10-20+% accommodation fare increase?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by F900ElCapitan, Nov 4, 2019.

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  1. Nov 4, 2019 #1

    F900ElCapitan

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    F900ElCapitan

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    So I keep a fairly good eye on the long distance sleeper fares. It helps me when I’m ready to plan a trip. I ran through the prices this morning and am noticing a very substantial increase in sleeper fares. Most are up around 10%. I watch the Texas Eagle very regularly since it’s the easiest train for me to catch and it took a big hit. There was word that the lowest buckets were to be eliminated and it looks like it happened. Compared to last years fares the cheapest roomette for two adults from FTW to CHI went from the lowest bucket of $408 to $488, and the cheapest bedroom has increased from $631 to $816.

    I’m also seeing at least a 10% increases across the rest of the western trains. I don’t watch the eastern trains as much, maybe somebody else can chime in if there has been a substantial increase over there also.

    I hope everyone had already booked their summer travel.
     
  2. Nov 4, 2019 #2

    SanDiegan

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    Just another part of the plan to kill long distance trains. Raise fares and cut service amenities. Have lots of “flash sales” for Northeast and other corridors.
     
  3. Nov 4, 2019 #3

    merkelman06

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    The rail fare is no longer low bucket when buying sleepers anymore. I am not sure what bucket it is. When pricing several upcoming trips it is between the value and flexible fare. Example is from BHM to NOL:

    Saver $39
    Value $49
    Flexible $94
    Sleeper $62 plus roomette charge.

    So i'm not sure where the $62 comes from or how they figure rail fare with sleepers now.
     
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  4. Nov 4, 2019 #4

    boxcar479

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    Since I am in midst of planning a trip. I did not want to look, but I did anyway. The trip I am planning CZ - SEA was $754 yesterday it is now $848. Not quite a hundred bucks, but close enough. Time to quit planning I suppose.
     
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  5. Nov 4, 2019 #5

    F900ElCapitan

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    F900ElCapitan

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    Unfortunately you got caught up in this. But as far as planning goes, I doubt they’ll do another across the board increase anytime soon, so you’re fairly safe to keep planning outside of the normal bucket increase with sales. I was lucky and booked a roomette from DAL to LAX and then business to SLO a few weeks ago. The same trip is now about $40 higher.
     
  6. Nov 5, 2019 #6

    niemi24s

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    There was word??

    I'm quite sure the three sleeping accommodations on the Superliners still have their usual five buckets. That conclusion is based on the fact that Roomette upcharges for the full route of the TE/SWC currently show five different values, ranging from $421 to $956. These represent increases ranging from about 7 to 15% when compared to the upcharges of three months ago.

    Spent about 30 minutes on AmSnag looking for all five buckets for the Family Bedroom and Bedroom, but only found four buckets for each. But those four buckets correspond nicely with the top four previous buckets.

    I conclude there are still five buckets for each sleeper upcharge, but the low buckets for the FB and B are simply not offered - at least I couldn't find them during my short search. Regarding Coach buckets, only five different ones could be found. The sixth (highest) Coach bucket wasn't offered - just like three months ago. Low bucket Coach rose $4 to $183.

    In short, the bucket structure for the TE/SWC seems unchanged - the only change being the increases.
     
  7. Nov 5, 2019 #7

    F900ElCapitan

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    Good catch. It was on a different thread that a comment was made that an Amtrak agent actually said the lowest bucket was being eliminated for this train. Although, in a way I can see what they are saying since the increase was so much that the new low bucket is higher than the previous low bucket +1. But in the end, yes there are 5 bucket levels for roomettes, but maybe it was just bedrooms that the agent was speaking of.

    None the less, this has been a much larger than normal fare increase for this train.
     
  8. Nov 5, 2019 #8

    JC_620

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    Yes, but it is not exclusively limited to the TE/SWC trains which I actually thought that it was. This also puts a wrinkle in my travel planning as well. Just the other day, it appeared that the "high bucket" bedroom fare on #449 was $1,217. As I looked just now, it is something like $1,245. That is significant. SWC was $1,298 for a bedroom not too long ago as well between Chicago and Flagstaff, now it is $1,345. Insanity..
     
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  9. Nov 5, 2019 #9

    bratkinson

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    What may seem to some that there's a general fare increase happening, seems to me more like people looking only between now and Jan 1 2020 and seeing the natural increase in fares as seats and rooms fill up. A few minutes ago, I did a price check on a couple of LD trips I did earlier this year with the same segments from Jan 15 2020 forward using Amsnag. There price increases between the two were all under $10 for a roomette.

    Which brings me to my 'rules' for booking LD travel...book at least 3 months in advance, further if possible to get the best prices. Given we are entering the holiday season, booking any trips from now until 1/5 or so will be on the more expensive side as the 'cheap rooms' are long gone.

    Almost forgot...If I recall correctly, I think across-the-board general price increases usually come into being in mid January.
     
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  10. Nov 5, 2019 #10

    JC_620

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    I'm sorry, but I am new here so could you explain then to me how the same available bedroom would go up in price a small percentage if there are only a limited number of bedrooms available to begin with? My impression was that the bedroom on the LSL was already at high bucket because the other one was sold. #449 typically only has the Boston sleeper. On #49 out of Albany, the fare was just as high, clocking in at $1,123 just days ago.
     
  11. Nov 5, 2019 #11

    bratkinson

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    Amtrak uses some kind of 'revenue maximization' pricing algorithms similar to airlines. The closer to departure date and/or the fewer number of roomettes/bedrooms available both cause prices to increase. I just now did a price check on #49 bedrooms Feb 1 - Mar 1 ALB-CHI using Amsnag and it shows a low of $570 for 2/1 and 2/2 then $1151 thereafter. On #449, it was $1151 across the board. From what I've seen in the past, Amtrak starts at a ridiculously high price to 'test the waters'. Then, a couple months out, based on volume of sales, they lower it, sometimes significantly.

    Of note, however, is that for January, the same bedrooms are priced at $570/723/1151 in seemingly random order. I'm also suspicious that Amtrak.com uses cookies on your computer to determine if you've looked at the same itinerary before and may give different prices. In other words, clean off your cookies and reboot your computer...you might just find different prices!

    As an aside, perhaps the abundance of $1151 is the result of sleeping car passengers that endured contemporary dining within the past year+ are NOT returning. Just a thought.
     
  12. Nov 5, 2019 #12

    F900ElCapitan

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    I just did some Amsnag searches for 8, 6, and 4 for January, and yes the accommodation part of the fare has only increased slightly. But as others have pointed out, the rail fare portion of the fare has gone from low bucket to what I think is low bucket plus 1. This is increasing the total fare by quite a bit, especially for people like me who usually have two people in a room.
     
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  13. Nov 5, 2019 #13

    RebelRider

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    The sleeper buckets did not change. What happened is the railfare component is now pricing one step up with with YB fare instead of YD. As noticed, it went into effect yesterday, November 4, 2019. Interestingly, the same applies to Auto Train where the railfare will go up, but the accommodation charges are being dropped back to the level prior to the fare increase of September 24.
     
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  14. Nov 5, 2019 #14

    F900ElCapitan

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    F900ElCapitan

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    This does appear to be the case. In addition on the Texas Eagle, it appears they are now only selling the top 3 buckets for bedrooms, and on the Southwest Chief they are selling the top 4 buckets. At least for western trains the accommodation charges appear to be holding at the post September 24 rate, maybe this will change.
     
  15. Nov 5, 2019 #15

    ref5035

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    How does one find...amsnag....?
     
  16. Nov 5, 2019 #16

    pennyk

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  17. Nov 5, 2019 #17

    FrensicPic

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    I also observed over this past weekend, a jump in fares.
    Several months ago I booked a bedroom for two (points) on the Sunset Limited LAX to NOL for next summer. The booking was eleven months out, the maximum.
    Since then, I have been monitoring the fare changes out of curiosity and the accommodation I purchased is now $576 (19,872 points) higher!
    I have been checking a 30 day period around my travel date. This morning's check on AmSnag shows only two buckets for that train: $1788 and $1552.
    It will be interesting to see what happens after the holidays and we get into this coming spring.
     
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  18. Nov 7, 2019 #18

    niemi24s

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    Significant? Insanity?? Please get a grip on reality.

    Your reported increases are only 2.3% and 3.6%, respectively.
     
  19. Nov 7, 2019 #19

    JC_620

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    ....which has still been a much larger than normal fare increase for this train...respectively speaking.
     
  20. Nov 7, 2019 #20

    tim49424

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    I booked a round trip from Holland to Seattle on Sunday for mid February. I checked the price yesterday after reading this thread and sure enough, for my round trip in a roomette on the Empire Builder and coach on the Hiawatha and Pere Marquette, there was about $140 of an increase. Talk about timing!
     
  21. Nov 7, 2019 #21

    dogbert617

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    $140 fare increase? That's f-ing insane! Sigh, I do sometimes worry quietly myself, if some in Amtrak want to depress ridership enough to kill off long distance trains. Ugh I HATE sounding way over worried and conspiracy-theory like, but with the way Richard Anderson and Co. cost cut things on Amtrak a lot and are slowly pushing prices up, not to forget impose restrictions to make it less likely private cars will be approved to carry on the rear of a long distance train, I sometimes worry if Anderson and Co are trying to kill off certain parts of Amtrak? I hope I am proven wrong on that, though!
     
  22. Nov 8, 2019 #22

    Larry H.

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    Its sad that with government run, or at least funded rail service, we no longer just have a simple and stable list of pricing. Before Amtrak and the push to be totally self sufficient, Rail roads put out a printed schedule with one exact cost you could depend on and not have to go to endless maneuvers to know what your cost will be. And despite what many say, the sleeper fares are far higher than they ever were before Amtrak compared to Coach. I used to get a room for maybe a third higher than coach fares, try that today!
     
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  23. Nov 8, 2019 #23

    Tom Booth

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    Agree. I've been checking a LSL or CARD-CZ Bedroom (Newark or NY-SF) in early May for my wife and myself. In past month fares ranged from $2450 to 3250. or thereabouts. As of today it's $2799 or $2836, depending whether the departure is from Newark or NY. We've done this trip 8 times, most recently in January. The most we've paid is $1850, lowest was $1386. Also, on site Amtrak doesn't give me option of NY-DC-Chi on CL. They seem to be intentionally trying to drive LD users away. Maybe the price will drop - I still have time to book - but I'm starting to think not. What gives? Advice?
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  24. Nov 8, 2019 #24

    niemi24s

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    I've only been keeping tabs on Amtrak fares since Oct, 2015 and here's my take on what gives. It's nothing more than which of the five possible sleeper accommodation upcharges is offered for your date of travel and (this is important too) the date you buy your tickets.

    • Currently, the range of total fares for two adults in a Bedroom from NYP to EMY is from $1,828 to $3,463. My earliest bucket chart of October, 2015 shows that
    • back then, the range of total fares (same passengers and start/stop points) ranged from $1,619 to $3,194.
    • Between those two points in time the total low bucket fare for your trip has risen $209 (12.9%) and the high bucket fare has risen $269 (8.4%)

    The reason the date you buy your ticket is important is that (if you sniff around at Amtrak fares enough) you'll find that the fare for travel on a given date can change from one day to the next. And things can get exciting if your date of travel is flexible - I've seen upcharges for a sleeping accommodation posted at five different prices (or buckets) on five consecutive days!

    You might wonder if any of this is predictable. I quit wondering years ago after concluding the only thing predictable about Amtrak fares is its unpredictability.
     
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  25. Nov 9, 2019 #25

    niemi24s

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    A little arithmetic to find the totals of mid-bucket upcharges for Roomettes and Bedrooms on ten comparable LD trains for Oct 2015 and Nov 2019 shows they have increased an average of 3.1% per year during that four year period.

    But enough of this factual bazanga. :D
     

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