Amtrak Ticket Cancellation Policy Guide [2020]

It’s always important to have a good understanding about the cancellation policies for your travels — whether they be on a plane, train, or any other form of travel that you can conjure up. The Amtrak cancellation policy is straightforward and easy to understand in some cases but in others, it’s much more difficult to ascertain the details.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Amtrak cancellation policy including details about the fees and ways to get around those fees. By the way, if you want to learn more about the value of Amtrak points click here!

What is the Amtrak cancellation policy?

The Amtrak cancellation policy that applies to your booking will depend on the type of fare that you purchased (much like how airfare works). Amtrak offers five different types of fares that you can purchase which include:

  • Saver Fares
  • Value Fares
  • Flexible Fares
  • Business Fares
  • Premium Fares

Below, I’ll go into detail about these different types of tickets and what their cancellation policy entails. However, you can generally expect to pay a 25% cancellation fee if you cancel your ticket 24 hours or later after your purchase and a 10% penalty for reward tickets.

Related: Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard Review

Saver Fares cancellation policy

Saver fares allow you to get a full refund if you cancel within 24 hours of purchase (this is similar to how airlines offer you a full refund within 24 hours of booking). However, Saver fares are non-refundable 24 hours or more after booking. The good news is that you can still qualify for an eVoucher.

If you cancel your ticket within 24 hours of purchase, your eVoucher will be for the full value of your ticket. But if you wait longer than 24 hours after booking, you’ll be hit with a 25% cancellation fee, which will essentially leave you with a 75% credit.

It’s really important to note that if you fail to cancel and don’t show up, the ticket is forfeited and you will not get funds that can be applied toward future travel.

Value Fares cancellation policy

Value fares allow you to get a full refund if you cancel eight days or more before departure. Otherwise, there will be a 25% cancellation fee charged if cancelled less than eight days prior to departure. (Unreserved tickets incur 25% fee an hour or more after purchase.)

if you cancel your ticket 8 days or more before departure, your eVoucher will be for the full value of your ticket. But if you cancelled less than 8 days prior to departure, you’ll be hit with a 25% cancellation fee, which will essentially leave you with a 75% credit.

Unreserved tickets incur 25% fee an hour or more after purchase.

Value fares have the same no-show policy that Saver Fares have.

Flexible Fares cancellation policy

If you book a flexible fare you can get a full refund with no fees and no questions asked. Notice that you can even request a full refund after the train has left the station — this makes flexible fares the best fares when it comes to getting refunds. These flexible fares could include the following classes:

  • Unreserved Coach
  • Reserved Coach
  • Acela Express Business Class

If you’d like an eVoucher instead, you can get that issued to you for 100% of the purchase price.

Business Fares cancellation policy

Business Fares also offer a full refund with no fees and no questions asked if cancelled before departure. These include Non-Acela Business Class. Business fares have the same no-show policy that Saver Fares have.

Premium Fares cancellation policy

Premium Fares also offer a full refund with no fees and no questions asked if cancelled before departure. These include Acela Express and First Class. These fares have the same no-show policy that Saver Fares have.

If you booked a sleeper accommodation then you’ll have a different refund policy. Those will offer you a full refund if cancelled within 24 hours of your purchase. If you wait until after 24 hours but more than 15 days prior to departure a 25% cancellation fee will be in effect. If you cancel less than 15 days prior to departure, you won’t get a refund.

Reward tickets (points) cancellation policy

If you’re wondering about reward or points tickets, the outcome all depends on the type of reward ticket in question.

One-Way, Round-Trip, or Multi-Segment Reward Travel

If you have booked a One-Way, Round-Trip, or Multi-Segment Reward Travel there will be a 10% point penalty assessed for any refund.

If you are canceling a non-sleeper ticket within 24 hours prior to departure, or a sleeper ticket within 14 days prior to departure, there will also be an additional “close-in” penalty of 10%. Keep in mind that this close-in fee will be waived for Select Executive members.

If you are just making a modification to your reward ticket then you will have to cover the points difference and you will also get hit with a 10% points penalty.

If you are 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. Once again, this is waived for Select Executive members.

Multi-Ride (Six-Ride, Ten-Ride) Reward Tickets

For cancellations on Multi-Ride (Six-Ride, Ten-Ride) Reward Tickets, your points will be refunded minus a 10% points penalty if unused and unexpired. It’s important to note that points are non-refundable if the first trip is used or if the ticket is expired.

Modifications: Before first ride, a full exchange in point value will be issued without penalty. No exchange in point value after first ride or after expiry—whichever comes first.

Monthly Pass Reward Travel

For cancellations on Monthly Pass Reward Travel, your points will be refunded minus a 10% point penalty prior to first day of valid month. Redemptions are non-refundable on or after the first day of the valid month.

Modifications: You can get a full exchange in point value prior to the valid month, but there is no exchange in point value on or after the first day of the valid month.

Multi-Ride Tickets

If you have purchased multi-ride tickets, then your cancellation policy will depend on the type of tickets you purchased.

For monthly tickets, if you request the refund before the valid month you can get a full refund, minus a 25% fee (so essentially a 75% refund).

If you cancel day 1 through day 10 of the valid month, then you’ll only be able to get a 50% refund, less a 25% cancellation fee. And finally, if you wait until on or after day 11 of valid month, you will not get a refund at all.

If you purchased a Ten-Ride and Six-Ride Ticket then your refund amount depends on the number of rides you have taken (or haven’t taken). If you have NOT taken any rides then you can get a full refund, less a 25% cancellation fee. But if you have taken one or more rides then your ticket is not refundable.

Gift card refunds

If you paid for your booking by using a gift card and cancel that booking, you should be given a credit in the form of an eVoucher.

Boarding the wrong train

You might be wondering what happens if you do something like exiting at the wrong train station. In that case, you might wish to get refunded for the amount that you did not actually travel. However, that’s not how this generally works and you won’t be able to receive a refund for that.

If you end up downgrading you might be able to get a refund and you should inquire about obtaining a Refund Authorization Form from the conductor. Just note “to receive a fare adjustment the customer must change the reservation before the train departs the original boarding station of that train.”

How to get a refund with Amtrak

There are four different ways you can request a refund with Amtrak. The easiest method is to go process it online, which can be done here (you may also do it over the Amtrak Mobile App).

Another method is to call the customer service phone number at: 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

If you’re at or near an Amtrak Station, you can process your refund there. And finally, you may make a request for a cash refund by mailing in your request to the following address:

Amtrak Refunds
Box 70
30th St. Station
2955 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2898

Note that if paper value tickets were printed, with the exception of eTickets, they must be returned for any refund.

Additional things to note

Amtrak tickets become non-refundable, not valid for carriage and have no exchange value, after one year from the date payment was made for that ticket. Similarly, an eVoucher or other credit is valid for one year from date of issue.

There is a minimum cancellation fee of $5 and a maximum cancellation fee of $250 (the maximum does not apply to monthly or multi-ride tickets.

Final word

As you can tell, the Amtrak cancellation policy is quite complex given the nature of all of the different types of fares offered. Unless you’re booking a flexible fare, you really need to pay close attention to the type of ticket that you’ve purchases so that you don’t end up screwing yourself over in the future.

Eurostar Standard Premier Review (London To Paris)

The Eurostar is one of the most popular ways to get from London to Paris. We recently took a short journey from London St Pancras Int’l to Paris Gare du Nord in Standard Premier, and I decided to share a short review of that experience.

Interested in finding out the hottest travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out! 

Renaissance St. Pancras in London

We finished up a one night stay at the Marriott Renaissance St. Pancras in London. This was one of my favorite historic hotels that I have stayed at. It is truly a beautiful property and has a very historic feel to it all through its charming corridors.

Marriott Renaissance St. Pancras in London.

One of the major highlights of the property is the Chamber’s Club Lounge which is available for Marriott Platinum members or if you are staying in suites the Chamber’s Wing. The lounge offers a great breakfast buffet and also has some other options that you can order off the menu.

Chamber’s Club Lounge.

One of the other cool features about the Is that the hotel has VIP Eurostar access. Staying in The Chambers Rooms and Suites get Eurostar VIP transfer, which means you’ll be escorted through security and to your train without having to worry about lugging your bags around.

Since we were in the middle of our around the world trip with tons of luggage, this VIP transfer service was very convenient. A staff member from the hotel ushered us through the hotel and into the train station.

We were able to get through the priority security line which was much shorter than the line opened up to the public. Once we made our way through security we were looking for where we needed to go to board our train.

However, because of all of the snow and icy weather our train was delayed for another hour. So we just sat down in the open lobby and awaited for our train to depart. The lobby filled up to the brim and there were people everywhere so it was a bit of an uncomfortable wait.

Lounge access?

There is a lounge at the train station and it is accessible to American Express Platinum cardholders. Platinum card members get access but they cannot bring in a guest with them, and I am not sure if you can pay to have guest access.

Normally, I would have just entered the lounge to check it out and perhaps do a review, but I had forgotten my wallet in a rental car back in Auckland, New Zealand a week earlier and I was still waiting to work things out with Avis so at the time we did not have a Platinum Card with us.

After waiting for close to an hour, they finally opened up the gates for boarding. We made our way up an escalator to the platform where our train was.

Eurostar train platform.

We were in cabin one and had booked Standard Premier tickets. On the Eurostar there are three different classes:

  • Standard
  • Standard Premier
  • Business Premier

We wanted a extra bit of comfort but the Business Premier prices were significantly higher. Because this was such a short train ride, it was difficult to try to justify paying several hundred extra dollars just for a little bit of extra room and better food. So, we went with the standard Premier Tickets and I think it was a great choice.

The difference between Standard and Standard Premier is that you get extra room and you also get a complimentary light meal with Standard Premier. Business Premier will offer you additional perks like a hot meal, champagne, and it also allows you to have lounge access. In addition, they allow you to bring on one more bag of luggage.

Eurostar seat selection

One thing that is slightly annoying about the Eurostar seat selection is that you have to wait until after you book to pick your seat.

There are a few different types of seat maps that you might be riding with. You can click here to see the different versions. I believe that we were riding on the E320.

Eurostar Standard Premier seating.

Initially, we had booked seats where Brad and I would be sitting directly across from each other with no other passengers on either side of us (the seats seen below). To me, these are great seats that offer you a decent amount of privacy, and I was pretty happy to have gotten those seats.

Eurostar Standard Premier seating.

However, our original train was canceled due to the snow and when we rebooked, we were not allowed to select our seats and we were just stuck with what we were given.

As an aside, I must say that the rebooking process with Eurostar was absolutely excruciating. I was on hold with them for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. I had tried to do everything online but was not able to because the website was glitching and the chat service was not able to do anything for me either.

But, I was still just happy to get a train so that we could get over to Paris in time. Also, I have to give them some props because they offered us a partial refund due to the delay.

The train experience

The train ride from London to Paris is about 2 1/2 hours.

As soon as we boarded, we loaded up our luggage which consisted of four bags in took up the entire luggage rack.

Eurostar Standard Premier luggage area.

Sharing a table with a couple of strangers directly in front of your face for 2 1/2 and a little bit odd which is why I had originally booked us the other seats but the people were pretty nice and it was not a big issue. Also, you can pull out the table so that you have a little bit more room.

Eurostar Standard Premier seating.

A little bit after we departed, the staff came around and served us our meals for the ride, which were not my favorite. We were given some type of cold quiche dish that I took about one bite of and then was pretty much finished with it. There was also a piece of bread and salad which wasn’t bad and then some sort of weird jelly desert type dish.

Eurostar Standard Premier meal.

Overall, the train ride went by very quickly and before I knew it we were arriving in Paris. We would then spend tonight at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, which ended up being a pretty interesting experience.

I would definitely consider taking the Eurostar again and I think that booking Standard Premier would be a good idea. On a longer train ride, I think it might be worth it to look into the business class cabin for the better meals and potentially better drink offerings but I just don’t think it would be necessary on such a short ride.

Final word

I think that the Eurostar is a great way to get from London to Paris or vice versa. I would suggest to make your booking well in advance so that you can avoid the high price spikes. Also if you are riding Standard Premier, then try to select your seats as quickly as possible after booking and go for the seats that offer the most privacy if possible.