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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.
 
Last edit by: beltway
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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 Jan 20, 16, 6:51 pm
  #376  
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Originally Posted by vatraveler View Post
Please switch back to Chase. I broke down and finally got the BoA card for the TQP boost, and they put a fraud hold on my account within the first three weeks. Do they not realize people with Amtrak credit cards actually travel? Some of us do very frequently, too. Wasted 30 minutes on the phone clearing it up and missed out on AGR points for the declined transaction (used a Chase card that has never caused me any problems).
Where were you and on what did you get a fraud hold?

If you think that big banks can't do this: Citi the other week put a (light) fraud hold on my latest AA credit card when I charged my car registration renewal to the California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) online. What the bleep???

Fortunately, the hold in this case was of a level that did immediately block other purchases, and was only announced when I went online to my account, and couldn't proceed without explaining whether this was my transaction or not. But still, California DMV????

BofA should not be unused to people traveling domestically, as they also issue Alaska Airlines cards. (But just by issuing cards in California, Citi should not unused to people renewing their car registration online either!)
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Old Jan 20, 16, 7:01 pm
  #377  
 
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Where were you and on what did you get a fraud hold?

If you think that big banks can't do this: Citi the other week put a (light) fraud hold on my latest AA credit card when I charged my car registration renewal to the California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) online. What the bleep???

Fortunately, the hold in this case was of a level that did immediately block other purchases, and was only announced when I went online to my account, and couldn't proceed without explaining whether this was my transaction or not. But still, California DMV????

BofA should not be unused to people traveling domestically, as they also issue Alaska Airlines cards. (But just by issuing cards in California, Citi should not unused to people renewing their car registration online either!)
It was a store purchase (national chain) about 180 miles from my home (I'm on travel, as I am basically every week).
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Old Jan 20, 16, 8:59 pm
  #378  
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
BofA should not be unused to people traveling domestically, as they also issue Alaska Airlines cards.
Those of us with BofA Alaska cards can attest that things like this seem to happen more often with them than with other banks. I've had fraud holds slapped on me at inopportune times, and I've had family members who have had trouble with the same while traveling even though they specifically alerted BofA to the fact that they'd be traveling on those dates.

As well, I think my AS card has gone through about five or six reissues in the last 10 years due to "compromised systems." None of my other cards have had the same trouble (and it's not because I use my AS card at iffy merchants--I think in the last seven or eight years, I've only used to to buy AS fares). I gave up memorizing my AS card number half a decade ago because there was no point in memorizing it only to have it change a year or so later.
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Old Jan 21, 16, 12:56 pm
  #379  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Originally Posted by vatraveler View Post
Please switch back to Chase. I broke down and finally got the BoA card for the TQP boost, and they put a fraud hold on my account within the first three weeks. Do they not realize people with Amtrak credit cards actually travel? Some of us do very frequently, too. Wasted 30 minutes on the phone clearing it up and missed out on AGR points for the declined transaction (used a Chase card that has never caused me any problems).
I also travel frequently, and have not had any issues with the BoA card. YMMV.
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Old Jan 28, 16, 9:18 am
  #380  
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Those of us with BofA Alaska cards can attest that things like this seem to happen more often with them than with other banks. I've had fraud holds slapped on me at inopportune times, and I've had family members who have had trouble with the same while traveling even though they specifically alerted BofA to the fact that they'd be traveling on those dates.

As well, I think my AS card has gone through about five or six reissues in the last 10 years due to "compromised systems." None of my other cards have had the same trouble (and it's not because I use my AS card at iffy merchants--I think in the last seven or eight years, I've only used to to buy AS fares). I gave up memorizing my AS card number half a decade ago because there was no point in memorizing it only to have it change a year or so later.
This post I just saw in the Alaska Airlines forum regarding the new branding/logo change there made me chuckle, and it perfectly captures the perception most of us Alaska flyers/cardholders have about BofA:

Originally Posted by OverThereTooMuch View Post
I saw updated credit cards with the new branding. Wonder if BoA will send those out proactively, or just wait until their next security breach (which is currently overdue).
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Old Jan 28, 16, 9:37 am
  #381  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Did anyone experience a delay receiving their Club Acela pass in the mail? I opened my account 3 weeks ago and still have yet to receive it in the mail.
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Old Feb 1, 16, 9:38 am
  #382  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Originally Posted by mpeterson78 View Post
Did anyone experience a delay receiving their Club Acela pass in the mail? I opened my account 3 weeks ago and still have yet to receive it in the mail.
And of course right after posting this, I finally received the pass. Took a while though, keep that in mind if you are getting this card with a desire for immediate use of the lounge pass!
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Old Feb 1, 16, 1:42 pm
  #383  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Do we have any data points on whether either Amtrak card is churnable?

Yes, I realize it has been only 4 months since the changeover from Chase, but I have great confidence in the FT community's enthusiasm for sniffing out opportunities & then exploiting them to the hilt. Please don't let me down.
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Old Feb 1, 16, 6:53 pm
  #384  
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Originally Posted by beltway View Post
Do we have any data points on whether either Amtrak card is churnable?

Yes, I realize it has been only 4 months since the changeover from Chase, but I have great confidence in the FT community's enthusiasm for sniffing out opportunities & then exploiting them to the hilt. Please don't let me down.
But that would require someone who's interested in that many Amtrak points. I'm only interested in not letting my 8000ish points expire until someday I might find some use for them. (I got into Amtrak when it was "easy" to transfer to Choice Hotels, but those days are long gone, and then went even further away in this new program.) So until my points are nearing another expiration in 2.5 years (I generated activity on my last Chase AGR card statement), I'm not even that interested in getting one of these cards once.
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Old Feb 29, 16, 9:45 am
  #385  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Am I better off applying for the no-fee or the fee version of the amtrak card?
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Old Feb 29, 16, 12:27 pm
  #386  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Originally Posted by dbeach247 View Post
Am I better off applying for the no-fee or the fee version of the amtrak card?
Assuming that you qualify for both and can meet the minimum spend requirement to get the signup bonus, the extra 8,000 points are worth much more than the $79 fee. After the first year, it depends on whether the extra benefits (extra point/$ on some purchases, companion pass, etc.) are worth it for you. Check the wiki above for more details on the differences.
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Old Feb 29, 16, 12:43 pm
  #387  
 
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Originally Posted by dbeach247 View Post
Am I better off applying for the no-fee or the fee version of the amtrak card?
If you can use the upgrade Coupon on the Acela, then it's already paid for the annual fee. Same with the companion coupon - my last companion coupon got a free acela trip for my girlfriend, which was easily several hundred dollars.

And then the extra 8k points is just the cherry on top at that point
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Old Mar 2, 16, 8:36 pm
  #388  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I can confirm that the Companion Ticket does NOT work on Saver fares in the NE Corridor, contrary to the information in the wiki. I tried to book a WAS-NYP itinerary at the $49 (common) saver fare level, and the AGR rep on the phone said that I could only use the companion ticket if I purchased the "full fare" $88 regular fare. Pretty much makes the companion ticket useless for the NE Regional. Might be a better value if used on Acela, since I usually don't see saver fares for those.
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Old Mar 3, 16, 6:16 am
  #389  
 
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Originally Posted by mpeterson78 View Post
I can confirm that the Companion Ticket does NOT work on Saver fares in the NE Corridor, contrary to the information in the wiki. I tried to book a WAS-NYP itinerary at the $49 (common) saver fare level, and the AGR rep on the phone said that I could only use the companion ticket if I purchased the "full fare" $88 regular fare. Pretty much makes the companion ticket useless for the NE Regional. Might be a better value if used on Acela, since I usually don't see saver fares for those.
Thank you for this depressing, if all too predictable, report. I have revised the wiki to include this more current info.
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Old Mar 6, 16, 12:47 pm
  #390  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 39
I and others are now seeing this on our transactions on AGRs website (with different dates):
BankOfAmerica WorldCard Points Expire on 02/06/2019

Anyone know what this means?

My guess is this is the expiration date of your points should you close your BoA CC and have no other qualifying activities to extend the AGR points expiration date.

Initially I though it was referring to my CC exp date, but another person stated their date didn't match their CC exp date.
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