I posted Insider's reply to some questions on FT in the other thread, but thought it might be helpful and easier to find standing alone. Mods, please delete this thread if you think it's too redundant.
From AGR Insider:
"Feel free to PM me with connections you are trying to book for a travel redemption that meet our guidelines, but for some reason seem to be missing, and I'll pass them along. Just try to be reasonable about the volume of messages...
Now, to address a couple of questions that have come up:
* 23.5 hour rule - this is a longtime Amtrak tariff rule for what constitutes a valid transfer as opposed to a stopover for pricing purposes (on the revenue side of the house), and it carries over to what is allowed for AGR redemption itineraries. There are some itineraries which are automatically generated with a <=23.5 hour overnight connection, and such an itinerary would be valid on a single redemption. If an itinerary follows the guidelines and should be published, but isn't, tell an agent to escalate to supervisor, or send to me and it will be passed along to train operations for review.
* "Alternate direct routing" where the published route is a crazy train/bus combo and a better, all-sleeper train-train connection exists -- this is intended to cover sensible, direct unpublished routes. Ideally, we would like to hear about these connections and try to get them added to avoid confusion. The rule is meant to help in cases where they aren't. The PDX-KNG example (trains 11 to 4) was added to the connection table after the rule was written, funny enough. Originally, the only published route for PDX-KNG was 11-3712-712-5812-4, because it could all be done without a forced overnight on the customer's dime. 11-4 with an overnight in L.A. is much more sensible for the average person, and was a great example of a "direct" routing that simply wasn't published.
LAX-SAC-DEN on trains 14 and 6, or DEN-SAC-LAX on trains 5 and 11, are other great examples that would be allowed under this policy. 785-4785-6 or even 4-8604, the two published routes today, aren't all that appealing. (Surely you'll agree, though, that a single connection to a four-hour bus ride isn't as big of a deal as the various transfers in Central California.)
In any case, the 23.5 hour rule applies for any forced overnight.
* Circle trip rule stands as written. KCY-CBS is a published route because it's the only way to get between those two cities on Amtrak whether you're paying with cash or with points -- but going from central zone to western zone, then back to central zone, cannot be done on the same redemption. Same PNR or reservation, sure, but not the same point redemption.
It is not a one-zone redemption even though both KCY and CBS happen to be in the same zone."
If I'm interpreting correctly, this is favorable news on two ("sleepers" and "23.5 hours") of the three rules, with the "circle" rule standing as stated.