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"Call for price"?

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lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
960
If it says call for price try the mobile app rather than the main website. Usually those show up on there.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,618
Location
Texas
Ironhorseman, it probably means that your trip is at a popular time and Amtrak doesn't want to advertise that they are going to charge a premium points price for points users. For example charge double points over a holiday weekend.
What would such a theory be based upon? That customers would rather see a vague detour sign than actionable information? That customers would prefer to hear bad news only after having to jump through Julie's maze of fake assistance? Roughly 99% of businesses are doing everything they can to reduce live assistance call volume but for Amtrak it's a good thing to shove even more people into the phone queues for holiday travel? To me this looks more like a interface problem or resource exhaustion issue and the "call for pricing" is a merely catchall recovery statement.
 
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the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
It is definitely a “connection” issue. If there is a connection, you get “call for price”.

An example is CHI-LAX will give you a point total, but CHI-LAX-SAN says “call for price”. Even something like CHI-LAX on 421 will give a point amount, but CHI-SAT-LAX on 21 connecting to 1 says “call for price’.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
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Messages
11,618
Location
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It is not a theory, but a fact from my own personal experience trying to use points for a Monday holiday booking .
I'm just struggling to understand the original claim. That refusing to 'advertise' points costs and requiring people to call for pricing somehow helps Amtrak? How did it help Amtrak in your personal experience and what did Amtrak gain from this course of action? As Dave states above, most of the evidence provided so far seems to point to an issue with pricing train connections rather than being limited to trains running on or near holidays.
 
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Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
161
This has been happening to me for the last few months. I think it's deliberate to discourage us from using Rewards points. After all Amtrak management have made it clear they don't like long haul trains.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
820
Location
QB 101
This has been happening to me for the last few months. I think it's deliberate to discourage us from using Rewards points. After all Amtrak management have made it clear they don't like long haul trains.
Perhaps management realizes that's where trips on points results in the biggest loss of real dollars. This coming April, I've got 9 nights in a roomette booked on points which translates to about $2500 in revenue that Amtrak will not get. On the Coast Starlight, there's only 60-70 rooms available (2.5-3.5 Superliners), so having 2 or 3 of them paid with points is a big percentage of sleeper income 'hit'. Compare that to using points for regional trains where even 5 seats out of 400 or so are paid for with points. The percentage of revenue loss is quite minimal. So, making it more difficult to book LD trains - especially connecting trains - makes sense. Obviously, Anderson et al is following the 'airline' methodology of booking trips with 'miles' more difficult to maximize per-plane revenue.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
I can dispute that “airline theory”.

Yes it’s true that while it “costs” a certain number of FFM to fly from say Phoenix to Flagstaff, for the same number of FFM I can fly from Seattle to Miami! And using the same endpoints (say LA to NYC), I could fly nonstop between them, fly via Atlanta, fly via Chicago, or fly from LA to San Francisco then to Dallas then to Charlotte then to NYC. All those would cost the same amount of FFM!

Just checking, I found a flight from LA to Albany that connects in Fayetteville, AR and Charlotte, NC for the same “cost” in FFM as one connecting in only Chicago!
 
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oregon pioneer

Conductor
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
2,272
Location
near Seneca, Oregon
I went online some time in December, and was able to see a trip with connecting trains in points. The next time I tried the very same trip, it was back to "Call for price."

I think it's simply technical incompetence.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
279
It is definitely a “connection” issue. If there is a connection, you get “call for price”.

An example is CHI-LAX will give you a point total, but CHI-LAX-SAN says “call for price”. Even something like CHI-LAX on 421 will give a point amount, but CHI-SAT-LAX on 21 connecting to 1 says “call for price’.
Yup. just booked that one in fact. Had to call, the agent said it was not an allowable booking that pops up (even on their screen) but she could manually force it. Points came out exactly to the dollars divided by .0289 as we all know. Actually a pretty good deal for summer travel. NYP to connect to the Capital Limited to the Eagle in roomettes for $852. Four nights on the train. 29,481 points before the 5% rebate. less than the zone system.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,848
Location
Ithaca, NY
Remember that Amtrak's system is layered on a 1970s system written in assembly language. Until they fully migrate from that, it is going to be *hard* to get it to handle connections properly.
 

Bex

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
215
Location
NEC
I found that sometimes "Call for price" on the website became an actual points quote on the app (I use Android FWIW). I really think it's a glitch in their software.
 
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