My booking experience with Amtrak

I’m taking my first ever “train run” (rail run?) so I do not lose my Amtrak Guest Rewards points.  They expire every three years unless you take a paid train trip or you carry the Amtrak-branded credit card.  I decided I would purchase a one-way, $14.00 ticket from Yonkers, NY (YNY) to Croton-Harmon, NY (CRT) on May 7, 2011, to celebrate National Train Day, and because I earn triple Amtrak Guest Rewards points that day.

I logged into my Amtrak Guest Rewards program account and clicked over to amtrak.com.  However, the rewards and reservations systems are separate and my login IDs are also separate.  I intended to purchase my ticket online, but the reservations system would not allow me to do so.  I called Amtrak and made a reservation via the telephone automated system (why I could not do this online, I’ll never know), then was transferred to an agent who explained that since the Yonkers station no longer has a ticket window, I would need to produce both my reservation confirmation number, a boarding record locator that she gave to me, a photo ID, and my method of payment to the train conductor on board the train. Furthermore, since I had to book over the telephone, I cannot review my reservation online.

Although my closest Amtrak station is two or three hours away, their antiquated rewards/reservation system is another reason I do not often do business with Amtrak.  It would make more sense for Amtrak Guest Rewards and amtrak.com to be the same account and the same system.  One should also be able to book and receive bar-coded tickets via e-mail or text, instead of only via postal mail, from a ticket window, from a kiosk, or on the train.

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10 thoughts on “My booking experience with Amtrak

  1. The last time I traveled on Amtrak three years ago, my tickets were snail mailed to me and I had to keep up with them for a couple of months.

  2. Wow! Doesn’t sound like very good customer service, nor effective use of their automation process. Maybe Management is looking out for their jobs rather than satisfied customers!! No matter what, Frustrated Passengers are a bad stat whether your viewing them or not. Get with the times Amtrack!!!

  3. I didn’t expect a pony, just an e-ticket. It’s been two weeks and I still haven’t received Amtrak Guest Rewards credit.

  4. E-ticketing requires a modern IT system. Such a system requires capital. Amtrak obtains capital from Congress (or doesn’t, as the case may be). If you think Amtrak is out of date, then address your frustrations to your Congressman. Simple as that.

    The system they are using is built o0n the foundations of code written for Braniff. Most folks these days have no idea even what that was.

  5. I had to call Amtrak and fax my reservation, boarding number, and handwritten receipt to get my rail credit, after three weeks of waiting.

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