Posted by William Charles on August 31, 2015
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Published on August 31st, 2015 | by William Charles

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Chase Amtrak Cardholders Will Be Transitioned To Chase Freedom On September 30th (+ Point Transfer & Expiry Information)

The Announcement

Anthony Rizos (Director, Member Experience Solutions Amtrak) recently posted the following message on Flyertalk (emphasis mine):

The partnership between Amtrak Guest Rewards® and Chase will end as of September 30, 2015. If you have the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard® credit card from Chase, you can continue to use your card and will continue to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points until September 30, 2015. After September 30, your account will be replaced with a Chase Freedom card and you will begin to earn points on your Chase Freedom Account. If you have an eligible Chase Card with Ultimate Rewards, you can continue to transfer points to Amtrak Guest Rewards until further notice.

What This Means

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We’ve known that Bank of America would be the new credit card issuer for the two new Amtrak cards for awhile now, but we didn’t know what would happen to existing cardholders. We know now that they will be transitioned to Chase Freedom card.

How good/bad this news is will depend on a few things:

  • What the sign up bonus on the new Bank of America cards are like
  • What the earning rates/benefits on those cards are like
  • How much you value Chase Freedom cards

If you already have a Chase Freedom card (or two or three) and could still use extra capacity for the 5% cash back categories, then you’ll likely be pretty happy. If you don’t already have a Chase Freedom card, I’d consider getting one before September 30th if you’d like multiples in the future as you’ll be denied if you already have an existing Freedom.

If you don’t want to keep the Chase Freedom, you should be able to easily convert that card into any other Chase branded card (Chase Sapphire or Chase Sapphire Preferred). Which could be useful given the new application limits on those cards.

Point Transfers

I don’t see why they’d say until further notice in regards to transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Amtrak if that partnership was going to continue in the long term. I imagine when that partnership expires (likely September 30th as well) it will no longer be able to transfer Chase UR to Amtrak, but we’ll have to wait and see as maybe they are still trying to renegotiate that contract.

Point Expiration

One of the benefits of the Chase Amtrak card was having it meant that Amtrak points didn’t expire. A lot of people were worried about what would happen with points and if they’d expire, Anthony then gave us this information about a grace period:

We will extend a grace period from 8/27/15 to 1/24/16 when the new rules regarding point expiration will be in place. During this time, members with qualifying earning or redemption activity under the new program rules in the last 36 months will be exempt from point expiration. This includes members who had the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard from Chase on 9/30/15.

Basically if you had the Chase Amtrak card when it automatically converts to Chase Freedom you’ll have until January 24th, 2016 before you need to worry about points expiring.

 


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