Amtrak is introducing a new fare structure starting March 1st. The new system will eliminate the ability of those who purchase the cheapest fares to receive refunds when canceling. Other passengers will face additional fees when making changes to existing bookings within 14 days of travel. The new fare structure closely mirrors the pricing of airlines, which is no surprise. Amtrak’s current CEO is Richard Anderson, a former executive with Delta Air Lines.
Amtrak’s New Pricing Structure
The new Amtrak fares offer significant savings for consumers but the tradeoff being flexibility. Starting in March 2020, the company will offer three tiers for tickets:
- Saver Fares: Saver fares provide the most value for consumers, with fares starting as low as $9. However, these fares don’t offer any changes, upgrades, or cancellations 24 hours after booking.
- Value Fares: Value fares are the basic fare. These fares come with fewer restrictions but may still charge fees for cancellations or changes within 14 days of departure.
- Flexible Fares: Flexible faresoffer the greatest opportunity for making changes. These fares include Acela first-class, sleeper, and business-class tickets. Customers purchasing a Flexible fare don’t pay for changes and receive a full refund for cancellations.
Amtrak hopes the new lower fares will entice more travelers to ride the rails. While the train company has reduced losses over the previous years, it still lags far behind air travel as the preferred method of travel for U.S. consumers.
Amtrak Guest Rewards
The new system also provides more opportunities for members of Amtrak Guest Rewards, the loyalty program for the operator. Cheaper fares may lead to more riders, earning points on every journey. Amtrak Guest Rewards points are among the most valuable rewards points, with a current value of approximately 2.5 cents per point. The Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard offers additional points to Amtrak travelers, allowing them to maximize their Guest Rewards through the new fare schedule.
Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, is a semi-public railroad company. The firm provides regional and national services to more than 500 destinations in 46 U.S. states and nine Canadian cities. Amtrak carries an estimated 32 million passengers per year on dedicated services, with another 61 million travelers riding in conjunction with local and regional transit authorities.
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