Excellent offer for Amtrak Mastercard

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Exvalley

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I just received an offer for 50,000 points if you spend $2,500 within 90 days of opening the card. The offer is good through September 30th.

I have held off getting am Amtrak card, but this is super tempting.
 

joelkfla

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I just received an offer for 50,000 points if you spend $2,500 within 90 days of opening the card. The offer is good through September 30th.

I have held off getting am Amtrak card, but this is super tempting.
It's on the Amtrak.com home page, too. There is a $79 annual fee. Also, a one-day lounge pass is included upon opening, but not upon future anniversary dates. One companion coupon and 1 business class upgrade are included upon opening and upon anniversary dates.

So, based on comparing points to cash fares for a couple of accessible bedroom trips on Silver Service in September, a point appears to be worth about $0.025. Some more calculations, including deducting the annual fee, shows a reward value of about $0.47 per dollar of the $2,500 qualifying spend, which is indeed not bad. That doesn't include the 2.5 cents value per dollar for the base points, which I assume will still be awarded.

I wonder whether the bonus value would be taxable?
 
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Exvalley

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I wonder whether the bonus value would be taxable?
I have opened a couple of hotel and airline cards that gave generous sign up bonuses after a minimum spend and have never been taxed on those.

The only reason that I am hesitating is because I am not sure what the impact will be on my credit rating if I open a new card account. I would only get the card for the bonus. My main card is a hotel affiliated card.
 

joelkfla

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I have opened a couple of hotel and airline cards that gave generous sign up bonuses after a minimum spend and have never been taxed on those.

The only reason that I am hesitating is because I am not sure what the impact will be on my credit rating if I open a new card account. I would only get the card for the bonus. My main card is a hotel affiliated card.
Yeah, now that I think about it, I've been taxed on bonuses paid for opening a checking account, but not for credit cards.
 

20th Century Rider

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I just received an offer for 50,000 points if you spend $2,500 within 90 days of opening the card. The offer is good through September 30th.

I have held off getting am Amtrak card, but this is super tempting.
It's an excellent offer... 50k points will get you across the country in a sleeper. Also point and TQP's are accelerated with the card. I've had the pd card for several years and with all the Amtrak travel I do... Perfecto!

BTW... maximize your benefits by spending that $2500 on Amtrak travel!
 

pennyk

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Yeah, now that I think about it, I've been taxed on bonuses paid for opening a checking account, but not for credit cards.
The bonus you receive from a bank is in cash and they have your social security number in their system. It is taxed to you on a 1099-INT. Technically, points bonuses are considered income, but rarely are they reported as such.
 

Just me

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OK, would the 50,000 bonus miles that you get with the card EVER expire? Do you have to travel within a certain period of time? Sounds like a good deal doesn't it?
 

jebr

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One quick tip: Amtrak seems to be offering a $100 statement credit plus 50,000 points if applying via the link when checking out for an Amtrak ticket purchase. May not show up for everyone, but it showed up for me.

OK, would the 50,000 bonus miles that you get with the card EVER expire? Do you have to travel within a certain period of time? Sounds like a good deal doesn't it?
As long as you keep an AGR credit card open (even the free one) tied to the AGR account, the points do not expire. Otherwise points expire if there is no activity on the account within a 24-month time span.

The bonus you receive from a bank is in cash and they have your social security number in their system. It is taxed to you on a 1099-INT. Technically, points bonuses are considered income, but rarely are they reported as such.
Credit card rewards are generally considered a rebate on purchases, and thus are not taxable. The exception is potentially if a bonus is earned without any sort of spend required on the card, though almost every bonus I've seen requires at least one purchase for the bonus to be earned. From CNBC:

Most credit card rewards are not taxable, but be wary of those that don’t have a spending threshold required in order to redeem rewards. Although these cards offer an upfront incentive, you will be required to report those rewards as income later when you file your taxes.
 

Just me

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Thanks jebr for the information. I just may partake of this offer. If your points never expire, it sounds like an incredible deal PLUS you may get $100 statement credit. Thanks again.
 

Everydaymatters

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I have opened a couple of hotel and airline cards that gave generous sign up bonuses after a minimum spend and have never been taxed on those.

The only reason that I am hesitating is because I am not sure what the impact will be on my credit rating if I open a new card account. I would only get the card for the bonus. My main card is a hotel affiliated card.
I recently opened a new card account and the impact on my credit rating was -1.
 

Exvalley

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As long as you keep an AGR credit card open (even the free one) tied to the AGR account, the points do not expire. Otherwise points expire if there is no activity on the account within a 24-month time span.
Correct me if I am wrong, but all you would need to do to have activity is to make a couple of purchases using the card.
 

Exvalley

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I bit the bullet and applied.

What's odd is that I was never asked for my social security number. They must be able to match using my address and phone number. A credit inquiry showed up on my credit report.

Regardless, I am now the proud owner of an Amtrak Mastercard. And thanks to Jebr, I used the link that gives me a $100 statement credit.

The only bummer is that we are leaving for vacation in two days. If I had the card in time for vacation it would have been much easier to meet the $2,500 threshold.
 
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jebr

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Correct me if I am wrong, but all you would need to do to have activity is to make a couple of purchases using the card.
Correct, and the AGR credit card actually comes with a specific exemption that means that points won't expire as long as the account is open (though Bank of America may close the account if they see no activity for an extended period of time, so I'd highly recommend using the card at least once every few months to keep it active.) However, if you close the card you'll want to make sure you have qualifying activity every 24 months so the points don't expire.
 

20th Century Rider

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Regardless, I am now the proud owner of an Amtrak Mastercard. And thanks to Jebr, I used the link that gives me a $100 statement credit.
Wow... the offers keep getting better on that card... that $100 more than covers the cost for the first year! As per keeping the card active with spend... use it to pay for food, gas, utilities, and of course any travel.

Best benefits are when used for Amtrak purchases... including food in the cafe car for 20% discount.

After enjoying this card for several years now, two good things I can say... it maximizes point gain, and the upgrade and lounge access features are a plus. Top illustration below:

But have found that using points for hotels and cars are poor. Bottom illustration below:
Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 7.18.46 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 7.21.25 AM.png
 

Exvalley

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Even though I do not have the physical card yet, I just updated my vacation hotel reservation with my new Amtrak card number. Hopefully they don't ask to see the card itself. I am platinum with Marriott, and they usually just ask for ID. Even better, the hotel has a mobile key option, so if I check in with the app I shouldn't even need to see the desk agent.

This will go a long way toward the $2,500.
 

jis

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Even though I do not have the physical card yet, I just updated my vacation hotel reservation with my new Amtrak card number. Hopefully they don't ask to see the card itself. I am platinum with Marriott, and they usually just ask for ID. Even better, the hotel has a mobile key option, so if I check in with the app I shouldn't even need to see the desk agent.

This will go a long way toward the $2,500.
Marriott hotels have yet to ask me to show them a credit card if they have a working one on file. I also check in and check out electronically, and if the hotel does not have an electronic key then the only face to face interaction is to pick up the key. They usually check Id before handing out keys unless it is at a hotel that I frequent and the desk clerk knows me.
 
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20th Century Rider

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Even though I do not have the physical card yet, I just updated my vacation hotel reservation with my new Amtrak card number. Hopefully they don't ask to see the card itself. I am platinum with Marriott, and they usually just ask for ID. Even better, the hotel has a mobile key option, so if I check in with the app I shouldn't even need to see the desk agent.
This will go a long way toward the $2,500. Use it for food and gas and utilities... and everything you spend money on... cause you are maximizing value.

BTW I am a Marriot Gold but with that program being so bloated... it's just to big and benefits have little value! At least with Amtrak, my spend makes a difference... and their card provides a much better return than my Marriot Bonvoy AMEX.

So the Bonvoy AMEX gives me a free night 35000 point voucher each year for my $95 fee... problem is that all those points now are worth a lot less than before and free night stays at that level have sharply declined.

In fact... most hotel programs are out of control. I'm open to suggestions on that!
 

20th Century Rider

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Just playing around with what 50k miles can do with Amtrak sleeping accommodations coast to coast. Another bonus from the card is a 5% discount on required points... so with any points one has presently, either one of these could be applied. Even though these appear to be higher bucket fares. And although one way... a return could be coach or sleeper... applied to the card. If you get a good agent, you could find ways of reducing required points with change of dates and city pairs.

Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 8.09.47 AM.png
 

Exvalley

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BTW I am a Marriot Gold but with that program being so bloated...
Most years I am Gold with Marriott - and it's pretty worthless. Platinum is nice for free breakfast and lounge access, but hardly any hotels are offering those right now.

Another bonus from the card is a 5% discount on required points...
Is it 5% less to book a ticket - or do you get 5% of the points back after you book the ticket?
 

joelkfla

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Wow... the offers keep getting better on that card... that $100 more than covers the cost for the first year! As per keeping the card active with spend... use it to pay for food, gas, utilities, and of course any travel.

Best benefits are when used for Amtrak purchases... including food in the cafe car for 20% discount.

After enjoying this card for several years now, two good things I can say... it maximizes point gain, and the upgrade and lounge access features are a plus. Top illustration below:

But have found that using points for hotels and cars are poor. Bottom illustration below:
View attachment 23843
View attachment 23844
But those hotel gift cards are giving you just 0.83 cents/point, which is just 1/3 of the value I came up with on a couple of test bookings on sleepers. So better to use the points for Amtrak, if you have tickets to buy.
 

fhussain44

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This is the best deal I have seen in last 20 years. Previous best was 40k bonus..
 
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