Credit card survey

Old Feb 2, 19, 2:29 am
  #1  
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Credit card survey

Received a survey regarding my views on the AGR credit card (easy to sum up: it stays in the sock drawer) and potential enhancements. There was a CA covering the details of the proposed enhancements so I can't share any specifics. In general I was not impressed with any of the proposed perks which I would characterize as trivial but then again I rarely use Amtrak. The bottom line is that the bank issuer needs to offer reward value that is > than 2 cents offered by cash back cards if it wants to promote usage. And that was not an option. Now to be fair there are hotel cards that provide free nights upon renewal - if the bank offered something similar (or perhaps a 241 companion ticket or sleep car upgrade) that would be something that might promote usage. But don't hold your breath.
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Old Feb 2, 19, 3:07 am
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Valuation wise they’re arguably doing that since Amtrak points are worth 2.5-2.9c towards travel (though granted since you can’t redeem for saver fares the real value is somewhat less than that). As for the other benefits you mention…companion tickets and one class upgrade certificates (albeit not for sleepers) are already annual benefits of the card.

Originally Posted by www.amtrak.com/apply

Complimentary Companion Coupon

Get a complimentary Companion Coupon upon account opening and each year when you renew your card membership

Complimentary One-Class Upgrade

Get a One-Class Upgrade upon account opening and each year when you renew your card membership for an enhanced travel experience
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Old Feb 2, 19, 7:54 am
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Would be nice if they gave additional perks to status holders with the card. Maybe drink tickets, or a more meaningful rebate on using AGR points. Upgrades aren’t really worth a ton if you aren’t on Acela and not sure I’ll use companion tix very often.
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Old Feb 2, 19, 9:29 am
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Redemption value is fairly solid, weakness is on the earn side. I only use the card for Plastiq bill payments for which AmEx or Visa are excluded and only MC is allowed.

Amtrak spend should earn at least 3x, not 2x. Until that changes, I’ll always use CSR when booking Amtrak.

The December 3x promo on all spend was effective in getting the AGR card out of my sock drawer. Adding some year-round 2x categories might help tip the scales where I otherwise would have used AmEx BBP.

In terms of perks, just as with AGR itself, it’s tough to cater to anyone outside of the NEC/Acela base. On-board food & beverage discounts and/or comps would be nice, and probably the most nationally accessible. Perhaps offer more regular lounge passes.

Not sure if there’s much of a market for a premium card. I could envision a $500+ AF card that comes with S+ status and supercharged earning, though that might devalue upgrades and worsen lounge crowding if it’s popular. But Select is too weak to be compelling as a card perk and some of the bennies are already included in the existing cards.

Last edited by GoAmtrak; Feb 2, 19 at 9:38 am
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Old Feb 3, 19, 2:41 pm
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What exactly does a companion coupon offer you? Could I book first class on the Acela and then bring a companion along for free i.e. 2 for 1? Can I book a bedroom on an overnight and bring a companion along for the same fare as if I was going solo? Thanks.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by wordsmith View Post
What exactly does a companion coupon offer you? Could I book first class on the Acela and then bring a companion along for free i.e. 2 for 1? Can I book a bedroom on an overnight and bring a companion along for the same fare as if I was going solo? Thanks.
Buy 1, get 1 free on Acela is for business class only. They'll charge an upcharge if you buy a FC ticket and use a companion - it'll usually be the cost to upgrade from biz to first.

Not valid on bedrooms.

Here are the complete T&Cs:
  • Coupon valid for one (1) free companion rail fare with the purchase of one (1) regular (full) adult fare. Free companion and paid travel must be reserved at the same time. The companion and paying passenger must travel together at all times.
  • Each coupon is valid for travel as one (1) one-way reservation.
  • Travel blackout dates apply.
  • Valid for travel on all Amtrak service except train/Thruway series 7000 – 8999.
  • Free companion offer is not combinable with any discount, coupon, or Amtrak Guest Rewards® redemption travel.
  • The Coupon# is unique to your coupon and valid for one use only. Buying or selling this coupon is prohibited and will invalidate the coupon. Coupon may be transferred to a family member or friend.
  • Offer valid for Coach class and Acela Business class travel only. Upgrade to Business class or Acela First class is available upon full payment of applicable accommodation charges.
  • Not valid for sleeping car accommodations.
  • Other restrictions may apply.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 11:37 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by tonei View Post
Valuation wise they’re arguably doing that since Amtrak points are worth 2.5-2.9c towards travel (though granted since you can’t redeem for saver fares the real value is somewhat less than that). As for the other benefits you mention…companion tickets and one class upgrade certificates (albeit not for sleepers) are already annual benefits of the card.

Yes, but that would be like an airline offering 2 cents per mile towards a $2000 full price transcon farem as opposed to what Southwest does which is to offer 1.4 cents off the lowest WGA fare which can be 5x cheaper or more. Also with Amtrak if you want full value from your points you are uniquely restricted to a train product which is very limited for those of us outside the northeast corridor. As opposed to an airline or bank card that will allow me to use points on thousands of different flights all over the world.

The companion certs and upgrades don't work for those of us who only want sleepers (again maybe we aren't the target demographic) and don't have access to the Acela without a cross-country flight.

Now this is not all that different from Radisson and other hotel cards that offer very limited redemption options for a product that we don't use much. But the point of the survey was to determine how to make the card better, and I did not see anything noteworthy for my usage.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post

The companion certs and upgrades don't work for those of us who only want sleepers (again maybe we aren't the target demographic) and don't have access to the Acela without a cross-country flight.

Now this is not all that different from Radisson and other hotel cards that offer very limited redemption options for a product that we don't use much. But the point of the survey was to determine how to make the card better, and I did not see anything noteworthy for my usage.
The value of the companion ticket would be significantly more motivating for me if Amtrak would allow it to be used for the second person traveling in the sleeper space. I don't understand why it can;t be applied for this since that passenger only pays the lowest coach fare. We only travel LD and primarily book sleepers, so the current certificates are virtually worthless.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 8:59 pm
  #9  
 
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I wish they would offer an alternative to the companion coupons. For people who use Amtrak only for business travel/commuting, they aren't much use. I would assume this situation applies to a large percentage of elites.
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