Want to know how to get FREE travel to NYC on Amtrak? Well, it’s easy and I’m going to tell you how.
I’m taking a trip next week and I need to get to Newark, NJ. Looking at all my flight options I recently found a flight from EWR (Newark) to Barcelona for $179 on Norwegian Airlines. Weighing my options with using points or just paying cash – with such a low price I felt it was better to use points when ticket prices are much higher. With that ticket, however, I would have to get to the NYC area. Luckily I live close to BWI Airport and there is an easy Amtrak route from BWI to EWR.
I rarely use AMTRAK but I had accumulated some points with the Amtrak shopping portal (Amtrak Guest Rewards) and a couple of trips to NYC over the years. With Amtrak you can earn points toward free train travel by shopping at popular online retailers.
I actually had my miles recently deleted and after a very, very polite begging call, they were transferred back to my account. I had been thinking of taking my daughter for an overnight to see a show in NYC but decided to use them for this trip to EWR instead. I didn’t quite have enough for a free ticket because I hesitated and the prices went up. I only needed a couple hundred points.
When using portals my strategy is to shop/try-on in store but buy online. I needed a jacket and my sister a comforter – so I offered to order it and she would repay me. Amtrak was offering 5 points per dollar for Macy’s.com so I logged into my Amtrak Guest Rewards Account which took me to Macy’s.com. I then placed my order for in-store pick-up and instead of spending time walking around a large department store I shopped from the comfort of a sofa. We then drove to the store, walked 5 feet in the door to customer service where my order was waiting for pick-up. Done!! That was an easy 750 Amtrak points added to my account! Oh but I learned something important that day – in can take weeks for the points to show up in your account!
I was still short some points but I had to book quickly as seats were getting scarce. I had actually received an email from Amtrak offering to do surveys in exchange for Amtrak Points. They offered 250 points for the first completed survey which would give me more than I needed to get a free ticket on Amtrak. Every survey varies in completion time and points, that first one took me about 10 minutes – the time it takes to wait in some store lines! I was very happy and surprised to see that the points showed up in my Amtrak account by the end of the day!
SO – if you are just trying to accumulate free Amtrak travel I would say shopping portals would give you the most value for your time. However, if you find yourself with time to kill and nothing you need to buy – try taking some surveys for points. Some might argue that it’s “not free” if you are spending your time but I didn’t have to spend any money so that’s always a good day!