Amtrak Has a New Cancellation Policy with Stricter Rules

Canceling your Amtrak ticket will now be more expensive in most cases. Amtrak quietly announced that it is revising its cancellation policy. The rail giant's previous cancellation policy had been quite generous. Anyone who purchased a ticket was given a full refund as long as they cancelled a trip prior to a scheduled departure. Customers who cancelled weren't typically given a cash refund. They were instead given a voucher that could be used within one year. However, Amtrak was known to give refunds of up to 90 percent in the form of the original payment in many cases.

What Is Amtrak's New Cancellation Policy?
Passengers should know that all Amtrak tickets that are issued after March 20 of this year will be subject to the new cancellation policy, which is a lot stricter than its previous policy. What does this policy look like? The bad news is that Amtrak is now charging a cancellation fee of 25 percent. Specific cancellation rules will actually vary from ticket to ticket. This means that riders will need to do their homework before booking a ticket if they are concerned that there is a possibility they will need to cancel a trip.

Saver Fares will now come with the strictest cancellation rules. Passengers have just 24 hours to cancel a ticket after purchase if they want to receive a voucher for the full cost of a ticket. Cancellations made after 24 hours will be subject to a cancellation fee of 25 percent. What's more, any tickets that aren't cancelled prior to a train's scheduled departure will be forfeited and no voucher for future travel will be given.

People purchasing value fares will have a little bit more wiggle room. These tickets can be fully refunded as long as they are cancelled eight days or more before a scheduled departure. Cancellations made less than eight days before a scheduled departure will be subject to a cancellation fee of 25 percent. This type of ticket will also be considered forfeited if no cancellation is made before a scheduled departure. Flexible Fares still offer a full refund. Even tickets that aren't cancelled prior to a scheduled departure will be fully refunded. Business Fares and Premium Fares also still offer a full refund as long as tickets are cancelled before a scheduled departure.

However, Premium Fares with sleeper accommodations do come with some strict new rules. Full refunds will only be given if a ticket is cancelled within 24 hours of purchase. A cancellation fee of 25 percent will be applied after that. This type of ticket is considered forfeited if not cancelled prior to a scheduled departure. Tickets booked with Amtrak Guest Rewards points will also be subject to some new fees and restrictions.

How Can Travelers Prepare for the New Amtrak Cancellation Fees?
Travelers should take time to read the fine print regarding each ticket tier prior to making reservations. While the new policies are pretty clear, there are some subcategories that come with special circumstances. The previous cancellation policy is still in play if you'll be traveling with tickets purchased before March 20 of this year. 3/30/2018