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Large increase in Empire Builder fares?

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20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
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Jan 26, 2020
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706
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Oregon Coast
This is known as a Pack, or "AP",aka Additional Profit. Plenty of Credit Cards cover this, check with your Card Issuer and if yours doesnt, get a better Card!
But wait... the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard... the expensive version that I have... offers no trip protection on Amtrak... or did I miss something in the fine print? And all that aside, I've been told when experiencing connection problems in 'the good old days' that Amtrak is only responsible from getting you from point 'A' to point 'B;' and technically they don't have to give you a sleeper on the next connecting train if one is not available.

That said, they almost always make some kind of accommodation when reaching the customer service line. Usually you get a travel credit voucher. But with reduced service it's almost certain that things will get much more difficult. :oops:
 

Sauve850

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
546
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
My thought is just wait... if prices go even higher then they are out of reach. If they don't go lower, they are still out of reach. When prices are out of reach... one should be mindful of financial responsibility. There are other places for that money! Also realize you are getting a much lowered level of quality of a product you are paying extravagantly much more for. Bottom line is this... how desperate are you and how better can you spend that money if you want to travel? Car trip has it's benefits and for much less than an overcharged rail fair in which the service may be poor, and in which you will be choking on the flex meals.

As I write this, I am mulling over cancelling my upcoming points trip which will yield a much lower standard of service than I've experience in the past. Guess I am just not that motivated!
My thought is just wait... if prices go even higher then they are out of reach. If they don't go lower, they are still out of reach. When prices are out of reach... one should be mindful of financial responsibility. There are other places for that money! Also realize you are getting a much lowered level of quality of a product you are paying extravagantly much more for. Bottom line is this... how desperate are you and how better can you spend that money if you want to travel? Car trip has it's benefits and for much less than an overcharged rail fair in which the service may be poor, and in which you will be choking on the flex meals.

As I write this, I am mulling over cancelling my upcoming points trip which will yield a much lower standard of service than I've experience in the past. Guess I am just not that motivated!
I think the prices on that particular trip will go down. If its within their reach go for it if not hop on a plane. Things arent like they were way back when and never will be. I try to be a forward thinker instead of looking backwards so I continue to write to Congress people and stay positive. Ill still ride the train for now. (which wont be till next summer so hopefully dining choices improve a lot ). Car road trips also can be great!
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
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Baltimore. MD
I recall that Amtrak served Douwe Egberts a few years ago but now I think they serve Folgers. On Acela, Amtrak serves Dunkin Donuts coffee. Corrections would be welcome.
Amtrak also serves Dunkin Donuts on the Northeast Regionals. And the Palmetto (see my travelogue of my trip to DC at the end of this past June). So I would guess that they serve Dunkin on the Carolinian, Pennsylvanian, and Vermonter, too. And probably the Empire Service as well.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
5
I was wondering how the 3 days would work. Before they just had trains going between SEA and CHI and back all the time. After change it will be TUE, THU, SAT heading east from SEA. And it looks like I need to travel before 4/1/21 before the roomette fare increase.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,291
I did some checking and it looks like Sleeper prices increase on April 1.

3/30/21. $723 roomette
4/1/2012. $1270 roomette
There's an old song that goes ♫What a difference a day makes,. . .♪ and so it is with Amtrak fares. Not only is the 4/1/21 Roomette fare from SEA to CHI back down to low bucket ($527 for one adult) it remains at that lowest possible price for 8 weeks until 5/27/21 when it goes up a bucket to $651, then drops back down to $527 the next couple of trips.

With Amtrak fares, you can't always sometimes tell what you least expect to happen the most!
 

20th Century Rider

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Joined
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Messages
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Oregon Coast
There's an old song that goes ♫What a difference a day makes,. . .♪ and so it is with Amtrak fares. Not only is the 4/1/21 Roomette fare from SEA to CHI back down to low bucket ($527 for one adult) it remains at that lowest possible price for 8 weeks until 5/27/21 when it goes up a bucket to $651, then drops back down to $527 the next couple of trips.

With Amtrak fares, you can't always sometimes tell what you least expect to happen the most!
4/1/21 looks like an April Fools day joke... :oops:
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,291
There's nothing at all unusual about fares going up and then back down. Many think once a fare goes up it stays up. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
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Jan 15, 2012
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LAX
It "pays" to keep checking the fares!
Booked a SEA>MSP bedroom for a particular date next July - the fare slightly more than $2200!
I booked anyway because it was before August 31 and I knew could change or cancel without penalty (the policy in effect at the time).
This morning, I did a check on Amtrak.com for the exact same train, day and accommodations...the fare was now just below $1100!
Got on the phone and the agent quickly "modified" the reservation at the lower fare. More than 42,000 points back into my Wife's AGR account.
John
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
179
It "pays" to keep checking the fares!
Booked a SEA>MSP bedroom for a particular date next July - the fare slightly more than $2200!
I booked anyway because it was before August 31 and I knew could change or cancel without penalty (the policy in effect at the time).
This morning, I did a check on Amtrak.com for the exact same train, day and accommodations...the fare was now just below $1100!
Got on the phone and the agent quickly "modified" the reservation at the lower fare. More than 42,000 points back into my Wife's AGR account.
John
I thought it was SOP at Amtrak to give a refund upon request if fares decrease. Am I mistaken?
 

FrensicPic

Conductor
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Messages
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I thought it was SOP at Amtrak to give a refund upon request if fares decrease. Am I mistaken?
You could be correct, I don't know. This is the first time I've had enough of a price drop that it was worth pursuing.
Beyond that, its nice having reservations that have no penalty for cancellation. I've already cancelled three earlier this year with no penalty and have several more this year and two next year that all fall under the no penalty provision.
 

Sauve850

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
546
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
It "pays" to keep checking the fares!
Booked a SEA>MSP bedroom for a particular date next July - the fare slightly more than $2200!
I booked anyway because it was before August 31 and I knew could change or cancel without penalty (the policy in effect at the time).
This morning, I did a check on Amtrak.com for the exact same train, day and accommodations...the fare was now just below $1100!
Got on the phone and the agent quickly "modified" the reservation at the lower fare. More than 42,000 points back into my Wife's AGR account.
John
Happens quite often. Glad to hear of the savings!
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
7
>>Last time I checked the "coffee" in the dining car was Douwe Egberts syrup like you'd find in a retirement home. Very consistent but nothing fresh about it. Has that changed? <<
Have never seen the syrup used. It's freshly brewed. The nice thing about sleepers getting dining room coffee is that it's freshly brewed many times during the day. The sleeper coffee was usually just once at 6 am.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,265
But wait... the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard... the expensive version that I have... offers no trip protection on Amtrak... or did I miss something in the fine print? And all that aside, I've been told when experiencing connection problems in 'the good old days' that Amtrak is only responsible from getting you from point 'A' to point 'B;' and technically they don't have to give you a sleeper on the next connecting train if one is not available.

That said, they almost always make some kind of accommodation when reaching the customer service line. Usually you get a travel credit voucher. But with reduced service it's almost certain that things will get much more difficult. :oops:
If Amtrak can't accommodate you for the class of service for which you paid, you are entitled to a refund for the difference. Of course, when you expect a BR and they train two days later has only coach available for a two night trip, that's no consolation.

As to protection, if you cancel then the regular rules would apply. Now you can cancel for full refund 24 hours ahead. Regular rules would involve penalties unless you cancel because the train is 2/1 hours late with 2 for LD and 1 for regional, if I remember right. Generally, even with penalties, you get much of your money back so Amtrak insurance is normally nt worth it for most people.

We still have not received an answer here as to what Amtrak does for you, given that you miss a connection. Guess someone will have to ask Amtrak. Hotel and food for two days? Bus ticket? airline ticket? Refund for unused portion and you get there at your own expense?
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
668
Location
MI
This has probably been discussed already, but are most of these connections still happening same day??
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
6
Good news! I was checking prices last night for the EB and roomettes have dropped to $772 from SEA to CHI all the way to August! Wonder why?
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,291
Why not? Or maybe that $1270 Roomette you reported seeing on 4/1/21 was caused by a cramp in the Amtrak whatyamacallit. :rolleyes:
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
668
Location
MI
The farther ahead in time you search, the more variation there seems to be in fares. If you can book months ahead and keep monitoring, some deals will come your way. Since I can't plan anything too far ahead, the silver lining is that the fares stay stable in my time frame.
EDIT; or they get sold out.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
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Texas
I recall that Amtrak served Douwe Egberts a few years ago but now I think they serve Folgers. On Acela, Amtrak serves Dunkin Donuts coffee. Corrections would be welcome.
Have never seen the syrup used. It's freshly brewed. The nice thing about sleepers getting dining room coffee is that it's freshly brewed many times during the day. The sleeper coffee was usually just once at 6 am.
Glad to hear they went back to drip again. After a series of poor quality syrup experiences I stopped ordering coffee in the diner and started bringing my own from the sleeper instead. That worked reasonably well until I found out they apparently stopped brewing coffee in the sleeper now.

I have never bought that ******** trip protection. Prices are high enough. If your train cannot make a connection Amtrak will accomodate you. That extra charge is outrageous and should be abolished.
It's been a long time since I read the fine print but my understanding is that Amtrak's T&C's allow them to simply refund your ticket price and wash their hands of any further responsiblity. If you're still at home when they cancel maybe that's not so bad, but if you're on the other side of the country and having to purchase a full fare walk-up plane ticket it could be a bit of a disaster.
 
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tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
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Location
Spring Creek, NC
I'm finding it hard to imagine why anyone would book an expensive sleeper ticket with a connection involving 3/week scheduling requiring a more-than-one-day layover if the connection is missed, plus Amtrak's recent history of so many missed connections, plus no clear commitment by Amtrak to find you a place to sleep while they've stuck you for multiple nights in Chicago or wherever, AND no assurance of a sleeper ticket when they finally do get you on another train. ☹
 

tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
130
Glad to hear they went back to drip again. After a series of poor quality syrup experiences I stopped ordering coffee in the diner and started bringing my own from the sleeper instead. That worked reasonably well until I found out they apparently stopped brewing coffee in the sleeper now.
I thought that Dougie Egbert syrup was supposed to make really tasty coffee?

Maybe it's not hot enough. Coffee has to be at the right temperature to taste good.
If they don't let you nuke it once in a while it can cool off.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
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May 24, 2010
Messages
11,544
Location
Texas
I thought that Dougie Egbert syrup was supposed to make really tasty coffee? Maybe it's not hot enough. Coffee has to be at the right temperature to taste good. If they don't let you nuke it once in a while it can cool off.
Others have told me they enjoy the taste of coffee syrup but to the best of my understanding they were referring to something they brewed themselves in their own home with their own beans. Commercial coffee syrup tastes like a stale mix of sweet and sour to me. It's the liquid equivalent of Nescafe powder. I prefer freshly brewed drip or espresso but I can make do with a percolator if nothing else is available. It's the syrups and powders where I draw the line.

 

tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
130
When I travel I like to have some of those Tasters Choice single serve packets. They have the Hazelnut but I prefer the House Columbian, or a mixture. Sometimes I add a Folgers, I think it is a darker roast.

It's much more tolerable when it's really hot. Once it starts to cool it's time to nuke it.
 
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