A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

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A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:15 am

I've alliterated to this at various topics, but I must wonder why the Guest Rewards program has not coordinated with one charity or the other to allow AGR members to donate their points to support such charity's programs.

Many airlines such as United have the means for members of such to donate their points (not tax deductible as they have no cash value whatever) to charity.

I for one "just can't be bothered" with all the "Zones", "Blue Moons", Solar Eclipses, blackouts, and whatever else the transportation companies with programs can dream up. My United points go to Veterans welfare groups such as Fisher House or Wounded Warrior.

Couldn't Amtrak get on board?
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Re: A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby dumpster.penguin » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:10 pm

Well the very FIRST thing to do would be to cut up one's AGR Mastercard and keep the problem (?) from getting worse. ;-)

But it seems to me that points that go unspent already support a worthy cause! Wouldn't "disposal by charity" erode the generous rate at which points buy future travel? If Amtrak funds the rewards with a pot of $X, and has Y points outstanding of which only Z% are expected to be claimed, each of the Z% x Y points is worth its share of $X. If folks could pledge their point purse to their charitable mosque or gun club, then Z would increase, and each outstanding point's share of $X would decrease, and in the end it would take me more points to buy travel.

Luckily, Amtrak's "points" are relatively simple and straightforward to apply to travel.
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Re: A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby hs3730 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:17 pm

AGR doesn't do zones anymore, it's now Southwest Airlines style - redemption points directly correspond to the dollar amount the ticket would cost. Last minute sleeper is much more expensive than one booked 11 months out.

It was a better deal for longer distance travel with the zones, but the current one is easier to understand.
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Re: A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby gprimr1 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:31 pm

Unlike an airline, I think there are limited opportunities for Amtrak to provide charity services.

If the Red Cross needs to move someone from Chicago to Los Angeles, they will put them on a plane, not on a 3-day train.
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Re: A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:17 am

It would appear Mr. Penguin's response was more directed towards points earned on an affinity credit card. I thought it was reported here that Amtrak and the Issuer of such had parted ways.

Mr. Primrose's point that Amtrak points have more limited value to a charity than do airline, is well taken. Also of note is there is no tax deduction for donation of airline points, for if there were, there would be an open can of worms regarding inclusion in income for some - particularly airline employees, their retirees, and immediate families. That benefit of free travel well exceeds any definition of a "de minimis fringe", such as flowers on Secretaries' Day.

Finally, lest someone think I'm some kind of "Mr. Bigheart" around here, I do belong to plans with some five major hotel chains - and I use those points. Big diff, no "hoops" - you either have 'em or you don't.
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Re: A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby SouthernRailway » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:55 am

I have just booked plane tickets with miles, and donated the tickets to charity, with NO payment or consideration whatsoever in return, and no tax deduction taken.

I think that there would be plenty of charities along the Northeast Corridor that could use something like that.
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Re: A "Home" For Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Postby Tadman » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:38 pm

Perhaps you could donate them to the Scouts for transport to Philmont on #3/4?
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