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The Official Onboard Sleeper Upgrade Thread


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#21 MrFSS

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:52 AM

...it sometimes helps to get in line at the station on the day you are leaving and ask if there is any sleeper space available.

Who do you ask while in line? Does anyone other than the conductor have the ability to sell you the space if it is available?

I checked once with the ticket agent 15 minutes before boarding started and was quoted top bucket price.

#22 frj1983

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:12 AM

...it sometimes helps to get in line at the station on the day you are leaving and ask if there is any sleeper space available.

Who do you ask while in line? Does anyone other than the conductor have the ability to sell you the space if it is available?

I checked once with the ticket agent 15 minutes before boarding started and was quoted top bucket price.


The last time I did this:

I started my trip in Chicago(CNO) and got in line to speak to a ticket agent. Showed her my ticket and asked if there was any sleeper space available??? She said yes and offered me a roomette for $75.00 aditional dollars...I then asked if there was anything available for the return trip. She also said yes, but then quoted a top bucket price for there and back. I simply took the roomette for $75.00 to New Orleans.

On the trip home, I got in line(New Orleans) and asked the same question. Again a Roomette was available and he gave it to me for $50.00 additional dollars. I do not know why there was a disparity in prices for purchasing the Roomette one way or why it became top bucket price when I asked about doing both at the same time. I simply asked some questions, filed away information, and took what I was presented with.

As I said in my post above, this may not always work, but it has worked fairly often for me.

#23 Chi_Train_Fan

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:43 AM

The last time I did this:

I started my trip in Chicago(CNO) and got in line to speak to a ticket agent. Showed her my ticket and asked if there was any sleeper space available??? She said yes and offered me a roomette for $75.00 aditional dollars...I then asked if there was anything available for the return trip. She also said yes, but then quoted a top bucket price for there and back. I simply took the roomette for $75.00 to New Orleans.

On the trip home, I got in line(New Orleans) and asked the same question. Again a Roomette was available and he gave it to me for $50.00 additional dollars. I do not know why there was a disparity in prices for purchasing the Roomette one way or why it became top bucket price when I asked about doing both at the same time. I simply asked some questions, filed away information, and took what I was presented with.

As I said in my post above, this may not always work, but it has worked fairly often for me.


How many hours/minutes before departure did you ask the agent for an upgrade? I've tried the same thing and received a top bucket quote. I wish to have success like you!

Cheers,
David
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#24 MrFSS

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 10:40 AM



The last time I did this:

I started my trip in Chicago(CNO) and got in line to speak to a ticket agent. Showed her my ticket and asked if there was any sleeper space available??? She said yes and offered me a roomette for $75.00 additional dollars...I then asked if there was anything available for the return trip. She also said yes, but then quoted a top bucket price for there and back. I simply took the roomette for $75.00 to New Orleans.

On the trip home, I got in line(New Orleans) and asked the same question. Again a Roomette was available and he gave it to me for $50.00 additional dollars. I do not know why there was a disparity in prices for purchasing the Roomette one way or why it became top bucket price when I asked about doing both at the same time. I simply asked some questions, filed away information, and took what I was presented with.

As I said in my post above, this may not always work, but it has worked fairly often for me.


How many hours/minutes before departure did you ask the agent for an upgrade? I've tried the same thing and received a top bucket quote. I wish to have success like you!

Cheers,
David

I agree with the question - discussion on this forum over the years has always been, the only place to upgrade for the lowest bucket price is once you get on the train.

In the case I gave above, the ticket agent, minutes before the train was to depart, told me to speak with the conductor, on board, for the lowest price.

#25 frj1983

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:29 PM



The last time I did this:

I started my trip in Chicago(CNO) and got in line to speak to a ticket agent. Showed her my ticket and asked if there was any sleeper space available??? She said yes and offered me a roomette for $75.00 aditional dollars...I then asked if there was anything available for the return trip. She also said yes, but then quoted a top bucket price for there and back. I simply took the roomette for $75.00 to New Orleans.

On the trip home, I got in line(New Orleans) and asked the same question. Again a Roomette was available and he gave it to me for $50.00 additional dollars. I do not know why there was a disparity in prices for purchasing the Roomette one way or why it became top bucket price when I asked about doing both at the same time. I simply asked some questions, filed away information, and took what I was presented with.

As I said in my post above, this may not always work, but it has worked fairly often for me.


How many hours/minutes before departure did you ask the agent for an upgrade? I've tried the same thing and received a top bucket quote. I wish to have success like you!

Cheers,
David

If I remember correctly it was about 1-2 hours before the train left...but I would never guarantee that what I have tried or what has happened would happen for you.

#26 frj1983

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:32 PM




The last time I did this:

I started my trip in Chicago(CNO) and got in line to speak to a ticket agent. Showed her my ticket and asked if there was any sleeper space available??? She said yes and offered me a roomette for $75.00 additional dollars...I then asked if there was anything available for the return trip. She also said yes, but then quoted a top bucket price for there and back. I simply took the roomette for $75.00 to New Orleans.

On the trip home, I got in line(New Orleans) and asked the same question. Again a Roomette was available and he gave it to me for $50.00 additional dollars. I do not know why there was a disparity in prices for purchasing the Roomette one way or why it became top bucket price when I asked about doing both at the same time. I simply asked some questions, filed away information, and took what I was presented with.

As I said in my post above, this may not always work, but it has worked fairly often for me.


How many hours/minutes before departure did you ask the agent for an upgrade? I've tried the same thing and received a top bucket quote. I wish to have success like you!

Cheers,
David

I agree with the question - discussion on this forum over the years has always been, the only place to upgrade for the lowest bucket price is once you get on the train.

In the case I gave above, the ticket agent, minutes before the train was to depart, told me to speak with the conductor, on board, for the lowest price.


And that may well be the case...I simply shared my experience as a way of not having to deal with the Conductor who always seem to be quite busy and sometimes very hassled.

#27 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:10 PM

From reading this thread, I'm guessing two things:
1)The conductor has the power to sell rooms at the lowest bucket price on board, but even if there
are rooms free when you board, that doesn't mean they won't be filled by someone getting on later.
The only way the conductor knows if he has a free room between points A and B is to call the home base,
and that takes a little time and energy that not all are willing to exert.
2)You can try to talk to a ticket agent beforehand, but it sounds as if they don't have any authority to offer
a better deal than what you'd get by calling in a reservation the day of departure. Your only hope is that
enough reservations cancelled just before departure to drop you to a lower bucket, or that the agent
knows how to sell you a cheap compartment, which might be a bit outside the rules.

Others have mentioned elsewhere that Amtrak will sometimes preemtively call its frequent travelers
who are booked in coach, and offer to upgrade them to a sleeper if space is still available close to
departure. I'd guess that most sleeper travelers make their reservations far in advance, and the chances
of selling additional sleeper space at the last minute are pretty close to nil, so sometimes Amtrak will
offer last minute deals. My understanding is that these prices can go below the lowest bucket price.

#28 haolerider

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:10 PM

From reading this thread, I'm guessing two things:
1)The conductor has the power to sell rooms at the lowest bucket price on board, but even if there
are rooms free when you board, that doesn't mean they won't be filled by someone getting on later.
The only way the conductor knows if he has a free room between points A and B is to call the home base,
and that takes a little time and energy that not all are willing to exert.
2)You can try to talk to a ticket agent beforehand, but it sounds as if they don't have any authority to offer
a better deal than what you'd get by calling in a reservation the day of departure. Your only hope is that
enough reservations cancelled just before departure to drop you to a lower bucket, or that the agent
knows how to sell you a cheap compartment, which might be a bit outside the rules.

Others have mentioned elsewhere that Amtrak will sometimes preemtively call its frequent travelers
who are booked in coach, and offer to upgrade them to a sleeper if space is still available close to
departure. I'd guess that most sleeper travelers make their reservations far in advance, and the chances
of selling additional sleeper space at the last minute are pretty close to nil, so sometimes Amtrak will
offer last minute deals. My understanding is that these prices can go below the lowest bucket price.

Actually, the Conductor has a manifest that shows all passengers and their origin and destination, so they know what sleepers are available and which are already booked for downline use.
The ticket agent can sell only what is in the computer system and generally cannot offer a lower price. They do not have the ability to override the pricing without a rational explanation - and if they do something they should not, it will come out of their pay, so don't ask them to do something that will get them punished in the long term.
The best way to get a deal on a sleeper is, just as has been described, ask the Conductor and make a deal.

#29 Bigval109

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:13 PM

From reading this thread, I'm guessing two things:
1)The conductor has the power to sell rooms at the lowest bucket price on board, but even if there
are rooms free when you board, that doesn't mean they won't be filled by someone getting on later.
The only way the conductor knows if he has a free room between points A and B is to call the home base,
and that takes a little time and energy that not all are willing to exert.
2)You can try to talk to a ticket agent beforehand, but it sounds as if they don't have any authority to offer
a better deal than what you'd get by calling in a reservation the day of departure. Your only hope is that
enough reservations cancelled just before departure to drop you to a lower bucket, or that the agent
knows how to sell you a cheap compartment, which might be a bit outside the rules.

Others have mentioned elsewhere that Amtrak will sometimes preemtively call its frequent travelers
who are booked in coach, and offer to upgrade them to a sleeper if space is still available close to
departure. I'd guess that most sleeper travelers make their reservations far in advance, and the chances
of selling additional sleeper space at the last minute are pretty close to nil, so sometimes Amtrak will
offer last minute deals. My understanding is that these prices can go below the lowest bucket price.

How do you get on this list to be called? Is it the luck of the draw?
When in doubt take the train.

#30 Guest_Guest 2_*

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:13 PM


From reading this thread, I'm guessing two things:
1)The conductor has the power to sell rooms at the lowest bucket price on board, but even if there
are rooms free when you board, that doesn't mean they won't be filled by someone getting on later.
The only way the conductor knows if he has a free room between points A and B is to call the home base,
and that takes a little time and energy that not all are willing to exert.
2)You can try to talk to a ticket agent beforehand, but it sounds as if they don't have any authority to offer
a better deal than what you'd get by calling in a reservation the day of departure. Your only hope is that
enough reservations cancelled just before departure to drop you to a lower bucket, or that the agent
knows how to sell you a cheap compartment, which might be a bit outside the rules.

Others have mentioned elsewhere that Amtrak will sometimes preemtively call its frequent travelers
who are booked in coach, and offer to upgrade them to a sleeper if space is still available close to
departure. I'd guess that most sleeper travelers make their reservations far in advance, and the chances
of selling additional sleeper space at the last minute are pretty close to nil, so sometimes Amtrak will
offer last minute deals. My understanding is that these prices can go below the lowest bucket price.

Actually, the Conductor has a manifest that shows all passengers and their origin and destination, so they know what sleepers are available and which are already booked for downline use.
The ticket agent can sell only what is in the computer system and generally cannot offer a lower price. They do not have the ability to override the pricing without a rational explanation - and if they do something they should not, it will come out of their pay, so don't ask them to do something that will get them punished in the long term.
The best way to get a deal on a sleeper is, just as has been described, ask the Conductor and make a deal.


The conductor does indeed have a manifest. However, the manifest is only accurate as of the exact time it is printed which can be hours before the train leaves its origination point. Reservations and walk up sales are being done up until departure from each down-line station later that day or the next day, etc.

#31 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:22 PM

I have traveled on almost every line on Amtrak and usually book a sleeper way in advance. On occasion, I was unable to so I looked into upgrading once on board. Things have probably tightened up a bit since my last attempt, but I did negotiate a couple times and received the sleeper for $50 or so. If there are quite a few available (and this seems to be happening less and less), I would simply tell the conductor that I would like the sleeper say in a certain town 5 hours away rather than right on the spot. If he/she sticks to the rules (which seems they do more these days) they will calculate the distance and give the fare accordingly. It could save you a couple of bucks if you leave your destination say at 3:00 p.m. and don't get into your room until 8:00 p.m. Plus I always call 1-800-usarail before boarding and see if anything is available just to have that information and the price. Then if it is full, you hope for no shows, but their refund policy on sleepers have become much stricter so I can't imagine too many last minute cancellations. I just booked a trip to Seattle last week for late May and for the dates I wanted to travel all sleepers were booked. Crazy. Just hope you are riding the rails during a lull.

#32 gswager

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:40 PM

I think once the train leaves the point of origin, then the price of sleeper changed, probably to lowest bucket, even at the station or internet, depending on availibility of sleepers.

Since my station for SWC is in ABQ and the point of origin is Chicago, a day before, so I do have advantage to check for price on internet. If the price is low, then I immediately call the phone reservation to upgrade it because I already purchased the coach ticket.
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#33 Guest_Mr Qwerty_*

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 05:18 PM

Ok, I hope I dont get negative feedback for asking this...

But is it possible to "tip" an employee into upgrading you to a sleeper?

#34 AlanB

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 06:53 PM

Ok, I hope I dont get negative feedback for asking this...

But is it possible to "tip" an employee into upgrading you to a sleeper?


I suppose anything is possible, but I wouldn't consider it likely. Any employee caught doing that would no doubt be fired. And most likely the amount of tip needed to get them to do it, would probably equal or exceed the cost to do it right via an onboard upgrade.

And if the room were to get sold further down the line, then you'd be kicked out of the room and would be out your tip too.
Alan,

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#35 Guest_Mr Qwerty_*

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 08:16 PM


Ok, I hope I dont get negative feedback for asking this...

But is it possible to "tip" an employee into upgrading you to a sleeper?


I suppose anything is possible, but I wouldn't consider it likely. Any employee caught doing that would no doubt be fired. And most likely the amount of tip needed to get them to do it, would probably equal or exceed the cost to do it right via an onboard upgrade.

And if the room were to get sold further down the line, then you'd be kicked out of the room and would be out your tip too.


Thanks. I figured it didn't hurt to ask.

I got my tix through a "hot deal" on the website and Im just looking into all the possibilities of upgrading once I'm on board.

#36 RailFanLNK

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:11 PM

I have paid $116.00 for a roomette on the CZ from Lincoln NE to Glenwood Springs CO twice. The prices have been higher and I believe this is the lowest bucket price because I haven't seen it any lower than this. To me thats a steal and especially if you have two people. Its all your meals and hotel for the night.

I have travelled on the California Zephyr, Lakeshore Limited, Carolinian, Acela, Capital Limited, Southwest Chief, Pacific Surfliner, Missouri River Runners, Texas Eagle, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Hiawatha Service and the Cardinal.


#37 VentureForth

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 12:24 AM

I have two experiences. The first was in January of '04 and I took the Texas Eagle from Chicago to Mineola. I asked the conductor for an upgrade in Chicago and he never returned to me. When we got to St. Louis, I asked the new conductor and I got an upgrade for $39 for the rest of the trip. That was from about 10 PM 'til 11:30 the next AM. With Breakfast. It was nice.

Since January of '06, though, I understand that you cannot get an upgrade onboard for less than what it would have cost you to begin with. This was experienced when I took the Southwest Chief from Albuquerque to Fullerton. In fact, the conductor actually called in the central reservations office, gave his name, train number, and I got no deal.

Finally, on that SAME route coming up at the end of the month, I booked coach. THEY called ME and offered me a roomette for $100! That's only about $60 less than what it costs to book online and about $160 less than max rate (so far as I found).

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#38 Guest_Mr Qwerty_*

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 09:46 AM

My main sticking point is Im getting on the train at 3 in the morning for a 12 hour trip, I really can't figure out if it would be worth paying for a sleeper. The included meals would usually be worth it, but I assume we'd only be awake for lunch.

#39 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 12:15 PM


Others have mentioned elsewhere that Amtrak will sometimes preemtively call its frequent travelers
who are booked in coach, and offer to upgrade them to a sleeper if space is still available close to
departure.

How do you get on this list to be called? Is it the luck of the draw?


The person who mentioned this was a Guest Rewards member, and posted asking if other
guest rewards members had been offered similar deals.

I'm guessing the first step to being called is to join the Guest rewards program
http://www.amtrakguestrewards.com/

#40 VentureForth

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 01:29 PM

My main sticking point is Im getting on the train at 3 in the morning for a 12 hour trip, I really can't figure out if it would be worth paying for a sleeper. The included meals would usually be worth it, but I assume we'd only be awake for lunch.

I don't think that a sleeper is worth the cost for the sake of meals unless it was worth at least half the cost of the upgrade. I get a sleeper 'cause I have trouble sleeping in coach, snore when I do, and I almost always need a shower by the time I get off the train.

On the trip I'll be taking next week, I went ahead and took the offer for a sleeper because it was only $100 and I'll be going to a job fair immediately upon arrival. This will give me the best opportunity to look sharp and feel rested when approaching prospective employeers. I'm going straight coach on my way home 'cause my wife is already used to the nasty unkempt me.

Jim

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Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle





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