As you already know, I am a big fan of trains, so today’s post will talk about trains that travel between Canada and the United States. Amtrak is an American national rail company, which is essentially the VIA Rail of the United States. This railway system serves more than 500 destinations spanning across 46 U.S. States and 3 Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
Amtrak has a rewards program called the Amtrak Guest Rewards, which Canadians can also apply for. So be sure to sign up if you use their services, which includes:
- Montréal Central Station to: Albany and New York
- Toronto Union Station to: Aldershot, Niagara Falls, Buffalo and New York
- Vancouver to: Seattle, Eugene and Los Angeles
If you are travelling to any of these destinations, you can also make your reservation directly with VIA Rail instead of with Amtrak. Unfortunately, you cannot earn VIA Preference points when travelling with Amtrak, so you are better off earning Amtrak points instead.
Amtrak Guest Rewards points expire 36 months after your last paid Amtrak trip, so that’s plenty of time to keep your account active. Unfortunately, a reward redemption does not constitute paid travel, so you will need to pay to keep the account active. If you are a regular passenger, then this will not be a problem and 36 months is actually pretty generous for the regulars.
Dan from Points with a Crew wrote a great piece about upcoming changes to the Amtrak Guest Rewards program that come into affect on January 24, 2016.