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Using Points During Peak Times


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#1 Andy

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 07:04 AM

Of course the only time I can travel by train to see family is around Christmas time. But Amtrak won't let me use points for sleeping accommodations. They say some peak times are blocked out. Frustrating. Is there an actual list of dates that are blocked out?

#2 the_traveler

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:07 AM

There are no more blackout dates for using points! However, on some dates additional points are required.

I suggest to try again. You can also book with points online. (Just toggle between "cash" and "points" at the top.)
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#3 texline

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:13 AM

I couldn't use points on Thanksgiving. Was told it was blacked out. Hmm

#4 Andy

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:15 AM

For sleepers there are. Try ATL to NYP around 12/22.

#5 FrensicPic

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:17 AM

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Are there blackout dates?
As of January 24, 2016, departure dates and times that were previously unavailable to the majority of members are now redeemable. Blackout dates may still apply to some offers and promotions, including One-Class Upgrade coupons and free companion fare coupons.
 

https://www.amtrakgu...w/blackoutdates


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#6 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:18 AM

Why is "No Price" Shown?

 

"No Price" is displayed in place of Premium fares

Sleeping accommodations and seat upgrades to Business class or First class are considered Premium services.

For trips with more than one connecting segment, you can reserve sleeping accommodations or upgraded seats for one or more segments of your trip in combination with Coach seats (Business seats on Acela Express) in another segment, but at least one segment must include an upgraded seat or room selection in order to receive the Premium fare. Coach-only (Business-only on Acela Express) seating cannot be selected or priced as a Premium service.

If you do not want to upgrade any segment, simply select a seats-only trip from any of the other available fare types.

Passengers with disabilities and any additional passengers traveling together must reserve the same level of seating or accommodations for each segment of their trip. Upgraded seating or accommodations may be selected for any or all segments of the trip.

"No Price" is displayed for Redemption Booking

During peak travel periods when demand is high and capacity is limited, some departures are available at a higher point cost and some seats or classes of service may not be available for redemption. Amtrak Guest Rewards members with Select Plus(SM) and Select Executive status may find expanded access to use their points for travel during those peak times. For best results, we recommend members log in to their Amtrak Guest Rewards account before searching for available itineraries.

 

 



#7 Andy

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:20 AM

Yes I read that. But is that dynamic based on current demand or capacity available? Or is there a set list of peak times.

#8 PVD

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:21 AM

Are there blackout dates?
As of January 24, 2016, departure dates and times that were previously unavailable to the majority of members are now redeemable. Blackout dates may still apply to some offers and promotions, including One-Class Upgrade coupons and free companion fare coupons.

 

Blackout by demand and not date might be a possibility.

 

Is it possible they are sold out? That could appear as not available.

 

Worth a phone call to the AGR number for clarification.....


Edited by PVD, 03 September 2017 - 09:24 AM.


#9 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:23 AM

Looks like based on availability.  I just checked for 12/23 and roomettes have points, but bedrooms do not.  Looking at them with dollars, you can see how many are "available" at this price" and see that 12/22 has less rooms available than 12/23.



#10 Chatter163

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:26 PM

When I made reservations for my Thanksgiving trip, I was told that I got the last roomette available through AGR. So it seems that while there are no more blackout dates, there are a limited number of slots available through AGR.


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#11 me_little_me

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 05:27 PM

One of the "features" of AGR 2.0 was supposed to be removal of blackouts. They lied. They never officially came out and said they were changing the promised new features. They just never said anything. I live with it. When enough things happen to irritate me more than Sleazy Airlines does or I can no longer travel on Amtrak, it won't matter. Meanwhile, as my wife says "Life is what happens when you are making other plans".



#12 Ryan

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 06:51 PM

They lied.


No they didn’t. People assumed that it meant something that they didn’t.

They didn’t say that there was unlimited capacity.

They didn’t say that there would be varying redemption rates.

They said that there wouldn’t be any blackout dates, and there aren’t. You can get a ticket using points for any day of the year, providing you book soon enough.
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#13 me_little_me

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:59 PM

 

They lied.


No they didn’t. People assumed that it meant something that they didn’t.

They didn’t say that there was unlimited capacity.

They didn’t say that there would be varying redemption rates.

They said that there wouldn’t be any blackout dates, and there aren’t. You can get a ticket using points for any day of the year, providing you book soon enough.

 

OK, so they failed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They were comparing AGR_1 to AGR_2 differences and they didn't say the differences were not really what they said they were. So we can each call it what we think it was.



#14 Ryan

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:06 PM

Sure. But one of us will be right.
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#15 PVD

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 11:33 PM

"Truth is not determined by a majority vote" 



#16 Acela150

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 01:52 AM

Let's remember that during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are very very heavy travel periods for Amtrak. Especially Thanksgiving as they add extra trains. Why should Amtrak allow an unlimited amount of AGR bookings when they know they can rake in some serious cash? They shouldn't. That would be really crappy for their FY income. I would imagine a good amount of the FY income comes during said months. 


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#17 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 02:09 AM

Sure. But one of us will be right.


Amtrak may or may not have met the bar of over lying per se, but from my perspective they did a commendable job of willfully overselling AGR2's benefits while casually glossing over its flaws and restrictions.

 

Let's remember that during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are very very heavy travel periods for Amtrak. Especially Thanksgiving as they add extra trains. Why should Amtrak allow an unlimited amount of AGR bookings when they know they can rake in some serious cash? They shouldn't. That would be really crappy for their FY income. I would imagine a good amount of the FY income comes during said months.


The point isn't whether Amtrak should or should not make all bookings available for purchase with AGR monkey points. The point is that they should have clearly and concisely explained how the new program was going to work so that members would be able to anticipate what to expect and estimate costs accurately.


I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#18 Ryan

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 06:30 AM

Sure. But one of us will be right.


Amtrak may or may not have met the bar of over lying per se, but from my perspective they did a commendable job of willfully overselling AGR2's benefits while casually glossing over its flaws and restrictions.

I have no disagreement there.

That makes them functionally equivalent to just about every other program out there, and at least this change was announced in advance, allowing people sufficient time to book under the old rules before the deal was altered. Even without Amtrak’s disclosure, I would posit that anyone that expected blackout days to go away without some form of capacity control to replace it was being unrealistically optimistic. Of course, that’s pretty easy to say in hindsight since we know the outcome.
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#19 PVD

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 07:16 AM

I think that one thing that most of us can agree on is that clear concise communication is an area that Amtrak could use improvement. They don't a;ways do a good job of conveying information in the simplest and easiest to use fashion. Example: The Illinois and Michigan Thanksgiving schedules are up as a separate link on the website. The NEC is not. But the NEC holiday schedule is already in Arrow, with the extras showing on the appropriate days......



#20 me_little_me

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 08:31 PM

Let's remember that during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are very very heavy travel periods for Amtrak. Especially Thanksgiving as they add extra trains. Why should Amtrak allow an unlimited amount of AGR bookings when they know they can rake in some serious cash? They shouldn't. That would be really crappy for their FY income. I would imagine a good amount of the FY income comes during said months. 

I never suggested that they shouldn't have restrictions. However, if you remember their "promises", there was nothing about those restrictions. Only "no more blackouts". IMHO, it was a deliberate misinformation (premeditated lie) but then others disagree.






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