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Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
570
Location
San Francisco
I apologize for the length of this post. However, I think my experience with these latest series of cancellations – real and phony – is worth recounting because of the great help I received from AGR CSRs.

I had one real and one phony cancellation. They relate to my circle journey out of San Francisco coming up in April on the CZ, Cardinal, Crescent, SL, and CS, with scheduled stopovers in Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, and New Iberia. The Cardinal and SL have traditionally operated only three days a week. So, devising my itinerary around days of service and my own stopover schedule was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to put it all together in early January.

Then, late last Saturday morning, two emails were waiting for me notifying me that the CZ SFO-CHI and ATL-NOL Crescent legs had been cancelled, with a lot of convoluted instructions about how I could go about finding another train online or cancelling my reservation.

These cancellations were going to have a domino effect on my ongoing Amtrak connections, especially on the 3-day-per-week Cardinal and SL, as well as hotel reservations and personal time with my extended family in Atlanta.

I dickered around online with five Amtrak routes and hotels in four cities for about three hours trying to see what I could put together, without making much headway. That’s when I decided to call AGR.

AGR has a call-back feature, so you don’t have to wait on the phone, and I kept noodling alternatives until the callback arrived about ninety minutes later. (It was Saturday, fewer CS staff than on weekdays.)

A wonderful lady, Patty, started investigating. She first assured me that the CZ leg had not in fact been cancelled, and she immediately sent me another e-ticket so that I could rest easy about that. I asked how that could have happened, and she said that either a computer or human glitch was sending cancellation notices to all customers on the CZ, no matter which day they were travelling, when the notices should have gone only to passengers on the cancelled train. She had been fielding calls all day about it.

She then told me that the Crescent leg had indeed been cancelled, due apparently to Amtrak’s decision to delay reinstating 7-day service on that route, which they had scheduled for the end of March when I made my original reservation. She got me the same sleeper accommodation for the next day at no price adjustment. (She knew Amtrak policy, and she also threw in 1,000 AGR points as compensation for the inconvenience. Nice touch!)

Being a day late to NOL meant I had to change my SL reservation to NIB. That meant I had to spend a couple of extra days in NOL, but I guess there are worse fates, and I was able to extend my hotel reservation using HHonors points. It also turned out that my $25 original fare to NIB was only $20 on this new train, so I received a $5 credit.

I then mentioned I would have to decide whether to cut short my NIB stayover or still try to explore Cajun country, which was one of the two main reasons I was taking this trip. My decision would affect which trains to take homeward. She urged me to take my time in deciding, and she assured me that not only would my ongoing roomette be guaranteed at the original fare, but also that if roomettes were sold out, I would be put in a bedroom with no price adjustment. She laughingly said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you home one way or another.”

After confirming that my NIB AirBnB could be altered, I called AGR back on Sunday. Another great lady, Gina, heard my story, then went silent for quite a while. I finally asked, “Are you still there?” She said that she was reading all the notes that Patty had put in my record. She then went to work and re-scheduled my SL and CS legs at the same accommodation and price.

So, I’m a very happy camper, in spite of Amtrak’s IT incompetencies. Thank goodness for AGR customer reps! IMO, even if you ride Amtrak very seldom, you should join AGR. Their CSOs tend to be much more responsive. The only downside is that they operate only from 8:00am to 8:00pm ET.

By the way, a good portion of my rail fare was paid for with the 50K sign-up and subsequent spending points on my AGR credit card. I took out the card precisely for this bucket trip.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,260
Location
Oregon Coast
I apologize for the length of this post. However, I think my experience with these latest series of cancellations – real and phony – is worth recounting because of the great help I received from AGR CSRs.

I had one real and one phony cancellation. They relate to my circle journey out of San Francisco coming up in April on the CZ, Cardinal, Crescent, SL, and CS, with scheduled stopovers in Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, and New Iberia. The Cardinal and SL have traditionally operated only three days a week. So, devising my itinerary around days of service and my own stopover schedule was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to put it all together in early January.

Then, late last Saturday morning, two emails were waiting for me notifying me that the CZ SFO-CHI and ATL-NOL Crescent legs had been cancelled, with a lot of convoluted instructions about how I could go about finding another train online or cancelling my reservation.

These cancellations were going to have a domino effect on my ongoing Amtrak connections, especially on the 3-day-per-week Cardinal and SL, as well as hotel reservations and personal time with my extended family in Atlanta.

I dickered around online with five Amtrak routes and hotels in four cities for about three hours trying to see what I could put together, without making much headway. That’s when I decided to call AGR.

AGR has a call-back feature, so you don’t have to wait on the phone, and I kept noodling alternatives until the callback arrived about ninety minutes later. (It was Saturday, fewer CS staff than on weekdays.)

A wonderful lady, Patty, started investigating. She first assured me that the CZ leg had not in fact been cancelled, and she immediately sent me another e-ticket so that I could rest easy about that. I asked how that could have happened, and she said that either a computer or human glitch was sending cancellation notices to all customers on the CZ, no matter which day they were travelling, when the notices should have gone only to passengers on the cancelled train. She had been fielding calls all day about it.

She then told me that the Crescent leg had indeed been cancelled, due apparently to Amtrak’s decision to delay reinstating 7-day service on that route, which they had scheduled for the end of March when I made my original reservation. She got me the same sleeper accommodation for the next day at no price adjustment. (She knew Amtrak policy, and she also threw in 1,000 AGR points as compensation for the inconvenience. Nice touch!)

Being a day late to NOL meant I had to change my SL reservation to NIB. That meant I had to spend a couple of extra days in NOL, but I guess there are worse fates, and I was able to extend my hotel reservation using HHonors points. It also turned out that my $25 original fare to NIB was only $20 on this new train, so I received a $5 credit.

I then mentioned I would have to decide whether to cut short my NIB stayover or still try to explore Cajun country, which was one of the two main reasons I was taking this trip. My decision would affect which trains to take homeward. She urged me to take my time in deciding, and she assured me that not only would my ongoing roomette be guaranteed at the original fare, but also that if roomettes were sold out, I would be put in a bedroom with no price adjustment. She laughingly said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you home one way or another.”

After confirming that my NIB AirBnB could be altered, I called AGR back on Sunday. Another great lady, Gina, heard my story, then went silent for quite a while. I finally asked, “Are you still there?” She said that she was reading all the notes that Patty had put in my record. She then went to work and re-scheduled my SL and CS legs at the same accommodation and price.

So, I’m a very happy camper, in spite of Amtrak’s IT incompetencies. Thank goodness for AGR customer reps! IMO, even if you ride Amtrak very seldom, you should join AGR. Their CSOs tend to be much more responsive. The only downside is that they operate only from 8:00am to 8:00pm ET.

By the way, a good portion of my rail fare was paid for with the 50K sign-up and subsequent spending points on my AGR credit card. I took out the card precisely for this bucket trip.
Oh my! AGR???? Are you talking about Amtrak Guest Rewards?

I am at the highest rung... after spending over $10,000 last year on Amtrak travel. I can't sign in cause there's something wrong with my number and after months of trying everything under the sun still can't sign into my account??? and can't ever get through. Working with Amtrak for me is like being in quicksand.

Amtrak Select Executive means 000... It's discriminatory.

They suggested I change my email address and my Amtrak number. Nothing seems to work... but the good thing about it is that they are very nice and say they are sorry. Great!!!

Anyway... it's all a matter of luck when dealing with IT technology that is defective. I have a quarter of a million points with AGR and top tier without the ability to get any service, communicate, or sign into the website.

If you're having better luck with them... good for you!

So am glad you are having so much good luck. Ya want my 251000 points? Under my account they are no good cause I cant even sigh in to use them.

Sorry to disagree with you. AGR? What's that???
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,019
Location
Baltimore. MD
What we seem to have here is one poster claiming an excellent customer service experience with AGR, whereas another claims the opposite. To truly judge the current state of AGR customer service, we would really need to have a larger number of customer service experiences to judge the overall quality of AGR customer service. I will say that although I avoid calling phone agents, the last time I had to do it with AGR, I didn't have to wait very long before I was talking with an actual person who could help me with the problem.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Austin Texas
Oh my! AGR???? Are you talking about Amtrak Guest Rewards?

I am at the highest rung... after spending over $10,000 last year on Amtrak travel. I can't sign in cause there's something wrong with my number and after months of trying everything under the sun still can't sign into my account??? and can't ever get through. Working with Amtrak for me is like being in quicksand.

Amtrak Select Executive means 000... It's discriminatory.

They suggested I change my email address and my Amtrak number. Nothing seems to work... but the good thing about it is that they are very nice and say they are sorry. Great!!!

Anyway... it's all a matter of luck when dealing with IT technology that is defective. I have a quarter of a million points with AGR and top tier without the ability to get any service, communicate, or sign into the website.

If you're having better luck with them... good for you!

So am glad you are having so much good luck. Ya want my 251000 points? Under my account they are no good cause I cant even sigh in to use them.

Sorry to disagree with you. AGR? What's that???
Have you called Customer Relations?( not Customer Service)

Call Julie @ 1-800-USA RAIL,ask for Agent, when you get a Real Person ask for Customer Relations, I've always found them to be most helpful and able to work out any problems with Amtrak professionally and cheerfully.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,260
Location
Oregon Coast
Have you called Customer Relations?( not Customer Service)

Call Julie @ 1-800-USA RAIL,ask for Agent, when you get a Real Person ask for Customer Relations, I've always found them to be most helpful and able to work out any problems with Amtrak professionally and cheerfully.
Thank you Jim... but it's been hard to get through at all the last few days with the derailment. Earlier I had reached customer relations for some kind of accommodation due to cancellation necessitating a reroute... and got a very polite 'I'm sorry we can't do that.' I know others have gotten the same 'polite' negatives.
 

SarahZ

Quality Control
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,421
Location
KAL
I apologize for the length of this post. However, I think my experience with these latest series of cancellations – real and phony – is worth recounting because of the great help I received from AGR CSRs.

I had one real and one phony cancellation. They relate to my circle journey out of San Francisco coming up in April on the CZ, Cardinal, Crescent, SL, and CS, with scheduled stopovers in Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, and New Iberia. The Cardinal and SL have traditionally operated only three days a week. So, devising my itinerary around days of service and my own stopover schedule was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to put it all together in early January.

Then, late last Saturday morning, two emails were waiting for me notifying me that the CZ SFO-CHI and ATL-NOL Crescent legs had been cancelled, with a lot of convoluted instructions about how I could go about finding another train online or cancelling my reservation.

These cancellations were going to have a domino effect on my ongoing Amtrak connections, especially on the 3-day-per-week Cardinal and SL, as well as hotel reservations and personal time with my extended family in Atlanta.

I dickered around online with five Amtrak routes and hotels in four cities for about three hours trying to see what I could put together, without making much headway. That’s when I decided to call AGR.

AGR has a call-back feature, so you don’t have to wait on the phone, and I kept noodling alternatives until the callback arrived about ninety minutes later. (It was Saturday, fewer CS staff than on weekdays.)

A wonderful lady, Patty, started investigating. She first assured me that the CZ leg had not in fact been cancelled, and she immediately sent me another e-ticket so that I could rest easy about that. I asked how that could have happened, and she said that either a computer or human glitch was sending cancellation notices to all customers on the CZ, no matter which day they were travelling, when the notices should have gone only to passengers on the cancelled train. She had been fielding calls all day about it.

She then told me that the Crescent leg had indeed been cancelled, due apparently to Amtrak’s decision to delay reinstating 7-day service on that route, which they had scheduled for the end of March when I made my original reservation. She got me the same sleeper accommodation for the next day at no price adjustment. (She knew Amtrak policy, and she also threw in 1,000 AGR points as compensation for the inconvenience. Nice touch!)

Being a day late to NOL meant I had to change my SL reservation to NIB. That meant I had to spend a couple of extra days in NOL, but I guess there are worse fates, and I was able to extend my hotel reservation using HHonors points. It also turned out that my $25 original fare to NIB was only $20 on this new train, so I received a $5 credit.

I then mentioned I would have to decide whether to cut short my NIB stayover or still try to explore Cajun country, which was one of the two main reasons I was taking this trip. My decision would affect which trains to take homeward. She urged me to take my time in deciding, and she assured me that not only would my ongoing roomette be guaranteed at the original fare, but also that if roomettes were sold out, I would be put in a bedroom with no price adjustment. She laughingly said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you home one way or another.”

After confirming that my NIB AirBnB could be altered, I called AGR back on Sunday. Another great lady, Gina, heard my story, then went silent for quite a while. I finally asked, “Are you still there?” She said that she was reading all the notes that Patty had put in my record. She then went to work and re-scheduled my SL and CS legs at the same accommodation and price.

So, I’m a very happy camper, in spite of Amtrak’s IT incompetencies. Thank goodness for AGR customer reps! IMO, even if you ride Amtrak very seldom, you should join AGR. Their CSOs tend to be much more responsive. The only downside is that they operate only from 8:00am to 8:00pm ET.

By the way, a good portion of my rail fare was paid for with the 50K sign-up and subsequent spending points on my AGR credit card. I took out the card precisely for this bucket trip.
Please send a note to Amtrak about this and include their names. CSRs love to hear from happy customers, and it will go in their annual review. :)
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Reading MA
I'm on the brink of canceling my Acela "Value Fare" tickets on my BOS-NYP and return trip. Amtrak states that fare has refundability options and I'm seeing that the Business class value fare is eligible for a full refund to original payment when canceling 15 days or more, which is the case, but when I go to cancel online the only option I get is a voucher. For a full refund, do I have to call AGR? Just curious because I'm not really sure whether to get a full refund or a voucher. IMO, a voucher isn't really a refund if that wasn't my original form of payment.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,260
Location
Oregon Coast
I'm on the brink of canceling my Acela "Value Fare" tickets on my BOS-NYP and return trip. Amtrak states that fare has refundability options and I'm seeing that the Business class value fare is eligible for a full refund to original payment when canceling 15 days or more, which is the case, but when I go to cancel online the only option I get is a voucher. For a full refund, do I have to call AGR? Just curious because I'm not really sure whether to get a full refund or a voucher. IMO, a voucher isn't really a refund if that wasn't my original form of payment.
According to the AMTRAK website you should be able to get the full value refunded to original form of payment 15 days or more before travel. Best to have this done directly with an agent. Money is always better than a voucher for same amount.


VALUE FARE CANCELLATIONS.png
 

pennyk

Amtrak Rider
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Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
14,199
Location
Orlando, FL
I had a neutral to poor experience with an AGR agent this morning. I phoned the SE number for the purchase of paying for a hold reservation and to see if I could get a better room on one of my legs. I was informed the hold would be 10 minutes (and it was less). The agent informed me that there was a B room available in a car that I presume will be a V2 and I asked to switch with my B room in a car that I presume will be a V1. The agent informed me that there would be an extra charge. Rather than argue with her, I decided to phone back, which I did. Unfortunately, I got the same agent and asked her to check with her supervisor. She returned after putting me on hold for a short while and told me that the supervisor said I could not switch rooms without paying more. I then asked to be connected to Customer Relations. The wait for Customer Relations was a short 10 minutes and my room was changed at no charge. I usually have very good luck with AGR agents, but today was an exception.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Austin Texas
I had a neutral to poor experience with an AGR agent this morning. I phoned the SE number for the purchase of paying for a hold reservation and to see if I could get a better room on one of my legs. I was informed the hold would be 10 minutes (and it was less). The agent informed me that there was a B room available in a car that I presume will be a V2 and I asked to switch with my B room in a car that I presume will be a V1. The agent informed me that there would be an extra charge. Rather than argue with her, I decided to phone back, which I did. Unfortunately, I got the same agent and asked her to check with her supervisor. She returned after putting me on hold for a short while and told me that the supervisor said I could not switch rooms without paying more. I then asked to be connected to Customer Relations. The wait for Customer Relations was a short 10 minutes and my room was changed at no charge. I usually have very good luck with AGR agents, but today was an exception.
They've got some New Agents @ AGR too, and it's Luck of the Draw as you know.

Like most of us, I've generally been very Happy with my dealings with AGR Agents through the years.😊
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,260
Location
Oregon Coast
I had a neutral to poor experience with an AGR agent this morning. I phoned the SE number for the purchase of paying for a hold reservation and to see if I could get a better room on one of my legs. I was informed the hold would be 10 minutes (and it was less). The agent informed me that there was a B room available in a car that I presume will be a V2 and I asked to switch with my B room in a car that I presume will be a V1. The agent informed me that there would be an extra charge. Rather than argue with her, I decided to phone back, which I did. Unfortunately, I got the same agent and asked her to check with her supervisor. She returned after putting me on hold for a short while and told me that the supervisor said I could not switch rooms without paying more. I then asked to be connected to Customer Relations. The wait for Customer Relations was a short 10 minutes and my room was changed at no charge. I usually have very good luck with AGR agents, but today was an exception.
They've got some New Agents @ AGR too, and it's Luck of the Draw as you know.

Like most of us, I've generally been very Happy with my dealings with AGR Agents through the years.😊
There is much inconsistency when calling in... even when connected to Customer Relations. Switching from one roomette to another in a different location of that same car or train... can change your fare... so they say... which makes absolutely no sense. So yes, like you say... call again or ask to talk with a supervisor. I guess the key is patience...
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,019
Location
Baltimore. MD
I had a bit of an issue with the redcap at South Station yesterday. For years, if I get to South Station early, the redcap holds by luggage on a cart (or actually locks it up inside the Metropolitan Lounge door) while I hang out in the Metropolitan Lounge (who wants to draga heavy suitcase up the stairs) or go out and get lunch. There has been no charge except a tip to the redcap when he takes me out to the train early.

This time, when I found the redcap, he was willing to hold my bags, but said there would be a $10 charge as if it were left luggage. There was no point in arguing with him, that seems to be the policy he was given. He gave me a luggage tag and everything, but he just put the bag behind the locked door of the lounge like they've always done. When the train was ready to board, there was no redcap anywhere in sight, but my bag was just sitting there, so I took it and walked out to the train by myself. Well, at least I saved myself the $5 tip. I got out there so early, there wasn't even a gate guard at the platform, not that it mattered, because there was an MBTA commuter train loading from the same platform, so I could have just walked up the platform, anyway.

I'm wondering whether the policy on storing luggage with redcaps has always involved at $10 charge, and it's just that over the years, the redcaps haven't bothered with it, but yesterday, I got a new hire who is actually trying to follow the rules. I've seen similar inconsistencies with skis as checked baggage. Some baggage folks insist on a $10 charge for the oversized item, whereas others just check them through with not charge.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,555
Location
Chicago
I had a neutral to poor experience with an AGR agent this morning. I phoned the SE number for the purchase of paying for a hold reservation and to see if I could get a better room on one of my legs. I was informed the hold would be 10 minutes (and it was less). The agent informed me that there was a B room available in a car that I presume will be a V2 and I asked to switch with my B room in a car that I presume will be a V1. The agent informed me that there would be an extra charge. Rather than argue with her, I decided to phone back, which I did. Unfortunately, I got the same agent and asked her to check with her supervisor. She returned after putting me on hold for a short while and told me that the supervisor said I could not switch rooms without paying more. I then asked to be connected to Customer Relations. The wait for Customer Relations was a short 10 minutes and my room was changed at no charge. I usually have very good luck with AGR agents, but today was an exception.

I wonder if her name was xxx. I had a similar experience where I called back and got xxx twice. She remembered me and scolded me on the second call. I waited a few days and called and got my room changed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jis

Chief Dispatcher
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I wonder if her name was xxx. I had a similar experience where I called back and got xxx twice. She remembered me and scolded me on the second call. I waited a few days and called and got my room changed.
I have learned never to discuss stuff with Amtrak agents who are pushing back. Mostly it becomes an ego trip thing. I just ask them to leave things exactly as they are and then call back later. Sometimes it takes several rounds of this cat and mouse game before I usually get what I want. As I have mentioned before I sometimes feel bad for the agents who are pushed into a situation thoroughly ill equipped to perform well. It is probably quite a thankless job for them, as they have to bear the brunt of the results of actions taken by a hopelessly incompetent management.
 

pennyk

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Orlando, FL
I wonder if her name was xxx. I had a similar experience where I called back and got xxx twice. She remembered me and scolded me on the second call. I waited a few days and called and got my room changed.
It was not xxx.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,555
Location
Chicago
I don't think she gave a phony name. She believed that she was correct that the rate would increase if I changed my room. When I got her the second time she started her name and I remembered it because I have a friend with that name I think poor training is the issue. Not attitude
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Austin Texas
I had a bit of an issue with the redcap at South Station yesterday. For years, if I get to South Station early, the redcap holds by luggage on a cart (or actually locks it up inside the Metropolitan Lounge door) while I hang out in the Metropolitan Lounge (who wants to draga heavy suitcase up the stairs) or go out and get lunch. There has been no charge except a tip to the redcap when he takes me out to the train early.

This time, when I found the redcap, he was willing to hold my bags, but said there would be a $10 charge as if it were left luggage. There was no point in arguing with him, that seems to be the policy he was given. He gave me a luggage tag and everything, but he just put the bag behind the locked door of the lounge like they've always done. When the train was ready to board, there was no redcap anywhere in sight, but my bag was just sitting there, so I took it and walked out to the train by myself. Well, at least I saved myself the $5 tip. I got out there so early, there wasn't even a gate guard at the platform, not that it mattered, because there was an MBTA commuter train loading from the same platform, so I could have just walked up the platform, anyway.

I'm wondering whether the policy on storing luggage with redcaps has always involved at $10 charge, and it's just that over the years, the redcaps haven't bothered with it, but yesterday, I got a new hire who is actually trying to follow the rules. I've seen similar inconsistencies with skis as checked baggage. Some baggage folks insist on a $10 charge for the oversized item, whereas others just check them through with not charge.
WOW😱, that's going to hurt Redcaps tips for sure!

I hope this is a one off occurrence, Nickel and Diming Passengers is an Airline SOP, but then consider who's been running Amtrak the past few years!🤬
 
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