Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak fares’

Amtrak Offers NEC Bargain Fares

July 11, 2020

Amtrak said this week that it is offering what it termed its “lowest fares of the year” for Northeast Corridor travel.

A news release said passengers could save up to 30 percent by booking the ongoing Saver Fares already offered on Acela and Northeast Regional trains with the special offer before July 31 for travel through Sept. 12.

The fares have no blackout dates and exchanges and refunds will be processed upon customer request through Aug. 31.

Travel Downturn Keeping Some Amtrak Fares Lower

March 17, 2020

Aside from fewer people traveling, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Amtrak has meant greater availability of fares at lower levels, an analysis by Trains magazine has found.

The analysis found that coach and sleeping car fares are at their lowest price level on most routes.

Amtrak fares vary depending on demand on a given day. The higher the demand the more likely that fares are to be higher.

Trains reported that passengers who believe they will be able to travel during historic busy travel periods will find sleeping car fares higher than what can be had now but still lower than what those fares would be under normal circumstances when sleeping car rooms are often sold out.

A roomette this summer on the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited can be had for $310, which matches the current adult roomette fare.

On the Chicago-New York Cardinal, roomettes are selling for $595 whereas last year during the summer they sold for $900.

The Cardinal has long had less sleeping car space than other eastern long-distance trains and thus its sleeping car fares have tended to be higher and space is harder to get.

Nos. 50 and 51 typically operate with one Viewliner sleeper although in recent weeks sleeping car space on the route has increased slightly with the assignment of a Viewliner baggage-dormitory car to the train.

The Trains analysis spot check found that a sleeping car accommodation on the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief can be had this summer for $740 whereas it current is priced at $604.

The respective fares for the California Zephyr (Chicago-Emeryville, California) are $685 for the summer versus $547 now and for the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder they are $900 versus $513 now.

The COVID-19 has resulted in sleeping car accommodations being sold out northbound on the Auto Train through March 23 whereas southbound plenty of space is available.

When demand for the Auto Train is strong Amtrak has the option of expanding sleeping car consists from seven cars to eight.

The Auto Train equipment pool includes Amtrak’s only two Superliner sleepers that have only bedrooms on the upper level.

Amtrak to Change Fare Rules March 1

February 24, 2020

Amtrak plans to make some of its most popular discounted tickets non-changeable and non-refundable on March 1.

The changes to the terms of the “saver” tickets mirror the rules applied to discounted airline fares.

Amtrak also plans to tighten the rules on standard fare tickets at the same time.

Currently, passengers buying “saver” tickets have some flexibility to change their travel plans and to get a refund if they cancel their trip.

Amtrak Executive Vice President Roger Harris, who is the carrier’s chief marketing and revenue officer, said tightening the rules for discounted tickets is a trade-off that will allow the railroad to make “the very lowest fares even lower.”

But no longer will passengers be able to get refunds for discounted tickets. “In other words, once you buy it, you use it or you lose it,” Harris said.

The changes in the fare rules had been expected after Business Insider last December published a leaked internal Amtrak memo describing plans for fare restrictions.

This isn’t the first time that Amtrak has cracked down on refunds and cancellations.

The carrier two years began imposing a 25 percent cancellation penalty.

Ticket change penalties are standard in the airline industry and in 2018 the airlines raked in $2.7 billion in reservation-change and cancellation.

Amtrak expected to gain $10 million dollars a year from the rule changes.

The new fare rules that become effective next month will affect “saver” and “value” tickets by establishing a 24-hour window for passengers to change their travel plans once ticketed.

After 24 hours, the ticket will become nonrefundable, and no changes or upgrades will be allowed.

Currently rules allow discounted tickets to be changed at any time before departure subject to a 25 percent cancellation fee.

Standard and value fares will come with a 25 percent penalty 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.

Standard fares currently are fully refundable if canceled eight days or more before departure. If canceled less than eight days before departure, the 25 percent cancellation fee applies.

Flexible, business and Acela First-Class Premium tickets are still refundable up to the moment of departures and changes can be made at any time.

Amtrak said that in the wake of its fare rule changes it will promote even more discounted fares for travel aboard its Acela and long-distance trains.

One area in which Amtrak continues to distinguish itself from the airlines is with add-on fees.

The carrier said it has no plans to charge passenger fees for baggage.

But Harris said that doesn’t mean it will never impose such fees.

“Frankly, we should review it,” he said. “But I don’t think we’re going to be like an airline that suddenly says give me $30 for your bag. I don’t think that’s the value proposition that we offer.”

Amtrak allows passengers two personal items and two carry-ons, plus two checked bags free.

BOGO Tickets Being Offered from Jefferson City

January 8, 2020

In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation Amtrak is offering a buy one, get one fare sale for travel to and from Jefferson City, Missouri.

For each adult coach ticket purchased through Feb. 29 using discount code V716, a second adult traveling on the same itinerary can travel free of charge aboard one of the Missouri River Runner trains.

The offer is valid for adult coach seats only and no additional discounts can be applied.

All sales are final and no upgrade to business class is permitted.

Exchanges are permitted within the ticket validity period subject to a 25 percent cancellation fee. For more information, including other terms and conditions, visit Amtrak.com.

Amtrak said in a news release that the BOGO tickets are to thank the community for its patience while local, state and Amtrak officials worked to provide a temporary station after the regular station was closed to due to structural defects.

The temporary station is located along the boarding platform a half-block west of the regular Amtrak station, which closed last October.

The Missouri River Runner trains are funded by MoDOT. Trains 311, 313, 314 and 316 operate daily between St. Louis and Kansas City.

Leaked Memo Suggests Amtrak May Impose Restrictions in Effort to Boost Fare Revenue on Cheapest Tickets

December 14, 2019

A news report on Friday cited a leaked Amtrak internal memorandum that listed changes the passenger carrier is considering making in early 2020 to boost revenue.

These include making its lowest fares nonrefundable and nonchangeable. Other fares would be subject to a 25 percent cancellation fee and a 15 percent change fee within 14 days of travel.

The changes are similar to those that have been standard in the airline industry for several years.

A report by Business Insider, a website specializing in American business and financial news, said Amtrak is taking another page out of the airline revenue playbook by seeking to increase ancillary revenue and create more fare segmentation.

Airlines earn ancillary revenue by charging fees for such things as seat assignments and checked baggage.

The Business Insider report framed the proposed changes as part of an ongoing drive by Amtrak to turn a profit for the first time in its 48 year history.

The changes could come as soon as January although no change fees for tickets are currently shown in Amtrak’s published fare guide.

The memorandum proposed making Amtrak’s saver fares nonrefundable and nonchangeable 24 hours after purchase.

Under Amtrak’s current policies, saver fares are fully refundable up to eight days before departure. Holders of the fare can cancel their trips and receive a voucher worth 75 percent of the fare paid.

“Value” fares would be subject to a 25 percent cancellation fee and 15 percent change fee within 14 days of departure.

Amtrak does not currently impose change fees for value fares.

The Business Insider account noted that Amtrak President Richard Anderson is a former airline CEO and that several of the rail passenger carrier’s top executives also worked in the airline industry.

The report said Anderson earlier this year has said that small changes in fare structures have already helped Amtrak increase revenue.

“Pricing and revenue management was thought of like some department over in another building and we didn’t pay much attention to it,” Anderson said in September. “We’ve been able to bring some commercial instincts in and make some basic investments in revenue management technology. Nothing fancy, just basic, good, RM [revenue management] practices.”

Amtrak Launches Coach Travel Flash Sale

November 5, 2019

Amtrak has launched a flash sale for coach travel between Nov. 11 and 24, offering savings up to 60 percent off regular coach fares.

The sale began on Nov. 5 and extends through Nov. 7.

In a news release, Amtrak said passengers can choose from 15 routes to travel without black-out dates.

Examples of the fares include Chicago-New Orleans, $49, New York-Miami, $59, Washington-Cleveland, $29; Atlanta-New York, $59; Dallas-St. Louis, $39, Los Angeles-Albuquerque, $29 and Seattle- Sacramento, $39.

The offer is valid for adult coach seats only and no additional discounts can be applied. All sales are final and no upgrades will be allowed.

Once purchased, tickets are non-refundable and exchanges are permitted within the ticket validity period for a 25 percent cancellation fee applies.

Amtrak 50% Off Sale Ends Today

August 17, 2019

Amtrak is holding a 50 percent off sale that ends today for travel during September.

The discounted fares are good for Acela Express business class and most state-support trains except the Pennsylvanian, Hiawathas, Keystones, Capitol Corridor and Pacific Surfliner services.

Tickets must be purchased at http://www.amtrak.com.

There are no blackout dates but not all trains have the discount on any given day. Some long distance trains, for example, might not offer the discounted fare on certain September dates.

No special codes are required to buy a ticket.

Tickets are non-refundable and may not be combined with other discount. Exchanges are allowed but subject to a 25 percent fee.

Amtrak also has announced an expanded “share fares” pricing structure that increased from four the six the number of passengers who can travel together on a deeply-discounted ticket.

The first traveler pays full fare, the second ticket is 15 percent off, the third is 60 percent off, and passengers four through six get a 70 percent discount.

This promotion, booked online with promo code V29, is only available on long-distance trains and Northeast Regionals. It is an ongoing fare offering and is subject to blackout dates.

Amtrak Offering 40% Off Coach Fares

July 11, 2019

Amtrak has announced a 40 percent sale on coach fares, but beware that although it is being billed as having no black dates and covering holiday periods, the fares are not available on certain trains and dates.

The fares are good for travel between Aug. 1, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020, and tickets must be purchased by July 12.

Travel in the Northeast Corridor is not included in the fare sale, which Amtrak has labeled “Amtrak Across America.”

No special booking codes are required. Amtrak said all fares “will be automatically discounted from the standard fare price.”

The fares work best for those able to make travel plans well in advance. There is a 25 percent cancellation penalty if you later cancel your trip and seek a refund.

The availability of discount fares at Amtrak is based on inventory allocation.

Amtrak Executive Vice President Roger Harris, who is the carrier’s  chief marketing and commercial officer, told Trains magazine that Amtrak calculates booking curves that show how tickets are purchased over time on every day and for every train.

Harris told the magazine that Amtrak plans its revenue strategy around what has historically been likely to transpire.

Amtrak’s current management doesn’t like blackout periods because “you don’t want to lose the ability to sell on weak demand days.”

Reduced Fare Companion Tickets offered on Adirondack

July 2, 2019

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the New York-Montreal Adirondack, Amtrak is offering a 45 percent off companion ticket with the purchase of a full fare adult ticket.

In a news release, Amtrak said no special purchase or ticket is required, but the Amtrak ticket is required to be purchased within 10 days of the travel period.

Passengers who show their Amtrak ticket to or from Ticonderoga, New York (station code FTC) at Fort Ticonderoga’s ticket office throughout July and August will receive free access to the historic fort, which dates to the 18th century.

Only one free Fort Ticonderoga ticket will be offered for one Amtrak Adirondack ticket. The offer is subject to restrictions, blackouts and refund rules that apply to the type of fare purchased. Other terms and conditions may apply.

Kids Ride Free on Hiawatha Trains on Weekends

June 6, 2019

Amtrak has launched a kids ride free program for its Hiawatha Service trains.

One child between the ages of 2 and 12 can ride at no cost when accompanied by a full-fare paying adult on Firdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The deal is valid through Sept. 8 and passengers should use fare code V518 when booking.

Amtrak operates 14 roundtrips on weekends between Chicago and Milwaukee.

The carrier is also offering A 15 percent discount for students traveling in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The fare code for this discount is V307 and the offer expires on March 31, 2020.