Question: I’ve been trying to resolve a problem with Amtrak, and have spent hours on “hold.” I need your help.
I recently purchased Amtrak tickets to Reno, Nev., on my American Express card. I paid $156 for the roundtrip ticket and in return, I received 11,000 rewards points, which allowed me to buy another roundtrip ticket.
There was a misunderstanding when I booked the second ticket, and my first ticket was somehow canceled.
I didn’t find out about the cancellation until I went to the train station in Emeryville to get my tickets. An Amtrak agent said I would have to spend another $236 for a ticket.
Since then, I’ve spent countless hours on the phone, including a three-way call between Amex, Amtrak and myself, to try to get this sorted out. They’ve asked me to mail proof of payment and proof that I’ve taken the trip, which I have done.
I just received a message from Amtrak that they will not refund the ticket. I have disputed the charge with American Express. Now what? — Mel Jung, San Rafael, Calif.
One of the most common complaints I get from Amtrak customers is about their tickets. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation uses old-school paper tickets that have cash value. I asked Matt Hardison, Amtrak’s chief for sales distribution and customer service, about the ticket troubles, and how to solve them.
What are the rules regarding lost tickets on Amtrak?
Most consumers have forgotten the days when tickets essentially had cash value. Today, there are almost no conventional tickets for the airlines anymore. Consequently, Amtrak is one of the last intercity modes of travel whose tickets still have value – what we call “value documents” – and for now our policies still need to reflect that. Read more “Amtrak is all aboard with electronic ticketing in 2011”
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