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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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#21 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 12:25 PM

Unlike others on the forum I'm not mad at Amtrak or AGR folks.


I don't recall a lot of anger toward Amtrak so much as general cynicism toward the perpetual dilution of loyalty programs and disappointment with AGR's choice of partnering with BOA.
 
 

Would NEVER SPEND the "real cash" for an Amtrak LD trip in a bedroom. The cost-benefit ratio is just WAY out of whack.


I'm actually kind of amazed how little we talk about how much Amtrak charges for long distance bedroom trips. I wonder if bedroom travelers realize they could fly first class for similar money or even less.

 

Will it matter to Amtrak? Not one iota.


That will likely depend on how much revenue rises versus how much passenger numbers decrease.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 06 January 2016 - 12:27 PM.

If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#22 benale

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 06:53 PM

With the 100 point minimum gone I'll be riding less. By doing many point runs over the years I've accumulated a lot of points, especially during Double Days. and I have taken many cross country trips in roomettes. What used to be 250 points(with select)will now be 24. I understand Amtrak's reason for the new system, but as they say..It's been a great ride!

 

I will probably take shorter trips in Coach,but the days of long extended sleeper trips are probably a thing of the past for me. It may take several years instead of one year to accumulate enough points for a sleeper. 



#23 Bex

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 07:16 PM

The phrasing isn't really correct for me, as I've never tried for status or chased it. I either get it or I don't get it. Last year I got it and this year my regular trips will probably get me there as well. It will be interesting to see if the BoA card's TQP's will get me to an additional tier.



#24 jis

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 12:37 PM

Well, I just finished booking all the trips for the AU, OTOL and NARP gatherings for the year, and it looks like I will hit at least Select afterall. Select Plus appears still to be a bridge too far.



#25 blondninja

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 05:51 PM

I'm select executive and will try for it again. I don't like to fly and travel a lot for work and they seem to be okay with me on the train in a sleeper.

#26 Barciur

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 09:36 PM

I only made select once. My trips are $28 RT, so it used to be 200. Now it will be 56. Definitely no way of doing that. And I have 30k points, once I redeem my one trip I'll probably never accumulate enough for another one because virtually 99% of my trips are LNC-PHL with the $28 RT.



#27 Anderson

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 02:24 AM

In conjunction with the OTP collapse on various LD trains at inconvenient times (October 2014 for the Cap, for example) my use of the east-west trains has basically disintegrated.  I'm now to the point that I use Amtrak on an almost exclusive north-south basis and Virgin America (or VIA Rail) on an East-West basis.  I'd love to take Amtrak east-west some more, but for a host of reasons (I have Gold on VX and Premiere on VIA) the other options are simply more palatable.

 

Also, the CC situation ironically undermined any need to take Amtrak to the same extent: I can now get 40% of my TQPs for SE from my cards, so I only need to spend $5-6k on Amtrak for SE now (I functionally needed to spend about $9000-9500 before...I usually scooped perhaps 1000-2000 TQPs off of the 100-point minimum), and that $6000 spend nets me 43-44k points/yr (maybe a hair more depending on how some bonuses are calculated, if Double Days still applies, etc.).  That plus the other $35k/yr spend on the CC getting me about 35-40k as well, so...I should probably be looking at somewhere in the range of 80-90k points/yr on Amtrak...

 

...and believe me, I can run up $6000 on Amtrak without too much trouble.  Without getting into the nitty gritty of it, trips to Florida (either to duck high VX airfares out of WAS/NYC or for dedicated business purposes) should cover a majority of my TQP needs, with the remainder being trips to/from Washington and one or two Starlight, Cascades, and/or Montreal trips.

I know I'm so many standard deviations off of the "normal" customer and there are some oddities in my earning patterns, but it seems that when a comprehensive overhaul of a program results in the spend needed to earn status dropping by between 1/3 and 1/2 while spend costs generally rise, something is a bit off.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#28 Anderson

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 02:40 AM

 

Unlike others on the forum I'm not mad at Amtrak or AGR folks.


I don't recall a lot of anger toward Amtrak so much as general cynicism toward the perpetual dilution of loyalty programs and disappointment with AGR's choice of partnering with BOA.
 
 

Would NEVER SPEND the "real cash" for an Amtrak LD trip in a bedroom. The cost-benefit ratio is just WAY out of whack.


I'm actually kind of amazed how little we talk about how much Amtrak charges for long distance bedroom trips. I wonder if bedroom travelers realize they could fly first class for similar money or even less.

 

Will it matter to Amtrak? Not one iota.


That will likely depend on how much revenue rises versus how much passenger numbers decrease.

 

Your point about First Class (well, domestic First) being on par with/cheaper than a sleeper ticket is fairly on point.  I've basically "split the baby" on a lot of trips where I can by taking the train to Florida, meeting with a business partner for a day or two, and then continuing west out of MCO...and breaking even, cost-wise, on what a flight from WAS/NYC would have cost me.  Being used to Amtrak's prices really saved me some sticker shock, but...then again, as I observed to someone around the time of that first trip, the prices I was used to on Amtrak for an LD sleeper ticket basically meant that I'd wandered out of the 1970s in terms of both pricing and service expectations and was looking at a lot of modern "economy" offerings as being cheap in all senses of the word.*

 

*The only time I've knowingly and willingly flown in something akin to Economy was when a friend and I took PEOPLExpress' inaugural flight PHF-BOS.  I then spent the day taking two Acelas and the Meteor home (points run 4TW!) and my friend spent most of the day asleep before retrieving me from the Richmond train station.  Bearing in mind this was a "stupidly deep discount carrier", we really did it because (1) it was an inaugural, (2) the flight was half-empty, and therefore (3) we didn't pay anything in the add-on fees and just switched seats once the sign went off.  Since it was opening day, as we sort-of hoped, service was above what I'd expect from most carriers and there was a light breakfast buffet at the airport to promote things...and I've still got a travel mug from that morning from them.  Then again, I remember taking my briefcase-with-laptop over to Amtrak and, having dressed up for the occasion, looking like I'd wandered out of the 1950s and onto the Acela.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#29 trainman74

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 07:51 PM

The only time I've knowingly and willingly flown in something akin to Economy was when a friend and I took PEOPLExpress' inaugural flight PHF-BOS.  I then spent the day taking two Acelas and the Meteor home (points run 4TW!)...


Had to check that you meant the 2010s airline using that name. Back in the days when the original PEOPLExpress was having inaugurals, there wasn't any such thing as the Acela -- or Amtrak points runs, for that matter.

#30 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 08:08 PM

 

The only time I've knowingly and willingly flown in something akin to Economy was when a friend and I took PEOPLExpress' inaugural flight PHF-BOS.  I then spent the day taking two Acelas and the Meteor home (points run 4TW!)...


Had to check that you meant the 2010s airline using that name. Back in the days when the original PEOPLExpress was having inaugurals, there wasn't any such thing as the Acela -- or Amtrak points runs, for that matter.

 

 

Thanks.  I had no idea what I was reading.  I just knew something wasn't right.


If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#31 Anderson

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 08:31 PM

 

 

The only time I've knowingly and willingly flown in something akin to Economy was when a friend and I took PEOPLExpress' inaugural flight PHF-BOS.  I then spent the day taking two Acelas and the Meteor home (points run 4TW!)...


Had to check that you meant the 2010s airline using that name. Back in the days when the original PEOPLExpress was having inaugurals, there wasn't any such thing as the Acela -- or Amtrak points runs, for that matter.

 

 

Thanks.  I had no idea what I was reading.  I just knew something wasn't right.

 

Well, when the 1980s airline existed, I didn't!  (Well, there's technically a 4-5 day overlap...I came into existence on 1/27 while they ceased to exist as a company on 2/1).


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#32 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 08:46 PM

 

 

 

The only time I've knowingly and willingly flown in something akin to Economy was when a friend and I took PEOPLExpress' inaugural flight PHF-BOS.  I then spent the day taking two Acelas and the Meteor home (points run 4TW!)...


Had to check that you meant the 2010s airline using that name. Back in the days when the original PEOPLExpress was having inaugurals, there wasn't any such thing as the Acela -- or Amtrak points runs, for that matter.

 

 

Thanks.  I had no idea what I was reading.  I just knew something wasn't right.

 

 

Well, when the 1980s airline existed, I didn't!

 

Yeah, I was quite confused there for a moment.  Just like the first time I discovered Pan Am had risen from the grave as a short line railroad.

 

Attached File  wisefromyourgwave.jpg   40.93KB   23 downloads


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 10 January 2016 - 11:50 PM.

If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#33 seat38a

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 11:24 PM

Well, I have a bunch of LD trips planned for this year, but with the Surfliner loosing its 100 point minimum, its going to be much more difficult to get Select Plus for year 3.



#34 crescent2

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 04:19 PM

The loss of 100 point minimums is n/a for me.  Not enough trains.  Not even a glimmer of hope for any kind of status under either program so I've never even looked at the details.  

 

No anger toward Amtrak for the program changes; I'm surprised at the generosity of the LD zone awards in the old program.  But naturally some of us are disappointed at the changes because they affect us negatively.  Some people gain, some lose with the new program.  It's mostly a loss for me, as I like the longer distance award trips.  I haven't checked to see if using points for NOL would be a good deal under the new program; the last time I went, coach was all of $62. 

 

I did get the new BOA card, although I didn't need another credit card.  I still have some points left after booking my zone award trips for later this year.  Undecided whether to try to gather more AGR or concentrate on using the Skymiles Amex in the future.  Used Skymiles for the rt flights to catch the Zephyr and for rt flights to Texas last fall, so the Skymiles do come in handy for me from time to time. 



#35 Anderson

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 06:14 PM

I'm going to need to revise my answer above.  I was initially planning to shoot for Select Executive this year; that's actually now slightly in question.  Basically it comes down to (at this point) where I'm likely to land in terms of spending "organically" (e.g. without any major efforts one way or another).  I'll probably spend enough on Amtrak to get near to SE regardless (I'm assuming 4 paid trips to Florida at about $800-900 each, plus DragonCon and a bunch of DC stuff).

 

I've begun "de-emphasizing" my AGR cards in my spending habits in favor of my Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America cards, and I'm giving some consideration to cutting at least one of the two later in the year (and possibly downgrading the other one as well).  I'm seriously toying with getting a Starwood Amex as well or shifting a bunch of spending back over to my Chase Sapphire (ex-AGR) card.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#36 uppereastsider

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 03:40 PM

For me, yes. I travel weekly for work and often have client meetings in DC and Boston. The TQP bonus will make it easier because my company lets us buy Acela (but not first class). Already at 2 round trips and have another one coming up on Tuesday. Was bummed about losing the min 500 TQPs for city pair, but the class bonus will make it up as I often book tickets 3-5 days before departure.



#37 Shanghai

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 10:04 AM

My travel plans will not likely change.  With daughters in San Francisco and New York,

we burn the rails from Florida to NY & CA.  I plan to attend the OTOL fests and the AU Gathering

later in the year.


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#38 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 12:37 PM

The only reason I tried for Select Plus last year (which I did not reach) was for the lounge access, especially having heard that Select would not receive the two paper lounge passes as in previous years. Well, I finally have something nice to report about the new AGR, because when my Select packet arrived in the mail, there were two lounge passes in it! :)

 

They are good til the end of next February, so I will save them for if I go to Boston or DC this year (I used to use them at PHL, but I'm familiar with the station, the main waiting room is nice, and the Redcaps are very helpful, so leaving from the main hall is a stress-free experience and I don't really need the lounge there, although it is lovely).

 

I wonder if AGR got lots of feedback about this and decided it made no sense to cut out something that costs them nothing but would lose them a lot of goodwill.



#39 Bob Dylan

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 02:02 PM

Good news Patty!😉( for those of you on the NEC and other Corridors where there are lots of Trains and BC on most so Points are easier to rack up!😕)

Edited by Bob Dylan, 25 February 2016 - 02:02 PM.

 
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#40 BCL

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 09:32 AM

Well, I didn't see anything in the mail yet, but I checked this morning and it looks like I got the soft landing from Select Plus to Select.




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