Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions from our members:
Q: What is the difference between membership dues and donations?
A: Membership dues payments require us to provide membership benefits, while donations do not. Further, we are legally required to pay for benefits like membership cards and Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) points using your membership dues, while donations can be used to pay for any expenses our work may incur. Both are fully tax-deductible, unless you have received AGR points (the value of AGR points ($0.025 per point) must be deducted from your dues payment before including the dues on your taxes).
Q: I sent in a payment, but my membership hasn't been renewed. Why didn't you renew my membership?
A: Historically, the distinction between donation and membership dues has not been clear. We’ve clarified our wording in our outreach on our website, in our weekly Hotline, and in the monthly Passengers' Voice newsletter. Our donation mailings have a form that specify that it is for donations, and renewal mailings have a form specifying membership renewal for another year. We may not have renewed your membership because we were unsure of how to allocate your payment.
Q: Where is my membership card and/or dues & donation acknowledgement letter?
A: Due to the COVID-19 social distancing advisories, RPA staff are working remotely. Staff are not able to print permanent membership cards or hard copies of membership information (including thank you letters, rack cards, benefits sheets, and more). Luckily, you can find benefits information here in your member portal. You can print a temporary member card here in your member portal at "Print Your Membership Card". Most of our discount programs allow you to redeem your benefits using just your member ID. To find your member ID, click on "My Account." To request a dues or donation acknowledgment letter, please email Director of Resource Development Jonsie Stone at [email protected] For more information, please contact our office at 202-408-8362.
Q: I just signed up/renewed my membership. When will I receive my Amtrak Guest Rewards points and/or print newsletter?
A: Thank you for your support of our work! Unfortunately, like many businesses and nonprofits, the Rail Passengers Association has been financially hurt by COVID-19. Memberships are down and donors have restrained their giving decisions. We're making adjustments as we can and planning contingencies to minimize any damage to our small staff and to our policy effectiveness, but this has forced us to make some tough, but temporary cost-cutting decisions.
Until further notice, production and mailing of the printed version of the Passengers Voice monthly newsletter will temporarily cease. The Passengers Voice will still be available digitally online and as a downloadable PDF. Archived versions of the newsletter can be found in your member account in "Other Benefits."
When the business environment recovers, we look forward to reinstating these benefits. Thank you for your understanding.
Q: How much are membership dues?
A: You can find a full listing of membership dues here: https://www.railpassengers.org/all-aboard/join/?referer=/all-aboard/join/become-a-member/
Q: I received a renewal form, but I've sent in my payment already. Am I still a member?
A: Please disregard the letter if you have sent in a payment; we will update your account as we receive your payment. All members receive renewal messaging to remind them of their upcoming membership expiration. Do not send in a second payment!
Q: Is my membership renewal due on the anniversary of my join date or at the beginning of the calendar year?
A: All membership terms are on an anniversary cycle, so you will renew annually on your join date (i.e. if you join on January 21, your dues for the next year are due on January 21). Your membership period is for one year if you pay annually, and your membership period is for one month, if you have a monthly membership. If your membership lapses beyond your join date, your membership will begin immediately when you renew.
Q: How do I cancel my membership/recurring payments or update my membership level?
A: We are happy to quickly assist you with your membership needs by cancelling or refunding justified payments. Please contact us at [email protected] to cancel your monthly membership or end your recurring payments, with the subject line "CANCELLATION". If you have an annual membership, please be sure to disallow auto-renewal of your dues. Annual memberships automatically end at the date of expiration. Please note that we do not offer refunds for membership dues or general donations.
If you’d like to change your membership level or any payment method, please contact our office at 202-408-8362 instead of contacting your financial institution for a chargeback. By working through your bank, Rail Passengers will be assessed fees. If we are assessed chargeback fees for unjustified refunds, we may levy a fee for up to $250. Please edit your payment information by logging into www.railpassengers.org and selecting "My Account."
Q: How do I edit my membership auto-renewal?
A: Please log into your account at www.railpassengers.org and select "Your Member Account" > "Membership Auto-Renewal." If you are a monthly member, you cannot change your auto-renewal settings, as monthly memberships require auto-renewal each month. Monthly members can end their auto-renewal by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line "CANCELLATION".
Q: May I pay two years of membership dues at the same time?
A: Yes! Let us know by including a note with your payment that your dues include a multiyear membership.
Q: How can I support your work further?
A: Please become a rail leader for your state in our Council of Representatives! We also accept general donations to support our work to improve rail access across America (donations are not the same as membership dues).
"The Rail Passenger Association's recognition of the essential work done by SMART-TD members aboard Amtrak during this difficult period is appreciated. The Golden Spike Award serves as a testament to the compassion and dedication our conductors, assistant conductors and other workers exhibit constantly through times both ordinary and extraordinary."
Jeremy Ferguson, SMART-TD President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.