Amtrak will adopt an airline model for its ticket policies
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.
Amtrak is about to get a little more like an airline.
Starting on March 1, the national intercity rail carrier will make its cheapest tickets nonrefundable. According to Amtrak, the move will enable it to make its lowest fares even lower. The policy change is also likely to help the perpetually under-funded railroad’s profit margins.
Amtrak has long had flexible ticket policies with generous refund allowances and no rebooking fees on most tickets. However, former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson took control of the rail operator in 2017, and has since been reshaping Amtrak’s policies to more closely mirror those of major U.S. airlines.
When the new policies take effect, passengers who purchase “saver” fares will have 24 hours to cancel or modify their reservation without a penalty. After 24 hours, the tickets will become nonrefundable and changes will not be permitted, according to Amtrak.
Some more expensive tickets will also become more restricted. On standard “value” fares, a 25 percent penalty may apply for cancellations or a 15 percent penalty for changes made within two weeks of departure, unless the passenger is changing or upgrading the reservation on the same train or day as the original reservation.
More flexible tickets — including business and Acela First Class fares will — continue allowing changes without penalty.
The new policies also bring Amtrak in line with rail operators abroad, which generally have more restrictive ticketing policies on low-fare tickets than the American railroad.
Featured photo by Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees