Amtrak Guest Rewards elite status is worth between $383 and $2,719 per year, depending on tier. There are three published Amtrak elite status tiers:

  • Select
  • Select Plus
  • Select Executive

You qualify for tiers by earning Tier-Qualifying Point (TQPs) each year, with every dollar spent on rail fare equaling two TQPs as well as two regular AGR points. You do not accumulate TQPs on bonus point promotions unless explicitly stated in the promotion (most promotions do not qualify).

You can also receive 1,000 TQPs for every $5,000 you spend on the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard ($79 annual fee), up to a maximum of 4,000 TQPs per year.

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Background: 2016 Changes to Amtrak Guest Rewards

Back in 2016, Amtrak Guest Rewards switched to a revenue-based redemption for points from the previous fixed-points-per-zone redemption model.

Sleeper car accommodations now cost a lot more points — to the tune of 20,000+ more points in some cases — but travelers on relatively short routes may find that they can now spend less points on redemptions.

Assumptions

Valuations are provided for each elite status level below and assume that:

  1. You have already achieved the respective elite status in terms of earning elite point bonuses.
  2. You will hit the minimum threshold needed to renew the respective elite status tier.
  3. Each Amtrak Guest Rewards point is worth 2.6 cents each (see below).

If necessary, values are rounded up to the nearest dollar. Valuations do not include the regular non-elite-bonus points you earn for Amtrak spending, since you would get these points regardless of your elite status.

As always, elite status valuation can often be more of an art than a science … and certain benefits may be more or less valuable to you than the average passenger.

How Much is an Amtrak Guest Rewards Point Worth?

We value Amtrak Guest Rewards points at 2.6 cents each. Under the current program, Amtrak points have a fixed points-to-dollar ratio and are worth 2.9 cents each on non-Acela trains (excluding saver fares, which are ineligible for redemption) and about 1.7 cents each on Acela trains, either in business class or first class. After factoring in the higher points cost for Acela trains and the fact that Amtrak, unfortunately, is almost never the fastest or cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B, we reach a value of 2.6 cents each.

All AGR members also receive a 25% points bonus on business class travel and a 50% point bonus on Acela first class travel. This bonus does not apply to TQPs.


Select = $383

Select status can be achieved by earning at least 5,000 TQPs in a calendar year, which means spending $2,500+ with Amtrak.

25% Point Bonus = $33

Valuing AGR points at 2.6 cents each, you will earn a bonus of 1,250 points, worth $33, during your travels.

Priority Phone Number = $20

While not a huge perk, you do get priority call handling for all of your (re)booking needs when you call into customer service.

This can also save you a little bit of time if you’re trying to apply a one-class upgrade or companion coupon to your booking (neither of which can be accomplished online).

Lounge Access with Two Single-Visit Passes = $50

You get two single-visit passes to ClubAcela, which is essentially a scaled-down airline lounge. There are three ClubAcela locations, all located in the Northeast Corridor:

  • Boston
  • New York
  • Washington, DC

Amtrak lounges tend to be much smaller than airline lounges and their snack offerings also tend to be pretty limited, along the lines of bagged chips and pretzels. There is no alcohol available.

On the bright side, soda is self-serve from a dispenser machine, and the views from some of the lounges (e.g., Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia) can be quite nice.

Since it costs about $125 in AGR points to purchase five single-visit lounge passes, we assign a liberal valuation to the two passes of $25 each.

One-Class Upgrades with Two Single-Use Coupons = $200

A one-class upgrade lets you upgrade from coach to business class or from business to first class (which is only possible on Acela Express trains) up to 12 hours prior to departure on a space-available basis per segment.

These upgrades cannot be used to upgrade to sleeper car accommodations and are much more valuable when upgrading from business to first class on Acela Express than from coach to business class on other trains.

Assuming the coupons are applied to Acela upgrades, each coupon is worth about $100 each, factoring in the 12-hour window and the possibility that first class may be sold out.

Transfer Up to 50,000 AGR Points Per Year to Partners = $80

This benefit lets you transfer up to 50,000 points to various hotel and car rental programs. The point conversion ratios are generally fair but not lucrative. Non-elite Amtrak members can only transfer points into (and not out of) Amtrak.

Since this benefit has limited value to most people and significant value to a few people, the conservative value of this benefit is $80.

Select Plus = $1,660

Select Plus status can be achieved by earning at least 10,000 TQPs in a calendar year, which means spending $5,000+ with Amtrak.

50% Point Bonus = $130

Valuing AGR points at 2.6 cents each, you will earn a bonus of 5,000 points, worth $33, during your travels.

Priority Phone Number = $30

This is the same as the Select benefit. Since you are traveling more with Amtrak, you may get a marginal increased use out of this benefit.

Unlimited Lounge Access Plus United Club Access = $550

You get unlimited access to ClubAcela, Metropolitan Lounges, and First Class Lounges, all of which are essentially scaled-down versions of airline lounges. Lounges are located in a few major cities:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Portland, OR
  • Washington, DC

You also get United Club access provided you have a same-day boarding pass from United Airlines, any Star Alliance partner, or other contracted partner. A United Club membership retails for $550 a year, although you can get it for less less with the United Club credit card.

With the exception of the Alaska Airlines Board Room in Anchorage (ANC), you have the same access to the United Club and affiliated lounges as other United Club members.

We put a $550 value on this benefit. It’s difficult to nail down a precise figure, since Amtrak doesn’t offer paid lounge membership … although it does cost about $125 in AGR points to purchase five single-visit lounge passes.

Overall, even if Amtrak lounges are far from extraordinary, the United Club access does make them valuable if you do any flying at/through any major U.S. airports.

One-Class Upgrades with Four Single-Use Coupons = $400

You get twice the number of coupons as the Select tier, but otherwise this is the same benefit.

Bring a Companion with Two Companion Coupons = $600

A companion coupon lets one person of your choice travel with you on one round-trip train ride or two one-way trips.

The companion coupon is good for coach fare only, or for business class on Acela. You will have to pay for the applicable difference in fare for any upgrades from coach. You have to call Amtrak to apply a companion coupon to your fare/reservation.

This can be a very valuable benefit, provided you are planning on bringing someone along on a long (expensive) rail trip. We conservatively value the companion coupon at $300 each.

Transfer Up to 50,000 AGR Points Per Year to Partners = $80

This is identical to the Select benefit.

Select Executive = $2,719

Select Executive status can be achieved by earning at least 20,000 TQPs in a calendar year, which means spending $10,000+ with Amtrak.

100% Point Bonus = $520

Valuing AGR points at 2.6 cents each, you will earn a bonus of 20,000 points, worth $520, during your travels.

Priority Phone Number = $40

This is the same as the Select benefit. Since you are traveling more with Amtrak, you may get a marginal increased use out of this benefit.

Unlimited Lounge Access Plus United Club Access = $550

This is the same as the Select Plus benefit.

One-Class Upgrades with Four Single-Use Coupons + One Additional Coupon Per Each 3,000 TQPs = $900

Select Executive members get the same benefit as Select Plus except that they also receive an additional one-class upgrade coupon for every 3,000 TQPs, or $1,500 in Amtrak spending, that they earn.

If you start the year with Select Executive status and renew that status during the year, you will accumulate at least nine one-class upgrade coupons. Valuing them at $100 each, that works out to a $900 value.

Bring a Companion with Two Companion Coupons = $900

This is the same as the Select Plus Benefit.

Transfer Unlimited AGR Points Per Year to Partners = $104

This is the same as the Select and Select Plus benefit, except that you are not capped at 50,000 transfer-out points or capped on the number of points you can buy or share … 30,000 and 100,000, respectively, for both Select and Select Plus.

While it is a bit difficult to imagine why you would need to transfer out more than 50,000 points, share more than 100,000 points, or buy more than 15,000 points in a single year, this benefit does let you do all of those things if you want to drown yourself in points or play Santa.

We value this benefit as 30% more valuable than the limited Select and Select Plus version for a total value of $104. If you already have more Amtrak points than you could ever possibly redeem for rail fare in your lifetime, this benefit will be more valuable to you.

Automatic Registration for Promotions = $5

As a Select Executive, you are saved from the minimal aggregation of having to manually click a couple of times to register for Amtrak promotions.

How much are your Amtrak Guest Rewards points worth?

Find out with our Points Value Calculator.