Published on September 2nd, 2015 | by William Charles5
Chase Amtrak Cards Will Be Automatically Converted To Chase Freedom On September 30th (+ Point Transfer & Expiration Information)
Anthony Rizos (Director, Member Experience Solutions, Amtrak) recently made the following statement 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 It Means
We’ve known for awhile now that Chase wouldn’t be the one to continue issuing Amtrak credit cards, in fact Bank of America will be issuing two new cards. What we didn’t know was what would happen to existing cardholders.
If you’re a Chase Amtrak cardholder on September 30th you card will automatically be converted to a Chase Freedom. You’ll continue to earn Chase Amtrak points until September 30th regardless of your statement closing date. You’ll be able to continue to use your Chase Amtrak card after September 30th, but it will act as a Chase Freedom card (and earn Chase UR points instead of Amtrak). That’s because it’ll take Chase between six and eight weeks to send you your new Chase Freedom
If you don’t want to keep the Chase Freedom, you should be able to easily convert it to any other personal Chase branded credit card (e.g Chase Sapphire or Chase Sapphire Preferred). How useful a Chase Freedom card will be will be dependent on a number of factors, but keep in mind if you hold a Chase Freedom card you won’t be approved for another one (although it’s possible to get multiples through forced product conversions like this and also product downgrades), so if you want the sign up bonus on the Chase Freedom card then apply for it before September 30th. Also keep in mind Chase’s new rules about applications for their own branded cards.
I don’t think that they would have used the until further notice language if the Chase Ultimate Rewards to Amtrak points transfer was going to continue long term into the future, although there is a chance that Chase & Amtrak are still renegotiating that contract (which I believe also expires on September 30th). If you want to take advantage of that option, I’d do it sooner rather than later.
One of the benefits of having the Chase Amtrak card is that it meant that you’re points didn’t expire. A lot of people were worried about their points expiring before the new Amtrak credit cards became available, so Anthony made the following statement:
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 as long as you have the Chase Amtrak card when it’s automatically converted to the Freedom your points won’t expire until January 24th, 2016 at the very earliest.