A few days ago, I posted about the 40k Amtrak bonus on the Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard. I already had plans in my head on how to spend those 40k Amtrak points. (You can read about our previous trip on the California Zephyr here). I checked the reddit thread on this card and saw that some folks at 9/24, 10/24 and 24/24 were getting instantly approved for this card. I hoped that either my husband or I would be instantly approved without having to call the BOA reconsideration line.
So, did we get the card? Here are our results.
Two Applications, No Dice
My husband applied for the card first. I thought he was a shoo-in to get this card because he’s currently at 5/24 (not under 5/24, so he can’t apply for a Chase card just yet). He has only opened one new credit card this year. However, BOA did not give him the instant online approval we were hoping for.
So, I decided to apply myself. My last new credit card was in January, and I’m at 8/24, not counting a few business cards.
My application got the same result, no instant approval with promise of a letter in the mail. I should mention that our credit scores are over 800.
Calling BOA Reconsideration Line
It was time to call the BOA reconsideration line and plead our cases. I didn’t want to wait until we got official rejection letters in the mail because I’m not sure how long the Amtrak 40k offer will last.
My husband called first. The number that worked for us is 1-800-354-0401, but BOA changes this number frequently.
The rep told him he was declined for the card because of too many recent inquiries. My husband was actually concerned that someone had stolen his social security number and was trying to open new accounts since he knew he didn’t have many recent inquiries.
I decided to pull our credit reports to make sure that wasn’t happening. To our relief, it wasn’t. He only had 2 inquiries in 2019, and a total of 8 over the past 24 months. I guess that’s too many.
Next, it was my turn to call reconsideration. The rep said my reason for being declined was too many recent accounts. I pushed back and asked her to review my case again, since I had only opened up one account this year in January.
She put me on hold for a few minutes. I got my hopes up. However, she got back on the line and said the decision was the same.
The agent did say that she sees I have one BOA card (the Merrill card that is now discontinued) that I haven’t used in over a year, and that maybe if I put some spending on that my outcome would change. Good to know.
What Are the Rules?
The frustrating thing for us miles and points hobbyists is that some banks don’t publish their rules for being approved. On the reddit thread, some folks at 10+/24 were approved for this card while others at 4/24 were denied. There almost seems to be no rhyme or reason to approvals or denials.
The bottom line is that credit card companies are looking to make money. And despite (or maybe because of) our high credit scores and the fact that we pay off our balances every month, my husband and I are not attractive to banks right now.
Is My Amtrak Dream Dead?
I’m disappointed that I don’t have 40k Amtrak Guest Rewards points coming my way for a “free” cross-country train ride in a sleeping cabin. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make that trip a reality. I have other options.
First, I have the Capital One Venture Rewards card. I can simply book a train trip on Amtrak and use the Capital One points to erase the travel expense. I usually save these points for non-chain hotels and other miscellaneous travel expenses though.
My husband and I also have Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Ink Plus and the Chase Sapphire Reserve cards. According to this post on Milenomics, we could transfer UR to Jet Blue and then transfer to Amtrak via points.com. This is an interesting option that I didn’t know existed until just recently. Amtrak also has a few other transfer partners (see full list here).
So no, my Amtrak dream isn’t dead. I just need to figure out how it fits into our trip priorities for next year and if I’d rather spend my miles, points or cash on other things. As usual, my head is full of trip ideas that we can’t possibly fit into our packed schedule.
Did you apply for this Amtrak 40k offer? Any luck?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.