Facing a 96% Decline in Ridership, Amtrak to Lower Elite Qualifying Thresholds, Extend Upgrade Coupons

By Paul Riegler on 6 April 2020
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A mostly empty Amtrak Northeast Regional train

Amtrak, the operator of most of the United States’ passenger rail services, said Monday that it is reevaluating tier thresholds for elite status in its Guest Rewards Program.

Since the coronavirus outbreak really took hold in the United States, the railroad is seeing ridership declines by as much as 96%, said Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams, when comparing year-over-year figures.

The railroad stopped short of indicating what those adjustments might be and failed to say whether it would extend the current elite status of members into early 2022, which is what major U.S. airlines are doing.

“We know that Tier Status is important to you,” said Roger Harris, the railroad’s chief marketing officer, in a memorandum to customers.  “We are actively evaluating potential adjustments for 2021 Tier Qualification.”

Amtrak has three tiers of status, namely Select, Select Plus, and Select Executive.

The railroad said it is “pausing” the expiration of upgrade and companion coupons between April 6 and September 25, 2020.  It is also pausing the expiration of members’ points over the same period of time.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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