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Amtrak Announces Upcoming Changes to Fare Structure

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Victoria M. Walker

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Amtrak is making updates to its fare structure, which should hopefully make booking tickets less confusing.

Here’s what you need to know.

Amtrak To Eliminate Saver Fares

Amtrak says it will soon be reducing the number of fare categories from 3 to 2:

  • Flex tickets can be canceled for a full refund and can also be changed before departure without fees
  • Value tickets will be priced lower than Flex, and while they will not allow changes, you will receive a 75% refund if you cancel

According to the rail company, Flex fares will often lower prices than the current flexible fares offered. Amtrak will occasionally offer sales at a more significant discount. However, these fares will be non-changeable, and passengers will receive a 50% refund if the sale ticket is canceled.

As a result, Saver fares — the lowest available fares that require advance purchase — will be eliminated.

These changes will go into effect later this fall, Amtrak says.

Amtrak coach seating
Image Credit: Amtrak

“This streamlined fare structure with more affordable and flexible fares is part of Amtrak’s continued commitment to upgrading the customer experience at every step along their journey,” said Amtrak President Roger Harris.

Perhaps one of the most notable changes is that refunds will now be processed back to your original point of purchase rather than in an eVoucher. Amtrak tickets have notoriously been challenging to refund, and it’s not been easy to recoup your money back to your credit card if your travel plans change.

Now, the company says travelers will receive a full refund to their original form of payment if changed or canceled within 24 hours of purchase.

Hot Tip:

Check out our guide on the best ways to book cheap Amtrak tickets!

Other Amtrak Changes

This isn’t Amtrak’s only change regarding ticket prices this year.

In March, Amtrak announced the “Night Owl” program, which offers tickets between $5 and $20 each way (depending on route). It was initially only available on routes between New York’s Penn Station and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station but has since been expanded to Boston.

These Night Owl fares require you to travel during off-peak hours between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. However, note that these tickets are only available in Coach class on the Northeast Regional — not in business class and not on the Acela.

Final Thoughts

This is positive news from Amtrak, which is simplifying its fare structure. While the rail company is eliminating the popular Saver fares, it is introducing fares where you can get a refund if your travel plans change, a much-appreciated update from the current offerings.

Victoria M. Walker's image

About Victoria M. Walker

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.

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