Posted by William Charles on March 10, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on March 10th, 2015 | by William Charles

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Chase Amtrak Credit Card No Longer Available – Options For Still Getting The Card & The Future Of The Card/Transfers

A few days ago, Drew from Travel is Free pointed out that the Chase Amtrak credit card was no longer displaying on the Chase website and the landing pages for that card were redirecting to the general Chase credit card page. At the time I commented that this was standard and credit card pages often go missing (especially during the weekend), this happens quite often and usually the card pages are back up in a couple of days.

In this case I was dead wrong, Greg from Frequent Miler tried to downgrade one of his Chase cards to this product. He was told that not only couldn’t he do this, but he also couldn’t even make a new application for the Chase Amtrak credit card.

I’m always skeptical of what front line customer service representatives say, as they often have wrong or incomplete information. I decided to contact Chase & Amtrak to see if I could get any more information and here is the official response I received from Chase:

We are not accepting new applications at this time for the Amtrak Rewards card

The “at this time” part of that response is interesting, but it’s entirely possible I’m reading too much into it (more on this later).

Working Links

There are actually two working links for the Amtrak credit card that people have been using that still work (a big thanks to Mia on Flyertalk for providing this. I think Mia is probably the most helpful poster on FlyerTalk):

Recently there was a higher sign up bonus of 18,000 points after $1,000 in spend. Points with a crew was able to get matched to this 18,000 point offer when he applied for the 12,000 point offer, it might still be possible to do this but I think you will struggle considering there is no longer a landing page for the 18,000 point offer and Chase aren’t even officially accepting applications at the moment.

What’s Happening With The Card

There are two main scenarios that I think could be happening:

  • Chase & Amtrak are renegotiating their contract. Chase & Amtrak first became partners back in September of 2007, if they had an 8 year deal (or two 4 year deals) then the contract would be ending in September of this year (or even sooner if they aren’t doing full year deals). Chase might have removed the Amtrak credit card from their line up as a negotiating tactic. Co-branded partners generate a lot of revenue from their credit cards, a lot of this revenue is dependent on new sign ups. By stemming these new sign ups Chase limits the income they are giving Amtrak as a gentle reminder of how much they make from this deal.
  • Amtrak has or plans to have a new credit card partner. In the past Amtrak has partnered with Bank of America and switched to Chase in 2007. When this switch was made, the same thing happened. Bank of America pulled the credit card from their line up and did not allow new sign ups. Depending on how the deal is structured, it might make very little sense to Chase to issue new cards when they know the partnership is coming to an end.

I’m really not sure which outcome is more likely at the moment.

Is The Card Worth It?

There are three main reasons as to why I can see people wanting this card:

  1. You can transfer Amtrak points to Choice points at a rate of 1:3. There are a few restrictions in doing this, first of all you need to spend $200 or more on Amtrak in a calendar year. You’re also limited to transferring in 5,000 point blocks for 15,000 Choice points and you can only transfer a maximum of 25,000 Amtrak points (for 75,000 Choice points) each year. You can read more about the best uses of Amtrak points here.
  2. You receive 5% of your points back when you redeem them for Amtrak travel. For those travelling regularly on Amtrak, this could be extremely useful.
  3. The sign up bonus. The sign up bonus is only 12,000 points, which isn’t much considering that Chase UR points transfer to Amtrak at a 1:1 rate.

The card also has no annual fee and earns 2x Amtrak points on all Amtrak purchases, although you could get this same earning rate with the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which earns 2x Chase UR points on all travel, including Amtrak. Although it does have an annual fee).

My personal thought is that the fact that this card is no longer available/will no longer be available does not change the value proposition for me. I didn’t sign up for the deal when it was 18,000 points so it’d be silly to change my mind and sign up for the 12,000 point offer.

In fact I think this makes it less likely I’d apply, if Amtrak does get another banking partner then chances are Chase will product change my card into something else (probably the Chase Freedom or Chase Slate as they are both no annual fee products) which means I’d be unable to take advantage of the Choice transfer deal which would be my main reason for getting the card.

Will Amtrak Stay A Transfer Partner?

If this is the end of the Chase/Amtrak partnership the other question a lot of people have is will Chase UR points still be transferable to Amtrak. It’s impossible to know for sure either way, that being said if you know that you will use the Amtrak points there is really no harm in transferring them now to be on the safe side.

I imagine that if Chase does lose Amtrak as a partner for their credit card, they will also be removed from the transfer partners, although it’s entirely possible that Chase has a separate contract for purchasing these points and as such they’ll stay a transfer partner.

Final Thoughts

I’m still hesitant to say that the Chase Amtrak card is gone for good, if it is I hope Amtrak has another banking partner lined up. I think the front runners would have to be Citi & American Express as they both have a large budget and card member base and also flexible point systems.

My preference would probably be Citi, as I already have a large stack of Citi ThankYou points and find them much easier to generate than American Express Membership Rewards. Although with American Express loosing Costco & jetBlue recently I think they’d be a more likely option. Hopefully if American Express does end up with the card they’ll offer a transfer bonus when it first launches. My biggest hope is that the Choice transfer bonus stays

Are you going to apply for the Chase Amtrak card? What do you think will/won’t happen? Let us know in the comments. If you want to follow along with updates/speculations, I’d recommend reading these two threads:

 



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gaurav
gaurav

First link is now dead…

Ian W.

Could be related to the speculation that Chase may be discontinuing all of its MasterCard products? http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-05/business/chi-chase-mastercards-blink-20140505_1_payments-network-visa-mastercards-charlie-scharf

Lynda
Lynda

I just got a letter from chase saying that effective Sept 30 they would no longer be partnering with amtrak and I would be receiving a replacement chase card.

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