The US railway operator Amtrak is to offer its passengers more new options to earn and redeem points under an improved and simplified Amtrak Guest Rewards loyalty programme that will launch in January 2016. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

Improvements in the updated Amtrak Guest Rewards programme include no blackout dates or Acela time-of-day travel restrictions; bonus points for Acela and Business class travel; points that never expire with any qualifying account activity within 36 months; and a simplified redemption structure for free Amtrak travel based on ticket price instead of zones or routes-as low as 800 points per trip.

Other improvements include new redemption opportunities for multi-ride tickets and monthly passes, the ability to book, modify, and cancel reward tickets themselves via Amtrak self-service channels; and a 'cash-plus-points' option that provides more flexibility.

Amtrak Guest Rewards has also launched a helpful 'points estimator' tool, which shows customers exactly how many points they will earn for their travel or how many points they will need to redeem for an Amtrak trip.

In 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains connecting 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces.