Anonymous rumor/leak regarding new bank for credit card

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Joined
Dec 11, 2018
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The new bank partner will NOT automatically issue the Amtrak card. If a customer wants one, they must apply for it. We will get an announcement in the US Mail. (Remember them?) There will also be an email announcement from AGR (or they will provide their email list to the new bank).

Absolutely. I never meant to imply otherwise. You must apply for the new card. My point was that existing BoA cards will not be automatically transferred over to the new issuer.
 

StanJazz

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Absolutely. I never meant to imply otherwise. You must apply for the new card. My point was that existing BoA cards will not be automatically transferred over to the new issuer.
Most of the time you do have to apply for the new card but rarely the old bank sells the card portfolio to the new bank. If that happens you do not have to apply for the new card, but that is rare.
 

Anderson

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Anyone having the current card should be aware that the card itself will still be active, but no AGR points will be awarded after 9/30. BOA may send you a new card with the same number but without the Amtrak logo.
I will (very likely) get the new card. I'll probably also kill off the AGR cards the minute the card stops earning AGR points.

[One thing I do wonder is how this is going to interact with those rules saying that, IIRC, you can't muck with CC terms for the first 12 months for folks who got the CC in the last few months of last year. As I've come to understand it, those rules are part of why there will sometimes be a bit of a "long tail" on credit cards' lives after signups are cut off.]
 
Joined
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I will (very likely) get the new card. I'll probably also kill off the AGR cards the minute the card stops earning AGR points.

Might be better to just wait for the new non-AGR version of the Bank of America card to arrive (after Sept 30 when the Amtrak partnership ends) and then sock drawer it. This way your length of credit as well as your credit score don't take a hit.

But others more familiar with FICO scoring can chime in here.
 
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Might be better to just wait for the new non-AGR version of the Bank of America card to arrive (after Sept 30 when the Amtrak partnership ends) and then sock drawer it. This way your length of credit as well as your credit score don't take a hit.

But others more familiar with FICO scoring can chime in here.
Presuming it is not the premier fee card. You wouldn't want to keep the one that costs $79 and not get any value from it.
 
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Presuming it is not the premier fee card. You wouldn't want to keep the one that costs $79 and not get any value from it.

Fair point. In that case, call BoA to downgrade it to whatever free tier that card will become. But, better to do it that way and preserve the credit history versus canceling the card outright.
 

MccfamschoolMom

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I finally persuaded my husband to take some time off for a long-distance Amtrak journey next year (he wants to do a round-trip on the California Zephyr), just a few months AFTER BoA stopped accepting applications for their Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercards. :( I did sign up for the Guest Rewards program anyway (and can earn points in the meantime by taking surveys), but will definitely be watching my email for an announcement this fall when the new provider starts offering AGR credit cards. It would be nice if 0% interest were offered on balance transfers, as the hubby & I have had to replace several fairly big-ticket items this year (f.ex., a furnace, a stove, and the tires on one car), and 0% interest allows us to pay off those bills over a year's time or so.
 

Michigan Mom

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I wonder what incentives BoA will provide, when the card stops earning AGR points, that would entice current customers to keep using the card. The sock drawer idea makes sense, although may have to use the card once or twice a year so the bank doesn't close it. There will be many auto payments and profiles I will have to change before Sept. 30... curious as to what the new offering will be.
 
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I finally persuaded my husband to take some time off for a long-distance Amtrak journey next year (he wants to do a round-trip on the California Zephyr), just a few months AFTER BoA stopped accepting applications for their Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercards. :( I did sign up for the Guest Rewards program anyway (and can earn points in the meantime by taking surveys), but will definitely be watching my email for an announcement this fall when the new provider starts offering AGR credit cards. It would be nice if 0% interest were offered on balance transfers, as the hubby & I have had to replace several fairly big-ticket items this year (f.ex., a furnace, a stove, and the tires on one car), and 0% interest allows us to pay off those bills over a year's time or so.
I've never bothered with surveys but, I do make use of "Points for Shopping" (Staples, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) whenever possible. You don't need an AGR credit card - any method of payment is ok.
 
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Might be better to just wait for the new non-AGR version of the Bank of America card to arrive (after Sept 30 when the Amtrak partnership ends) and then sock drawer it. This way your length of credit as well as your credit score don't take a hit.

But others more familiar with FICO scoring can chime in here.
My Chase Freedom card, formerly the Chase AGR credit card, is now used for a monthly auto payment of something like $25 with a matching auto payment each month to keep it zeroed. Other than that, it is basically unused.
 

amy1277

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I did sign up for the Guest Rewards program anyway (and can earn points in the meantime by taking surveys)
I know someone mentioned it above, but just want to second that the AGR shopping portal is a great way to earn points with barely any extra effort. Anytime I’m purchasing online, I’ll check the search bar to see if the site I’m purchasing from shows up. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the participation of stores I frequently shop at!
They do take awhile to get approved (90 days, sometimes more), but they show as “pending” usually within 24 hours, so you can track the amount and get excited. ;)
 

MccfamschoolMom

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I know someone mentioned it above, but just want to second that the AGR shopping portal is a great way to earn points with barely any extra effort. Anytime I’m purchasing online, I’ll check the search bar to see if the site I’m purchasing from shows up. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the participation of stores I frequently shop at!
They do take awhile to get approved (90 days, sometimes more), but they show as “pending” usually within 24 hours, so you can track the amount and get excited. ;)
The latest email from AGR mentioned the shopping portal, so I took a look. A lot of specialty shops, but some I've actually used prior to signing up for AGR (f.ex., Walgreens and CVS), so I'll look again next time I'm shopping online.
 

plane2train

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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.


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.

This is all an interesting perspective. I have moved a lot of my spending to travel cards, as they offer more opportunities to earn bonus points and more bonus categories to maximize your miles. The perks are also more generous, and I have more opportunities to fly than to take the train. In the past, I remember getting sleepers for as little as 12,000-16,000 miles but most of the itineraries I want are now over 22,000 miles. So basically, it would be good if the new bank offered more bonus categories and periods in order to offer the same final product value (seats/sleepers) they used to offer for the same dollar amount in spending.
 
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I know someone mentioned it above, but just want to second that the AGR shopping portal is a great way to earn points with barely any extra effort. Anytime I’m purchasing online, I’ll check the search bar to see if the site I’m purchasing from shows up. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the participation of stores I frequently shop at!
They do take awhile to get approved (90 days, sometimes more), but they show as “pending” usually within 24 hours, so you can track the amount and get excited. ;)
I keep a paper copy of the receipt and note the date, time, order number and "click number" (from AGR) until the points have posted.
If you need to request missing points you will need to provide that info.
I do a lot with Staples and Home Depot.
 
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I was told by a reliable Amtrak source that the Amtrak Mastercard Guest Rewards card will be not be accepted by their system after Sept 2022. It is believed that a new bank will pick up the program or it could be that the programs goes away all together. Anyone else hear anything?
 

AmtrakBlue

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I was told by a reliable Amtrak source that the Amtrak Mastercard Guest Rewards card will be not be accepted by their system after Sept 2022. It is believed that a new bank will pick up the program or it could be that the programs goes away all together. Anyone else hear anything?
Did you read all the posts in this thread? In particular one on the 2nd page?
 
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I was told by a reliable Amtrak source that the Amtrak Mastercard Guest Rewards card will be not be accepted by their system after Sept 2022. It is believed that a new bank will pick up the program or it could be that the programs goes away all together. Anyone else hear anything?
I don't know how "reliable" the source can be if they do not know if AGR will be picked up or goes away at this late date. That would be known internally by now and if not, things are really messed up.
 
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I don't know how "reliable" the source can be if they do not know if AGR will be picked up or goes away at this late date. That would be known internally by now and if not, things are really messed up.
I received the information from an Amtrak employee that the BofA card is going away and believe it to be accurate. What he did not know is what bank will pick it up, the terms or even if this will happen. With Amtrak sleeper fares soaring, it takes a long while to earn a trip. It took us 2 1/2 years to achieve that.
Many credit cards offer a 2% reward in cash at the end of each year. Even if you spend $10,000/yr that is only a $200 reward and that doesn't get you very far on a LD trip. We can only hope that the next AGR card will be better but if you follow modern trends, that seldom happens.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I received the information from an Amtrak employee that the BofA card is going away and believe it to be accurate.
I wouldn't put a lot into what an Amtrak employee says. I've been reading reports that the phone reps are not aware that the extension of the Ethan Allen to Burlington, VT exists and are telling callers they can't book it (tickets went on sale yesterday or the day before).

I doubt the phone reps are "in the know" about the credit card situation other than that BoA is not longer offering it.
 
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I received the information from an Amtrak employee that the BofA card is going away and believe it to be accurate. What he did not know is what bank will pick it up, the terms or even if this will happen. With Amtrak sleeper fares soaring, it takes a long while to earn a trip. It took us 2 1/2 years to achieve that.
Many credit cards offer a 2% reward in cash at the end of each year. Even if you spend $10,000/yr that is only a $200 reward and that doesn't get you very far on a LD trip. We can only hope that the next AGR card will be better but if you follow modern trends, that seldom happens.
That the BofA card is going away is not inside information. This was publicly announced months ago. The future of a bank related card is pure speculation.
 

Ryan

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I received the information from an Amtrak employee that the BofA card is going away and believe it to be accurate. What he did not know is what bank will pick it up, the terms or even if this will happen. With Amtrak sleeper fares soaring, it takes a long while to earn a trip. It took us 2 1/2 years to achieve that.
Many credit cards offer a 2% reward in cash at the end of each year. Even if you spend $10,000/yr that is only a $200 reward and that doesn't get you very far on a LD trip. We can only hope that the next AGR card will be better but if you follow modern trends, that seldom happens.
You should probably read the rest of this thread your post was merged into to gain an understanding of the state of what we know and what we're waiting to hear on the topic.
 
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I was told by a reliable Amtrak source that the Amtrak Mastercard Guest Rewards card will be not be accepted by their system after Sept 2022. It is believed that a new bank will pick up the program or it could be that the programs goes away all together. Anyone else hear anything?
How could the card not be accepted by their system? It is a valid Mastercard, after all. I can't imagine that Bank of America would do something stupid like toss away all those customers. Do you mean that it won't earn the bonus AGR points? Remember, there are two parties to the agreement for the card: Bank of America and Amtrak. Amtrak might be dumping its affiliation with Bank of America, but Bank of America is still offering credit cards.

Another thing to consider (and this is pure speculation with no basis in any specific information from the people in the know) is that perhaps Amtrak is not interested in having people rack up big AGR point accounts from using the credit card that they can then use to buy free sleeper rides. I'm not sure how AGR redemptions are accounted for in the financial performance of the trains, but Amtrak may now be in a situation where the sleepers are selling out, and they may prefer to have them filled with people paying cash, not redeeming AGR points. Thus, they may be focusing AGR more on frequent riders who make redemptions on shorter train rides on trains that are not getting sold out. I wonder if we'll start seeing blackout dates and such too. Of course, if business slacks off, the terms of AGR could become more generous again. After all, AGR is a marketing tool, not a social policy designed to let people of moderate means afford to make circle trips around the US in sleepers.
 
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