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Amtrak Guest Rewards - United Airlines MileagePlus Partnership Changes

Not surprisingly, the Amtrak-Continental Airlines partnership will soon be scaled back. From 01 January 2012, you will no longer be able to transfer points between the two programs. Thankfully, it appears the train codeshares will remain and even after the United-Continental merger is complete, you will still be able to earn miles on select Northeast corridor rail service.

This e-mail explains the changes:

Dear Matthew,

While the Continental® OnePass® program will formally end in December, we’re happy to inform you that a new Amtrak Guest Rewards® partnership with the United MileagePlus®program is in the works.

In the meantime, here’s what the changes mean for you as an Amtrak Guest Rewards member:
• December 31, 2011 is the last day that Amtrak Guest Rewards members will be able to convert Continental OnePass miles to Amtrak Guest Rewards points
• Members may convert OnePass miles to Amtrak Guest Rewards points in increments of 5,000 miles for 5,000 points
• To convert your miles, contact the OnePass service center. Learn More

Eligible members* may convert Amtrak Guest Rewards points to OnePass miles at AmtrakGuestRewards.com through December 31, 2011. Transfer of points and miles will not be a benefit of the new partnership with United MileagePlus.

As always, thank you for your continued loyalty.

Sincerely,

Michael Blakey
Senior Director, Loyalty Marketing & CRM

Elite status on Amtrak or Continental is not required to transfer miles from Continental One Pass to Amtrak Guest Rewards, but in order to transfer points from Amtrak to Continental, one of the two requirements below must be met:

  • Members with current Amtrak Guest Rewards Select or Select Plus™ status (limit 50,000 miles transferred per year)
  • Cardholders of the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard® issued by Chase Bank with an Amtrak travel spend on the card of over $200 per calendar year (limit 25,000 miles transferred per year)

I do intend to transfer points over before this partnership ends--An Acela ticket is only 8K points and a Northeast Regional only 3K. You can also use the points for "heritage" trips like a sleeper from New York to Chicago on the Lake Shore Limited or Los Angeles to Seattle on the Coast Starlight.

A few other points about the United-Amtrak partnership:

  • Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus members will continue to enjoy access to the United Clubs through February 2012. Present your valid Select Plus card at the United Club to enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks, free Wi-Fi and more.
  • Through March 2012, members will continue to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points on Continental operated flights. And beginning in March, members will earn points on United operated flights.
    • Earn 1 point for each air mile traveled on Amtrak/Continental code-share trips taken through Newark Liberty International Airport to Philadelphia, PA; Wilmington, DE; Stamford, CT; or New Haven, CT, with a minimum of 500 points per flight. Plus, earn a 50% point bonus for travel in Business, BusinessFirst, or First Class, with a minimum of 750 points per flight.

ZFV has become one of my favorite "airport" codes and I intend to "fly" out of ZFW (Philadelphia's 30th St Rail Station) often next year. Earning United miles is icing on the cake.

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Comments

#1
Carl November 5, 2011 at 04:23 pm

So, does this we need to transfer some miles now if we want to redeem Amtrak awards in future years, or will Amtrak awards be available using Mileage Plus miles? The announcement seems incomplete.

#2
Matthew November 6, 2011 at 04:56 am

@Carl, while United and Amtrak are still ironing out the details of the partnership, it appears the ability to transfer miles will end this year, so I would transfer miles now if you intend to. I certainly will.

#3
Jamie January 7, 2012 at 09:49 am

Regarding the earning of AGR points for air travel, does this mean that if I were to fly from ZFV to Shanghai, I'd earn 30,000 AGR points for the round-trip by virtue of having taken a short trip by rail on each end of the 15,000-mile round-trip flight?

Assuming I were to do such a thing, presumably I would have to request that Continental credit the AGR points in lieu of air miles. Do you know if I would nonetheless be able to leverage OnePass elite status for the flights themselves (e.g. upgrades)?

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