Amtrak suspends nonstop Acela, waives change fees in response to coronavirus

Mar 7, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As demand for travel continues to ebb amid coronavirus fears, Amtrak is joining U.S. airlines in modifying its schedules and policies.

Beginning March 10, the railroad will suspend Acela nonstop service between New York and Washington, according to a statement.

The service began in September, and generally targets New York-based travelers with an early morning departure from Penn Station to Washington, and an evening return to New York as the only current nonstop options on the route. The suspension will last until May 26.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel industry news.

In its announcement Friday, Amtrak also said it would be waiving change fees on new and existing reservations through April 30. And the railroad suggested it would likely cancel some other trains and reduce the number of cars on some services in response to slower ticket sales. It has not yet announced which other routes will be affected.

Related: Everything you need to know about traveling during the coronavirus outbreak.

The change waiver comes less than a week after Amtrak rolled out new, more restrictive ticketing policies. Beginning March 1, the railroad’s cheapest tickets became nonrefundable and unchangeable 24 hours after booking. Those restrictions seem to be temporarily suspended as part of the railroad’s coronavirus response. The waiver is also more flexible than any of those announced by U.S. airlines so far.

On Saturday,  governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency as the number of coronavirus cases in New York continues to rise. Amtrak mentioned, however, that there are no specific restrictions in place against rail travel or any of the destinations it serves.

Featured photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.