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Will you try for AGR status in 2016?


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Poll: AGR plans for 2016

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Will you try for AGR status in 2016?

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What is the highest AGR status you have achieved for this year, or past years?

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Have the changes to AGR changed your travel plans for 2016?

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#1 CHamilton

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:06 PM

I keep seeing comments saying that folks aren't going to try for AGR status this year. Granted, this crowd may not be "normal" customers (except for Everydaymatters :) ), but I am really wondering whether the AGR changes will have a noticeable effect on ridership and revenue. What do you think?


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#2 Ryan

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:25 PM

Never had it, likely never will, unless I get rich somehow. All of my travel is either cheap/short distance or on points from the card.
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#3 FrensicPic

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:27 PM

I keep seeing comments saying that folks aren't going to try for AGR status this year. Granted, this crowd may not be "normal" customers (except for Everydaymatters :) ), but I am really wondering whether the AGR changes will have a noticeable effect on ridership and revenue. What do you think?

I've never achieved more than a couple hundred TQP points. I did "earn" 1000 TQP via the new AGR credit card but those and the others are gone with the new year. It is very unlikely I'll ever reach 5000 TQP. I'll just keep earning points via the credit card and AGR shopping portal. Very few points actually paying for an Amtrak ticket.


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#4 jebr

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:28 PM

Honestly, the biggest change for me will be that I don't split ticket my Empire Builder trips any more. It probably won't make a huge difference on my ridership (I never really tried to obtain status anyways) but depending on how Amtrak counted those split tickets it may look as two rides per round trip instead of four.

 

As for the overall impact? Honestly, probably pretty small, I'd guess probably in the neighborhood of 10,000 trips or so (though that's just a gut guess without any numbers backing it up.) Some people will probably still ride just to ride on shorter segments despite not getting the 100 point minimum on it, and some people may simply change from multiple short trips to one longer trip in order to get their "train time." Some people may choose a different mode of transportation based on it, but I'm guessing that number is going to be fairly small. Most of it will either be ridership lost on points runs that Amtrak probably isn't too concerned about (they were, by their nature, low-revenue trips) or simply "accounting tricks" people used to get more points on trips they were already taking (stopovers that were mainly to get more points, split ticketing to get different train numbers, etc.)



#5 Railroad Bill

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:41 PM

We only achieved Select status once in the early years of riding before we accumulated a lot of points using CCs and shopping.  Does not really become a factor for those of us living in the hinter lands and taking 5-6 trips per year.

I suspect with the new point system that we will cut our trips back to 3-4 trips per year since we  usually like to ride in bedrooms and those are going to cost a lot more in points for any long distance rides

No more Toledo Shuffles, so will not miss that,, and trips to WAS or CHI from CLE will actually cost less in points so perhaps more short rides to the BIG CITIES for events and shopping, museums, etc. and not so many trips out west.


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#6 maxryan

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:51 PM

As a family we usually make one long distance trip a year. I don't expect this to change. We usually use a combination of points/purchase for trips based on which family member has earned the most points and can contribute the most to a lower overall cost. We have to get very creative sometimes - and end up on the phone for hours working it all out - but it is worth it in the end. We will make the trips no matter the AGR system... we just like riding trains!



#7 Blackwolf

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:59 PM

With my move out of Sacramento and up near Chico, I've suddenly found that my options for Amtrak are substantially limited.  I've done the thruway bus link from CIC to SAC and to points onward, but found its really only useful for multi-day itineraries. For example, if you take the first bus of the day (7:50am) to start a trip to, say, San Francisco and would like to return back to CIC that same day, you're pretty much pooched.  By the time you got to SF, you have already missed your last return bus option.  Of course, you could take the Starlight both ways, but you WILL be dealing with late trains (CIC is almost never served on-time by either #11 or #14) and even if the trains were on-time they're still running in the middle of the night.  My last trip had me traveling to SF with the bus in the morning and #14 that evening.  The trip down was fine, if punctuated by two buses sandwiching a train.  The trip back was painful, with a 4+ hour late train that had me arriving back in CIC almost at daylight the following day.  Add in that the City of Chico, who owns the station, sees fit to not offer any parking that is more than a single day in length without getting your car impounded and you have a serious issue for reasonable use.

 

The parking issue is incredibly annoying, and there is nothing one can do about it.  Chico's now unused and abandoned passenger air terminal at the airport has plenty of now useless long-term parking spaces.  But the very much in-use inter-city passenger rail station is not given even a single long-term parking space.  Because, you know, only unshowered vagrants and car-less university students use the train. :rolleyes:

 

But, I digress.  Driving all the way to SAC (2 hours) in order to catch a train that is actually reasonably timed is not palatable unless one is making a cross-country LD trek trip.  So, sadly, I am looking at riding the train hardly, if ever, in 2016.  Add in the change in AGR redemptions and...  You get the idea.  :(


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#8 Ryan

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 11:00 PM

No more Toledo Shuffles, so will not miss that,, and trips to WAS or CHI from CLE will actually cost less in points so perhaps more short rides to the BIG CITIES for events and shopping, museums, etc. and not so many trips out west.


That raises a valid point - we've been talking about taking a weekend trip to Chicago for a long time, but I ain't got the dough to make it happen, and I'm not burning a two zone award on WAS-CHI. With AGR 2.0, that trip becomes more reasonable, and there's a decent chance that we'll jump on it some time this year.
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#9 FrensicPic

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 11:11 PM

 

I keep seeing comments saying that folks aren't going to try for AGR status this year. Granted, this crowd may not be "normal" customers (except for Everydaymatters :) ), but I am really wondering whether the AGR changes will have a noticeable effect on ridership and revenue. What do you think?

I've never achieved more than a couple hundred TQP points. I did "earn" 1000 TQP via the new AGR credit card but those and the others are gone with the new year. It is very unlikely I'll ever reach 5000 TQP. I'll just keep earning points via the credit card and AGR shopping portal. Very few points actually paying for an Amtrak ticket.

 

Let me add...the 1,000 point bonus from BofA AGR credit card spending is nice...the TQP part, meh!


John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

 

Photos: http://www.flickr.co...rensicpic/sets/<p> 


#10 BCL

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 11:12 PM

The 100 point minimum was the only thing that got me to Select Plus.  I don't really see myself spending $2500 just to make Select again.  I'm just hoping that for this year there's still the soft landing from Select Plus to Select.  I'll probably just get multi-rides rather than trying to extract minimum points using discounts and multiple segments.

 

However, I might consider using the points I have for some shorter trips.  I could never really see finding the time to go on these grand trips to maximize points.  Now I might just burn the points on stuff that I would do anyways.  At this point it's more like a gas rebate.


Edited by BCL, 05 January 2016 - 11:13 PM.


#11 Bob Dylan

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 11:58 PM

Sticking to my original post when the New and Unimproved AGR2.0 was announced, I will only make one LD Trip a year on Amtrak with AGR Points( already booked my AGR RT for October from Austin to Denver for the Gathering) with other trips involving driving, flying or Mega Bus!( much cheaper for short to mid-range travel).

I will spend the LD travel money I used to spend on Amtrak for a Winter trip on the Canadian which is still the best LD Train in North America!

My AGR points will come from using the BOA Credit Card for every day expenses and some travel expenses.( and I'll will no longer buy points when the promos are offered, they are now too expensive!)


My point runs on the Eagles to Taylor and Temple on Amtrak are History( how I made my Status), and my Annual Select or Select Plus Status is also a thing of the past.

As many have said, it was Great while it Lasted! I'll miss it!!!😢

Edited by Bob Dylan, 06 January 2016 - 12:02 AM.

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#12 Misty.

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 12:07 AM

With the minimum gone?  Let's face it, Kirkwood will probably see a lot less of me, unless I get so desperate to get out of the house that I go wander STL county anyway, and end up at the station to say "hi" out of habit... For redemptions, though?  Gathering the initial points will be more difficult, but I admit I like that cost of a Lincoln ticket will generally be points cheaper now, so my opinion is mixed there.  I've pulled off the points to redeem for roomettes twice - one, a CHI-SAC run by way of 3 to 14 and the other, a NYP-ATL run.  Certainly rare compared to the "... I have no money to pay for this ticket, so I have to use points" Lincoln runs.


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#13 Acela150

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 05:18 AM

Only reason is work.. Last two years I made select.. 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 I was select but I wasn't able to renew for 2016 cause of well, work. It's not that big of a deal for me now. 


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#14 JayPea

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 06:01 AM

I doubt I would  qualify for select for any one year if you add up the total of  all the TQP's I've ever earned.  My paid travel is for short trips, mainly Spokane-Seattle and Spokane-Portland round trips.  And I don't have near enough time off to make more than one or two of those trips a year. So, no, for me nothing changes.


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#15 rtabern

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 07:21 AM

clearly won't be traveling as much after this change. Unlike others on the forum I'm not mad at Amtrak or AGR folks. They had every right to do what they needed to do and it was a good run while it lasted. However... I conversely will do what is in the best interest of our family. That's more flying and less trains and spending my efforts to maintain the Southwest Companion Pass. We purposely rode 100 Hiawatha point runs a year since 2006 to maintain S+ status and Kandace did 50 to maintain S status. That is 150 less rides and over $1,000 plus in revenue Amtrak won't get from us per year. I know several other people who will do the same. In the grand scheme of things... it probably won't even be noticeable by Amtrak or AGR to be honest. Also once my remaining 300K points are burned through, we won't travel much LD either. I don't like coach and bedroom prices are often too high for the scaled back amenities. If I'm going to drop $2,000 for a 4 night ride in a sleeper it's going to be on the Canadian or a PV trip... not on the Cardinal and Texas Eagle.

#16 rrdude

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 08:50 AM

Pretty much in agreement with most of above posters, fewer trips for me, take longer to accumulate the req'd points for a bedroom X-country run.  

 

Would NEVER SPEND the "real cash" for an Amtrak LD trip in a bedroom. The cost-benefit ratio is just WAY out of whack on that one, save the money for Canadian or, as rtabern said a PV trip.

 

Will it matter to Amtrak? Not one iota.



#17 jis

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 09:40 AM

For me it is the 500/750 minimums on Acela that made it possible to get status. With them gone, I won't bother even trying. Whatever happens in the normal course of things will happen. I expect I will incidentally make Select and probably won't make Select Plus. Spending money to gain status-wise my primary consideration is getting Platinum on United. Amtrak Select plus has always been a secondary consideration.

 

Actually the only thing with status is the additional point one collects in bonus, what with the blackout dates gone. Other than that there is not much to be gained for me. I already have access to Club Acela using my United Club membership. Chicago and other places with Met Lounges I usually travel to only in Sleeper. Also easy to buy an entry using a short hop BC ticket. So no big deal.


Edited by jis, 06 January 2016 - 11:48 AM.


#18 PRR 60

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 10:49 AM

The credit card EQP bonus will probably get me Select status for the first time ever with little or no extra effort on my part.  Card spend plus just 1000 Amtrak-earned points will do the trick.  As jis stated, the perks of AGR status are pretty thin.  Other than minimal bragging rights, Select in my opinion is not worth all that much.



#19 R30A

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 10:57 AM

Yes! 
Nearly made it to select already with my points runs on the first few days of the year. 

That all said, once the new point system goes into place, my normal travel will change slightly- Avoiding transfers in exchange for adding BC upgrades when such is reasonable. 



#20 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 12:16 PM

After chasing Select Plus last year and just falling short, this is the year I will cash in my chips. I have some vouchers to redeem and will also use the points I've accumulated for a couple of long-distance trips. The end of the 100-point minimum means I probably will not go on as many shorter trips, but the new point redemption scheme means I might be able to take a roomette for a short distance on points (say, TRE to FBG), with dinner included, for about the same amount of points as the essentially worthless business class.

 

So, both good and bad aspects to the new AGR for me this year.






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