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Amtrak News and Discount Bulletin – Aug. 4

Ethan Allen Express at Rutland station, May 2001 by Hikki Nagasaki, via Wikimedia Commons Ethan Allen Express at Rutland station, May 2001 by Hikki Nagasaki, via Wikimedia Commons

Promotions

Amtrak is offering its “Share Fares” deal (see below) on Acela Business class. Buy tickets, at least two days in advance, through Aug. 31; travel through Sept. 12.

The South Shore Line is offering free westbound travel (toward Chicago) to all comers through Aug. 31. Just get on the train.

Amtrak Closures and Reopenings

Most prior Amtrak complete suspensions have been ended; the only remaining complete suspensions are Piedmont, Adirondack, and Ethan Allen north of Albany, Cascades north of Seattle, Maple Leaf beyond Niagara Falls, and Vermonter north of New Haven. Almost all other short routes are seeing schedule reductions, and most previously daily long-haul services will be reduced to three-days-weekly on Oct. 1. Services will build back up to previous levels by summer, 2021—maybe.

Amtrak Deals: 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.

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% 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% senior discount on Downeaster trains. 15% discount for seniors age 62 or over on Capitol Corridor, Pacific Sunliner and San Joaquins; any-age advance purchase fares may be lower.
  • Disability: 10% discount for travelers with disabilities and traveling companions, with appropriate ID. 50% discount on Downeaster trains.
  • Children: One child age 2-12 travels for 50% off with an adult age 18 or over.
  • Military: 10% discount for travelers on active duty and their spouses/dependents, including travel on Auto Train, excluding Canadian portion of transborder trains.
  • NARP: 10% discount for members of National Association of Railroad Passengers with three-day advance purchase.
  • “Share Fares:” Average 35% discount for groups of up to six traveling together with three-day advance purchase. Works best for groups of 3 or more.
  • Veterans: 10% discounts for veterans; applies to all coach seats and business class on Acela. Check “Military Veteran” in the booking window. Proof of veteran status can be required. Also 15% discounts in California on Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner, and San Joaquins for veterans and family members — ends Dec. 31, 2020.

Advance-Purchase Discounts

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

Time-Limited Promotions

  • Amtrak has cut saver fares in the Southeast to as low as $9 each way between Orlando and Tampa and between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. It has also cut fares on the Lake Shore Limited between stops in Massachusetts and stops in the eastern part of upstate New York for as much as half off the usual fares. The deals have no cutoff dates; they require advance purchase of 7 to 14 days, depending on routes, and include Thanksgiving weekend blackout dates.
  • Capitol Corridor: Up to 5 companions: 50% discounts on most dates, now through Jan. 31, 2021.
  • Northeast Corridor: BOGO sale: Buy one coach ticket, get a second companion ticket free for Saturday travel, including Acela Express as well as Northeast Regional trains, to/from all stops between Boston and Roanoke/Virginia Beach. Buy three or more days in advance, through Aug. 30, 2020. Use discount code “C222.” Applies to Acela business class, with a minimum qualifying ticket price of $89, or to Northeast Regional coach trips, with a minimum ticket price of $45. Travelers must enroll in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program.

See our report on worldwide rail news

Ed Perkins, editor

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

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