Proposed New AGR Elite Chart

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JoshP

Service Attendant
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Oct 13, 2021
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178
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Buffalo, NY
I am brainstorming how to improve AGR and new elite status level with new perks. Thoughts?

 

JoshP

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
178
Location
Buffalo, NY
The new elite levels as follows:

CLUB:

  • 2 Points per $1 Amtrak Travel
  • 25% point bonus on Business Class Travel
  • 50% Points on Acela First Class Travel
  • 75% Point bonus on Sleeper Class Travel
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • Up to 50,000 points to purchase per calendar year
  • Up to 100,000 points to share points per calendar year


GOLD:

  • 3 Points per $1 Amtrak Travel
  • 25% point bonus on Business Class Travel
  • 50% Points on Acela First Class Travel
  • 75% Point bonus on Sleeper Class Travel
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • Up to 100,000 points to purchase per calendar year
  • Up to 250,000 points to share points per calendar year
  • Up to 50,000 points transfer from your account per calendar year
  • Two Tickets to Access to Amtrak lounges
  • Two One-Class Upgrade Coupons
  • One Companion Coupons
  • Two coupons for 10% off Amtrak travel
  • 50% point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Priority call handling
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from a variety of program partners


PLANTIUM:

  • 3 Points per $1 Amtrak Travel
  • 50% point bonus on Business Class Travel
  • 50% Points on Acela First Class Travel
  • 75% Point bonus on Sleeper Class Travel
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • UNLIMITED points to purchase per calendar year
  • Up to 500,000 points to share points per calendar year
  • Up to 100,000 points transfer from your account per calendar year
  • UNLIMITED Access to Amtrak lounges
  • Four One-Class Upgrade Coupons
  • Two Companion Coupons
  • Four coupons for 10% off Amtrak travel
  • 100% point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Priority call handling
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • Auto-registration for promotions
  • Complimentary Upgrade Ticket – When your elite status reach this level, you’ll be given a free one ticket for Business Class on any route wherever Amtrak goes.
  • Rollover Elite Status – If you still maintain TQP points for the calendar year without travel, you can rollover your status to the next year.


CORPORATE:

  • 4 Points per $1 Amtrak Travel
  • 25% point bonus on Business Class Travel
  • 50% Points on Acela First Class Travel
  • 75% Point bonus on Sleeper Class Travel
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • UNLIMITED points to purchase per calendar year
  • UNLIMITED points to share points per calendar year
  • UNLIMITED points transfer from your account per calendar year
  • UNLIMITED Access to Amtrak lounges
  • Six One-Class Upgrade Coupons
  • Four Companion Coupons
  • Two Auto Train Priority Vehicle Coupon
  • Six coupons for 10% off Amtrak travel
  • 100% point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Priority call handling
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • Auto-registration for promotions
  • Complimentary Upgrade Ticket – When your elite status reach this level, you’ll be given a free one ticket for First Class on any route wherever Amtrak goes.
  • Rollover Elite Status – If you still maintain TQP points for the calendar year without travel, you can rollover your status to the next year.


AMBASSADOR:

  • 5 Points per $1 Amtrak Travel
  • 25% point bonus on Business Class Travel
  • 50% Points on Acela First Class Travel
  • 75% Point bonus on Sleeper Class Travel
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • UNLIMITED points to purchase per calendar year
  • UNLIMITED points to share points per calendar year
  • UNLIMITED points transfer from your account per calendar year
  • 25,000 Bonus Points every year when you are on this level when meet elite status requirement
  • UNLIMITED Access to Amtrak lounges
  • UNLIMITED One-Class Upgrade Coupons
  • UNLIMITED Two Companion Coupons
  • UNLIMITED Auto Train Priority Vehicle Coupon
  • UNLIMITED for 10% off Amtrak travel
  • 125% point bonus on Amtrak travel
  • Priority call handling
  • Exclusive discounts and bonus offers from our program partners
  • Auto-registration for promotion
  • Complimentary Upgrade Ticket – When your elite status reach this level, you’ll be given a free one ticket for Bedroom Sleeper Ticket on any route wherever Amtrak goes.
  • Rollover Elite Status – If you still maintain TQP points for the calendar year without travel, you can rollover your status to the next year.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
824
My only question is about the Corporate tier. Is it a separate deal for businesses or is it a regular tier?
 

JoshP

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
178
Location
Buffalo, NY
I have changed from Corporate to Executive. I've send this proposal idea to AGR and see what their response is.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
9,180
Location
Ithaca, NY
OK, so that's all very poorly thought out. Sorry, but I'll explain why. You have to understand what the problems with the current scheme are before you attempt to change it; and you're replicating some of the problems with the current scheme.

So my main thoughts on redoing AGR status tiers are these:

My long-standing major complaint about Amtrak's tiers is that most of the coupons are worthless.
Make the coupons worth something.
* Make it easier to actually get an upgrade on the various trains. Perhaps by expanding the size of business class. Business class is always sold out on the Empire Service, for instance. So the upgrade coupons are trash if that's your main service. More business class seats on every route would make the upgrade coupons worthwhile, and would probably be generally good for Amtrak revenue as well.
* I think they did finally make the companion coupon usable in roomettes (which changed them from useless to usable). This was a good move.
* Raise the 10% discount coupons to 20% discounts, because everyone in the know already gets 10% discounts in other ways anyway. (So a 10% discount coupon is worthless, but a 20% discount is valuable)
* Or provide a different perk instead of the coupons.

Lounge access is the primary perk from status. As such, there should be a lounge at every major transfer point, so that this perk benefits everyone. So *adding a lounge in Seattle* is critically important. Quite likely there should also be one in Emeryville and in Sacramento.
 

Anderson

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Location
Virginia
Did you intend for the "points for Amtrak travel" to increase and there to be a bonus on top of that? I ask because that "stacking" would kick out 11.25-15 points per dollar spent at Ambassador, which is...a bit much on top of the upgrades and all.
 

Tlcooper93

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Boston
* I think they did finally make the companion coupon usable in roomettes (which changed them from useless to usable). This was a good move.
This is true. I just utililized the coupon on my cross country trip and was able to snag a roomette for two people with no additional cost. It does make a difference.

I tend to agree Neroden. The current AGR system isn't great, but this doesn't make it any better.
The crux of all of this is that the current AGR system heavily favors those who travel on the NEC. Its almost as if Amtrak is trying to run this company and AGR system like an airline, with the NEC being the general location of all their flights.

Definiely need to make the 10% off coupon more, especially since becoming a RPA member gets you this all the time.

The one class upgrade coupon is pretty tough to use, and seems to be pretty useless unless you ride the Acela more than once a month...
 
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Cal

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Socal
COUPONS ARE GOOD FOR SLEEPERS? YES.

Unfortunately that does not help with my Starlight trip as it has business. :/
 

Tlcooper93

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One thing that really needs to change that’s a no brainer:

Sleeper car reservations need to offer 50% TQP bonus just as Acela First Class. This would really help AGR tilt towards a fair system instead of being heavily tilted towards the NEC. In my opinion, a bedroom should have a 75-100% bonus, given how expensive they are.

This would incentivize Amtrak to lower bedroom costs (otherwise, a single res would put you in Select territory) while simultaneously incentivizing people to book more roomettes and bedrooms due to the perks.

For other corridors, there needs to be first class AGR equivalents too, like Capital corridor, etc...
 
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jebr

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The crux of all of this is that the current AGR system heavily favors those who travel on the NEC. Its almost as if Amtrak is trying to run this company and AGR system like an airline, with the NEC being the general location of all their flights.
I think that's always been the case. AGR was created around the time of the launch of Acela service (if I remember correctly) as a way to offer a competitive rewards offering against the airlines, particularly the LGA-DCA/BOS air shuttles, in order to attract business travelers away from the airlines and onto Acela.

Ultimately, AGR is a way for Amtrak to get people to pay for Amtrak trips that they otherwise wouldn't have because they can earn rewards. The credit card is one way of doing that as well, plus the amount BoA pays for the points is likely a decent chunk of revenue for Amtrak - thus getting them money they otherwise wouldn't have. That's why points earning is so strongly focused on the NEC (and to a lesser extent other corridors); most people aren't strongly swayed by AGR points on the long distance trains, and their decision to upgrade to a sleeper likely wouldn't be substantially different if more points were offered for that. The only thing that might have increased ridership on those trains was the 100-point minimum that was removed, but Amtrak likely figured the extra fare earned wasn't worth the "cost" of 100 AGR points per segment.
 

neroden

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most people aren't strongly swayed by AGR points on the long distance trains,
Citation needed 😉 Has this actually been surveyed?

Did I take extra long-distance trips which I wouldn't have taken otherwise, swayed because I knew it was going to get me more AGR-points trips, or because it might get me a higher AGR tier status, uh, yeah, I may have done that a few times...

It's worth providing benefits in the tiers which make them attractive to the long-distance traveller. Being able to use the companion coupon to add an extra person to a roomette is definitely a solid benefit. If more of the trains had business class and it wasn't sold out, the business class upgrade coupons would be a benefit. The special AGR-Select phone number is a *definite* benefit given how often I've had to reschedule long-distance trips due to disruption.
 

Tlcooper93

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Citation needed 😉 Has this actually been surveyed?

Did I take extra long-distance trips which I wouldn't have taken otherwise, swayed because I knew it was going to get me more AGR-points trips, or because it might get me a higher AGR tier status, uh, yeah, I may have done that a few times...

It's worth providing benefits in the tiers which make them attractive to the long-distance traveller. Being able to use the companion coupon to add an extra person to a roomette is definitely a solid benefit. If more of the trains had business class and it wasn't sold out, the business class upgrade coupons would be a benefit. The special AGR-Select phone number is a *definite* benefit given how often I've had to reschedule long-distance trips due to disruption.
Gotta say I agree with this a lot.
This recently booked cross country trip to visit family in the holidays was booked on the train for a couple reasons

-companion coupon made LD roomette/bedroom travel highly cost-competitive with flying

-I am approaching Select Executive, and this will seal the deal for me point wise.

-there in general is just a massive shortage and simultaneous demand for travel around the holidays, and flights are extremely expensive.

it seems like both Neroden and myself take points into account for LD trips and earning additional companion coupons is a truly useful thing to go out of my way to do considering they apply to rooms.

your average Amtrak rider doesn’t care about AGR anyways (LD or NEC) so the ones that do care probably care about both LD and NEC.
 
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