Are you using the AGR credit card less?

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yarrow

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for years we have amassed agr points with the agr credit card. have gone for a lot of wonderful trips using points. the other day i was getting gas and used my costco citi card with the 4% gasoline rebate. i think the agr card may slip to the back of the wallet given the continual downgrades, imho, to the amtrak travel experience. anyone else find themselves using the agr card less?
 

20th Century Rider

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The AGR Card is as Carcinogenic as the meals it gets you.

I have the upgraded version of the agr card which demands $79 yearly. I've accumulated 200.000 points. The points are worthless. The card is worthless. Am I missing something? What a waste of money and loyalty to Amtrak as it abuses customer loyalty with cutbacks and price increases while offering increasingly undervalued service.

Will call the bank to exchange it for the free card that doesn't award the extra tier qualifying miles. No purpose and no value any more in being an Executive Plus member so I can use thousands of points allowing me to choke on carcinogenic and disgusting flex meals.

This is a physical affront on health and safety of loyal customers with the dangerous entrees in the heated Polyethylene Terephthalate plates that cause cancer. The AGR credit card is not only worthless, it is linked to cancer.

Ridiculous!
 

the_traveler

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I seldom use my AGR credit card anymore. The only reason I’m using it is because I canceled my trips and have a $387 credit on the card. After it gets to $-0-, I’ll hardly use it.
 

20th Century Rider

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for years we have amassed agr points with the agr credit card. have gone for a lot of wonderful trips using points. the other day i was getting gas and used my costco citi card with the 4% gasoline rebate. i think the agr card may slip to the back of the wallet given the continual downgrades, imho, to the amtrak travel experience. anyone else find themselves using the agr card less?
The AGR card and Guest Rewards Program is definitely been effected by Amtrak downgrades. I've started a thread to see what others are thinking:
"Requesting advice on my AGR loyalty with service cutbacks"
 

FrensicPic

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Still in the same spending pattern for our two cards.
It is disappointing seeing the loyalty program value go down (points or dollars) as service and amenities decline.
 
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jebr

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I have the upgraded version of the agr card which demands $79 yearly. I've accumulated 200.000 points. The points are worthless. The card is worthless. Am I missing something? What a waste of money and loyalty to Amtrak as it abuses customer loyalty with cutbacks and price increases while offering increasingly undervalued service.
The AGR points and card aren't "worthless." Sure, it doesn't make sense if you don't intend to travel on Amtrak again, but I wouldn't expect an Amtrak-branded credit card to be particularly useful if you're not going to travel on Amtrak.

For Amtrak travel, the points are still generally worth around 2.89 cents/point, compared to full-fare value fares or sleeper fares, same as when AGR 2.0 started. It could be worth a bit less if you're able to use lower-priced ticketing options, or (potentially) if you travel during certain holidays when they double the points needed relative to cost (though I haven't seen that personally in a while.) But the points haven't been devalued relative to the cost of the trip (which is what I think of when I hear that points have been devalued.) Amtrak is simply charging a bit higher cash price, which raises the cost for points a bit as well. It's no different than how Southwest handles their rewards program.

There are still some redemption options available as well if you're wanting to simply get rid of it and cash out, especially if you're Select or higher with Amtrak. There's some gift card options, or if you're Select or higher, points can be transferred to Choice or Hilton (up to 50,000 AGR points a year.) The value likely won't be quite as good as redeeming for Amtrak travel, but it's at least an option to get some value, thus making it not worthless.

As for me personally, I've generally shifted my spending away from Amtrak cards, simply because I've been taking less trips on Amtrak (mix of cost and travel time) and want to keep my earnings a bit more flexible. Right now I'm finishing up some annual spend on another card in order to get the value out of that card, then I intend to move my spend almost completely over to cash-back cards full-time (and cancel the card I'm currently using, as it has an annual fee that I don't get enough value from.) I keep the no-fee AGR card, as they sometimes have some good earning promotions (the 2,000 points for $1000 spend came at a good moment for me, as I had a couple of large transactions that I could use that card for) and it has the 5% redemption rebate for Amtrak travel. Other than that, I only use it for a recurring transaction each month to keep it active.
 

20th Century Rider

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The AGR points and card aren't "worthless." Sure, it doesn't make sense if you don't intend to travel on Amtrak again, but I wouldn't expect an Amtrak-branded credit card to be particularly useful if you're not going to travel on Amtrak.

For Amtrak travel, the points are still generally worth around 2.89 cents/point, compared to full-fare value fares or sleeper fares, same as when AGR 2.0 started. It could be worth a bit less if you're able to use lower-priced ticketing options, or (potentially) if you travel during certain holidays when they double the points needed relative to cost (though I haven't seen that personally in a while.) But the points haven't been devalued relative to the cost of the trip (which is what I think of when I hear that points have been devalued.) Amtrak is simply charging a bit higher cash price, which raises the cost for points a bit as well. It's no different than how Southwest handles their rewards program.

There are still some redemption options available as well if you're wanting to simply get rid of it and cash out, especially if you're Select or higher with Amtrak. There's some gift card options, or if you're Select or higher, points can be transferred to Choice or Hilton (up to 50,000 AGR points a year.) The value likely won't be quite as good as redeeming for Amtrak travel, but it's at least an option to get some value, thus making it not worthless.

As for me personally, I've generally shifted my spending away from Amtrak cards, simply because I've been taking less trips on Amtrak (mix of cost and travel time) and want to keep my earnings a bit more flexible. Right now I'm finishing up some annual spend on another card in order to get the value out of that card, then I intend to move my spend almost completely over to cash-back cards full-time (and cancel the card I'm currently using, as it has an annual fee that I don't get enough value from.) I keep the no-fee AGR card, as they sometimes have some good earning promotions (the 2,000 points for $1000 spend came at a good moment for me, as I had a couple of large transactions that I could use that card for) and it has the 5% redemption rebate for Amtrak travel. Other than that, I only use it for a recurring transaction each month to keep it active.
Thank you for taking the time to share some valuable info. Yes... I definitely plan to travel on Amtrak again; and since they are extending status levels for another year, I don't need to be concerned about getting qualifying points for two years from now. Just hope they will improve the food service!
 

JayPea

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I use it exclusively like I have since I got it. I actually at one time had two AGR cards but kept getting fraudulent charges on one of them so dropped that one.
 

me_little_me

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I had the pay card for a while then switched to the free one. After getting screwed over by BoA, I cut way back on the use of the card and generally restricted its use to only Amtrak purchases or, when they offer a deal like that recent 2K bonus, I use it just enough to get the bonus then stop except for a random charge to keep it in use. But that was before Covid.
Now, I don't even think about it. I'll use up my existing points and even before Covid but after flex dining began, I cut back my use of overnight trains and drive far enough to pick up a daytime train . I used overnight only for going out west. With Covid, I'm not traveling.
After Covid, unless meals and amenities go back to pre-2019 or are at least acceptable for the price, I figure I will have little use for the card and will keep it only because unused credit is good for one's credit rating.
I leave the card at home unless I'm taking an Amtrak trip so the only times it was even out this year was to take a SAV to FTL roundtrip in February and to get the number off it for the single $1000 charge for my insurance (by pre-paying that bill) in March to get the bonus.
 

Barb Stout

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I too use it exclusively (the no-fee card), but I neither spend a lot of money nor do I take the train a lot, but when I do take the train, it is for a pretty long distance as I live in the Mountain West and have never had enough points for the entire round trip, but sometimes do for segments. Wow, that was quite a long run-on sentence, wasn't it?
 

20th Century Rider

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I had the pay card for a while then switched to the free one. After getting screwed over by BoA, I cut way back on the use of the card and generally restricted its use to only Amtrak purchases or, when they offer a deal like that recent 2K bonus, I use it just enough to get the bonus then stop except for a random charge to keep it in use. But that was before Covid.
Now, I don't even think about it. I'll use up my existing points and even before Covid but after flex dining began, I cut back my use of overnight trains and drive far enough to pick up a daytime train . I used overnight only for going out west. With Covid, I'm not traveling.
After Covid, unless meals and amenities go back to pre-2019 or are at least acceptable for the price, I figure I will have little use for the card and will keep it only because unused credit is good for one's credit rating.
I leave the card at home unless I'm taking an Amtrak trip so the only times it was even out this year was to take a SAV to FTL roundtrip in February and to get the number off it for the single $1000 charge for my insurance (by pre-paying that bill) in March to get the bonus.
You took the words right out of my mouth... especially this: "unless meals and amenities go back to pre-2019 or are at least acceptable for the price, I figure I will have little use for the card and will keep it only because unused credit is good for one's credit rating."

If enough of Amtrak's most loyalty patrons are saying this, perhaps they'll get the message. 🤬
 

RichieRich

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Dec 2, 2016
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The paid AGR card is my Primary card. All others are in my sock drawer. The points keep my Tier up, and I use the points for travel as I took literally 10 AutoTrain r/t's last year, 2 this year, and will start up again as soon as things return to some sort of "old" normal.
 

20th Century Rider

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The paid AGR card is my Primary card. All others are in my sock drawer. The points keep my Tier up, and I use the points for travel as I took literally 10 AutoTrain r/t's last year, 2 this year, and will start up again as soon as things return to some sort of "old" normal.
What you said makes sense since you us the AutoTrain so often. I'm still trying to figure out what's best for my situation... I must travel 60 miles to EUG, then have an agreement with a hotel to leave my car parked there in exchange for a night's stay. There is no safe parking at the local station. From there I go north or south... or a longer trip to the Midwest of East.

A sleeper is a must for me... but it's pricey... especially to maintain Exec Plus Status. This is where the card has been helpful. Like you and so many others... I am a true passenger rail enthusiast and travel several times a year. So, before the pandemic, this seemed to work well. Now with the planned cutbacks in service, and the downgraded meals... not sure what I'll be doing.

It's probably best to say... like many others... we'll just have to see what happens.:oops:
 

daybeers

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The AGR World (fee) card is my first credit card. I've had it for about four years now and I like it, but don't really get to use the points very often and BofA is a terrible company. I really just got it to build my credit while earning a lot of points I can use down the line. I'll switch to the no-fee card before it renews in September and just use that for Amtrak purchases and an occasional charge. That doesn't result in another hard credit check, correct? Would it show as a completely new account?

I'll be looking for a good cash-back card, preferably no-fee but not opposed to paying. If anyone has any recommendations, please PM or reply. Thanks!
 

MARC Rider

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The fee card is my primary card. I use it mainly to get the 4,000 TQP every year to ensure that I'll continue to qualify for Select Plus, even if I don't ride as much as I used to. Select Plus is important to me because I ride the NEC a lot, and really appreciate the lounge access, especially in New York, Washington, Philly, and Boston. Basically, I now have so many points that I can take my long-distance trips without any cash outlay (unless I need to to earn TQP). Which is why, maybe, I am more tolerant than many of the lousy food situation on the long-distance trains. :)

I've never really had any problem with Bank of America, except they seem to sure be quick to replace the card when they think it has been compromised (usually not because of anything I've done). Which I guess is a good thing, but it messes up some of my autopay accounts, especially for things I only pay a few times a year, and thus forget that I have an autopay and need to change the card number.
 

Ronbo

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The AGR World (fee) card is my first credit card. I've had it for about four years now and I like it, but don't really get to use the points very often and BofA is a terrible company. I really just got it to build my credit while earning a lot of points I can use down the line. I'll switch to the no-fee card before it renews in September and just use that for Amtrak purchases and an occasional charge. That doesn't result in another hard credit check, correct? Would it show as a completely new account?

I'll be looking for a good cash-back card, preferably no-fee but not opposed to paying. If anyone has any recommendations, please PM or reply. Thanks!
You might want to look into the ..... Discover It Cash Back Card, lots of good terms with this one!
 

jis

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I have automatic monthly charges of a few things on my AGR Card, which continue as is. So I use it a few times each month.
 

jebr

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The AGR World (fee) card is my first credit card. I've had it for about four years now and I like it, but don't really get to use the points very often and BofA is a terrible company. I really just got it to build my credit while earning a lot of points I can use down the line. I'll switch to the no-fee card before it renews in September and just use that for Amtrak purchases and an occasional charge. That doesn't result in another hard credit check, correct? Would it show as a completely new account?

I'll be looking for a good cash-back card, preferably no-fee but not opposed to paying. If anyone has any recommendations, please PM or reply. Thanks!
It shouldn't, but I'm not sure if BoA allows downgrades like that. When we downgraded one in our household, we were actually switched to a BoA Cash Rewards card. That isn't a bad card, since there's a 3% cash back category you can set (we have ours set for online shopping.)

For general cash-back credit cards, unless you're in a few specific areas where a local credit union has a better offer, the Citi Double Cash is, in my opinion, a good cash-back credit card. It earns a total of 2% cash back (1% when you make the charge, and 1% when you pay off that charge.) There's a few others in that category, but I find Citi's website to be decent and so far haven't had issues with their customer service.

I actually use a fair amount of credit cards, trying to maximize category spend (some cards offer 5% on rotating categories, where others offer 3% or 4% on some specific categories, like dining or gas, but not on everything) and only using a catch-all card for spend that doesn't fit a specific category. Since I still like getting "free" trips/travel with my credit cards, I set aside that money in a separate checking account, and then can withdraw from it as needed for travel expenses (or other expenses, if the need arises.)
 

pennyk

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I, too, have automatic monthly charges on my AGR account. Also, because I canceled 3 trips in March and after, this year, I received large credits on my AGR card. I am still using the card using up my credits. I cannot believe how much money I spent searching for the "perfect" mask. LOL. I am getting close to even, so I will switch to my HH AmEx card, which will have a credit for my America by Rail refund (if it is not reversed).
 

scrollmaster

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Except for auto debits my Amtrak card is back in my safe. My Select Plus status extended so also don't need the spend for 4000 TQP's and building travel points. It used to be my everyday card to finance the trips my wife and I enjoy taking but in the current atmosphere of Covid and Amtrak cutbacks, both in place and planned, it no longer is being used. With a few exceptions service and food quality nearly doesn't exist aboard Amtrak any longer and meeting new passengers at the table in the Dining Car under flex dining crap virtually disappeared which was one of the highlights of Amtrak travel for us. We travel in bedrooms for the extra room and couch and loved the train how it was but on board employee attitudes, especially the dining car but some SCA's as well, have only further degraded the experience. Not sure what is to come but both long trips with Amtrak we cancelled this year because of Covid. We have wanted to take The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver so have booked the trip around the US & Canada in April 2021 and hoping for the best.
 

siberianmo

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Last time used was for my annual CZ trip (begun in StL to CHI) to SAC and the California State RR Museum in Oct 2019. No trip planned for this year - breaking my consecutive yearly visits.

"Last time" is perhaps a harbinger of things to come with Covid adding to the downward spiral of Amtrak (service, et al).

Nah, I do not use it nor do I plan to. Thinking seriously of cashing in my remaining points for Red Lobster dinners; then again - restaurants around here are as bad as trying to schedule a rail trip without hotel stays.

Cheers!
 
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