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Points "SALE"; Does it make sense?

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Got an email saying that there is a 10% to 30% bonus on buying points this month. I decided to pass since the value that you buy at is nearly the same as the cash price for a ticket. If they want our money up front they've got to come up with a sizable discount otherwise there is little benefit in buying points. Am I missing something here?

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You've already answered your own question in your post.

 

Ever since the adoption of the New and Unimproved AGR2.0,unless you are buying enough to "top off" your points for a trip, this is a Sucker Game that most of us don't play.

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You've already answered your own question in your post.

 

Ever since the adoption of the New and Unimproved AGR2.0,unless you are buying enough to "top off" your points for a trip, this is a Sucker Game that most of us don't play.

Can't argue with that point. If they want our money in advance they've got to offer a decent deal.

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Curious to hear from the savvy veterans on here whether buying AGR points makes sense. Amtrak now has a bonus buy promotion and am debating whether to splurge. I like that I get points from my Amtrak card for purchases I would make anyway, and I pay my off card every month, but I have often wondered if one gains anything by buying points vs. paying the rail fare. And, for what it's worth, when travelling overnight I usually go sleeper and obviously those fares are much higher.

 

MODERATOR NOTE: THIS POST WAS IN A NEW THREAD ON A TOPIC ALREADY DISCUSSED. THE 2 TOPICS HAVE BEEN MERGED.

Edited by pennyk

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I think it was about a year ago when I did some math regarding buying points. As I recall (and my memory is getting shaky these days), only with the 30% bonus did it work out to 34.5 points per dollar. Presumably, when AGR 2.0 came about, the 'going rate' for using points was 34.5/dollar value, and Acela commanded 37 or 38 points/dollar. So, with the BEST of the bonus points deals, you're only 'breaking even' compared to using cash. Also, I've discovered that using points gets converted at higher-than-dollar-equivalent for the same train & accommodation. In other words, you will NOT be redeeming points at the 'saver' fare, but the 'value' fare, and possibly a higher bucket. My senior rate discount also disappears, too.

 

In effect, Amtrak has your money for what could be an extended amount of time without having to incur any expense or carriage. While the AGR 1.0 days had a better, and consistent buy points rate of 34.5/dollar, these days, unless you're getting that purchase rate, you end up paying a premium over what cash could buy. BUT...you do get a 5% point rebate when you use points. BUT...change your trip if you used points is automatically, unconditionally a 10% hit vs 0% cash penalty in many situations. As they used to say in Rome: "Caveat Emptor" (Let the buyer beware).

 

So now, if I'm going to buy points, it's strictly to 'top off' what's needed for a trip I want to book using points.

 

To all: If my math and/or memory is 'off' in the above discussion, please feel free to correct me.

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I think it was about a year ago when I did some math regarding buying points. As I recall (and my memory is getting shaky these days), only with the 30% bonus did it work out to 34.5 points per dollar. Presumably, when AGR 2.0 came about, the 'going rate' for using points was 34.5/dollar value, and Acela commanded 37 or 38 points/dollar. So, with the BEST of the bonus points deals, you're only 'breaking even' compared to using cash. Also, I've discovered that using points gets converted at higher-than-dollar-equivalent for the same train & accommodation. In other words, you will NOT be redeeming points at the 'saver' fare, but the 'value' fare, and possibly a higher bucket. My senior rate discount also disappears, too.

 

In effect, Amtrak has your money for what could be an extended amount of time without having to incur any expense or carriage. While the AGR 1.0 days had a better, and consistent buy points rate of 34.5/dollar, these days, unless you're getting that purchase rate, you end up paying a premium over what cash could buy. BUT...you do get a 5% point rebate when you use points. BUT...change your trip if you used points is automatically, unconditionally a 10% hit vs 0% cash penalty in many situations. As they used to say in Rome: "Caveat Emptor" (Let the buyer beware).

 

So now, if I'm going to buy points, it's strictly to 'top off' what's needed for a trip I want to book using points.

 

To all: If my math and/or memory is 'off' in the above discussion, please feel free to correct me.

You math is correct but since AGR 2.0 took effect, there is absolutely no need to buy points under any circumstance (unless they are greatly reduced in price). If you are buying a ticket; at the time of purchase you are given the option to pay with a variable combination of both cash and points. You have less points you just make up the difference in cash. .

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I think it was about a year ago when I did some math regarding buying points. As I recall (and my memory is getting shaky these days), only with the 30% bonus did it work out to 34.5 points per dollar. Presumably, when AGR 2.0 came about, the 'going rate' for using points was 34.5/dollar value, and Acela commanded 37 or 38 points/dollar. So, with the BEST of the bonus points deals, you're only 'breaking even' compared to using cash. Also, I've discovered that using points gets converted at higher-than-dollar-equivalent for the same train & accommodation. In other words, you will NOT be redeeming points at the 'saver' fare, but the 'value' fare, and possibly a higher bucket. My senior rate discount also disappears, too.

 

In effect, Amtrak has your money for what could be an extended amount of time without having to incur any expense or carriage. While the AGR 1.0 days had a better, and consistent buy points rate of 34.5/dollar, these days, unless you're getting that purchase rate, you end up paying a premium over what cash could buy. BUT...you do get a 5% point rebate when you use points. BUT...change your trip if you used points is automatically, unconditionally a 10% hit vs 0% cash penalty in many situations. As they used to say in Rome: "Caveat Emptor" (Let the buyer beware).

 

So now, if I'm going to buy points, it's strictly to 'top off' what's needed for a trip I want to book using points.

 

To all: If my math and/or memory is 'off' in the above discussion, please feel free to correct me.

You math is correct but since AGR 2.0 took effect, there is absolutely no need to buy points under any circumstance (unless they are greatly reduced in price). If you are buying a ticket; at the time of purchase you are given the option to pay with a variable combination of both cash and points. You have less points you just make up the difference in cash. .
When did they start the cash & points option?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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Looks like they are doing 30% bonus again. Also just noticed that you can buy up to 30,000 points a year, up from 15,000.

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Points means no senior or other discount. Another reason not to worry about buying points.

 

Since we've decided dealing with sleazy BoA is not worth it (two accounts - we each got shafted by BoA), we just stopped using our no-annual-fee card completely. I'll probably use it to pay for a ticket but that's it. We don't even carry our BoA cards with us. They're buried. One of these days, I'll go back to the site and turn off the weekly Deals emails. Meanwhile, I just delete without opening. I figure I have enough for one more round trip to NYP. Meanwhile, I have been paying (senior discount) cash.

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It's about $38 for a 1000 points. Taking an actual trip during double days is $250 for the same amount of points. Using the AGR Mastercard it's about $333. I find the best deal is using Rocketmiles. If you can find a hotel for $100 ,or under and you get 1000 points,its a good deal. Usually their prices are comparable or a little bit higher than directly booking with the hotel but that 1000 point award is worth it.

 

I have a cross country trip driving coming up in August. I used Rocketmiles for about 75% of my nights. The other nights I booked with the hotels. $40 to $50 compared to over $100 with Rocketmiles.

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