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Select Status Challenge

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I received an email a couple of days ago offering to elevate my AGR membership from no status to Select if I register and take four paid Amtrak segments with a value of at least $49 each by May 19. In the airline frequent flyer world, this is called a status challenge. If the challenge is successfully completed, my AGR Select status would be valid for the rest of the 2018 program year (to 2/28/19) .

 

I have no plans to take the challenge. I would be paying at least $196 to attain a member level that provides very little added value to me. What is interesting is that I can't recall this type of promotion previously being offered by Amtrak. It is very much an airline thing. Maybe this promotion suggests some fresh thinking at AGR.

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I, too, received such an email. But I'm pretty certain that promotion was offered to me either last year or the year before as well.

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I vaguely remember receiving that offer, or something very similar, last year.

 

I got this year's offer twice so far. I do have a trip planned in May - $29 each way. And may be taking one in April. I'm with you that it's not worth the extra $$ to get to Select.

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I agree that Select isn't worth it. Select Plus or Select Executive would be worth the effort and expense of a reasonable challenge, but Select is not.

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I suspect they're trying to generate business in the near term (as in, get the money NOW rather than 3-4-5+ months from now - ie,present value/future value $$ games) by placing a cutoff date on it. Whether you 'make it' in May or December really doesn't matter in regards to the rewards you'll receive. Whenever you 'make it' this year, you'll have the new status until 2/28/20, not 2/28/19. The card you receive in 2018 is good through 2/28/19, but you'll automatically get a replacement card good through 2/28/20 in mid to late February next year. You'll get the rest of 2018, plus all of 2019 + 2 months as Select status even if you never buy another Amtrak ticket.

 

Oh...and getting 1000 TQPs for every $5000 spent on the credit card helps greatly, too (I have the annual fee card).

 

In the years I first made it to Select (6 years ago) and then Select Plus (almost 3 yrs ago), it was strictly on the basis of TQPs earned since January. There was no $49/segment minimum, nor was there a time limit other than travel by Dec 31. In both instances, it took about a month before I got the 'status welcome packet' with a new AGR card and lounge passes (for Select status) plus upgrade and companion coupons on the AGR web site.

 

It's interesting that they make the artificial cutoff date the same as the cutoff for the current double points days promotion. If only the TQPs were doubled, too!

Edited by bratkinson

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I suspect they're trying to generate business in the near term (as in, get the money NOW rather than 3-4-5+ months from now - ie,present value/future value $$ games) by placing a cutoff date on it. Whether you 'make it' in May or December really doesn't matter in regards to the rewards you'll receive. Whenever you 'make it' this year, you'll have the new status until 2/28/20, not 2/28/19. The card you receive in 2018 is good through 2/28/19, but you'll automatically get a replacement card good through 2/28/20 in mid to late February next year. You'll get the rest of 2018, plus all of 2019 + 2 months as Select status even if you never buy another Amtrak ticket.

 

Oh...and getting 1000 TQPs for every $5000 spent on the credit card helps greatly, too (I have the annual fee card).

 

In the years I first made it to Select (6 years ago) and then Select Plus (almost 3 yrs ago), it was strictly on the basis of TQPs earned since January. There was no $49/segment minimum, nor was there a time limit other than travel by Dec 31. In both instances, it took about a month before I got the 'status welcome packet' with a new AGR card and lounge passes (for Select status) plus upgrade and companion coupons on the AGR web site.

 

It's interesting that they make the artificial cutoff date the same as the cutoff for the current double points days promotion. If only the TQPs were doubled, too!

 

This challenge is only to get status for the 2018 program year (ending 2/28/19). To get status valid through the 2019 program year (to 2/29/20), you would have to qualify the normal way with 5000 TQP this year. If you don't earn 5000 TQP in 2018, the challenge-earned status will expire. It allows someone with no status to have status while they work toward earning status (whew!).

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This challenge is only to get status for the 2018 program year (ending 2/28/19). To get status valid through the 2019 program year (to 2/29/20), you would have to qualify the normal way with 5000 TQP this year. If you don't earn 5000 TQP in 2018, the challenge-earned status will expire. It allows someone with no status to have status while they work toward earning status (whew!).

I apparently misunderstood the 'challenge'. So, for those who, say, haven't ridden Amtrak this year, or perhaps only a short trip or two, if they spend (and ride) $198 or more on Amtrak, they get a 'good for 2018 only' AGR Select status? Sounds like a great deal, especially considering the coupons and extra points for future travel they'll get.

 

Considering the double TQP points 'deal' they had last year, and the 'usual' double-days promos in recent years, I'm thinking they are 'cash hungry' right now, as it's the slower time of the year for travel.

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This challenge is only to get status for the 2018 program year (ending 2/28/19). To get status valid through the 2019 program year (to 2/29/20), you would have to qualify the normal way with 5000 TQP this year. If you don't earn 5000 TQP in 2018, the challenge-earned status will expire. It allows someone with no status to have status while they work toward earning status (whew!).

I apparently misunderstood the 'challenge'. So, for those who, say, haven't ridden Amtrak this year, or perhaps only a short trip or two, if they spend (and ride) $198 or more on Amtrak, they get a 'good for 2018 only' AGR Select status? Sounds like a great deal, especially considering the coupons and extra points for future travel they'll get.

 

Considering the double TQP points 'deal' they had last year, and the 'usual' double-days promos in recent years, I'm thinking they are 'cash hungry' right now, as it's the slower time of the year for travel.

 

You do raise a worthwhile point: If you might have a reason to take the Acela later in the year, two upgrade cards would more-or-less pay for the promotion if applied there. Ditto the 2-for-1 cards (both can reasonably save you >$100 apiece; the 2-for-1s can honestly stretch even further if applied well).

 

I don't think it is so much "cash hunger" as it is "sucky load factors". The one thing I wonder is why there's not some variation on Double Days for non-NEC travel in late January-early March (when, IIRC, the load factors tend to be even worse)...though I guess between weather issues and so on, Amtrak had probably made a tactical decision to sort-of write that period off.

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