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Questions about refunds when Amtrak cancels a train

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Eric in East County

Service Attendant
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Jan 20, 2016
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East San Diego County
Can those passengers who had bedrooms on the trains that Amtrak recently cancelled due to the weather request and expect to receive a full refund? What about those passengers with round trip tickets? (If Amtrak can’t get you to your destination, it can’t very well expect you to board a train there for the return trip.) Just curious.

Eric & Pat
 

me_little_me

Conductor
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Jul 16, 2010
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And ask what if your outgoing and return reservations have different numbers because you made them separately. Let us know.
 

oregon pioneer

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Feb 15, 2011
Messages
2,326
Location
near Seneca, Oregon
Several years back, we had reservations for a trip to Texas and back. There was a landslide across the tracks between Chemult and Eugene, only a few days before our planned departure. Amtrak contacted us and said: "For the next few days, there will be a bus bridge to K Falls where the CS will be turned back south. Then the train will be cancelled north of Sac'to for an unknown period of MONTHS until the damage is repaired and tracks reopened. So, we can get you to Texas, and we can get you back as far as Sac'to, from which point you are on your own (no alternate transportation will be provided)."

Their offer was: reimbursement for any portion of the trip that we would not be able to take due to the cancellation (i.e. Sac'to to Chemult on the return trip) -OR_ full cancellation of the trip, with full refund. We opted for full cancellation and refund. I had paid for the trip with points, mine in one direction and Hubby's in the other, so separate reservations in both directions. All points were promptly returned to our AGR accounts.

They have changed all kinds of policies in the last four years, but I suspect this one has not changed. I'd sure call and ask, though.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
749
Amtrak has been a lot better about reimbursements than a lot of other transportation entities have been. Early on in the pandemic, if you called your airline pro-actively to cancel an upcoming trip, you only got a voucher, not your money back. So, since I had a number of scheduled and paid-for trips, I played 'chicken' and waited, knowing that at some point they'd cancel the flight and I'd be entitled to a refund. Finally the feds leaned on US carriers to provide refunds that federal law seemed to mandate. (Of course, that didn't help me with Air Canada, who both cancelled my flight and refused to give me anything but a time-limited voucher!)

Amtrak, on the other hand, quickly responded to a phone call made in March requesting a refund for an April trip, and the money was credited back to my credit card quickly. They initially limited the time period where you could just call and get a refund, no questions asked, not knowing how long the pandemic was likely to last, but kept pushing the date out as things dragged on. At the moment, I think the rule is if you cancel within 14 days of your travel date, your payment is re-credited to the means of payment you used with them, for any trip booked by the end of March. I fully expect that, like earlier deadlines, this one will likely be extended.

And, as was noted above, if you made your reservations separately for the inbound and outbound, or two different legs of the inbound or outbound trip, you'll have to cancel them individually--cancelling one won't automatically get you a refund for the others.

Note that Amtrak Vacations has its own separate cancellation policy, which is to only provide vouchers good for two years, which can be transferred to family or friends if you can't use them. (Also, if you buy their ripoff insurance, the vouchers don't expire. So maybe it's not quite the ripoff that it used to be...) So, another reason to do your own booking, even if it is a little more time consuming.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
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May 6, 2011
Messages
12,030
Location
Delaware
Amtrak has been a lot better about reimbursements than a lot of other transportation entities have been. Early on in the pandemic, if you called your airline pro-actively to cancel an upcoming trip, you only got a voucher, not your money back. So, since I had a number of scheduled and paid-for trips, I played 'chicken' and waited, knowing that at some point they'd cancel the flight and I'd be entitled to a refund. Finally the feds leaned on US carriers to provide refunds that federal law seemed to mandate. (Of course, that didn't help me with Air Canada, who both cancelled my flight and refused to give me anything but a time-limited voucher!)

Amtrak, on the other hand, quickly responded to a phone call made in March requesting a refund for an April trip, and the money was credited back to my credit card quickly. They initially limited the time period where you could just call and get a refund, no questions asked, not knowing how long the pandemic was likely to last, but kept pushing the date out as things dragged on. At the moment, I think the rule is if you cancel within 14 days of your travel date, your payment is re-credited to the means of payment you used with them, for any trip booked by the end of March. I fully expect that, like earlier deadlines, this one will likely be extended.

And, as was noted above, if you made your reservations separately for the inbound and outbound, or two different legs of the inbound or outbound trip, you'll have to cancel them individually--cancelling one won't automatically get you a refund for the others.

Note that Amtrak Vacations has its own separate cancellation policy, which is to only provide vouchers good for two years, which can be transferred to family or friends if you can't use them. (Also, if you buy their ripoff insurance, the vouchers don't expire. So maybe it's not quite the ripoff that it used to be...) So, another reason to do your own booking, even if it is a little more time consuming.
All good info, but he's asking about a refund for a trip that Amtrak cancelled, not that the passenger cancelled.
 

jebr

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"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
I would say yes. Standard customer service should be able to process the request as well - if they can't, hang up, call back in, and ask for "customer relations" (they're a separate department with a bit more power in handling refunds and providing credits.) That said, whenever I've had to cancel a trip due to a late or cancelled train I've been able to get a full refund through standard customer service, or even just the ticket counter at my station (MSP.) It's been a few years since I've had to cancel, though. I've had my share of issues with Amtrak CS, but getting a refund for a trip not taken has never been one of them - if anything that's been one of the easiest things I've found to be able to do.
 
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