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New Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard arriving Fall 2015

New Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard arriving Fall 2015

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Old Oct 22, 16, 2:59 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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Beginning September 12, 2015, two new Amtrak-branded credit cards are available through Bank of America:
  • World MasterCard (20K pts for $1K spend in 3 months; $79 AF, not waived)
  • Platinum MasterCard (12K pts for $1K spend in 3 months; no AF)
Both cards offer the following benefits:
  • Earn 1 AGR point for non-Amtrak purchases
  • Earn a bonus for Amtrak ticket and on-board purchases
    • World MC earns a total of 3 AGR pts/$
    • Platinum MC earns 2 AGR pts/$
  • Receive a 5% points rebate on award redemptions for Amtrak travel
  • No forex fee on purchases outside the US
  • Your AGR points will never expire as long as you hold either card
The World MasterCard offers these additional benefits:
  • Earn 2 AGR pts/$ on non-Amtrak travel purchases
    • Per the T&C, this includes "airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, motels, inns, resorts, steamship/cruise lines, and travel agencies"
    • Program Rules insert mailed with card by BofA states that eligible travel purchases do not include Merchant Category Codes (MCC) for
      • Passenger Railways (MCC 4112)
      • Transportation-Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger (4111)
      • Bus Lines (4131), or
      • Transportation Services not classified elsewhere (4789).
  • Earn 1,000 TQPs for every $5,000 in eligible purchases, up to 4,000 TQPs in any calendar year
    • Purchases are credited for the year of the statement on which they are billed. For an account that closes on the 20th of each month, purchases after Dec. 20 will count in the following year.
  • On account opening, receive a single-day pass for access to ClubAcela, Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge or First class lounges
    • Per T&C, "ClubAcela pass valid for bearer and one guest, or bearer's spouse/domestic partner and children under the age of 21. No same-day ticket required for use."
  • On account opening and at each anniversary renewal, receive a Companion Coupon and One-Class Upgrade
    • "Companion Coupon valid for one (1) free companion rail fare with the purchase of one (1) regular (full) adult rail fare. Free companion and paying passenger must reserve at the same time and travel together at all times. Valid for travel as one (1) one-way or one (1) roundtrip on one reservation per coupon. For roundtrip usage, both directions of travel must be reserved at the same time. Travel blackout dates apply."
      • Blackout dates for 2016: Jan. 2-3; Feb. 12; Feb. 15; Mar. 24-25; Mar. 28; May 27; May 30; Jul. 1; Jul. 4; Sept. 2; Sept. 5; Oct. 10; Nov. 22-23; Nov. 26-28; Dec. 21-24; Dec. 26-30.
      • Blackout dates for 2017: Jan. 1-2; Feb. 17; Feb. 20; Apr. 13-14; Apr. 17; May 26; May 29; Sept. 1; Sept. 4; Oct. 9; Nov. 21-22; Nov. 24-27; [other dates TBD].
      "Regular (full) adult rail fare" excludes Senior/AAA/etc. discount fares. AGR Insider has asserted at one time that "full fare" includes Saver & other unrestricted fares, but two separate FTer reports indicate that Saver fares are in fact excluded.
    • "One-Class Upgrade Coupon valid for one (1) space-available, one-way, one-class upgrade. Valid only from Coach to Business class, or from Acela Business class to Acela First class, on a single travel segment or leg. Not valid for upgrade to sleeping car accommodations. Travel blackout dates apply."
If my application is not instantly approved, is there a special contact number for Bank of America?
Try calling 888-221-6262 or 866-811-4108. (M-F 8am-7pm EST)
When will I receive my World MC Companion Coupon/Upgrade Coupon/ClubAcela Pass?
"Companion Coupon and One-Class Upgrade Coupon are available online through your Amtrak Guest Rewards account. Your ClubAcela pass will be mailed to you within 2 weeks of account opening."
How soon will my AGR points post after I complete the required spend?
Bank of America transfers your signup bonus points to Amtrak a day or two after the end of the monthly billing cycle in which you complete the required spend.
Are these cards churnable?
TBD
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Old Sep 6, 15, 8:36 pm
  #151  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Originally Posted by jobtraklite View Post
I was keying in on the word "all" in Ken's original statement "Amtrak will grandfather all AGR points until the new AGR program starts next year", not just those about to disappear because of old age.

I ride the trains frequently; so I'm no concerned about loosing points because of a lack of activity or of a credit card. I would be concerned if points earned in August 2015 disappeared next year. I guess I was confused by Ken's use of the term grandfather.
Amtrak will temporarily not let AGR points expire according to this post back on page 8 of this thread so long as there has been any qualifying earnings/redemption activity within the last 36 months. I'm taking the wording to mean my points will carry over to when the 2016 program goes into affect...even though I will not be going for the Chase Freedom card and likely not the new BOA Amtrak card. In 2016, it looks like any tickets I get (points, cash or combo of the two), AGR Online mall purchases, or AGR redemptions for other stuff will keep my AGR account going so long as there's activity on the account within any 36 month period (the 36 month window is on the AGR website under the sneak peeks for the new program).

Originally Posted by AGR Insider View Post
We will extend a grace period from 8/27/15 to 1/24/16 when the new rules regarding point expiration will be in place. During this time, members with qualifying earning or redemption activity under the new program rules in the last 36 months will be exempt from point expiration. This includes members who had the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard from Chase on 9/30/15.

Anthony
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Old Sep 7, 15, 12:17 pm
  #152  
 
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Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
We'll have to disagree, because I sincerely doubt that Chase CSRs have been told by management to lie about these things.
Agreed. To disagree, I mean. You "sincerely believe" one thing and I "sincerely believe" another, and neither of us has any proof that our belief, however sincere, is correct. Only Chase and its CSRs know the truth.

The stupid thing is that I started the conversation by saying "I already have a Freedom card, what are my options? Can I switch to a different card, such as Hyatt [I knew that was unlikely, as you can't convert to a co-branded card with an AF]... or can I only move my AGR limit to my current Freedom?" At no time did I suggest that I would close my account. She was extremely vociferous about driving home the "fact" that there will be no more AGR credit card... Amtrak was discontinuing it entirely. She just kept repeating it, even though I never said a word that suggested this was a retention situation. It was entirely unnecessary to concoct that tale.
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Old Sep 7, 15, 4:07 pm
  #153  
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Originally Posted by Freckles68 View Post
Agreed. To disagree, I mean. You "sincerely believe" one thing and I "sincerely believe" another, and neither of us has any proof that our belief, however sincere, is correct. Only Chase and its CSRs know the truth.

The stupid thing is that I started the conversation by saying "I already have a Freedom card, what are my options? Can I switch to a different card, such as Hyatt [I knew that was unlikely, as you can't convert to a co-branded card with an AF]... or can I only move my AGR limit to my current Freedom?" At no time did I suggest that I would close my account. She was extremely vociferous about driving home the "fact" that there will be no more AGR credit card... Amtrak was discontinuing it entirely. She just kept repeating it, even though I never said a word that suggested this was a retention situation. It was entirely unnecessary to concoct that tale.
Though this wouldn't apply until the 12th, I must confess that were I told that and looking at a "live" Bank of America (or other) AGR card having been formally announced I would probably call the CSR out on it and demand to escalate immediately

Edit: One thing that bothers me to at least some extent, entirely on the Chase end (or indeed the insert-bank-here end) is that I have two CCs, both with a substantial credit limit on them. Assuming for a moment that I qualify for the relevant card (and I would suspect there would be similar standards for most of the relevant affinity cards, fee or no fee) I don't really understand why Chase cares where that $X-XX,000 in limit lands beyond "on one of their cards". Then again, there's a lot on the bank's end of this that doesn't make much sense to me.

Last edited by GrayAnderson; Sep 7, 15 at 4:13 pm
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Old Sep 11, 15, 2:18 pm
  #154  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Details released according to Gary Leff... I think it looks good. Love the TQP option. Will definitely get the premium card:

http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea....ards-revealed/

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Old Sep 11, 15, 3:05 pm
  #155  
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Originally Posted by uppereastsider View Post
Details released according to Gary Leff... I think it looks good. Love the TQP option. Will definitely get the premium card:

http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea....ards-revealed/

As someone on Amtrak pretty much every or every other weekend on the NEC between New Haven, CT and Baltimore, MD the $79 annual fee card looks like a good deal. Beanies should cover the $79 annual fee and the 3 points on Amtrak travel should be better than 2 Chase UR points.
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Old Sep 11, 15, 4:46 pm
  #156  
 
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The no AF card looks to be the same as the Chase card except the notable improvement of no FTF, which is nice!

I am interested in what the catches are with the companion certs for the fee card. If able to use for business/first and or Acela tix I will be eating my words that I previously posted about paying a fee for this card, but I expect it to limit to coach, hope I am wrong.
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Old Sep 11, 15, 7:05 pm
  #157  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Not sure which to get of these two as well as the Chase Sapphire. The extra 8k points pretty much covers the annual fee for the first year, but after that, none of that stuff is worth much to me other than 1 extra point per dollar on Amtrak spend, which is nice but probably is a wash with the annual fee. I don't use companion passes, I prefer the quiet car to BC so don't care about upgrades, and I arrive just in time for the train so don't use lounges. TQP's are worthwhile, I guess, but probably not as good as the extra 20k points that the Chase Sapphire would get me. Either the AF BoA card or the Chase would get me points for non-Amtrak travel.

Then there's the possibility that Ultimate Rewards points may not transfer after a certain point, no one seems to know.

I just want to decide soon so I have as little time without a points card as possible.

Last edited by musicalbox; Sep 11, 15 at 7:17 pm Reason: forgot about 3 points per dollar on Amtrak spend
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Old Sep 11, 15, 7:57 pm
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by isle-hawg View Post
The no AF card looks to be the same as the Chase card except the notable improvement of no FTF, which is nice!
Watch out, that's not entirely true. If you're non-Select and interested in Choice Hotel transfers, that benefit goes away with the non-AF card and becomes a benefit of the premium card (per MileCards).

I wonder if BofA will allow signups and bonuses for both cards. I'll happily keep the free one in my drawer and use the AF one regularly.

I also wonder if the 5% redemption rebate will stack to 10% with two cards, which AA does for cardholders of both its Citi and Barclays legacy cards.
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Old Sep 11, 15, 8:21 pm
  #159  
 
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Based on their other card products, do we have any sense of whether Bank of America has a consistent policy regarding churning/repeat bonuses?
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Old Sep 11, 15, 11:27 pm
  #160  
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Today, you’ll begin to see information through various sources about the new Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard® credit cards. For those of you who are deeply engaged with the program, we wanted to share the details here. With the new Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard® credit card, members will enjoy accelerated earning in the program like never before—3 points for every $1 spent with Amtrak, including onboard purchases, 2 points per $1 spent on all other eligible travel purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, to make earning Amtrak award travel even faster and easier, the World MasterCard® credit card comes with an attractive 20,000 bonus points offer after spending at least $1,000 in purchases on the new card within 90 days of account opening. Also, World MasterCard cardholders will be entitled to additional benefits—ranging from the ability to earn valuable Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) toward elevated status and a complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a single-day ClubAcela pass.

Now you will have the choice between the premium World MasterCard credit card and the all-new Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum card, which will earn you 2 points for every $1 spent with Amtrak and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, both cards will allow you to enjoy greater acceptance and added security with smart-chip technology when used at chip-enabled terminals.

For information about the rates, fees, other costs and benefits associated with the use of these credit cards, go to http://AmtrakGuestRewards.com/Apply, and we highly encourage you to visit the site for a comprehensive overview of the new cards.

This credit card program is issued and administered by Bank of America, N.A. MasterCard and World MasterCard are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated and are used by the issuer pursuant to license.



Anthony Rizos
Director, Member Experience Solutions
Amtrak
Washington, D.C.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 1:53 am
  #161  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Despite excellent credit, I got turned down as did my other half. Two other people reported getting turned down as well over on AU. Perhaps a system problem. If someone gets approved, please post.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 4:53 am
  #162  
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Yeah, I was turned down as well...which I've never had happen before (no, really, this has NEVER happened to me). I'm currently on the line attempting to convert an existing BoA card to the AGR card (as much as I'd like the bonus points, I'm more concerned with nailing down the card, signup bonus be damned).
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Old Sep 12, 15, 6:12 am
  #163  
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New Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard arriving Fall 2015

I was concerned about the rules they would apply to the Companion Pass and have to say I'm not thrilled with the terms but they could have been worse. The way I read it....good for me...can be used for FC Acela trips. Bad for me....Companion Pass is for a RT or 1 one way only! Was hoping it would work for 2 one ways but you can't have everything. Also FULL fare only!

Last edited by christianj; Sep 12, 15 at 6:23 am
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Old Sep 12, 15, 7:38 am
  #164  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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I am an existing B of A card customer. Hasn't helped.

Online: Turned down.
Call 1: Five minutes fighting with their phone tree. The representative said that it was not possible to convert my existing card (which I hardly use) to the new card. Told me to call and ask for the sales department after 5 am PT.
Call 2: Fought with their phone tree again. The representative said that the hours for sales actually started at 6 am PT.
Call 3: Fought with their phone tree again. The representative gave me a number for their sales department and transferred me. Fought with yet another phone tree, but eventually heard a message that the sales department is currently closed, even though it was well after the time the recording stated. Hung up on me.

Sorry, Amtrak, I give up. You will not be getting any credit card income from me. I'll continue to pay for my tickets with American Express.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 9:07 am
  #165  
 
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Hmmm....I like the two new card products but the limited few data points above aren't encouraging regarding lack of instant approvals. But I have zero experience with BofA applications (I have an existing BofA card that's 20+ years old but was initially MBNA). Some issuers with certain products have a higher instance of not approving online applications initially but then are fairly easy to get approved after a reconsideration call....others, not so much. I just don't know if one is likely to get it turned around or not.

I was going to apply for this when it came out but think I'll wait a bit and see.
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