account and it seems that they only gave me
4 credits for signing up! I signed up with a college account, so I wonder if that caused it. calling them up right now…..


just called them up: they say that you need to live in the bay area of sfo in order
to qualify for the eight credits. did anyone else get them?


You do not need to live in the bay area.
I got 8 credits (with a cleveland address) immediately upon signing up with the correct link.
Obviously you wont get the 8 credits if you sign up with the college link instead of the 8 credit promo link!!!


Dan, youre an absolute genious!!!

(takes on to know one 🙂


I actually did sign up using your link but there was an option
to sign on as a college student. I just did it the regular way and
received the eight credits. the only benefits of signing up with with the college type of account seem to be double reward credits when you fly. wonder if there is some way to combine


Dan, can you combine 2 southwest accounts??? I created to seperate ones and got 8 on each one.


Ok. after calling, you can NOT combine 2 accounts of 2 different people. If one person “for some reason” as two accounts it might be able to be combined.


yankel-Just call up Southwest and have them change the account with 8 credits in it to a College Rewards account!


I have 9,000 miles on Continental. Is there anything good I can do with them?


Dan, do all 6 flights (plus companion) have to be used within 1 year?
Also, I’m going to Israel in 2 weeks for a pilot trip, any help you could give me? I’m from Cleveland


amazing dan!! great job!!


Can i only transfer a minimum of 20k or can i transfer 12k or so (from my starwood account). And can i do a few thousand at a time?



I’ve been checking this site for a LONG time. This is a great deal. I have one question: Do you know if less than 25k continental miles can be transferred to amtrack points and then to choice points? I don’t want the SW deal since it doesn’t work for me, but I do want to use the continental miles (which I’ll never use otherwise) for a hotel stay near me…..


I am having trouble finding the transfer points option at AMEX and Amtrak. Can someome direct me?



One more thing: I signed up for ChoiceRewards, however, I can’t find anywhere on their site that says that points can be redeemed at any hotels other than the cheap choice hotels. Where can I find the option to choose from the 240 luxury hotels?????? PLEASE RESPOND.


Dan fan,

Luxury inns more like…


Not true Levi, there are many high-end hotels from across the world on the luxury hotel list that can be had for a fraction of the cost of luxury Starwoods…

The link to the list of hotels is in the body of the post.

For more info:

jeff baum

great deal…u the man dan
one question. if i have 2 amex business for me and wife, each with 25000 points, whats the best way to turn them into 100 southwest points in the same account?

Moishe Pipuk

I have just signed up for the business AMEX card as suggested at this website recently. I just used the card yesterday for the first time. Will I be able to use this plan to get the tickets? How soon will I get my AMEX points and is there a time to “act now” to implement the steps of this plan?
Thnaks much.


Jeff Baum,

Simply transfer the AMEX points into ONE Onepass account. In other words, log into your wife’s AMEX account, and transfer her points into YOUR Continental account.

I did this yesterday, and it works instantly!


Dan, I will comment here as this is a record breaking number of comments. I just want to say that I and Im sure otheres are eagerly awaiting another post on ISRAEL.


I was going to write about Israel stuff when I was there, but at the time most people seemed against that idea.


I beg to differ. there was a very nice response to your first article. and many will benefit.


We are totally interested in the E.Israel stuff, especially those of us who live here.


This whole interested me mainly in the thing of transferring points, and i wanted to know something what is the best way to transfer points between airlines, especially those that officially don’t have transfer from airline to airline?


Give us some ISRAEL!!


yeah baby, gimme post on istrael. I like!


I’m confuseddddd!!!!!


I transferred 20000 starwood points into Amtrak and the lady told me that it is going to be 25000 amtrak points. now I checked my Amtrak accounts and it is only 20000 amtrak points. any suggestions. thanks


This deal may be done. Amtrak points have not posted to Choice in over two weeks.


This deal is DEFINITELY over. Amtrak just devalued to 5k Amtrak = 15k Choice without notice (a devaluation of 40%). Choice in turn now says that you cannot redeem Choice points online, but must call a CSR and then you can only redeem if you have stayed at a choice property since 1/1/06 or made a purchase with the choice visa card.

Congrats to those who got in. Regrets to those who came along late.