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Amtrak Deal Bulletin – May 15

The Piedmont heads south through High Point, N.C. Photo by Hunterrrr via Wikimedia Commons The Piedmont heads south through High Point, N.C. Photo by Hunterrrr 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 amtrak.com/deals for details and booking.

Special Trains

Amtrak will operate a special round-trip train from Chicago to Harbor Shores, Michigan, on May 26 for travelers to attend the Senior PGA Championship. According to Amtrak, the special Harbor Shores station is “just steps” from the tournament entrance. Round-trip fares start at $33. The train leaves Chicago Union Station at 7:05 a.m. CDT and Hammond-Whiting at 7:30 a.m., arriving at 10:23 a.m. EDT; the return trip leaves at 7:16 p.m. EDT.

New Trains

Starting June 4, the Carolina Department of Transportation will add a third daily Amtrak-operated Charlotte-Raleigh “Piedmont” round-trip. With the long-haul Carolinian also operating on this route, travelers on this segment will have four daily round-trips. Running time, with seven intermediate stops, is about 3½ hours.

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.

  • Senior. 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.
  • Disability. 10 percent discount for travelers with disabilities and traveling companions, with appropriate ID. 50 percent discount on Downeaster trains.
  • Children. One child age 2-12 travels for 50 percent off with an adult age 18 or over.
  • Military. 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 of Veterans Advantage.
  • NARP. 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.

Advance-Purchase Discounts

  • Saver Fares 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.

Advance-Purchase Discounts

  • Saver Fares 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, May 15-18.

Travel Monday-Thursday and Saturday, varying dates, May 14-June 16.

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.

  • Cascades: Eugene-Seattle, Vancouver-Seattle.
  • Coast Starlight: Los Angeles-Chico.
  • Northeast Regional: various routes.
  • Sunset Limited: New Orleans-Los Angeles, Palm Springs-Del Rio.

Other Time-Limited Promotions

  • Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express and Maple Leaf: 15 percent discount for students age 13-25 for travel within New York State plus Montreal; requires student ID; buy by Dec. 28 with 3-day advance purchase; travel through Dec. 31.
  • Capitol Corridor: 50 percent senior discounts for travel on Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday; buy and travel through June 28. Also, free companion ticket for travel on Saturdays, through September 30. 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 baseball games, through November 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.
  • Missouri River Runner: Kids ride free, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Offer applies to one kid, age 2-12, accompanied by an adult, through August 26.
  • San Joaquins: Up to five 50 percent companion discounts, ongoing.

Ed Perkins, editor

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

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