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Amtrak to trim one-way Acela fares by 25%

Amtrak to trim one-way Acela fares by 25%

Old Feb 18, 09, 4:16 pm
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Amtrak to trim one-way Acela fares by 25%

http://www.boston.com/business/artic...a_fares_by_25/

Looks like Amtrak is getting desperate for Acela riders. One interesting note:

"The sale-priced tickets are nonrefundable, are not eligible for upgrades to first-class accommodations, and must be used for travel between March 3 and June 26"

I was able to find $99 fares between NYP - WAS, something I have not seen on a weekday in a long time.

There is no way to tell online if you are buying a refundable ticket or not...at least as far as I can tell. Anyone know if there's a way? Does non-refundable mean I can use it for future travel?
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Old Feb 18, 09, 9:33 pm
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wow, looking ahead several weeks, I was able to find Acela fares that are cheaper than Regional coach fares for the same city pairs traveling about the same time (e.g. Regional 165 v. Acela 2259).
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Old Feb 19, 09, 8:42 am
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And Southwest Airlines announces service from Boston in Fall 2009.
With service expected to BWI, that should bite into Amtraks market share.
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Old Feb 19, 09, 9:58 am
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I guess my question about the definition of "non-refundable" was answered in an AGR email:

"Fares are non-refundable. Exchanges are permitted for other rail fare purchases."

So I guess this is a pretty good deal for people like me that can book now and exchange for other travel if needed.
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Old Feb 19, 09, 12:52 pm
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The rule says "not upgradable." But doing a dummy booking on-line, it appears as though you can pay for first by applying the accommodation charge. So my guess is that the new free upgrade coupons that will be available to Select/Select+ members won't be allowed.

I haven't received my 2009 S+ kit yet. Anyone out there who has one -- are there exceptions to specific fares printed on the back?
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Old Feb 19, 09, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
The rule says "not upgradable." But doing a dummy booking on-line, it appears as though you can pay for first by applying the accommodation charge. So my guess is that the new free upgrade coupons that will be available to Select/Select+ members won't be allowed.

I haven't received my 2009 S+ kit yet. Anyone out there who has one -- are there exceptions to specific fares printed on the back?
It says "not combinable with any other discounts except corporate fares"

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Old Feb 19, 09, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
The rule says "not upgradable." But doing a dummy booking on-line, it appears as though you can pay for first by applying the accommodation charge. So my guess is that the new free upgrade coupons that will be available to Select/Select+ members won't be allowed.

I haven't received my 2009 S+ kit yet. Anyone out there who has one -- are there exceptions to specific fares printed on the back?
Are conductors accustomed to looking for T/C's when you use an upgrade coupon?

It might be one of the things that is technically against the rules, but 99% likely to still work.
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Old Feb 19, 09, 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted by nerd View Post
Are conductors accustomed to looking for T/C's when you use an upgrade coupon?
You can't use the upgrade coupons on board the train. If you wait and hand the coupon to the conductor, you'll be left sitting in BC with the coupon still in your hand.

It must be done in the station with a ticket agent, whose computer will reject the coupon code if things aren't within the rules.
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Old Feb 19, 09, 10:19 pm
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Can one purchase a refundable ticket anymore?

Let's say I wasn't an AGR member so I didn't receive the email announcing the sale. And suppose further that I didn't click on the "advertisement" on Amtrak's homepage advertising the sale wherein one of the conditions listed is that this fare in non-refundable.

Instead, I simply tried to book a one-way ticket from NYP to WAS on 3/28 at 3:00PM. Right up until the purchase screen, there is no mention of this special $99 fare being non-refundable. Seems sort of deceptive to me.

Furthermore, suppose I am aware of the sale restrictions but my plans aren't definite and I want to purchase a refundable ticket (and, of course, would be willing to pay the higher fare in exchange for the right to receive a full refund). Amtrak's site is set up so this purchase isn't even available. Who knows if a CSR/Julie would even be able to sell a refundable fare to me if I call the 800 number?
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Old Feb 19, 09, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by jws5527 View Post
Let's say I wasn't an AGR member so I didn't receive the email announcing the sale. And suppose further that I didn't click on the "advertisement" on Amtrak's homepage advertising the sale wherein one of the conditions listed is that this fare in non-refundable.

Instead, I simply tried to book a one-way ticket from NYP to WAS on 3/28 at 3:00PM. Right up until the purchase screen, there is no mention of this special $99 fare being non-refundable. Seems sort of deceptive to me.

Furthermore, suppose I am aware of the sale restrictions but my plans aren't definite and I want to purchase a refundable ticket (and, of course, would be willing to pay the higher fare in exchange for the right to receive a full refund). Amtrak's site is set up so this purchase isn't even available. Who knows if a CSR/Julie would even be able to sell a refundable fare to me if I call the 800 number?
There are many of us who feel that the lack of warning from Amtrak's website on many of these special type deals is quite disingenuous. And frankly if push came to shove, the lack of warning probably would allow one to get one's money back if one took Amtrak to small claims court.

As for a CSR, they would be able to book you a refundable fare. You'd have to be careful to specify that up front, although the CSR should also warn you that you are about to book a non-refundable fare. Julie might provide some warning if you went that route, but I'm certain that she wouldn't be able to book you a refundable fare. She'd just send you over to a CSR if you tried that.
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Old Feb 20, 09, 12:55 am
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Originally Posted by jws5527 View Post
Furthermore, suppose I am aware of the sale restrictions but my plans aren't definite and I want to purchase a refundable ticket (and, of course, would be willing to pay the higher fare in exchange for the right to receive a full refund). Amtrak's site is set up so this purchase isn't even available. Who knows if a CSR/Julie would even be able to sell a refundable fare to me if I call the 800 number?
One way to get around this in this instance is if you book a passenger type other than adult (Senior, AAA, Student Advantage, ISIC, etc.). This will increase the fare, but throw you up into a standard fare.
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Old Feb 20, 09, 7:55 am
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The strategy of choosing a different type of passenger (e.g., AAA, Senior, etc) won't usually work on Acela. I know that AAA discounts can only work on weekend trains.

I think the general point of all this is that Amtrak's online booking system is not equipped to handle situations like these--and that it needs to be fixed if such "sales" with non-refundable fares continue to be offered in the future. They should simply be able to add "refundable/non-refundable" somewhere on the search form AND restate the ticket rules prior to purchase--just like the airlines do.
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Old Feb 27, 09, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by etna View Post
And Southwest Airlines announces service from Boston in Fall 2009.
With service expected to BWI, that should bite into Amtraks market share.
Not to mention WN's entry into LGA soon. And $25 buses.
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Old Feb 27, 09, 9:45 pm
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The other day I was amazed

Jetblue JFK to IAD $50 + fees total $60
Acela Was to NYP $199

Acela is a lot more expensive than flying!
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Old Feb 28, 09, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by closetasfan View Post
Jetblue JFK to IAD $50 + fees total $60
Acela Was to NYP $199
I don't think you can really compare JFK-IAD to NYP-WAS very well.
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