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rile42

Ridiculous increase

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I may have to change a trip I'm taking from Washington DC to Cleveland in a roomette. At first, I was leaving DC on Dec. 31st. The cost was $182.50 with a points redemption of 6659 points. I did the math and found it was approximately 36.5 points per dollar which seems like the usual ratio when I check my constant travels on Amtrak. The cost of the trip when I may have to switch to leaving DC on Jan. 2nd is $227.50, an increase of $45 which is reasonable as I know how it increases based on the number of people traveling. However, the amount of the point redemption is 16,422 which is a ratio of 72.2 points per dollar, twice the ratio of every trip I've taken since the new AGR settings started almost two years ago. It seems absolutely ridiculous. I called AGR and asked why it was like that. The rep said something must be wrong after she compared other fares. Then she checked more and just said it was correct and she suggested I pay instead of redeem. Has anyone noticed such an idiotic point increase which is not similar to the fare increase?

 

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This!😣

Edited by Bob Dylan

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Certain peak days will cost more points. Jan 2 was probably a blackout date in the old AGR days.

It actually is a perk of the new system that you can now book these dates if you can pay up the premium in points versus the old system where these dates where just blacked out.

 

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Certain peak days will cost more points. Jan 2 was probably a blackout date in the old AGR days.

 

It was. IIRC. Blackouts were from Dec 23rd and the 24th, Dec 26th-31st, Jan 1st usually through the 3rd IIRC. I remember how little you could use AGR rewards around the holidays. It was basically good luck. Get your credit cards ready.

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I am traveling from Kingston, RI to Richmond, VA round trip on points in the near future.The outbount trip is less points

than the return by 3000. The answer I was given is that the # of points is determined by the cost of the trip. I guess

this is a tier cost issue. Anyone care to comment. Thanks.

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What they said is correct - points convert to dollars, cost depends on the actual cost of the ticket.

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Sometimes if the day of travel is a highly desirable day near a holiday, the points per dollar is increased by a mysterious multiplier, for example 2x the normal amount. Please read the prior posts above.

Edited by RRRick

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I am traveling from Kingston, RI to Richmond, VA round trip on points in the near future.The outbount trip is less points

than the return by 3000. The answer I was given is that the # of points is determined by the cost of the trip. I guess

this is a tier cost issue. Anyone care to comment. Thanks.

 

It is a direct points to dollars cost (save the 800 point minimum one-way redemption) most of the time. As was noted, there were some periods that were traditionally blackout periods where rewards travel couldn't be booked at all. That meant no boarding a new train/bus on those dates. I remember there might have also been a special blackout date redemption cost back when there were flat-rate redemption amounts under the zone system. This is how Amtrak explains the current system:

 

https://www.amtrakguestrewards.com/info/redemptionguidelines

 

During peak travel periods, some departures are available at a higher point cost and some seats or classes of service may not be available for redemption. Members with Select PlusSM and Select Executive status may find expanded access to use their points for travel during those peak times. Members should log in to their Amtrak Guest Rewards® account before searching for available itineraries.

 

Often this will mean a considerably higher cost since it will require more points per dollar, and on top of that the retail cost is higher.

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The advantage of the blackout days was that you always knew in advance when they were and it made it easy to book around them. The old system was also based upon zones and you knew exactly how many points were required before booking. Blackout days were just not open to booking on points. The new system allows you to book on these high bucket fare days . Try using Amsnag to get an idea of prices for a 30 day period, find a mid or low bucket fare and the points required will be less. The key to getting the best fares is flexibility on travel dates. .

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