Change/Cancel Fee Changes

Old Dec 27, 17, 6:31 pm
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Change/Cancel Fee Changes

These were posted over on Amtrak Unlimited, but given both the familiar formatting and that the source is reliable (I trust AmtrakLKL), I'm cross-posting it here:
The following changes are effective January 7, 2018:

Fare Changes



Senior Discount
  • Qualifying age raised to 65.
  • Discount lowered to 10%.
  • Discount only valid on Value Fares.
  • Not valid on Flexible (Full Fare Y) Fares.
  • As before, still not valid on Saver Fares, Acela Express or Auto Train.
Disabled Fare
  • Discount lowered to 10%.
Mobility Impaired Fare
  • Discount lowered to 10%.
  • Still applies to both rail fare and accommodation charge.
Child Fare
  • Now limited to one half-price child fare per adult, down from two per adult.


Cancellation/Refund Fee Changes



Maybe it's just me, but it seems Amtrak has made this really complicated...

There is now just one fee and it shall be called the Cancellation Fee. It applies when canceling travel and storing the value in an eVoucher and canceling travel for a refund back to the original form of payment. It will apply any time a reservation is canceled and not immediately rebooked in the same record. If the rebooking results in a lower fare the cancellation fee will apply to the remaining balance.

The minimum cancellation fee is $5 and the maximum is $250.

NOTE: If you made a reservation prior to January 7 and want to cancel after January 7, the computer will automatically apply the new policy. Agents are supposed to override the computer and apply the correct fee in effect when the reservation was originally purchased. Changes made to existing reservations on or after January 7 will bring the reservation under the new cancellation policy.



Sleeping Car Reservations
  • Cancel within 1 hour of purchase - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure - 75% refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel 14 or fewer days prior to scheduled departure - 75% non-refundable eVoucher
  • Cancel after scheduled departure or no show - No Refund, No eVoucher


First Class Acela, Non-Acela Business Class
  • Cancel prior to scheduled departure - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel after scheduled departure or no show - No Refund, No eVoucher


Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class Excluding Flexible Full Fares
  • Cancel at least 8 days prior to scheduled departure - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel 7 or fewer days prior to scheduled departure - 75% refund or eVoucher
  • Purchase within 7 days of departure and cancel within 1 hour of purchase - Full Refund or eVoucher
  • Purchase within 7 days of departure and cancel more than 1 hour after purchase - 75% refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel after scheduled departure or no show - No Refund, No eVoucher


Advance Purchase Saver Fares
  • Cancel within 24 hours of purchase - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel more than 24 hours after purchase but prior to scheduled departure - 75% non-refundable eVoucher
  • Cancel after scheduled departure or no show - No Refund, No eVoucher


Unreserved Coach Fares
  • Cancel within 1 hour of purchase - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel more than 1 hour after purchase - 75% refund or eVoucher


USA Rail Pass, California Rail Pass
  • Rail Pass has been purchased but not issued - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Rail Pass has been issued but no travel reservations have been made and no tickets have been issued - 75% refund or eVoucher
  • Rail Pass has been issued and reservations have been made:
    • Cancel at least two days prior to first scheduled departure - 75% refund or eVoucher
    • If tickets have been issued (these are still paper ticket reservations), all tickets and rail pass must be mailed to Amtrak Refunds for refund.
    • Cancel less than two days prior to first scheduled departure - No Refund, No eVoucher. Pass will be considered used.
Monthly Tickets
  • Cancel within 1 hour of purchase - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel more than 1 hour after purchase but prior to month starting - 75% refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel on the 1st through the 10th of the month - 25% refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel on the 11th of the month or later - No Refund, No eVoucher


Multi-Ride Tickets
  • Cancel within 1 hour of purchase and no trips taken - Full refund or eVoucher
  • Cancel more than 1 hour after purchase and no trips taken - 75% refund or eVoucher
  • One or more trips taken - No Refund, No eVoucher
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Old Dec 27, 17, 6:34 pm
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Noting on the above, there is no discussion of any sorts of status waivers on the changes, and since Amtrak has (as far as we can tell) proven utterly incapable of processing a "change" instead of a "cancel-and-rebook", this really hoses their LD customers.

Merry Christmas, Amtrak travelers!
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Old Dec 27, 17, 8:22 pm
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One hour to cancel without penalty?

The Anderson influence increases.

He's probably celebrating that he is no longer bound by the DOT requirement imposed on airlines... 24 hour no-risk cancellation.

The down-hill slide will accelerate.
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Old Dec 27, 17, 9:28 pm
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"It will apply any time a reservation is canceled and not immediately rebooked in the same record. "

I can see that instead of just cancelling and getting an evoucher I'll be rebooking dummy reservations as placeholders for future travel I haven't planned yet. How ridiculous.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by GrayAnderson View Post
Noting on the above, there is no discussion of any sorts of status waivers on the changes, and since Amtrak has (as far as we can tell) proven utterly incapable of processing a "change" instead of a "cancel-and-rebook", this really hoses their LD customers.

Merry Christmas, Amtrak travelers!
Agree.

At the very least, they owe it to customers to make the website change function actually work before pushing out a change like this. I guess we'll all be calling AGR Reservations more often, now.

I was optimistic about Anderson. No more. I hope he gets booted out of the revolving-door-CEO-spot ASAP.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 2:19 pm
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Why not have the same rules apply to all tickets (or to all first-class tickets, or to all business-class tickets, or to all coach tickets, or to all "flexible" tickets)?

The policy above is very confusing.
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Old Dec 29, 17, 5:10 am
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(1) There's no internal differentiation on "premium cabin" tickets whereas in coach you can book a "discount" or "full fare" ticket. I fully expect that we'll see some sort of "Business"/"Business Flex" ticket show up at some point, but for now the net effect seems to be to push pax towards paid Business/First tickets (since very often a Business fare will be less than a Flexible Coach fare).
(2) Part of the issue is that Amtrak doesn't just have a bunch of passengers as customers, they also have a bunch of states as customers. A few of my friends and I have mused about what would happen if a couple of states (say, New York or California for two of the big ones) told Amtrak to take a fare policy revision and shove it. I strongly suspect that Amtrak doesn't want to get into a situation where they have ten different refund/exchange policies because California flatly refused a change, Maine wanted a partial modification, Pennsylvania wanted something different on the Keystones from what Illinois wanted on the Hiawathas, and so on. Virginia's involvement with the Regionals (as well as CT's, to a lesser extent) seems to already be having an effect, since (for example) I don't think Amtrak wants to have a bunch of discounts which apply on some Regionals but not others. TBH I think some sort of "mess" like this is inevitable (if Anderson continues down this path, at least one state is going to balk eventually), but it's going to take some time to play out.
(2b) And of course, it's always possible that you'll get some passengers who get burned by this and call their Congresscritters or their state legislators and you have states start looking at refusing "parts of the package".
(2c) Worth wondering about is the accounting on these "ancillary revenue" items versus states' expense accounts with Amtrak.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 4:04 pm
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The official Amtrak policy has been posted. The major difference from the original post in this thread is that the new cancellation penalty does not apply to cancellations credited to a eVoucher. Credits to eVouchers will still be 100% of the fare paid.

Amtrak Policy
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Old Jan 8, 18, 4:44 pm
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They also went to a 24-hour cancellation policy instead of the mooted one-hour policy, which is not an insignificant improvement. I'm just going to call this a hunch, but there was probably some negative feedback...but then again, Amtrak has trial ballooned this sort of thing at least once before and been forced to back off.

I'm still surprised there's not a move towards a "First Flex"/"Business Flex" fare (technically speaking a Coach/Acela Business Flexible fare is more flexible than what's available in Business/First), but I figure that's coming an iteration or two down the line.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 9:31 pm
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Look for other discounts to disappear soon, if they have not already. Student Advantage program and AAA discount are both targeted, others are likely to go as soon as contractual obligations have been met. Anderson seems determined to balance to books on the backs of the long-distance travelers. He has consumed the Kool-Aid that says the NEC is profitable and the only thing wrong with Amtrak is the national network. Never mind that he will never get another appropriation through Congress if he starts downgrading national network trains. A decade or two back, when another Amtrak president had the bright idea about shrinking the national system, there was an informal movement "National or Nothing." Probably time to bring back that attitude.
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Old May 24, 18, 7:00 am
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Originally Posted by NovaEngr View Post
The official Amtrak policy has been posted. The major difference from the original post in this thread is that the new cancellation penalty does not apply to cancellations credited to a eVoucher. Credits to eVouchers will still be 100% of the fare paid.
Amtrak Policy
Has this changed in the meantime? I went to cancel a reservation today and was surprised to see a 25% fee even for an eVoucher. Perhaps there is a more recent thread I can't find?
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Old May 25, 18, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by River in Sight View Post
Has this changed in the meantime? I went to cancel a reservation today and was surprised to see a 25% fee even for an eVoucher. Perhaps there is a more recent thread I can't find?
Yes, it's still here on the first page, currently about eight threads down.
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Old May 25, 18, 6:10 pm
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Shoot, I see it now, thanks. I must have missed that the first time. Bummer about the new policy.
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