Lots of Ways to Earn Free Travel, Including on Amtrak.

Just about everyone in the travel industry has an incentive program. The trick, I think, is to focus on the ones you are most likely to use … and then rack up as many points or miles as possible.
I’ve been part of American Airlines’ Aadvantage program for years. I also accumulate miles on Hawaiian Airlines and, between the two, I would guess that at least half of my flights to and from the U.S. mainland are bought with “miles” on one or the other airline.

As you would expect, I’m also a member of Amtrak’s Guest Rewards and have already twice cashed in points from their program – which is really quite generous – for two-night trips on both the Empire Builder and the Sunset Limited … well over $1400 worth of free train travel.

I had a pleasant surprise when checking out this morning when I discovered that Hilton Hotels not only gives points to members of their Hilton Honors program, but they will also give the same number of points to Amtrak Guest Rewards. How about that … a two-fer!

Let me also add that NARP – you surely know by now that’s the National Association of Railroad Passengers – awards Amtrak Guest Rewards points for annual dues and double points for additional tax-deductible contributions. In addition, NARP members get a 10-percent discount on most Amtrak rail fares, which can end up more than paying for your NARP dues.

Amtrak also offers a credit card which earns points toward free rail travel for every purchase.

It makes no sense not to take advantage of the free flights and free train trips and free hotel nights that are out there. Just focus on the few you are most likely to use. Charge as much as possible on only one card, but – and this is critical – pay off the balance in full every month. You will be amazed at how often you find yourself traveling for free!