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Convert United/Continental Airline miles to Amtrak (1:1)

rm999 217 83 September 12, 2011 at 09:03 AM in Travel (2)
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Last Edited by rm999 December 15, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Hopefully this is a good deal for some of you, who like me have plenty of united airline miles and travel along the northeast corridor a lot. A coach amtrak one way ticket in the northeast region (anywhere between DC and Boston) is 3000 points, and is typically priced between 70-100 dollars, valuing those points at 2.3-3.3 cents each. This is considerably higher than I can usually get from my airline points, plus amtrak points are more convenient (easy refunds/changes and you can buy any ticket for 3000 points at any time, even 30 minutes before the train).

Of course the northeast corridor is served well by very cheap buses, but sometimes trains are way better - faster, more comfortable, more dependable, more consistent (especially during rush hour on fridays!), and safer. If you don't find value in taking the train this isn't for you.

Steps:
1. If you want to transfer continental points skip this step. Transfer united points to continental here [continental.com]. Make sure you use the exact same address and name when you setup the two accounts. Transfer in blocks of 5000 points
2. Call continental's onepass number at 713-952-1630 and request the transfer to amtrak. They only do transfers in blocks of 5000, and it can take up to ten days for the transfer to go through. It took me about 3 days.

The reason I'm posting in this forum is the ability to do this may not last much longer - continental points are merging with united at the end of 2011, at which point the ability to transfer to amtrak may end.
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Last Edited by InfamousDX September 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Don't forget that until Sept 30, 2011, you can get a 50% bonus on purchasing Amtrak GR points on a purchase of at least 5,000 points.
https://amtrakguestrewards.com/ex.../buypoints
-infamousdx

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#16
very interesting, thanks!
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#17
Does any body know how to find the reward points needed for travel, When I searched Amtrak website it just said I did not have enough points with out saying how many points are needed.

Better yet, if anybody has a rough idea of how many reward points are needed for travel on pacific surfliner (west coast) from Irvine to San Diego or Irvine to Santa Barbara?
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#18
Quote from cheks View Post :
Does any body know how to find the reward points needed for travel, When I searched Amtrak website it just said I did not have enough points with out saying how many points are needed.

Better yet, if anybody has a rough idea of how many reward points are needed for travel on pacific surfliner (west coast) from Irvine to San Diego or Irvine to Santa Barbara?
The last time I did this on the Pacific Surfliner, I went from Southern (LAX) to Northern (SJC) CA for 1000 AGR points one way for coach, including the Amtrak bus from SLO to SJC. I think I could have gone all the way from San Diego to SJC and still only spend 1000 points one way for coach. That was about a year ago but I don't think it has changed. Business class was also not bad at, IIRC, 1500 points one way.

If you go on the Coast Starlight (that goes all the way to Seattle), I think it's 10x or 5000 points one way from what I recall.

You can just call Amtrak Guest Rewards up and ask them how many points would be required.

p.s. Don't expect/count on WiFi to be available even though the Pacific Surfliner is supposed to have one. They never upgraded some of the trains. And, on the 2 trips I did last year, I think only the bus part had WiFi and only for 1 of the 2 instances.

edit - 1:38 p.m. - Sorry, it was 1000 AGR points one way, not 500. https://amtrakguestrewards.com/redeem
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Last edited by ElvisIsNOTAlive September 12, 2011 at 01:38 PM
#19
Quote from rm999 View Post :
They only do transfers in blocks of 5000, and it can take up to ten days for the transfer to go through. It took me about 3 days.
I've done 2 transfers last year from One Pass to AGR and, as somebody told me in some other forum, the transfer would get posted into your AGR account on the following Monday morning (and, they did for my 2 transfers which I initiated about a week before). I don't know if that means you can request the transfer on a Saturday or Sunday and expect it to post in 1 or 2 days, though, but please report back if you've done something urgently like that before.
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#20
Quote from cheks View Post :
Better yet, if anybody has a rough idea of how many reward points are needed for travel on pacific surfliner (west coast) from Irvine to San Diego or Irvine to Santa Barbara?
I did LA to SD on the surfliner a few months ago, it was 1000 points for coach. Beautiful train ride.
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#21
Quote from piercedrn View Post :
We used this trade for amtrak the last 2 years to take the very expensive autotrain from dc to sanford, fl. My family of 4 and our car traveled in a family bedroom for 60,000 guest rewards miles, and were pampered with a steak dinner and a wine tasting. The trip would have been over $2000 cash, and we all could not have flown for less than 100,000 round trip with stopovers. This is really an awesome experience and a very civilized way to get to disney.
BOB
60K roundtrip for four people and a car? That sounds great!
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#22
Good find! It would have been awesome if we could do this over web completely without calling continental's onepass number
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#23
My 4K united miles is gone. I should take care of this earlier.
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#24
Quote from cre8u View Post :
Good find! It would have been awesome if we could do this over web completely without calling continental's onepass number
You can. Just go to Amtrak and log in. You can do it through Amtrak Rewards.
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#25
I logged in my Amtrak Rewards program and found the link where it says Buy/Transfer Points or Miles. But all it does is directing me to Continental's OnePass Contact Information page. Did I miss anything here? Thanks.

Quote from veritati View Post :
You can. Just go to Amtrak and log in. You can do it through Amtrak Rewards.
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#26
anyone want to donate..possibly sell some UA/CO miles? Smilie
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#27
Does anyone know if the Amtrak rewards are valid on the Adirondack route?
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#28
Quote from cre8u View Post :
Good find! It would have been awesome if we could do this over web completely without calling continental's onepass number
I wish too...
the wait time on the phone is ~30 mins
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#29
Is this offer valid till December?! Waiting for a huge transatlantic flight to clear, maybe get 20000 miles which would be GREAT for Amtrak usage (since there is a nice one via milwaukee to chicago)
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#30
Quote from cheks View Post :
Does any body know how to find the reward points needed for travel, When I searched Amtrak website it just said I did not have enough points with out saying how many points are needed.
There is a chart with all of the redemption values [amtrakguestrewards.com] on the Guest Rewards website. Certain special routes (like the surfliner, as someone already noted) are 1,000 points each way. The Northeast Corridor is a second type of special route (3k points and up each way, depending on class/Acela), with the rest of Amtrak's redemptions are charged on a zone basis - the continental US is divided into 3 zones - western, central and eastern - with the cost in points determined by how many zones you travel through, along with the class of travel (coach, bedroom, etc).

Quote from damitssam View Post :
Is this offer valid till December?! Waiting for a huge transatlantic flight to clear, maybe get 20000 miles which would be GREAT for Amtrak usage (since there is a nice one via milwaukee to chicago)
There is no expiration per se, but the Continental frequent flyer program is being eliminated at the end of the year, with points/status being rolled into United Mileage Plus. United's program does not allow direct transfers to Amtrak, and this is believed not to change after absorbing the reminants of the Continental program. If points from the flight post before 12/31, you should be able to pull this off, but no guarantees after that.
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