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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 Aug 27, 15, 2:35 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Programs: United Global Services, Amtrak Select Executive
Posts: 2,866
Originally Posted by AlanB View Post
Well hopefully things have improved at AGR and there will be a warning. But there have been changes to transfer rules in the past that came with zero warning; so history is not exactly favorable.
Wow. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old Aug 27, 15, 9:26 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 207
It would be funny if it turned out that BOA rumors were true. For those that don't remember, Amtrak Guest Rewards used to be a BOA product when I applied in 2006.

I never got the Chase card because I already have Chase and didn't feel like opening up a new line of credit. However, if AGR reverts back to BOA, I might see if I can convert my current BOA card from a cashback program to AGR.

However, a lot of that will depend on the new AGR changes in January. Points won't be worth as much anymore and cashback is nice. As someone who likes Amtrak but doesn't live on the NEC, I'd be more than willing to pay BOA a few hundred dollars for lounge access, but that's a separate issue.
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Old Aug 27, 15, 10:19 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Programs: United 'Cattle Car', American, JetBlue Airways, Marriott Rewards 'Gold', Amtrak AGR 'Select'
Posts: 197
Just let me keep my Chase Amtrak Card into 2017

Then, I'll decide where I'll go. All these changes are a BIG BOO thumbs down Amtrak. Have a nice evening. Joe G
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Old Aug 28, 15, 1:09 pm
  #79  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Programs: Amtrak Guest Rewards
Posts: 40
Looks 99.9% certain it's BOA for the new AGR CC

I was in one of the BOA branches today doing banking and a rep confirmed for me that the AGR MasterCard is in their system but not available for sign up. She had very little details available although she did say it carried a $79.00 annual fee. I asked her about a no fee card and she said that was the only one loaded into the system so far. She had no rewards earning info as of yet. Guess we have to wait for the official announcement from AGR for all the details. Heads up to the keen eye of seeing Chris L. Martin on the pic of the card
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Old Aug 28, 15, 1:16 pm
  #80  
 
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Originally Posted by discocoaster View Post
I was in one of the BOA branches today doing banking and a rep confirmed for me that the AGR MasterCard is in their system but not available for sign up. She had very little details available although she did say it carried a $79.00 annual fee. I asked her about a no fee card and she said that was the only one loaded into the system so far. She had no rewards earning info as of yet. Guess we have to wait for the official announcement from AGR for all the details. Heads up to the keen eye of seeing Chris L. Martin on the pic of the card
Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I'm hopeful that it being a fee card actually means there'll be some juicy benefits. Anniversary miles, free certificate of some sort, etc. Why would anyone pay a fee if you aren't getting something to make it worth it?
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Old Aug 31, 15, 6:12 am
  #81  
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Programs: Amtrak Guest Rewards (Select Executive)
Posts: 528
The partnership between Amtrak Guest Rewards® and Chase will end as of September 30, 2015. If you have the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard® credit card from Chase, you can continue to use your card and will continue to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points until September 30, 2015. After September 30, your account will be replaced with a Chase Freedom card and you will begin to earn points on your Chase Freedom Account. If you have an eligible Chase Card with Ultimate Rewards, you can continue to transfer points to Amtrak Guest Rewards until further notice.

Anthony Rizos
Director, Member Experience Solutions
Amtrak
Washington, D.C.
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Old Aug 31, 15, 7:45 am
  #82  
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Programs: Amtrak Guest Rewards (SE), Virgin America Elevate, Hyatt Gold Passport (Platinum), VIA Preference
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Originally Posted by AGR Insider View Post
The partnership between Amtrak Guest Rewards® and Chase will end as of September 30, 2015. If you have the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard® credit card from Chase, you can continue to use your card and will continue to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points until September 30, 2015. After September 30, your account will be replaced with a Chase Freedom card and you will begin to earn points on your Chase Freedom Account. If you have an eligible Chase Card with Ultimate Rewards, you can continue to transfer points to Amtrak Guest Rewards until further notice.

Anthony Rizos
Director, Member Experience Solutions
Amtrak
Washington, D.C.
Ok, practical question: Let us say that my billing cycle ends on the 15th of the month. The bill for September/October will come on October 15th. Do I earn AGR points for purchases through September 30th, or will I effectively be getting Chase Freedom Uselessness [1] for the last 15 days of the month as well?

[1] I want to be clear that I expressly do not hold this particular point against AGR, Anthony, or anyone on "this end" of things. That being said, with due disrespect to Chase Freedom, a 1% cash back card is only useful to me as a bookmark. I declined such a card from my bank when I was offered it. I will not knowingly accept or use the replacement card (I'll leave the account out there for credit purposes, but I probably won't even activate it).
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Old Aug 31, 15, 7:58 am
  #83  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 124
And the new card is?
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Old Aug 31, 15, 8:00 am
  #84  
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Originally Posted by musicalbox View Post
And the new card is?
Not yet announced officially, but we have an unofficial confirmation on BOA above.
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Old Aug 31, 15, 8:08 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 124
Yes, I know the rumors, but it's hard to know what to do in terms of the Chase card until I know what the new card and its details are. For instance, rather than get the Freedom card, which, as you point out, is useless, I could call Chase and ask to switch to a Sapphire Rewards. Citi used to be able to do this for me when their affinity cards changed. However, if BoA's card has no fee and all the same benefits, I'll just close the Chase and be done. Having only half the info with one month's lead time is hard, particularly since I have about eight autopay accounts ties to the Chase card.

At least a date when there will be an announcement about a new card would be helpful.



Edited to add: Oh, I see the rumor mill says 9/12. Still late, but gives me a couple of weeks to decide what to do.
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Old Aug 31, 15, 8:31 am
  #86  
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Ok, just called Chase and here's what I was told:
-Regardless of statement closing date, purchases through Sept. 30 will earn AGR points.
-They can't convert the card to anything but a Sleazedom account, but once that is done, conversion to Chase's other programs is possible on a case-by-case basis.

I informed them very politely (no, really, I was as nice as can be about this) that I understood the situation and that if I can't convert to another workable card (Sapphire, etc.) then I would cease using the card. FWIW, I don't see this as much of a negotiation...if Chase cannot make a move to another desirable card, then while I have another account with them I have no desire to use the changed card. I won't necessarily be closing the account until I can "age up" another card or two and get an authorized user transferred over elsewhere, but the card will be largely put out of use.
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Old Aug 31, 15, 8:39 am
  #87  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 124
Good to know, thanks. If you obtain the Sapphire card through conversion, do you still get the 40k bonus points that you'd get if you spent $4k as a new cardholder? If not, it might be worth it to me to cancel and re-apply.
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Old Aug 31, 15, 9:05 am
  #88  
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Originally Posted by AGR Insider View Post
The partnership between Amtrak Guest Rewards® and Chase will end as of September 30, 2015. If you have the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard® credit card from Chase, you can continue to use your card and will continue to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points until September 30, 2015. After September 30, your account will be replaced with a Chase Freedom card and you will begin to earn points on your Chase Freedom Account. If you have an eligible Chase Card with Ultimate Rewards, you can continue to transfer points to Amtrak Guest Rewards until further notice.

Anthony Rizos
Director, Member Experience Solutions
Amtrak
Washington, D.C.
So what happens to point expiration, Anthony? Under the old program (which still be in effect as of Oct 1), point expiration (for non-status-holders) can only be avoided by having an AGR credit card. But you've only announced the end of the old credit card, not the availabliity of the new credit card. Are points which were kept alive only because of Chase AGR credit card going to stay alive during the transition period when there's no AGR credit card at all (not from Chase any more, not from BofA yet), no matter how little activity???
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Old Aug 31, 15, 9:12 am
  #89  
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Originally Posted by musicalbox View Post
Good to know, thanks. If you obtain the Sapphire card through conversion, do you still get the 40k bonus points that you'd get if you spent $4k as a new cardholder? If not, it might be worth it to me to cancel and re-apply.
You never get signup points for a conversion (unless you're acting on a conversion promo, like Amex the bank sometimes has). You only get signup points by "applying from scratch", and even then only by using a specific application method (such as an online promo application).
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Old Aug 31, 15, 9:27 am
  #90  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
You never get signup points for a conversion (unless you're acting on a conversion promo, like Amex the bank sometimes has). You only get signup points by "applying from scratch", and even then only by using a specific application method (such as an online promo application).
Thanks, that helps. So my plan is:

- if the BoA card has the same basic framework as the Chase card (key for me are at least 2x points for Amtrak purchases and redemption rebates) and a not too onerous AF, I'll get that.

-if the above isn't true, I'll apply from scratch for Sapphire.

Either way, I'll be canceling the Chase card. I've only had it for three years, so I won't take a huge hit credit-wise. I also have the Amazon card from Chase and enjoyed seeing everything in one place, but it's not enough to outweigh the benefits of the branded card if it works.
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