Just call me Mr. Select Plus

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Monday, July 25, 2011

It’s not a big thing, I know, but the mail today brought the ultimate Amtrak Guest Rewards status symbol, namely a Select Plus card and yet another set of one-class upgrade and companion-ticket coupons. Some of you may have read my piece on this board in early 2011, in which I vowed to make Select Plus this year after almost (not not quite) making it last year; for that story, go here.
You achieve Select status by accumulating 5,000 “rail points” during a year, and you get two rail points for every dollar spent on Amtrak travel. Get 10,000 rail points and you are Select Plus for the rest of that year and all of the following year.
I think it’s worth the effort. This year, I’ve redeemed 100,000 AGR points. What has it gotten me? In March, a bedroom on the Auto Train, and next month a bedroom on the Capitol Limited from Washington to Chicago, a roomette on the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited from Chicago to Los Angeles and a bedroom on the Coast Starlight from LA to Seattle. That’s almost $4,000 of rail transportation costs for which I paid nothing. Plus those upgrade coupons (ten so far this year), which I use to rise to first class opulence on Acela Express trains, saving at least $100 per trip.
Of course, it helps that I put every living expense I can, including property taxes, on my AGR MasterCard (for non-Amtrak charges, usually 1 point per $1 spent, plus bonuses). The points just keep piling up.
Well, life is good. I’ll wave as I go by. — Fred Frailey

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