Guest Reward points expiration and reasons for late train

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Mist, Oct 11, 2019.

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  1. Oct 11, 2019 #1

    Mist

    M

    Mist

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    When did this start happening? On my latest Rewards statement it says, "*Unused points will expire when there hasn't been any qualifying activity for 24 months." I never saw this before. Is this new? The statement shows my point balance with an expiration date of 6/22/21 for those points. Sure, I'll probably use them before that date, but is this a new wrinkle in Guest Rewards?
    And the 10/9 SW Chief #4 out of LA is running 4 hours late as of Raton, NM and is projected at well over 2 hours late into Chicago. Is there any way to find out what is happening on such a train to cause the major delay? I don't see anything mentioned in AMTRAK service alerts. I'm due to take that train in about a week; and if it is running horribly late into Albuquerque (where I board) I'd like to know why - mechanical issues, hit something on tracks, sick passenger, or what? Where is the cause reported? THX
     
  2. Oct 11, 2019 #2

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

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    Guest Reward points used to expire after three years. It's been shortened to two; though, I can't remember when they changed it.

    You can follow "Amtrak Alerts" on Twitter.

    https://twitter.com/AmtrakAlerts

    Here's an update about the SWC:

    "UPDATE: Southwest Chief Train 4 which departed Los Angeles (LAX) on 10/9 is currently operating approx. 4hr late due to earlier mechanical issues, freight train interference, and rail congestion west of Raton (RAT)."
     
  3. Oct 11, 2019 #3

    Mist

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    Mist

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    Thanks so much. After scanning thru the Twitter alerts - oh my gosh - traveling by rail is very problematic - one reason after another, for one train after another, for the delays, including many major delays. And many of the reasons come up again and again - signal problems, AMTRAK mechanical problems, broken-down freights blocking the way, etc. My overall impression is that Americas' rail system is crumbling and in freefall. Sad news for one who likes to 'take the train'.
     
  4. Oct 11, 2019 #4

    lordsigma

    l

    lordsigma

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    I wouldn’t say free fall - there are some issues like OTP that could use improvement and in the medium term Amtrak needs some new equipment to deal with recurring mechanical issues and many are unhappy with the new dining service on the eastern trains, but at the same time I wouldn’t say the sky is falling. It’s true that the long distance trains tend to run late, and many times due to host railroads, but that isn’t really that unusual it’s been going on for years. I think most people willing to take a two day train trip are probably willing to accept that the arrival time is an approximate and willing to accept a CERTAIN amount of delayed arrival. Hopefully the new Charger locomotives will cut down on mechanical issues when they finally arrive.
     
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  5. Oct 11, 2019 #5

    cocojacoby

    c

    cocojacoby

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    I kind of remember reading that my rewards points will never expire as long as my credit card is active. Does anyone remember that?
     
  6. Oct 11, 2019 #6

    Rasputin

    R

    Rasputin

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    According to a recent Bank of America explanation of the terms of its Amtrak guest rewards credit card:

    "As long as your credit card account remains open, you points will not expire."

    So I would say if there is no activity on your card for 24 months, your account would be closed and you would lose any points. I don't know if the payment of the annual fee each year, but not otherwise using the card, would qualify as activity on your account. Maybe someone can clarify that question.

    Of course you may be talking about your guest rewards account and not your credit card account.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  7. Oct 11, 2019 #7

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

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    Op may not have a CC. I read the OP as referring to the Guest Tewards statement, not a bank statement
     
  8. Oct 14, 2019 #8

    Rasputin

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    Rasputin

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    To address the concerns about late trains, I would recommend not traveling long distance by Amtrak to a time-sensitive event such as a wedding, graduation, or funeral without having a day buffer before the event. Too much can go wrong. Late trains happen. It is always good to have a good book and a supply of snacks.

    When we have travelled on Amtrak on vacation, sometimes a significant delay has not been a problem for us and we have tried to use it to our advantage. A five to six hour delay in the departure of the California Zephyr from Emeryville once allowed us to have a leisurely breakfast in Oakland followed by a very enjoyable visit to the Oakland Chinatown (which we thought was superior to the San Francisco Chinatown). Unfortunately not all delays have turned out that well for us and some have been major inconveniences.
     
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  9. Oct 15, 2019 #9

    I like rolling hotels

    I

    I like rolling hotels

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    Everyone check me on this, but I believe you keep your points as long as your "qualifying activity" includes either earning them or redeeming them, and that what's new is that it's two years instead of three like it used to be.
     
  10. Oct 18, 2019 #10

    Mist

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    Mist

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    Per late trains, when I said the other day that, "My overall impression is that Americas' rail system is crumbling and in freefall." I really meant the freight railroads more so than AMTRAK (though AMTRAK surely has its share of problems too). This week alone there was a freight derailment around Flagstaff that caused the SW Chief to be over 14 hours late to Chicago; and just today the Chief was stopped for over 4 hours because of a broken-down freight ahead of it around Gallup. I see this over and over again about broken-down freights blocking single line track. AMTRAK can never improve its on-time-performance as long as it is running on the same tracks as problem-plagued freights.
     
  11. Oct 27, 2019 #11

    neroden

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    neroden

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    The freight railroads in the US are in a bad state. Six of the seven of them are too dependent on coal traffic, which is dying fast. Most of them have had long bouts of gross mismanagement; it's NS's turn to screw up dispatching the last couple of years, but it was CSX's turn for several years before that. Intermodal, which is the only freight department with a real future, is temporarily weak. Intermodal is partly weak due to failure to deliver freight on time, driving customers to full-length truck hauling. So-called "precision scheduled railroading" is neither precision nor scheduled and appears to be the same old "cut costs, cut revenues faster" scheme which appeals to Wall Street in the short term but trashes your business a few years down the road.

    In my opinion, Wick Moorman had it right: the railroad tracks should be owned and maintained as a public service by the government, like the roads, the airports, and the railways in almost every country in the world. It would save the private freight railroads' finances, fix the bottlenecks which cause rail to be slower than road, and of course be great for passenger rail. The state of Massachusetts is slowly buying all the tracks in the state, but it hasn't been happening anywhere else in the US (though Toronto and Montreal have been buying up all the tracks in their areas too).
     
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  12. Oct 27, 2019 #12

    lordsigma

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    lordsigma

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    For me it’d depend on the train. I wouldn’t do it using the western trains without a buffer day. But on the east side if just heading south I’d probably risk doing it with no buffer particularly with the auto train and maybe the silver service. Probably not the crescent.

    But then again I’m afraid of flying so my options are more limited.
     
  13. Oct 28, 2019 #13

    Anderson

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    Anderson

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    I mean, I honestly am to the point that I'd probably take the ICC back, even as a railroad shareholder. Even if the operations themselves weren't regulated (and I do think there's a case to be made for implementing scheduled timetables and the like again), returning to petitioning for abandoning tracks or slashing capacity would seem to be a good thing. This isn't to say that the ICC had everything right (they probably needed stronger legislative guidance, particularly for when they would be required to allow lines to be dropped) but a more-regulated environment would likely be a good thing overall. It probably wouldn't hurt if they were required to take up offered business at sane, profitable prices instead of running it off.

    I was meeting with some long-time railroaders, and one of them made the remark that the Class Is seem likely to take top dollar right down to when they carry their last carload.
     

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