Your guide to all the Amtrak routes in the U.S.
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All aboard! For the entire month of September at The Points Guy, we’ll be exploring the world of train travel with reviews, features, deals and tips for maximizing your trip by rail.
When it comes to getting from point A to point B, most travelers choose to either drive or fly.
It’s easy to overlook train travel as a viable option in the U.S. because, in today’s hectic world, most people opt for efficiency above all else. But there’s something to be said about the benefits of traveling by train: being able to fully enjoy the scenery along the way; not having to stop for food or for bathroom breaks; and never needing to worry about those dreaded TSA lines, to name a few.
And though train travel is hardly as popular in the U.S. as it is abroad, in say Europe or Japan, you may be closer to a train than you think.
Established in 1970 by the Congressional Rail Passenger Service Act, Amtrak consolidated the existing passenger railroads in the US into one. At the time, they operated 21 routes across 43 states. Since then, they’ve grown to serve 33 routes (two of which made our list of the most scenic train routes on earth) across 46 different states and a handful of cities in Canada, too.
It’s a more than 21,000 mile system that runs every which way, from north to south, east to west and to lots of destinations in between. The network is split into six regions: California, Midwest, South, Northeast, Northwest and West. And it connects over 500 destinations, including big cities like Boston, Chicago, Las Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and more.
On a train trip, the journey is actually part of the adventure. So, to help you get more acquainted with train travel, we’ve put together a guide to Amtrak’s extensive network, along with tips for earning and using rewards for Amtrak travel.
Carolinian / Piedmont
City of New Orleans
Ethan Allen Express
Lake Shore Limited
Missouri River Runner
Silver Service / Palmetto
Earning and using rewards for Amtrak travel
If you’re planning an Amtrak trip, be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points for train ticket purchases. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card both earn 2x points/miles on train trips, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Premier℠ Card both earn 3x points on travel.
For travelers who put in serious miles on U.S. trains, consider one of the best credit cards for train tickets: the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard. It offers 3x points for Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases, and 2x points on all other travel purchases.
When it comes to redeeming rewards, you can do so either via the Amtrak Guest Rewards program or with a fixed-value points program like Capital One Venture miles.
Featured image by Ken Wolter / Shutterstock
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