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Passenger Trains > Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car space


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Date: 05/10/22 21:53
Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car space
Author: Cumbresfan

Amtrak is using an auction in an attempt to have ticketed coach passengers upgrade to available sleeping car rooms. It is called BidUp and presents the coach passenger with a sliding scale to bid for a roomette or bedroom on the train. I've received two emails inviting me to participate for my Thursday ABQ-Flagstaff trip. When I booked over a month ago there were no roomettes available out of ABQ to LAX but there was one out of Flagstaff. so I booked coach ABQ - FLG.

To upgrade you are presented with a semicircle scale containing bid costs from cheapest to most expensive with the higher cost bid giving you a better chance of having it accepted. For example, an offer of $145 to get a bedroom is considered poor, $275 is fair, $325 is good, $400 is strong, and the maximum of $470 is excellent. Now why anyone would pay $470 for a bedroom for the scheduled 5+ hour ride to Flagstaff is beyond me but it did tell me there was now sleeping car space available.

I immediately got on the phone with Amtrak Guest rewards who gave me a roomette all the way from ABQ to LA for an additional $124 without my having to switch to a roomette in Flagstaff. If your first choice is not available, it's always worthwhile to keep checking back to see if something might have opened up.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/22 12:33 by Cumbresfan.



Date: 05/10/22 22:53
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: agentatascadero

Well done.  Making the system work for you.

AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/22 23:00 by agentatascadero.



Date: 05/10/22 23:23
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: pdt

Is amtrak available to book thru any of the consolidators?  Priveline, etd?   The goog, from what I hear, has a  booking site now, that if i understand correctly, will notify u when, say, a booking u want to make opens up.   Would beat the crap out of "check back every so often"



Date: 05/11/22 04:05
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: masterphots

United Airlines has something similar.  A week ago we had free tickets Denver to Chicago and the flight was overbooked.  They offered us a later flight along with cash payments in varying amounts and we could check the amount we required to be bumped.  We declined and there were still 21 standbys at the airport.  Don't know what happened.



Date: 05/11/22 05:18
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: Genesis803

Most cruise lines have a similar system. You can bid for an upgrade to a better room. Doesn't always mean it's a "better deal" for the customer in the end, but I think this is a great way to maximize revenue for unsold space. 



Date: 05/11/22 05:41
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: engineerinvirginia

The problem with Amtrak's bidup service is that they desperately want the highest price for available space.....even if you are the only bidder you might not win it if they don't like the price. It'll just be unsold. That said I've got two roomettes, I'd like to bidup to a bedroom but I am not going to bid high, just a small premium over the roomettes. I do believe it's better to call and schmooze for an upgrade. You won't get a worse deal but you may get better.



Date: 05/11/22 09:21
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: dan

i wasn't aware you could do this off the train, in advance, so they may hold it for top dollar for people on the train later, or higher bidders  in the future if doing it before the travel date?



Date: 05/11/22 09:53
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: Lackawanna484

It's a good start. Letting rooms go vacant doesn't make anyone any money



Date: 05/11/22 10:00
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: dan

think of all the rooms at beech grove that are vacant, but parking the cars avoids losses is the theory of the last  few amtrak presidents, fewer car miles less losses



Date: 05/11/22 10:15
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: WAF

masterphots Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> United Airlines has something similar.  A week
> ago we had free tickets Denver to Chicago and the
> flight was overbooked.  They offered us a later
> flight along with cash payments in varying amounts
> and we could check the amount we required to be
> bumped.  We declined and there were still 21
> standbys at the airport.  Don't know what
> happened.

Can't understand how their system allows them to overbook. When the seats are all gone, its full and start a waiting list



Date: 05/11/22 10:53
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: engineerinvirginia

WAF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> masterphots Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > United Airlines has something similar.  A week
> > ago we had free tickets Denver to Chicago and
> the
> > flight was overbooked.  They offered us a
> later
> > flight along with cash payments in varying
> amounts
> > and we could check the amount we required to be
> > bumped.  We declined and there were still 21
> > standbys at the airport.  Don't know what
> > happened.
>
> Can't understand how their system allows them to
> overbook. When the seats are all gone, its full
> and start a waiting list

Thry are allowed to overbook to protect against cancellations. They lobbied for that privelege, but they abuse it death.



Date: 05/11/22 11:48
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: widowsihler

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's a good start. Letting rooms go vacant doesn't
> make anyone any money

Indeed not. Maybe twelve years ago a friend of mine and I were sharing a roomette on the Zephyr from California to Chicago, and about five hours into the run, the conductor came by and asked if we'd like to upgrade to a bedroom. We expressed interest, he consulted some sort of handbook for a few minutes and came up with $50. Well, they already had our roomette fare, this was was fifty bucks that would go straight to the bottom liine, and as long as the BR in question remained empty, it was zilch for the bottom line. Great deal all around. (I forget why the train was only about half full at that point.)



Date: 05/11/22 12:35
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: Lackawanna484

widowsihler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lackawanna484 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > It's a good start. Letting rooms go vacant
> doesn't
> > make anyone any money
>
> Indeed not. Maybe twelve years ago a friend of
> mine and I were sharing a roomette on the Zephyr
> from California to Chicago, and about five hours
> into the run, the conductor came by and asked if
> we'd like to upgrade to a bedroom. We expressed
> interest, he consulted some sort of handbook for a
> few minutes and came up with $50. Well, they
> already had our roomette fare, this was was fifty
> bucks that would go straight to the bottom liine,
> and as long as the BR in question remained empty,
> it was zilch for the bottom line. Great deal all
> around. (I forget why the train was only about
> half full at that point.)

Amtrak used to let conductors sell rooms, but they stopped that practice a few years ago. Now they og thru the National Sales Desk, which assures all the money is in the accounting.  And that the room hasn't been recently sold for service down the line.



Date: 05/11/22 14:03
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: dan

you can do this on the train again, remeber that lady on the lake shore that kicked out fee paying passengers so her friends could ride in their space last fall, was it you or Ross rowland that happened to?



Date: 05/11/22 15:23
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: Lark

Worked for me on #6!



Date: 05/12/22 01:28
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: mp51w

One thing that bugs me with this bid-up program, is that they allow saver fare passengers, who normally are not allowed to upgrade to sleepers, to bid up to sleeping accommodations.  Not only due they get a reduced rate room charge, they avoid the B bucket rail fare that is normally associated with an accommodation charge.  Also, it's being run by a third party vendor.  Amtrak station ticket agents should be given the power and flexibility, within reasonable guidelines, to do similar upgrades.



Date: 05/12/22 07:21
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car
Author: swirsk53

they are also using the auction system  for upgrades on Acela from "business" to first 



Date: 05/12/22 07:30
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: goneon66

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WAF Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > masterphots Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > United Airlines has something similar.  A
> week
> > > ago we had free tickets Denver to Chicago and
> > the
> > > flight was overbooked.  They offered us a
> > later
> > > flight along with cash payments in varying
> > amounts
> > > and we could check the amount we required to
> be
> > > bumped.  We declined and there were still 21
> > > standbys at the airport.  Don't know what
> > > happened.
> >
> > Can't understand how their system allows them
> to
> > overbook. When the seats are all gone, its full
> > and start a waiting list
>
> Thry are allowed to overbook to protect against
> cancellations. They lobbied for that privelege,
> but they abuse it death.

thanks for that info as i was curious about it.

on my last flight, the carrier asked for volunteers to take a later flight for $500.  no takers increased the price to $600..........

66 



Date: 05/12/22 11:59
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: jp1822

As much as I like this concept - any time Amtrak looks to get more revenue in the bank, it's a good thing - sometimes I really wish the company would focus on the little things as well - such as keeping a waiting list for when sleeper space gets filled and then may open up for one reason or another. Some trains are booked months in advance. If Amtrak (like VIA does) did keep a waiting list, once there's enough people on the list to say fill a sleeper to 75% capacity, then they officially add the sleeper. Even though VIA can add a sleeper car to meet demand, Amtrak gives the comment that it can't do that last minute because it doesn't have a sleeping car attendant ready to go. Looking for this type of flexibility during peak season would be a good thing.

And there's NOT a LOT of open sleeper space in the system as it is. There's a LOT of sleeper capacity needed in the summer season, and maybe the bid-up will work in the "shoulder season" but with simmer travel coming, Amtrak needs to work on creating sleeper and coach capacity for its trains that will likely be crunched for demand. 



Date: 05/12/22 14:41
Re: Amtrak using E-bay-like auction to sell unused sleepimg car s
Author: Lackawanna484

I suspect the furloughs last year stripped out some of the flexibility Amtrak used to have for on board staff, etc.



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