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Amtrak Deal Bulletin – March 13

Cruising westbound, early morning in December 2007 on the CalTrain main (south) through the Santa Clara station. This is a bit unusual, normally they will be on the tracks to the right in the picture which is the Union Pacific Mulford line. Cruising westbound, early morning in December 2007 on the CalTrain main (south) through the Santa Clara station. This is a bit unusual, normally they will be on the tracks to the right in the picture which is the Union Pacific Mulford line. Here, it's passing the station on track #2. By Todd Evans, 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.

Standard Ongoing Discounts

Amtrak routinely offers modest discounts to certain travelers. For the most part, these discounts apply only to coach travel and are generally not combinable. Most routine discounts do not apply to weekday Acela Express trains and many do not apply to some Thruway bus travel. When you enter itineraries and personal details, the Amtrak website automatically computes discounted fares. Discounts are subject to capacity control.

  • 10 percent discount for travelers age 65 or over except on cross-border travel with VIA Rail, where the minimum age is 60. Senior discount is not valid on Acela, Auto Train, Saver fares, or on business class or sleeper accommodations. 50 percent senior discount on Downeaster trains.
  • 10 percent discount for travelers with disabilities and traveling companions, with appropriate ID. 50 percent discount on Downeaster trains.
  • One child age 2-12 travels for 50 percent off with an adult age 18 or over.
  • 10 percent discount for travelers on active duty and their spouses/dependents, including travel on Auto Train, excluding Canadian portion of trans border trains.
  • Veterans Advantage. 15 percent discount for members.
  • 10 percent discount for members of National Association of Railroad Passengers with three-day advance purchase.

Discounts previously available to AAA and AARP members have been discontinued.

All Aboard: Ending This Month

  • 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.
  • Coast Starlight: 50 percent companion ticket discount; buy by March 31, travel May 1-31.
  • 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.

Advance-Purchase Discounts

  • Saver Fares with discounts of 15 percent-25 percent are routinely offered on most long-distance Amtrak trains with 14-day advance purchase. Discounts are limited to coach class and to Saturday and select weeknight Acela trips.

Weekly SmartFares: 

Buy Tuesday-Friday, March 13-16.

Travel Monday-Thursday and Saturday, varying dates, March 24-April 14.

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.

  • City of New Orleans: Chicago-Centralia, New Orleans-Chicago.
  • Northeast Regional: various routes.
  • Southwest Chief: Topeka-Kingman.
  • Sunset Limited: Palm Springs-New Orleans, both directions.

Other 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.
  • Capitol Corridor: 50 percent senior discounts for travel Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday; buy and travel through June 28. Also 50 percent discounts on up to five companion tickets; ongoing. Also 25 percent discount on trips to/from Oakland Coliseum station for A’s home games, through Nov. 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 with two-day advance purchase through April 28, 2018, travel through April 30.

Ed Perkins, editor

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

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