Best strategy for achieving select plus living in MidWest

Discussion in 'Amtrak Guest Rewards' started by Steve4031, Feb 6, 2016.

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  1. Feb 6, 2016 #1

    Steve4031

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    Steve4031

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    The new program seems to favor the NEC. Asides from

    Booking business class for the 25% bonus, how would you go about it?
     
  2. Feb 6, 2016 #2

    BCL

    BCL

    BCL

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    There's really no way to do it now without spending upwards of $5000. When I made Select Plus at the end of 2014, it was almost exclusively through minimum points. I'd estimate I spent about $1600, but it was for my commute. Lots of those points were simply 10-ride tickets where I'd get about 212 points or so for $106. I think I went crazy during Double Days - getting almost 5000 doubled points and even more TQPs.

    Right not there's really no strategy other than getting the bonuses. No more multi-city stopovers, seeking discounts, etc. Right now it's pretty much cash-based.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2016
  3. Feb 6, 2016 #3

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    Under the new AGR 2.0, Business class 25% bonus DID NOT post as TQP. Another thread also confirmed same experience by Alan. I guess we are awaiting AGR to fix a bug in the code?

    Date Description Earned TQPs
    02/03/2016 Business Class Type Bonus Other Earning 21
    02/03/2016 Chicago, IL (CHI) - St. Louis, MO (STL) Travel Earning 85 85
    Ticket: #, Business Class , Price: $42.60
    Train #: 0307
    Reservation #:
     
  4. Feb 6, 2016 #4

    uppereastsider

    uppereastsider

    uppereastsider

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    Check your AGR account today. It was fixed today on my account with the TQP bonus posting
     
  5. Feb 6, 2016 #5

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    In doing some rough calculations:

    257.00 10 ride ticket STL-CHI

    210.00 10 upgrades Biz class

    x2 TQP

    934 tqp per 10 rides.

    Buying per ticket at lowest cost with no discounts comes to 960 tqp per 10 rides ((27+21)*10*2)

    IF AGR holds that the biz class 25% bonus is not TQP, with spending $20000 on the BOA card for 4k TQP. I bought one-way tickets in January and begin buying 10rides Feb 15th. I calculate I come up SHORT by 352 TQPs. :(

    IF AGR says its an error and 25% bonus IS TQP, with spending $20000 on the BOA card for 4k TQP. I might make select plus by 246 points. :)

    Pros

    10ride ticket is unreserved so you can take any train, anytime, from any point within the route, (in the event you miss the chiago departure, you can make it to summit/joliet and pickup the coach there and vice versa with St. Louis and Alton).

    Guaranteed coach/cafe car transportation for $25.70 a ride.

    Upgrades to business is $21.00.

    Con

    Upgrade to business could be risky (sold out) if you dont know what train you will be on. Horizon biz class holds 14 vs Amfleet 18.

    You could find yourself on the short end of a TQP promotion if you buy a 10ride use 1 and then the promotion is announced. The reason I mention this is, once used, the ticket becomes non-refundable.

    So, in riding the Lincoln Service, one needs to spend the max with BOA. The Illinois services: Carl, Lincoln, Illini, & 25% share of the Hiawatha, are currently only funded through June 30, 2016.

    Source:
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/amtrak-illinois-reach-deal-to-maintain-instate-service/article_7efb8ecb-90f2-5c3a-9f4a-05afca74f224.html
     
  6. Feb 6, 2016 #6

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    I just checked, my account was not fixed (yet) and I am missing 1 upgrade in TQP points that I had to fill out a missing point request form :(

    Fingers crossed!
     
  7. Feb 6, 2016 #7

    Steve4031

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    Steve4031

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    This 10 ride thing might work for stl. My gf and I make 4 trips a year there. When can you book the bc?
     
  8. Feb 6, 2016 #8

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    Con 10ride:
    must be used in 60 days from first date of travel.

    Pro:

    One can up grade to biz class any time as long as space is available. I've done it days in advance to 30minutes before departure at STL ticket office. Onboard, Conductors have never upgraded me when I asked.
     
  9. Feb 7, 2016 #9

    Steve4031

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    Steve4031

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    Ok. The 60 days is a deal killer
     
  10. Feb 7, 2016 #10

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    The back dated trip posted from 29Jan showing the Lincoln Service business class bonus not earning TQP. :(

    Date Description Earned TQPs Redeemed
    02/03/2016 Business Class Type Bonus Other Earning 21
    02/03/2016 Chicago, IL (CHI) - St. Louis, MO (STL) Show Details Travel Earning 85 85
    01/29/2016 Business Class Type Bonus Other Earning 21
    01/29/2016 St. Louis, MO (STL) - Chicago, IL (CHI) Show Details Travel Earning 85 85

    I am wondering if its only TQP with "Acela" Business or First.
     
  11. Feb 7, 2016 #11

    PRR 60

    PRR 60

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    The issue of incorrect TQP crediting involved all business class and Acela first class travel. Some AGR members are reporting that it has been corrected. Since others (like you) still have the problem, it appears the correction has not yet been made to all accounts.
     
  12. Feb 7, 2016 #12

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    Impatiently waiting so I know how I need to buy more tickets. :)
     
  13. Feb 15, 2016 #13

    iggy

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    "Onboard, Conductors have never upgraded me when I asked"

    Depends on availability and in some cases the crew - conductor. Some will do the work and others either because it's been a bad day - they don't care etc - don't want to hassle with selling an available upgrade.

    Keep in mind that you can handle all this yourself using Amtrak APP and then you have your E-ticket. Or through the website. Fairly easy to book BC ticket then cancel your coach seat. Yes with BC you will of course have to pay coach fare plus upgrade price.

    Refund options have been expanded to included crediting credit card - in past I don't think that option existed.

    We mostly just get E-voucher for future travel when cancelling / refund.

    I have seen upgrades sold on-board - but I've also seen such requested basically get cold shoulder even when a BC seat(s) are available for extent of that passengers ride.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2016
  14. Feb 15, 2016 #14

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    iggy- AFAIK, I was on a 10ride, so there was no way to upgrade in the app to Business. 10-rides are locked into coach seating and require a seperate, upgrade ticket.
     
  15. Feb 16, 2016 #15

    iggy

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    I wasn't replying to your specific situation - just in general. It's a forum that is read by many - others might not be aware of other methods to help them achieve a goal when a less than helpful employee is working a route. For record I can read - was aware of your 10 ticket status.

    Opinion on original topic - even before this years changes - it was always best to travel long distance sleepers or in other corridors to achieve SELECT PLUS. Although I have personally spoken to a few Lincoln Service riders that rode weekly before changes that achieved PLUS.

    From reading above it looks like not all ways to game system have been shut down.

    I'm honestly not sold on changes affecting overall TQP earnings. From what I have seen a trip from Springfield to Chicago in BC earns close to or slightly above TQP earned before changes. New program does hurt those short haul points runs Springfield to Normal etc.

    Not sure why everyone got so confused if BONUS was TQP - in this forum and other sources clearly stated BONUS would be TQP. A suggestion I have been making in this forum and on my site for years.

    It clearly was an IT glitch - if you had taken multiple rides - you would have noticed some BC rides were given TQP bonus while other BC rides on same route weren't. Which was reported by me on Twitter fairly early on. This was after the date in which changes were suppose to go live.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2016
  16. Feb 19, 2016 #16

    penguinflies

    penguinflies

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    No worries iggy.

    Steve was contemplating the 10-ride as a way to calculate reaching plus. There are some pros and cons to that 10-ride ticket especially with the 60-day limit. Prior to boarding, if one wanted to upgrade, definitely do it with customer service. From my experience, trackside customer service has to print a separate ticket. Oonboard, the customer has to scan both the 10ride to deduct a ride and the business class ticket.

    By purchasing 10-rides and upgrading day of, one will fail to maximize points vs buying business class tickets one-way.

    By my calculations riding STL-CHI one round trip per week.

    10, one-way rides business class in lowest fare bucket bought separately, would net 1060 TQPs for $406.00 (based on Midwest sale, which ends March 31 and fares return on non-sale prices)

    If via 10ride coupon, pay $257, nets 514 TQP. Each business upgrade is $21, net 42 TQP, plus the bonus on $21 would be 4 TQP totalling 46. For the same 10 rides, net TQP is 974 for $467.00 (10-ride not-applicable to midwest sale, non-discounted fare, lowest fare bucket, subject to availbilty).

    There really is no way to gain select plus in the midwest riding regional routes unless one purchases close-in, max cost business class tickets and maxing out the BOA card for 4000 TQP.
     

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