Strategy #1. Just get that price down.
Use AmSnag – AmSnag finds all the cheap tickets, often late at night.
Joint NARP. 10% discount when you can’t find a better one, AGR points on sign up.
Joint Student Advantage. 10%-20% Amtrack discounts and other “junk” discounts
Sales. The sales are relentless, all over the place and hard to exploit.
Don’t travel so far. If you’re in DC, go to Philly instead of NYC.
Travel at night. If you can bear it.
Strategy #2. Rack up points, get free rides.
Join a signup “cabal” - Find a current member who will “refer” you to AGR. Hope someone pays the favor forward to you someday. Here is one that favors people who hang out at a particular Amtrak Forum
Ride the Train. You earn points based on dollars spent. So the incentive is to buy expensive tickets, not just tickets with high price to mileage ratios.
Points Transfers/Buy points. Get points in one program, and transfer them to AGR.
Amtrack Points cards. UPDATE. Bank of America offers 2 flavors of Credit Cards linked to AGR. One gets you a companion ticket for $80 a year plus points for spending, the other is just points for spending. I may have to write a whole article on this to even touch on all the relevant knowledge points.
Join NARP. You get AGR points related to how much you donate.
Cashback Cards - Straight cash might be worth more than transferred points.
Points for Hotels, Car Rental and other services. These feel like junk discounts. Except the electricity sign up. That looks like a good deal if you were planning to sign up for wind energy anyhow.