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Amtrak Deal Bulletin – Feb. 13

Eastbound Empire Builder crossing Two Medicine Trestle at East Glacier, Mont Eastbound Empire Builder crossing Two Medicine Trestle at East Glacier, Mont. by Steve Wilson, via Wikimedia Commons

General Conditions: Except where noted, all Amtrak promotions apply to coach travel only; discounts apply to full-fare tickets and can’t be combined with other discounts; most deals entail blackout dates; seats are limited; some promotions do not apply to all trains; most promotions make provisions for one or two children accompanying each adult traveler. Companion and most children’s deals require all travelers to travel together. Amtrak also offers other minor deals and promotions. In most cases, the Amtrak website automatically computes and displays eligible discounts for any trip you enter. Check for details and booking.

Discount Pullback

Amtrak has changed some longstanding discounts:

  • The senior discount has dropped from 15 percent to 10 percent, and the minimum age increased from 62 to 65 years except on cross-border travel with VIA Rail, where the minimum age is 60. Senior discount is not valid on Auto Train or Acela, on Saver fares, or on business class or sleeper accommodations.
  • One child age 2-12 travels for 50 percent off with an adult, down from two children.
  • AAA/NARP/Military. The discount remains 10 percent; it is not valid with Saver, business class or sleeper fares or on weekday Acela trains. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance, except the advance purchase requirement does not apply to military members and their families.
  • Veterans Advantage. The discount remains 15 percent for members, with other conditions similar to AAA/NARP.

Weekly SmartFares: 

Buy Tuesday-Friday, Feb. 13-16.

Travel Monday-Thursday and Saturday, varying dates, Feb. 24-March 19.

Deal: 30 percent off regular coach fares.

Routes: Sale seats are available between endpoints or intermediate points of sale route; sale fares apply only in the direction noted.

  • California-Zephyr-Holdrege
  • Capitol Limited: Chicago-Washington.
  • City of New Orleans: Centralia-New Orleans.
  • Empire Builder: Portland-Chicago.
  • Northeast Regional: various routes.
  • Southwest Chief: Chicago-Kingman.

Time-Limited Promotions

  • Adirondack: $45 one-way fares between New York and Montreal on Thursdays through Mondays. Book through April 23 for travel through April 26.
  • Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express and Maple Leaf: 15 percent discount for travel within New York State, plus Montreal. Buy tickets five days in advance by through May 26, 2018, travel through May 31.
  • Capitol Corridor: Up to five companion tickets at $5 each for travel on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. Buy by March 31, travel through April 1.
  • City of New Orleans: 50 percent companion discount. Buy through Dec. 31, travel Feb. 1-28.
  • Downeaster: Free companion ticket. Buy three days in advance; travel through Dec. 31.
  • San Joaquins: Up to five companion tickets at 50 percent off. Buy through April 28, 2018, travel through April 30.
  • Ski Train: The Winter Park Express runs through March 25, from Denver to Winter Park Resort. Trains will run Saturdays and Sundays plus Jan. 5, Feb. 2 and March 2. Trains leave Denver at 7 a.m. and leave Winter Park at 4:30 p.m. Advance-purchase one-way fares for $29 are available; other tickets cost $39-$59, based on capacity control.
  • Winter “Warm-Up” Sale: Blue Water, Carl Sandburg, Hoosier State, Illini, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Missouri River Runner, Pere Marquette, Saluki and Wolverine: 20 percent discounts. Buy by March 30, travel by March 31.

Ongoing Promotions (valid a year or more)

  • Acela: 25 percent discount for weekend and week-night travel between New Haven, Washington, and intermediate points. Also Boston-New York fare starting at $89. 14-day advance purchase.
  • Downeaster: 50 percent senior discount: age 62 or over: travel Boston to/from Portland and intermediate stops.

Saver Fares

Get 20 or 25 percent discounts on a 14-day advance purchase. Amtrak has removed the “buy by” date and now shows these discounts as open-ended. Fares valid in both directions and to/from intermediate points. No time limit.

  • Auto Train: Lorton-Sanford.
  • California Zephyr: Chicago-Emeryville
  • Capitol Limited: Washington-Chicago.
  • Cardinal: New York-Washington-Chicago.
  • Cascades: Eugene-Vancouver (25 percent)
  • City of New Orleans: New Orleans-Chicago
  • Coast Starlight: Los Angeles-Seattle.
  • Crescent: New York-New Orleans.
  • Empire Builder: Chicago-Portland/Seattle.
  • Lake Shore Limited: Chicago-Boston/New York.
  • Northeast Regional, some Keystone and Pennsylvanian: Boston-Pittsburgh-Roanoke (25 percent).
  • Palmetto/Silver Meteor/Silver Star: New York-Miami.
  • Southwest Chief: Chicago-Los Angeles.
  • Sunset Limited: New Orleans-Los Angeles
  • Texas Eagle: Chicago-San Antonio.

— Ed Perkins, editor

For more travel tips from Ed Perkins, see our companion site Ed on Travel

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