What if fare drops after booking with AGR points?

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joelkfla

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I know that if you buy a ticket with credit card and the price drops, you can get the difference refunded. But, if you buy with AGR points, will they also refund the difference in points or are you stuck?
AGR phone line agent credited points to my account when my Silver Star trip showed a reduced points requirement, but he said he had to rebook the space, so the car changed. I don't know whether it would be possible if all the space for your particular class of service was sold out. I also don't know whether it's routine or at the agent's discretion.
 

Maglev

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From Coronavirus Update | Amtrak

"Amtrak is waiving all change fees for reservations made by July 31, 2022, including reservations booked with points... The change fee waiver does not apply to a previously purchased fare rebooked for the same train, date and origin/destination to a lower fare..."

I have heard of a few people's getting refunds, and not heard of any denials of refunds. But apparently, agents are making exceptions to the terms and conditions.
 

jis

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It is worthwhile reading the entire Refund and Cancellation Policy page before coming to any specific conclusion about any specific fare...

 

Maglev

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On the page @jis cites, it says for sleeper fares (and all other fare classes except Saver fares):

"No change fee"

This should mean that adjustment refunds will always be made if one finds a lower fare. My post above--saying agents are making exceptions--is incorrect.
 

jebr

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On the page @jis cites, it says for sleeper fares (and all other fare classes except Saver fares):

"No change fee"

This should mean that adjustment refunds will always be made if one finds a lower fare. My post above--saying agents are making exceptions--is incorrect.

The OP is referring to AGR travel. The policy on the linked page for reward travel modifications is: "Modifications: A points difference (to new, prevailing fare) will apply in all cases with a 10% points penalty withheld on any fare difference returned to member. If modifying a non-sleeper ticket within 24 hours prior to departure, or a sleeper ticket within 14 days prior to departure, an additional "close-in" penalty of 10% of the points redeemed will be collected (waived for Select Executive and Select Plus members)."

Furthermore, the change fee waiver explicitly exempts rebooking simply for a lower fare: "The change fee waiver does not apply to a previously purchased fare rebooked for the same train, date and origin/destination to a lower fare."

Thus, I would expect OP to be charged 10% of the fare difference as a penalty when rebooking with AGR points (assuming it's more than 14 days out.) That's what happened to me when I rebooked from the family bedroom to two roomettes when the price for the two roomettes dropped quite a bit below what the family room was going for.

A potential workaround could be to use the change fee waiver to rebook to a different day, then going back and moving the reservation back to the original travel date. I would imagine if this was done by phone that you'd need to hang up and call back, hopefully getting a different agent. I also don't know if there's history preserved for the reservation and thus going back to the original date would trigger the fee anyways.
 
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I called AGR to ask my question and was told, perhaps incorrectly, that if there was a lower fare I would be refunded the difference in points.
Clarification: I called Amtrak's reservation number for AGR Select.
That was my experience several years (pre Covid) ago on the Empire Builder. The AGR rep quickly, and without, question refunded the difference in points for the bedroom.
I don't recall any penalty involved.
 

billosborn

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I would encourage anyone who has booked a roomette for travel on a LD train using points well in advance of their travel dates, to re-check the current point level for the dates they chose. I had paid about 44,000 points in February for a roomette for two persons from Chicago to Sacramento on the Zephyr for late August. I happened to be browsing an article here about the process of getting a refund of points if a lower fare appears later. I thought to myself "Surely the points won't be lower now for travel in late August.." But to my surprise, the price had dropped to about 31,000 points, a savings of about 13000 points! The normally take a 10 percent penalty, but I still saved a lot of points for future travel.
 
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