First time train rider

Old May 7, 17, 3:18 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 469
First time train rider

I am thinking to take my first amtrak (Southwest Chief) train ride to Chicago. I have almost every airline miles, is there any airline mile I can use?
mak101 is offline  
Old May 7, 17, 6:22 pm
  #2  
Moderator, Alaska Airlines & FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SGF
Programs: AS, AA, UA, AGR (ex-75K, GLD, 1K, and S+), Choice Diamond, HZ PC, Costco Exec, NPS Passport
Posts: 22,927
Originally Posted by mak101 View Post
I am thinking to take my first amtrak (Southwest Chief) train ride to Chicago. I have almost every airline miles, is there any airline mile I can use?
Options for transferring points into AGR are very limited. A summary is here: https://amtrakguestrewards.com/points/transfer

Most are a fairly poor value. The one exception is SPG, which is a 1:1 transfer, and since AGR points are worth somewhere between 2.4 and 2.9 cents per point (depending on the type of redemption), that's actually not a bad use for SPG points.

Amtrak has a very limited partnership with United on a very few of its trains in the Newark market, but that does not extend to being able to earn or redeem for Amtrak travel, especially on a western long-distance train.

If you want to use points for the trip instead of money, probably the best way to get AGR points quickly is to sign up for the AGR credit card.
jackal is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 6:00 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: In the front cabin
Programs: I fly UA, drive Hertz and sleep around...
Posts: 167
Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Options for transferring points into AGR are very limited. A summary is here: https://amtrakguestrewards.com/points/transfer

Most are a fairly poor value. The one exception is SPG, which is a 1:1 transfer, and since AGR points are worth somewhere between 2.4 and 2.9 cents per point (depending on the type of redemption), that's actually not a bad use for SPG points.
FYI, SPG is having a 35% off sale on Starpoints through the end of June, lowering their price to @ 2.3 cents each. You can then transfer Starpoints to AGR at 1:1 ratio, a NICE discount!

If you're a Marriott Rewards member, you can - and should - link that account with Starwood. You can then easily transfer points from Marriott to SPG, then SPG to Amtrak.

Also, be sure to review your options for transferring any of your airline miles into those two programs, then transfer all into SPG and finally SPG to AGR.

Good luck!
CateyBeth is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 6:16 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: In the front cabin
Programs: I fly UA, drive Hertz and sleep around...
Posts: 167
P.S. While you'll certainly get a weath of info for maximizing travel options here on FT, I recommend you join the "Amtrak Fans" group on Facebook for tips specific to Amtrak services and experiences.
CateyBeth is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 10:47 pm
  #5  
Moderator, Alaska Airlines & FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: SGF
Programs: AS, AA, UA, AGR (ex-75K, GLD, 1K, and S+), Choice Diamond, HZ PC, Costco Exec, NPS Passport
Posts: 22,927
Originally Posted by CateyBeth View Post
FYI, SPG is having a 35% off sale on Starpoints through the end of June, lowering their price to @ 2.3 cents each. You can then transfer Starpoints to AGR at 1:1 ratio, a NICE discount!
My experience is that AGR points redeem for between 2.9 and 2.4 cents per point, depending on the underlying revenue fares available (value goes down slightly when Saver fares are available for purchase, since AGR points cannot be applied to Saver).

Buying points for 2.3 cents each and redeeming them for 2.4 cents each seems like a lot of hassle and inflexibility to save tiny amounts. If you're going to be redeeming for a $1,000 sleeper trip and do the math and find you can redeem for the higher end of that spectrum, it could be worth buying the points and redeeming them instead of paying outright, but it's not a massive savings.
jackal is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: