This is a big change.

Advertisement
Automated ticketing booths stand at the Amtrak sales area at
Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Without fanfare, Amtrak has tightened the rules surrounding their refund and cancellation policy.

Amtrak's previous cancellation policy gave ticketholders full refunds should they cancel their trip before the scheduled departure, as Travel with Grant noted. The refund, in the form of a voucher, could be used at any time within the year. In some cases, Amtrak even issued full or 90% refunds to the original form of payment, depending on the ticket and time of cancellation.

However, Amtrak tickets issued on March 20, 2018 or later are now subject to stricter cancellation rules. Most customers who wish to cancel their trip will have to pay a 25-percent cancellation fee, and the window of cancellation for a full refund varies from ticket to ticket.

Here's what you need to know about Amtrak's new refund and cancellation policy, broken down by fare type.

Saver Fares (Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class)

If you purchase a Saver fare, you can get a full refund or full value eVoucher if you cancel your trip within 24 hours of booking your ticket. Amtrak will not refund to the original form of payment after this 24-hour period, unless you bought your ticket with an eVoucher. In that case, you can get a 75-percent refund, if you cancel your trip before the scheduled departure time. If the train has left the station, you're out of luck.

Value Fares (Unreserved Coach, Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class)

If you wish to cancel this type of ticket, you are eligible for a full refund or full value eVoucher, but you must cancel your ticket at least 8 days prior to your trip. Tickets canceled after this time will incur a 25% cancellation fee.

Unreserved tickets, however, must be canceled within one hour of purchase to get the full refund or full value eVoucher. Otherwise, you will have to pay a 25% fee.

Flexible Fares (Unreserved Coach, Reserved Coach, Acela Business Class)

As the name suggests, these fares are the most flexible when it comes to cancellation and refunds. You can get a full refund to the original form of payment or a full-value eVoucher whenever you want, even after the scheduled departure.

Business Fares (Non-Acela Business Class)

Like the Flexible Fares, you are eligible to get a full refund or full-value eVoucher at any time before departure. However, you must forfeit the ticket if you wish to cancel after the scheduled trip.

Premium Fares (Acela First Class)

The same policy that applies to Business Fares applies to Premium: as long as you cancel your ticket before the scheduled departure, you can get a full refund or eVoucher at full value.

If you purchased your ticket before March 20, 2018, you can get your full refund or eVoucher by calling Amtrak Reservations & Customer Service at 1-800-USA-RAIL or 215-856-7924.