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Those who carry an Amtrak credit card now have an extra incentive to visit the cafe car on the train. Amtrak Guest Rewards has launched a new perk that will give cardholders cash back on onboard food and beverages purchases.

The rebate

Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard holders will receive a 20% rebate in the form of statement credit. Meanwhile, those who use an Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard will get a 10% rebate. The statement credit should show up in the account within seven days of the transaction posting.

The new Amtrak credit card benefit resembles some of the perks of airline credit cards. Alaska Airlines, for example, recently added a 20% rebate on in-flight food and beverage purchases for its cardholders. Several American Airlines credit cards come with a 25% discount on in-flight purchases, including food and drinks. These types of rebates help establish loyalty and keep cardholders spending with the airline, or in this case, train operator.

About the cards

Amtrak has two credit cards that can help frequent travelers earn points for free train travel. Both cards offer a 5% rebate when you redeem Amtrak Guest Rewards points for award travel. The cards also don’t have foreign transaction fees.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard is the more basic choice of the two credit card options. It has a $0 annual fee, but also limited earning power. Cardholders earn 2 points per $1 spent on eligible Amtrak purchases and 1 point per $1 on everything else. The sign-up bonus is small too. You earn 12,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of the account opening.

The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard has significantly more benefits, along with an annual fee of $79. Cardholders earn 3 points per $1 on Amtrak purchases, 2 points per $1 on other qualifying travel and 1 point per $1 on all other spending. The card also comes with a Companion Coupon and a free one-class upgrade when you open an account and every year you renew the card. When you sign up for this card, you'll receive a free station lounge pass as well. Plus, there’s potential to earn bonus Tier Qualifying Points to get to elite status even faster.

For a limited time, you can also score a bigger sign-up bonus on the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard. Amtrak boosted the sign-up bonus from 20,000 points to 40,000 points when you spend $2,500 within the first 90 days of the account opening. The offer ends Sept. 27, 2019.

The bottom line

With the new rebate on onboard food and beverage purchases, Amtrak’s credit cards are now offering similar benefits to some of the top airline credit cards. Their loyalty program offers plenty of low-cost redemption options and discounts for the family. The rebate gives cardholders have another reason to keep spending with Amtrak.