How to Cancel or Change an Amtrak Ticket

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An Amtrak train pulls into the station during a snowstorm

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Leading up to an anticipated train trip, you’re bound to have a one-track mind. Whether you’ve booked a ticket on one of Amtrak’s most scenic routes, planned to peep some fall foliage from the train, or even committed to taking an entire loop of the United States by train, your thoughts will keep chugging back to the excitement of hitting the rails.

But life happens, and your plans can get, well, derailed.

That’s why knowing how to make any necessary changes (or even cancellations 😭) to your Amtrak reservation is extremely useful. Luckily, Amtrak’s policies are pretty flexible compared to other modes of transportation, so you can easily make changes to your trip. We’ve outlined all the information you need to know to modify your Amtrak plans and avoid as many fees as possible.

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Amtrak's Temporary Change Policy due to COVID-19

Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak is temporarily waiving all change fees for reservations made by January 4, 2022. This means you can change the date or time of your ticket (any time before departure) and incur no change fees. However, if changing a ticket to a different itinerary with a higher price, the change in fare will need to be paid.

Cancellation and Change Policies by Amtrak Fare Class

The cancellation and change policy of your ticket (and, by extension, how much money you can get refunded) depends on the type of Amtrak fare you select upon purchase. Several policies apply to all fare classes, and we also break down the exact policies for each fare type.

All Fares

  • If you cancel your Amtrak ticket within 24 hours of purchase, you will receive a full refund to your original payment method.
  • If you reschedule your Amtrak ticket within the first 24 hours after purchase, no change fee will apply.
  • The ticket must be changed or canceled before the train departs; unused tickets are forfeited and cannot be refunded or exchanged after the scheduled departure time.
  • Any applicable cancellation fees (based on the fare classes below) have a minimum of $5.00 USD and a maximum of $250.00 USD.

Saver Fare

For Saver Fare tickets in Coach and Acela Business Class:

  • Refunds: Tickets are non-refundable more than 24 hours after purchase.
  • Cancellations after 24 hours: You will receive an eVoucher worth 75% of the price of your ticket, which you can use to book future Amtrak tickets.
  • Changes after 24 hours: A change fee of 25% of the ticket price will apply, as well as any applicable difference in ticket price.

Value Fare

For Value Fare tickets in Coach and Acela Business Class:

  • Refunds: Tickets are fully refundable if canceled more than 15 days before the scheduled departure. After that, a fee of 25% of the ticket price is charged for cancellations.
  • Changes: Value fare tickets can be changed with no fee. If changing a ticket to a different itinerary with a higher price, the change in fare will need to be paid.

Flexible Fare

For Flexible Fare tickets in Coach and Acela Business Class:

  • Refunds: Tickets are fully refundable if canceled before the scheduled departure.
  • Changes: Flexible fare tickets can be changed with no fee. If changing a ticket to a different itinerary with a higher price, the change in fare will need to be paid.

Business Fare

For Business Class tickets on non-Acela trains:

  • Refunds: Tickets are fully refundable if canceled before the scheduled departure.
  • Changes: Business fare tickets can be changed with no fee. If changing a ticket to a different itinerary with a higher price, the change in fare will need to be paid.

Premium Fare

For Acela First-Class:

  • Refunds: Tickets are fully refundable if canceled before the scheduled departure.
  • Changes: Acela first-class tickets can be changed with no fee. If changing a ticket to a different itinerary with a higher price, the change in fare will need to be paid.

For Sleeper Accommodations:

  • Refunds: Tickets are fully refundable if canceled 121 days before the scheduled departure. A fee of 25% of the ticket price applies for cancellations 120 to 15 days before departure. Within 14 days of departure, sleeper accommodation tickets are non-refundable but can be canceled for an eVoucher worth 75% of the price of your ticket.
  • Changes: Sleeper accommodation tickets can be changed with no fee. If changing a ticket to a different itinerary with a higher price, the change in fare will need to be paid.

Exceptions Due to Illness

Amtrak will modify or waive the above change and cancellation policies if any passenger in your travel party is sick and can provide a doctor’s note. Please get in touch with Amtrak directly to inquire about this exception.

How to Determine Which Policy Applies to Your Ticket

The above change and cancellation policies apply based on the total fare paid for each trip (including all continuous legs of travel). In other words, a change fee of 25% is calculated as 25% of the total fare paid for a trip, even if there are legs on multiple trains.

When a trip contains multiple classes of service, the change and cancellation policy of the primary (or highest) class of service applies to the entire trip. For example, if the first leg of your journey is a coach seat with a value fare ticket, and the second leg is a sleeper accommodation with a premium fare ticket, then the refund policy of sleeper accommodations applies to your entire trip.

If you’re not sure which fare class you selected upon booking, you can look up your reservation on Amtrak’s website to find out.

Expiration

All Amtrak tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged after one year from the date of purchase.

eVoucher and other Amtrak credits are valid up until one year from the date of issue.

Amtrak Reward Points and Cancellations

When you book an Amtrak ticket on Wanderu, you can easily earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points by adding your Guest Rewards number on the checkout page. However, Amtrak only awards points after the trip has been completed, so if you cancel your trip, you would not earn any points for that ticket.

How to Modify Your Ticket

Online: Go to Amtrak’s website and click the “Modify Trip” button on the top-right. A window will open to provide your reservation number and email address, and you can complete the necessary change or cancellation by following the prompts. Your reservation number is listed at the top of your Amtrak ticket; see more about how to read your ticket here.

By phone: To speak with an Amtrak agent, call +1 (800) 872-7245, and they will assist you with any changes or cancellations you request. Please note that sometimes you may have to wait on hold for a little while.

At the station: If the station has an Amtrak ticket office, refunds and changes can be processed in person. However, we strongly recommend checking the station and ticket office hours to ensure that the office is staffed and an Amtrak agent will be available to assist you.

Maybe you gathered this from the policies we outlined, but our biggest piece of advice is: as soon as you know your plans will change, make sure to cancel or modify your ticket (within 24 hours of purchase, if you’re really on top of it). The earlier you change your ticket, the more likely you are to avoid Amtrak’s fees!

Using Amtrak eVouchers

When you cancel a non-refundable ticket for an eVoucher, as explained above, you will receive email notification of your electronic voucher, and this credit is stored in Amtrak’s system.

eVouchers can only be redeemed for a new reservation on Amtrak’s site or by calling Amtrak; eVouchers cannot be used to book new tickets on Wanderu. eVoucher credit is valid for one year from the date of issue.

The funds in an eVoucher are held in the name of the first passenger listed in a reservation, and the eVoucher can only be redeemed by the person whose name appears on it. eVouchers cannot be transferred to other passengers.

Getting Fees Reimbursed with Trip Protection

Wanderu offers an affordable trip protection option from our partner Allianz Global Assistance. When booking your ticket on Wanderu, you can choose to add trip protection, which includes 24-hour assistance during your whole trip, coverage for lost and damaged luggage, and more. 

The best part is that Allianz can help you get some money back if you end up paying any Amtrak fees to change or cancel your ticket. If you need to change your travel plans due to covered reasons (like extreme weather, required work shifts, or illness), you can file a claim to be reimbursed by Allianz for any change or cancellation fees paid to Amtrak.

More Cancellation Questions?

If that was too much to keep track of, hit us up at [email protected], or feel free to give Amtrak a call, too. And remember, making any changes to your ticket earlier is better than later!

And since fortune favors the prepared, make sure you know how to read your Amtrak ticket and what kind of ID to pack for boarding. The best-prepared travelers also know that booking on Wanderu is the easiest way to score great deals on Amtrak tickets… even if you have to make changes to your ticket later on.

Travel Safely

At Wanderu, we want to make sure you are equipped with all the information you need to plan a safe trip. Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for the latest tips & advisories.

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About the author
Bryn Culbert

Bryn Culbert

A planner at heart, Bryn loves nothing more than researching and creating a detailed travel itinerary. She is partial to quirky museums, hole-in-the-wall coffeeshops, and overstuffed bookstores in the cities she visits.
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