Amtrak Makes Significant, Negative Changes to Its Cancellation Policies

Mar 23, 2018

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Amtrak recently ended its discount for students and AAA members, and now the train operator is making more negative changes. This time to its cancellation and refund policies.

Amtrak was quite generous with cancellations in the past, offering a refund in the form of a voucher that was good for a year or sometimes even a full refund to the original form of payment.

Now, Travel with Grant reports that tickets issued on March 20, 2018, or after will be subject to more fees when trying to cancel or refund a ticket. A 25% cancellation fee now applies to most tickets, and different ticket types are subject to different time periods for full refunds.

Amtrak appears to be slowly changing its fares to mimic airline tickets — which makes sense considering ex-Delta CEO Richard Anderson took over the quasi-public railroad last year.

Each fare type now have the following rules:

  • Saver Fares (Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class)
    • Refunds: Full refund if canceled within 24 hours of purchase. Non-refundable 24 hours or more after booking.
    • eVouchers Available: Full value, no fees within 24 hours of purchase. 25% cancellation fee if canceled 24 hours or more after booking and prior to departure.
    • No Change Fee
    • “No Show” Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel.
    • Passenger Type and promotional discounts are not valid with Saver Fares.
  • Value Fares (Unreserved Coach, Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class)
    • Refunds: Full refund if canceled eight days or more before departure; 25% cancellation fee charged if less than eight days prior to departure. Unreserved tickets incur 25% fee an hour or more after purchase.
    • eVouchers Available: Full value if canceled eight days or more before departure. 25% cancellation fee charged if less than eight days prior to departure. Unreserved tickets incur 25% fee an hour or more after purchase.
    • No Change Fee
    • “No Show” Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel.
  • Flexible Fares (Unreserved Coach, Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class)
    • Refunds: Full refund, no fees.
    • eVouchers Available: Full value, no fees.
    • No Change Fee
    • “No Show” Policy: Fares are 100% refundable, even after the scheduled departure.
  • Business Fares (Non-Acela Business Class)
    • Refunds: Full refund if canceled before departure.
    • eVouchers Available: Full value, no fees if canceled before departure.
    • No Change Fee
    • “No Show” Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel.
  • Premium Fares (Acela First Class)
    • Refunds: Full refund if canceled before departure.
    • eVouchers Available: Full value, no fees if canceled before departure.
    • No Change Fee
    • “No Show” Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel.
  • Sleeper Accommodations
    • Refunds: Full refund if canceled within 24 hours of purchase. After 24 hours of purchase, 25% cancellation fee charged if canceled 15 or more days prior to departure. No refunds if less than 15 days prior to departure.
    • eVouchers Available: Full value, no fees if canceled within 24 hours of purchase. After 24 hours of purchase, 25% cancellation fee charged if canceled prior to departure.
    • No Change Fee
    • “No Show” Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel.

If you want a refund for tickets purchased through Amtrak before March 20, you’ll have to call Amtrak customer service at 1-800-USA-RAIL or 215-856-7924. You can read more about Amtrak award tickets cancellation policies here.

Featured image by Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images.

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