What Happens When Your Browser Crashes When Booking an Amtrak Award

I was booking an Amtrak award ticket earlier this day when my browser crashed almost at the end of the process.

Annoying, but no biggie, right?

I growled a bit about having go through the entire process again when I realized something–I no longer had points in my account.

Amtrak couldn’t have possibly taken all my points without booking me an award ticket… right?



But apparently that is what happened.  Even though I never hit “book”, the points had been removed from my account earlier.

After contacting Amtrak, I found out that yes–the points had been taken out earlier in the process, but that when there is no actual booking made, the points make it back into your account–eventually.

She cited “about an hour” and said there was no way to push the points back to my account sooner.  They had no manual overrides.

After an hour and change, I got my points back and was able to complete my booking.

But I wanted to mention this because it can happen in situations beyond a browser crash.  If you decided to change your mind on a trip and decided to X the window out to start booking again–you may not be able to book your new ticket due to your points being held up.

I think it is strange for the points to be committed before you actually hit book, but Amtrak isn’t known for their best IT systems.

So be cautious and don’t rely on last-second bookings–just in case.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Good tip. I’ve got the Amtrak card and I think that protects me from expiration, so I always try to keep a few multiples of 4,000 miles in there just in case. I didn’t know this could happen, but there is a warning somewhere in there about this sort of behavior. (I think it’s if you book and cancel it takes some time. That said, I’ve never cancelled and I’m not actually sure you can cancel an award.) Regarding last minute bookings: if it’s literally last minute, it won’t let you book (e.g., an approaching train). Between that and the NYP-WAS route filling up on Sunday mornings, I’ve tried to be a little better than last minute, but it’s seriously one of the best benefits of amtrak. Avios bookings are good last minute, but there’s less certainty.

  2. Great tip. Who would know. Yikes.

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