Anonymous rumor/leak regarding new bank for credit card

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neroden

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So take it with all the credibility that implies.

Says BoA card will continue accumulating points until the end of September.
Says new bank will be announced sometime in October and new credit card available sometime in October.

Says they can't fully implement the new bank linkup until the existing contract expires, so there will likely be a gap in the beginning of October between end of BoA card and start of new card.
 

Bob Dylan

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So take it with all the credibility that implies.

Says BoA card will continue accumulating points until the end of September.
Says new bank will be announced sometime in October and new credit card available sometime in October.

Says they can't fully implement the new bank linkup until the existing contract expires, so there will likely be a gap in the beginning of October between end of BoA card and start of new card.
Let's hope that a responsible Bank gets the Contract, ie AMEX or Chase, not one of the "Stick it to 'em" outfits like Wells Fargo or similar!
 

jebr

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Assuming this holds true, I'm surprised that they're going to go 9+ months without a card open to new sign-ups, particularly as it's looking to be a very strong year for travel recovery and people potentially being interested in signing up for travel cards. That seems like a lot of lost revenue, particularly for Amtrak as they're losing out on the revenue from selling those points from the sign up bonuses to Bank of America.

I'm also surprised that the contracts don't allow for at least some overlap - hopefully whatever contract they have with the next bank will allow for a more seamless transition.
 

plane2train

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Amtrak appears to be behind the curve in terms of its loyalty program and benefits. No other company would go without a card to offer for this many months. Additionally, I feel like the increased pricing on tickets has devalued the current card, as it is now harder to earn free trips. Not being able to get a sleeper overnight with a year’s spend seems a little stingy. The new card partner should offer something like 3x points on dining, grocery stores and other travel to get people using the card more often. The lackluster rewards from BoA likely drove Amtrak away.
 
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Amtrak appears to be behind the curve in terms of its loyalty program and benefits. No other company would go without a card to offer for this many months. Additionally, I feel like the increased pricing on tickets has devalued the current card, as it is now harder to earn free trips. Not being able to get a sleeper overnight with a year’s spend seems a little stingy. The new card partner should offer something like 3x points on dining, grocery stores and other travel to get people using the card more often. The lackluster rewards from BoA likely drove Amtrak away.
The previous Chase AGR card earned less than the current BofA. In particular, 3 points per dollar on Amtrak travel and 2 points for other travel with BofA. With Chase, it was only 2 points per dollar on Amtrak travel and 1 point on everything else. Lets hope the new card is at least as good as BofA, hopefully better. Just as a bank customer, I would go with Chase.
 

jis

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The previous Chase AGR card earned less than the current BofA. In particular, 3 points per dollar on Amtrak travel and 2 points for other travel with BofA. With Chase, it was only 2 points per dollar on Amtrak travel and 1 point on everything else. Lets hope the new card is at least as good as BofA, hopefully better. Just as a bank customer, I would go with Chase.
In the Chase days because I could transfer a chunk of my million Continental and then United miles to travel on Amtrak, I cared little about what I earned from anything else. But that was just me, I know, I know.
 

jebr

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Amtrak appears to be behind the curve in terms of its loyalty program and benefits. No other company would go without a card to offer for this many months.
Fully agree. I think it's a poor move by Amtrak - if nothing else Amtrak's losing out on revenue from a bank buying points for cardholders that can't sign up for the card right now but would if they could.

Additionally, I feel like the increased pricing on tickets has devalued the current card, as it is now harder to earn free trips. Not being able to get a sleeper overnight with a year’s spend seems a little stingy. The new card partner should offer something like 3x points on dining, grocery stores and other travel to get people using the card more often. The lackluster rewards from BoA likely drove Amtrak away.
I'd worry that any increase in credit card earnings would result in Amtrak actually devaluing their points even further. Right now points can be pretty easily redeemed for around 2-2.5 cents per point, and for sleepers are closer to the 2.8-2.89 cent range (the direct conversion is 2.89 cents in many cases, but there's some caveats to that, particularly in coach where discounts don't apply and saver fares aren't available for reward redemption, so I value it lower for coach redemptions.) Most airline miles, particularly for non-partner itineraries, are closer to the 1.2-1.4 cent mark, so roughly half the value.

I looked at MSP - SEA between Amtrak and Delta (both of who run direct routes.) While Amtrak has quite variable pricing (with a lot of sold out sleepers - add more sleepers Amtrak!) the cheapest I found for a roomette was around 19,000 points, with other dates at around 38,000 points and a couple as high as 50,000+ points. On Delta, the cheapest first class seat I could find was 42,000 points, and coach was still between 12,000-18,000 points even on relatively cheap itineraries. To be fair, the Delta Gold card ($99 AF) earns 2x on dining and groceries, where the AGR card with an annual fee only earns 1x. However, the AGR card (AF one) earns 2x on all travel, and 3x on Amtrak travel, one more point than general travel or Delta travel on the Delta card. Granted, you can transfer American Express points over to Delta where Amtrak has no similar partnership, but if you're going just on direct card earnings I'd say you'd get better value for spend with Amtrak with their BoA cards.
 

daybeers

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The previous Chase AGR card earned less than the current BofA. In particular, 3 points per dollar on Amtrak travel and 2 points for other travel with BofA. With Chase, it was only 2 points per dollar on Amtrak travel and 1 point on everything else. Lets hope the new card is at least as good as BofA, hopefully better. Just as a bank customer, I would go with Chase.
But wasn't this also with the zone based points system, where especially with sleepers being the prices they are these days, required much lower points?
 
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But wasn't this also with the zone based points system, where especially with sleepers being the prices they are these days, required much lower points?
Was the zone based system for redemption tied to the credit card? I thought that was just the way redemption worked regardless of how they were earned
Nevertheless, I can't make a coast-to-coast trip for that few points again! Ah, the good old days!
 
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In the Chase days because I could transfer a chunk of my million Continental and then United miles to travel on Amtrak, I cared little about what I earned from anything else. But that was just me, I know, I know.
I've never had an airlines travel card so, never had anything to transfer.
 

jis

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I've never had an airlines travel card so, never had anything to transfer.
In those days each of my trip to India used to generate over 35,000 points! And sometimes I used to do upto two trips a year. Things are not as lucrative anymore, but still, airline or not, it would be nice to get the Chase level of interchangeability.
 
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Boy.! I remember when you could by almost enough points for a 2 zone trip for around $600+/- (?) and gaining points seemed to be a breeze. w both the Marriott and the chase card. At that time I was waiting for a bankruptcy to clear from a former marriage and couldn't wait to get a boA agr . During that time I was on hiatus from train travel. I got the card w a 30,000 point bonus yippee then I looked at where my points would take me. I was so depressed at how many points got you nowhere. But I keep adding points. at the rate I m going I will have enough points to travel the newly opened NOL - JAX line in time.!
 

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I've never had an airlines travel card so, never had anything to transfer.
Most transfer partners have devalued their points so much that it's no longer worth converting using the standard Chase ratio. I assume they do this in response to manufactured spending and aggressive churn but it's become a vicious cycle that no longer rewards actual travel. These days I mainly transfer to Hyatt since US hotels are excessively priced and everything else makes my points seem worthless.
 
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I am guessing that Bank of America dropped Amtrak and not the other way around. Amtrak was left holding the bag, unable to find a new "partner" in time. I am not confident their next card relationship will be as healthy for the customer as B of A was.
Interesting thought especially since December's and the now ending 5x point promo appears to me to be BofA driven rather than Amtrak.
Maybe an enticement by BofA to keep using the card while we can!
 

Michigan Mom

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I thought the promotion was on the Amtrak side... this is so confusing. I have 2 cards from BoA, the AGR MC and the BOA travel rewards VISA. Given the current promo, I've redirected all my spending to the MC. For the AGR side, it looks like they transfer the points on dollars spent over to Amtrak, who then adds the bonus (?) On that Visa card, though, I can't decipher how the points are awarded. I'm getting some sort of bonus from having other deposits with them. They also give you a bonus if you book the travel through their site, which I have not tried. In any case, the real value of this card is being able to give yourself an indirect travel "discount" by cashing out your points as statement credits (the best option given). 2500 points gives you $25, and not only can you apply this to trains, planes and hotels, there's a lot of latitude in what they consider "eligible" purchases. I just apply to travel related purchases to be safe.
 
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I thought the promotion was on the Amtrak side... this is so confusing. I have 2 cards from BoA, the AGR MC and the BOA travel rewards VISA. Given the current promo, I've redirected all my spending to the MC. For the AGR side, it looks like they transfer the points on dollars spent over to Amtrak, who then adds the bonus (?) On that Visa card, though, I can't decipher how the points are awarded. I'm getting some sort of bonus from having other deposits with them. They also give you a bonus if you book the travel through their site, which I have not tried. In any case, the real value of this card is being able to give yourself an indirect travel "discount" by cashing out your points as statement credits (the best option given). 2500 points gives you $25, and not only can you apply this to trains, planes and hotels, there's a lot of latitude in what they consider "eligible" purchases. I just apply to travel related purchases to be safe.
Perhaps the 5k promo is Amtrak driven however, the points for the promo are awarded by BofA.
The link to register (from the email I received) is Bank of America Card Registration: Welcome etc, etc. .... (abbreviated link which still works. I removed the part of the URL that is specific to me)
If you go there, you will see you are on a BofA website for activating credit card offers.
 

Michigan Mom

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I will have to pay closer attention to the next statement which will reflect the increased activity due to the bonus offer. The link took me to a BoA page that is expecting me to log in. I never noticed this (because. well, I never looked) but not only is there no option to sign up for the AGR, ALL the credit card offers from VISA. Was the Amtrak AGR a casualty of a switch to VISA instead of MC?
Related note: the BoA Travel Rewards VISA signup offer is still open and it's a good one - basically $250. You have to spend $1,000 in 3 months after signup to qualify. For anyone looking for the best near term travel discount, this is a possible option, pending whatever Amtrak decides to do.

EDIT: Having gotten fascinated with this topic, I did some digging. There is conflicting language out there, regarding this change. On one hand, Amtrak said in the fall it was floating the idea of leaving BoA. On another site, there was language from BoA saying it was making changes to line up with "consumer spending" behavior. This implies that Amtrak enthusiasts weren't using their cards enough for BoA.
 
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joelkfla

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I will have to pay closer attention to the next statement which will reflect the increased activity due to the bonus offer. The link took me to a BoA page that is expecting me to log in. I never noticed this (because. well, I never looked) but not only is there no option to sign up for the AGR, ALL the credit card offers from VISA. Was the Amtrak AGR a casualty of a switch to VISA instead of MC?
Related note: the BoA Travel Rewards VISA signup offer is still open and it's a good one - basically $250. You have to spend $1,000 in 3 months after signup to qualify. For anyone looking for the best near term travel discount, this is a possible option, pending whatever Amtrak decides to do.

EDIT: Having gotten fascinated with this topic, I did some digging. There is conflicting language out there, regarding this change. On one hand, Amtrak said in the fall it was floating the idea of leaving BoA. On another site, there was language from BoA saying it was making changes to line up with "consumer spending" behavior. This implies that Amtrak enthusiasts weren't using their cards enough for BoA.
BofA still issues both Visas & MasterCards; Google "Bank of America Visa" and "Bank of America Mastercard".
 

plane2train

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To be fair, the Delta Gold card ($99 AF) earns 2x on dining and groceries, where the AGR card with an annual fee only earns 1x. However, the AGR card (AF one) earns 2x on all travel, and 3x on Amtrak travel, one more point than general travel or Delta travel on the Delta card. Granted, you can transfer American Express points over to Delta where Amtrak has no similar partnership, but if you're going just on direct card earnings I'd say you'd get better value for spend with Amtrak with their BoA cards.

This is an interesting perspective. I currently have the Amtrak platinum card and just don't travel enough to make the 2x points on other travel worth paying $79 a year for. That said, I'm about to get some more travel in, and I'm thinking about switching to the World MC version for that reason. Usually, I stick with earning mostly Chase UR points. They're more flexible in that I can get 3x points on dining and drugstores, which are major spend categories of mine, and then transfer them to whichever partner I need to use.
 
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The new card partner should offer something like 3x points on dining, grocery stores and other travel to get people using the card more often. The lackluster rewards from BoA likely drove Amtrak away.
Your issue is with Amtrak's pricing, not with the card. With points used for sleepers being worth about 2.8 cents, this is one of the better cards out there.
 

Anderson

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I mean, I basically "Sock Drawered" the AGR card when the pandemic hit, and I don't think I'm alone in that. There are still a few things I use it for (mostly payments that were set up a long time ago).

The bigger problem, TBH, is that Amtrak has done their absolute best to make themselves useless to quite a few people at intervals over the last few years. Some of this isn't their fault...but if I don't know whether, when it comes time to travel, Amtrak is going to have a suitable train on the timecard for me...why the heck would I put spend on their card instead of putting it over on Chase or a hotel card (or even Delta, who I'm pretty sure will at least have something on a given day)?

So if I had to guess, the reason Amtrak is getting socked on the card front and BofA may be walking away stems back to the infamous 2020 tri-weekly "experiment".
 
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