Amtrak Reward Points vs Cash

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Keith1951

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Ohio
Im trying to figure if its better to use points or just pay for a trip myself? What dollar amount is the same as 1 point? Or another way, how much is 1 point worth?
 

jebr

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Points are generally worth approximately 2.89 2.816 cents each, based on the undiscounted, non-saver-fare rate, with a minimum of 800 points per segment. I believe Acela trains have a slightly worse redemption value, and some holidays Amtrak will charge significantly more in points than what the general value is of the points.

Edited to update valuation based on some current data points.
 
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Points are generally worth approximately 2.89 cents, based on the undiscounted, non-saver-fare rate, with a minimum of 800 points per redemption. I believe Acela trains have a slightly worse redemption value, and some holidays Amtrak will charge significantly more in points than what the general value is of the points.
That's quite decent when compared to most airline or hotel loyalty programs. Case in point is Marriott, currently at .7 of 1 US cent. Of course you have to factor in the relative higher cost of an Amtrak ticket from Point A to Point B in anything higher than a coach seat. Still, has anyone done a calculation as to whether Guest Rewards are a viable purchase - especially when a bonus is offered?
 

Sidney

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Points value widely differs. From ELT to PHL its 1050 points or $27.From PHL to NYP it's around 2400 points or$19.No rhyme or reason.
 

jebr

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Points value widely differs. From ELT to PHL its 1050 points or $27.From PHL to NYP it's around 2400 points or$19.No rhyme or reason.
The PHL - NYP $19 is the "saver" rate, which isn't available for points redemption. It looks like "value" fare is around $72 or 2,556 when I look at July 20 right now, which is 2.816 cents/point. ELT - PHL has no saver fare available, so the cheapest is value fare (undiscounted is $30 on July 20.) At 1,065 points for that trip, value is at 2.816 again. I looked at MSP - LSE and it's the same way - both coach and sleeper are 2.816 cents/point based on the undiscounted, value fare.

It looks like there might've been a small devaluation (which I'll correct in my original post) but Amtrak bases the points value on the value fare without any discounts (senior, RPA, etc.) applied. If saver fares are available in the class of service you're traveling in it's almost never a good idea to redeem points for the trip. Sleepers are generally the best because they don't have saver fares currently, sales are infrequent, and discounts like RPA or senior only apply to the rail fare portion of the ticket, unlike coach where a value or flexible ticket can usually have an RPA/senior/etc. discount apply to the full fare.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Points value widely differs. From ELT to PHL its 1050 points or $27.From PHL to NYP it's around 2400 points or$19.No rhyme or reason.
The $19 is probably a saver fare. You can’t use points in place of saver fare, so the 2400 is “equal” to the full fare.
 

Keith1951

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Thanks for all the info. Im planning a trip and have some points but not enough for the whole trip. CLE to NYP...then a Silver from NYP to Miami. Trying to decide if I should buy points to cover the whole trip or just use what I have for one leg of the trip, then pay for the rest.
 

Keith1951

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Ohio
I started looking on Amtraks website for trips using points. For instance...Oct 10th, 2022...CLE to NYP on the LSL, a roomette costs 14,697 points. But when I click on bedroom, it says 0 Pts. Anyone know why? I tried other longer trips and they all say 0 Pts. Could something be wrong with the website?
 
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I started looking on Amtraks website for trips using points. For instance...Oct 10th, 2022...CLE to NYP on the LSL, a roomette costs 14,697 points. But when I click on bedroom, it says 0 Pts. Anyone know why? I tried other longer trips and they all say 0 Pts. Could something be wrong with the website?
I think you have to go back and start over....you just can't switch back and forth between dollars and points after you have found a train.
(Not sure about that so, I may stand corrected)
 
Joined
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Thanks for all the info. Im planning a trip and have some points but not enough for the whole trip. CLE to NYP...then a Silver from NYP to Miami. Trying to decide if I should buy points to cover the whole trip or just use what I have for one leg of the trip, then pay for the rest.
My recent method has been to pay with points for what I can and dollars with the rest (one leg points, the other leg dollars). I don't buy points anymore unless my balance is real close to the amount needed.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I think you have to go back and start over....you just can't switch back and forth between dollars and points after you have found a train.
(Not sure about that so, I may stand corrected)
Stand corrected. :) Though it's in a weird place, you can toggle back and forth using the Filter drop down at the top right of the list of trains. I've done it many times, and it's working for us on this situation for coach and roomette, but yeah, for his city pairs & date, it shows 0 points for a bedroom, but it shows, I think, $830, for the bedroom (I looked at it earlier, so I may have the cash value wrong).
 
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I cannot guess where the AGR program is going but my wife's Discover credit card gives a 2% cash rebate at the end of the year. If we can get a Mastercard or Visa that gives 2.5% back that would be similar but slightly less than what the AGR credit card is providing. We will see what happens in September but I doubt that we will get more for our money. .
 
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