Advice on ticket refunds

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Conductor
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In April this year we booked two sets of sleeper reservations from LAX to EMY + EMY to CHI in time to arrive for the Gathering should it happen. We have friends just north of Chicago too, very good reasons to make this journey if possible.

We also have hotels booked but on easy cancellation terms, no problem there.

The up to date tid bits of information coming out of the US government are that there will be no relaxing of the travel ban for people coming from the UK or the EU in the near future.

The tickets were bought on these conditions - "Fee waivers: Amtrak is waiving all change fees for reservations made by September 6, 2021." This date is now only 5 weeks away and it's concentrating our minds on what plans we should make, we are starting to consider cancelling the tickets and asking for refunds.

The booking conditon is 'Fee waiver', not refund. Are refunds probable under the statement that we are not allowed into the US due to Covid?

Are there any other ways to approach this situation? A credit note would probably not work as after October we are pretty busy for 12 months preparing for a longer different type of US trip.

We fully realised that this would be a small gamble buying tickets that far out, but with the Fee waiver statement I thought we would be covered. Now on second thoughts maybe not?

Any help, suggestions or opinions appreciated.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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In April this year we booked two sets of sleeper reservations from LAX to EMY + EMY to CHI in time to arrive for the Gathering should it happen. We have friends just north of Chicago too, very good reasons to make this journey if possible.

We also have hotels booked but on easy cancellation terms, no problem there.

The up to date tid bits of information coming out of the US government are that there will be no relaxing of the travel ban for people coming from the UK or the EU in the near future.

The tickets were bought on these conditions - "Fee waivers: Amtrak is waiving all change fees for reservations made by September 6, 2021." This date is now only 5 weeks away and it's concentrating our minds on what plans we should make, we are starting to consider cancelling the tickets and asking for refunds.

The booking conditon is 'Fee waiver', not refund. Are refunds probable under the statement that we are not allowed into the US due to Covid?

Are there any other ways to approach this situation? A credit note would probably not work as after October we are pretty busy for 12 months preparing for a longer different type of US trip.

We fully realised that this would be a small gamble buying tickets that far out, but with the Fee waiver statement I thought we would be covered. Now on second thoughts maybe not?

Any help, suggestions or opinions appreciated.
Since you can call for Free on Skype Jaime ( also, isn't there an International Toll Free Number for Amtrak?) I would Call ( the Call Centers are Short Staffed and Waits are Long) after you figured out the Time differences involved, and get Official Information.( I don't think any of us really know the answer right now!)

I don't want to be Chickem Little, but right now things are not Looking good for the US in regards to COVID, and Scientists and Medical Experts are starting to predict that we'll be back to where we were last Winter by Octobe, if everyone doesn't get Vaccinated and Wear Masks, till we can get a handle on this Delta Variant that's spreading like wildfire!

Honestly, if you can get your money refunded, I'd do that if I was in your place!

Best to you and Rosie,😘 Stay Safe, and hope to see yall again soon along the Avenue! 😷 Jim
 

AmtrakBlue

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Note that it applies to reservations made by Sept 6. You don’t have to cancel by Sept 6.
 
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Oreius

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As of now, I’m on the Starlight for 9/15. I booked this trip way back in January. I am recovering from my 4th lumbar spinal surgery, but should be able to make it. But if I need to cancel, I should be able to get all my AGR points and money back? I also booked my three Florida trips before September 6. So, those would be covered as well? I did purchase the Allianz insurance for the three Florida trips to prevent losing points.
 

me_little_me

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As of now, I’m on the Starlight for 9/15. I booked this trip way back in January. I am recovering from my 4th lumbar spinal surgery, but should be able to make it. But if I need to cancel, I should be able to get all my AGR points and money back? I also booked my three Florida trips before September 6. So, those would be covered as well? I did purchase the Allianz insurance for the three Florida trips to prevent losing points.
Weren't the cancellation rules better when you made reservations in January?

Are you also coming from the UK? It's not clear if you are worried about Covid entry restrictions or your back issues or just Covid restrictions in general or the bridge closing.

You are asking your question in a thread about V V's specific issues. If yours are different, better to either describe better what your issues are or use a new thread.
 

greatwestern

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94
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Bristol England
In April this year we booked two sets of sleeper reservations from LAX to EMY + EMY to CHI in time to arrive for the Gathering should it happen. We have friends just north of Chicago too, very good reasons to make this journey if possible.

We also have hotels booked but on easy cancellation terms, no problem there.

The up to date tid bits of information coming out of the US government are that there will be no relaxing of the travel ban for people coming from the UK or the EU in the near future.

The tickets were bought on these conditions - "Fee waivers: Amtrak is waiving all change fees for reservations made by September 6, 2021." This date is now only 5 weeks away and it's concentrating our minds on what plans we should make, we are starting to consider cancelling the tickets and asking for refunds.

The booking conditon is 'Fee waiver', not refund. Are refunds probable under the statement that we are not allowed into the US due to Covid?

Are there any other ways to approach this situation? A credit note would probably not work as after October we are pretty busy for 12 months preparing for a longer different type of US trip.

We fully realised that this would be a small gamble buying tickets that far out, but with the Fee waiver statement I thought we would be covered. Now on second thoughts maybe not?

Any help, suggestions or opinions appreciated.
Looks like at worst you would suffer a 25% charge if cancelled at least 15 days out.

"Class of Service: Sleeper Accommodations

Refunds: Full refund to original form of payment with no fees if canceled 121 days or more before departure. Refund to original form of payment with 25% fee charged if canceled 120 to 15 days before departure. Within 14 days of departure, only refundable to non-refundable eVoucher with a 25% cancellation fee.
No change fee"

This being quoted from Amtrak Train Ticket Refund and Cancellation Policy.

I remember looking at these conditions earlier this year when I was thinking of booking and I don't think they were any more advantageous then. (I did not book anything, not because of the risk in these refund conditions but because of the total uncertainty as to when tourist travel to the USA might be opened up).
 
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v v

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Since you can call for Free on Skype Jaime ( also, isn't there an International Toll Free Number for Amtrak?) I would Call ( the Call Centers are Short Staffed and Waits are Long) after you figured out the Time differences involved, and get Official Information.( I don't think any of us really know the answer right now!)

I don't want to be Chickem Little, but right now things are not Looking good for the US in regards to COVID, and Scientists and Medical Experts are starting to predict that we'll be back to where we were last Winter by Octobe, if everyone doesn't get Vaccinated and Wear Masks, till we can get a handle on this Delta Variant that's spreading like wildfire!

Honestly, if you can get your money refunded, I'd do that if I was in your place!

Best to you and Rosie,😘 Stay Safe, and hope to see yall again soon along the Avenue! 😷 Jim
I'll PM you later Jim, you are caring as usual.
 

v v

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Looks like at worst you would suffer a 25% charge if cancelled at least 15 days out.

"Class of Service: Sleeper Accommodations

Refunds: Full refund to original form of payment with no fees if canceled 121 days or more before departure. Refund to original form of payment with 25% fee charged if canceled 120 to 15 days before departure. Within 14 days of departure, only refundable to non-refundable eVoucher with a 25% cancellation fee.
No change fee"

This being quoted from Amtrak Train Ticket Refund and Cancellation Policy.

I remember looking at these conditions earlier this year when I was thinking of booking and I don't think they were any more advantageous then. (I did not book anything, not because of the risk in these refund conditions but because of the total uncertainty as to when tourist travel to the USA might be opened up).
Thank you very much, that is very useful information. I made the bookings on the back of the US vaccine roll out success in the early part of the year but accepting the gamble too. If the US decides they are not ready for European touriusm by October we'll accept that without complaint.

Being great believers that vaccination changes the odds dramatically in favour of the individual, and providing we protect others as much as we would protect ourselves we are now trying to regain a part of normal life. As we get older there is less time to try to achieve all our hopes and dreams, so we'll try to find ways to make that work in acceptable ways.

ps: We had to travel to England (from a place in France where there are very few people and almost no interaction with others) twice in the last 6 weeks. The confidence in the country re people mixing providing they were tested and fully vaccinated almost shocked us. Maybe that's the next step for everywhere accepting that there is some risk and but it's a much smaller percentage now in those circumstances?
 
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me_little_me

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My experience is that at Customer Relations, they can be very flexible about cancellations. We cancelled our June trip because of the failure of Amtrak to have traditional meals back. When I called, I told them that my reservation said we would have them and an email received from Amtrak on the same day as they announced the delay in response to my inquiry assured me it was still traditional dining. I was prepared for a lot of arguing, demanding a supervisor, writing letters and asking for the procedure to file for arbitration and had all the screenshots and emails ready but the agent immediately said "No problem. We'll credit the credit card you used". Within a few days, I had the money back on my card. I did not need to do any of those things.

I have heard of those who had to cancel trips in the past because of unexpected serious medical issues and who could not just rebook a different date because they were not sure they would ever be taking any kind of trip anywhere again and the agent got them a full refund. Hopefully, nobody has ever tried to scam Amtrak with a fake story as this is one awesome attitude by Amtrak that is not often seen anywhere unless one is lucky enough to get big publicity which gets other companies to show humanity because it's good for public relations and not just because it's the right thing to do.

There! I've said something nice about Amtrak as a company.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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My experience is that at Customer Relations, they can be very flexible about cancellations. We cancelled our June trip because of the failure of Amtrak to have traditional meals back. When I called, I told them that my reservation said we would have them and an email received from Amtrak on the same day as they announced the delay in response to my inquiry assured me it was still traditional dining. I was prepared for a lot of arguing, demanding a supervisor, writing letters and asking for the procedure to file for arbitration and had all the screenshots and emails ready but the agent immediately said "No problem. We'll credit the credit card you used". Within a few days, I had the money back on my card. I did not need to do any of those things.

I have heard of those who had to cancel trips in the past because of unexpected serious medical issues and who could not just rebook a different date because they were not sure they would ever be taking any kind of trip anywhere again and the agent got them a full refund. Hopefully, nobody has ever tried to scam Amtrak with a fake story as this is one awesome attitude by Amtrak that is not often seen anywhere unless one is lucky enough to get big publicity which gets other companies to show humanity because it's good for public relations and not just because it's the right thing to do.

There! I've said something nice about Amtrak as a company.
I've had the same Positive experience twice, ( with a Combo of AGR/ CR Agents since my trips were paid for with Points and Dollars)once when a Medical Condition forced me to Cancel my trip to the Denver Gathering, and last year when COVID prevented us from having the San Diego Gathering,and my Tour of the West and Northwest had to be Cancelled.
 

Manny T

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Is it possible to get a refund in person, by going to an Amtrak station where there is an agent on duty and presenting the ticket and giving him or her the reason for needing to cancel? Has anyone done this?

I'm asking because the wait times on the phone are so long, and when I tried the call back option, Amtrak did call back, but instead of getting an agent, I was placed in the queue again.
 

Brian Battuello

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Excellent question. The only time I've seen station agents is in the 30 minutes before a major train pulls out, and they are dealing with luggage and all kinds of odd questions. I have no idea what they are like during hours when the station is staffed but nothing is happening. Must be pretty dull.
 

me_little_me

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Is it possible to get a refund in person, by going to an Amtrak station where there is an agent on duty and presenting the ticket and giving him or her the reason for needing to cancel? Has anyone done this?

I'm asking because the wait times on the phone are so long, and when I tried the call back option, Amtrak did call back, but instead of getting an agent, I was placed in the queue again.
Call early (when the call center opens or late, close to closing. I find the agents are most helpful in the evening. Haven't tried early morning.

As to being put in the queue when getting a callback, did you wait or just give up? It should be that when you get a callback, you are at the front, not the back, of the queue.
 

Bob Dylan

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Re in person refunds, back a few years I found a huge difference between station agents. I used to save up issues for the Van Nuys station because the agent there knew how to work the computer to accomplish anything. That may no longer be true.
Same thing here in Austin, we have really great Agents!
 

Amtrakfflyer

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Doctors note equals full refund, no penalty. One of the few customer friendly policies Amtrak has. Whether a reservations agent would actually have you fax/email it in or bring it to the station. I can guarantee your results will vary. I’d just call and state very clearly my Dr says I can’t travel due to CoVid concerns and see where the conversation goes.
 
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