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On NE Regional between DC>NYC in Business Class; change to Acela?

On NE Regional between DC>NYC in Business Class; change to Acela?

Old Feb 21, 18, 1:14 pm
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On NE Regional between DC>NYC in Business Class; change to Acela?

I'm on the NE Regional from DC to NYC (Union Station > Penn Station). Would it be at all possible to change to Acela at no charge, by maybe asking the Union Station staff if they can change me? It looks like there's an Acela going to NYC shortly after my regional train leaves, and it's shorter by ~1 hour. I'm in paid business class, for the NE regional service, and this is work travel.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 21, 18, 2:50 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
I'm on the NE Regional from DC to NYC (Union Station > Penn Station). Would it be at all possible to change to Acela at no charge, by maybe asking the Union Station staff if they can change me? It looks like there's an Acela going to NYC shortly after my regional train leaves, and it's shorter by ~1 hour. I'm in paid business class, for the NE regional service, and this is work travel.

Thanks!
Nope. You'll pay whatever the difference to the currently-going walk-up fare is no matter how you slice it or dice it. If you try to board the Acela and just use your Regional ticket, the conductor will make you call Amtrak reservations and change your ticket right then and there (for the same walk-up fare), and if you can't, you'll probably be getting off at Baltimore.
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Old Feb 21, 18, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Nope. You'll pay whatever the difference to the currently-going walk-up fare is no matter how you slice it or dice it. If you try to board the Acela and just use your Regional ticket, the conductor will make you call Amtrak reservations and change your ticket right then and there (for the same walk-up fare), and if you can't, you'll probably be getting off at Baltimore.
Gotcha. Thanks. Iím new to Amtrak.
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Old Feb 21, 18, 4:14 pm
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Update: the kiosk offered Acela for $263 more. No thanks. I’m on the train now, on the NE regional. It’s bumpier than I expected!
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Old Feb 21, 18, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by MrAndy1369 View Post
Update: the kiosk offered Acela for $263 more. No thanks. Iím on the train now, on the NE regional. Itís bumpier than I expected!
IMO, it's worth doing Acela once just to check it out (ideally in first class during a mealtime), and then it's basically never again worth doing it unless you have money to burn and you're pressed for time.
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Old Feb 22, 18, 5:53 pm
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or if you have AGR points to burn.
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Old Feb 22, 18, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Sicariis View Post
or if you have AGR points to burn.
All else being equal, sure, but there are a lot of reports on here that AGR points are worth less towards Acela redemptions than most other travel, so be sure to check. No sense wasting points on a lower-value redemption.

(I don't know myself as I've never bothered to compare point values for Acela travel, since I've already done my couple of Acela F trips in my life and don't need to spend the ridiculous premium for another one. )
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Old Feb 26, 18, 7:50 am
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Originally Posted by Sicariis View Post
or if you have AGR points to burn.
And a lot of them. I find acela business (read: coach) is usually 3x the points of Regional Coach, when the cash price might only be a difference of ~2x... Acela First? More like 6x the points and 3x the cash.

Case in point for PVD-NYP this Wednesday with points:



And with Cash:

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Old Feb 26, 18, 8:58 am
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The base points:dollars ratio for non-Acela redemptions is 34.5 points per dollar. For Acela the base is 39 points per dollar. The catch for Acela is that trains that were previously within old the time of day blackout period (Monday to Friday departures between about 6am and 9am in the morning and about 4pm and 7pm in the afternoon) are now hit with a surcharge for redemptions - in this case 50%.

For regional #95 , the fare of $68 at 34.5 points per dollar results in a redemption cost of (68 x 34.5) = 2,346 points

For Acela #2153 departing at 6:43 AM (peak hour), the fare of $117 is first multiplied by the Acela base rate (39) then hit with the surcharge (50%) to arrive at (117 x 39 x 1.50) = 6844.5 rounded up (naturally) to 6845.

Trying an off-peak Acela (#2163 at 11:53 AM PVD), the fare is also $117. There is no surcharge for this train, so the redemption cost is (117 x 39) = 4563.

Amtrak also applies surcharges during the old blackout dates, and seemingly whenever else they seem to feel like it at whatever rate they want. What it boils down to is that the fares, both dollars and points, are whatever they are, and we either pay the price or not. .
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