Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard

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If your ride the rails, this is the card for you.

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The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard was built for the frequent Amtrak traveler. Not only will you get generous points per dollar — 3 Amtrak Guest Rewards points on Amtrak travel, but you can also look forward to a couple valuable freebies each year, including a free companion pass.

There is an annual fee of $79, which is subtracted from your credit limit upon approval. If you plan on taking Amtrak within the year, then the 20,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 within three months, makes this card worthwhile. The bonus alone compensates for the annual fee and will certainly earn you at least one free trip.

Review

For those who love traveling the rails to any of Amtrak’s 500 destinations, here’s a card that will reward you for your spending. The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard offers cardholders three ways to earn points, which can be redeemed for Amtrak travel, car rentals, gift cards, hotels and merchandise.

You can earn 3 points per dollar on Amtrak purchases, including anything you buy on the train; 2 points per dollar on eligible non-Amtrak travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

The big score here is the sign-up bonus. The value hovers around $580, which is enough for most round-trip tickets. Depending on where you go, you might even be able to get a few trips out of the bonus. This is a good reason to try out the card for a year to see how much value you can actually get out of it.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard also comes with a bonus trifecta for travelers. When you open your account and every year after, you will receive a complimentary companion coupon; a one-class upgrade; and a complimentary single-visit station lounge pass.

If you plan on having a balance, this might not be the best card for you as the APR is on the higher side, between 13.99% and 23.99%. There’s also no introductory 0% APR introductory offer. Bottom line: If you do carry a balance, any rewards you earn will likely be canceled out by the interest.

Who should get this card

Frequent Amtrak travelers are the ideal candidate for this card. The generous bonus plus the extra perks are valuable extras for Amtrak customers. Even with the $79 annual fee, this up-front windfall is worthwhile if you’re planning an Amtrak trip.

The value of this card really depends on how often you travel on Amtrak because that’s where the big points are. Although other eligible travel purchases on the card will get you 2x the points, it’s still not as competitive as other cards.

Advantages
  • Competitive 3x points for Amtrak purchases make this a smart option for frequent riders.
  • The sign-up bonus could be enough to pay for a full trip -- or more.
  • Every year you will receive a bundle of bonuses, which include a free seat upgrade and a companion pass.
Disadvantages
  • The rewards points for everyday purchases are below average at 1 point per dollar.
  • This card comes with a $79 annual fee.
  • There is a 3% balance transfer charge.

Fees and APR

  • There is an annual fee of $79.
  • The variable APR is 13.99% to 23.99%
  • If you want to transfer a balance, you will have to pay the 3% balance transfer fee.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

Extras, perks and using points

Members will receive a complimentary companion coupon; a one-class upgrade; and a complimentary single-visit station lounge pass when they open the account and every year after.

Cardholders get a 5% Amtrak guest Rewards point rebate when you book your Amtrak redemption travel.

You can redeem rewards for travel beginning at just 800 points at Amtrak.com. Points can also be used for gift cards, hotels and rental cars.

How this card compares

 

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

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Card Details
  • 2 miles per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants.
  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 16.74% to 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee No Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is the fourth card in Delta’s portfolio and the first one to target millennials and casual travelers. Its two biggest draws is that there’s no annual fee and cardholders get twice the rewards on restaurant purchases as well as purchases through Delta; all other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Card Details
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles. You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.