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Amtrak Cuts Cancellation Refunds

When a former airline president takes over as top gun at Amtrak, what’s the first thing he does? Add fees, of course.

Effective March 20, Amtrak cancellation fees increased dramatically. Specific cancellation rules depend on the ticket class. And you won’t be surprised that the new rules are substantially more onerous than earlier rules. All ticket classes allow no-fee ticket exchanges, and in many cases vouchers toward future travel are available when full-dollar refunds are not. Here are

New Amtrak Cancellation Terms

Saver Fares: Coach and Acela business class, and unreserved value fares

  • Cancelled within 24 hours of booking, full refund.
  • Cancelled after 24 hours, no dollar refund, 75 percent voucher refund.
  • No refund if not cancelled before departure.

Value Fares: Coach and Acela business class

  • Cancelled eight days or more before departure, full refund.
  • Cancelled after eight days, no dollar refund, 75 percent voucher refund.
  • No refund if not cancelled before departure

Flexible Fares

  • Fully refundable, even after departure

Non-Acela Business Fares and Acela First Class

  • Fully refundable any time before departure
  • No refund if not cancelled before departure.

Sleeper Accommodations

  • Cancelled within 24 hours, full refund
  • Cancelled 15 days or more before departure
  • Cancelled after 15 days, no dollar refund, 75 percent voucher refund
  • No refund if not cancelled before departure

Additional rules for loyalty award tickets, multi-ride tickets, and multi-class tickets are posted on Amtrak’s website.

Amtrak is also cutting back on year-round discounts. Earlier this year it eliminated the former 10 percent discounts for AAA and AARP members, and cut the senior discount from 15 percent to 10 percent. Now it’s eliminating the 15 percent discount for members of Veterans Advantage.

Making Amtrak more like an airline: What could go wrong?

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

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