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Amtrak Deal Bulletin – Jan. 1

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 amtrak.com/deals for details and booking.

Weekly SmartFares discontinued: 

As noted last week, Amtrak has, indeed, dropped the “smart Fares” deal, at least for now. So far, there is no replacement.

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. 15 percent 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 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 transborder trains.
  • NARP: 10 percent discount for members of National Association of Railroad Passengers with three-day advance purchase.

Discounts previously available to AAA, AARP, and Veterans Advantage 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.

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 three-day advance purchase; travel through Dec. 31.
  • California: 15 percent Senior discount for travelers age 62 or over on “selected” Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin trips. Travel through Jan. 31, 2019. When booking, enter “adult” rather than “senior” and enter promotion code “V282.”
  • Capitol Corridor: $5 fares for up to five companion tickets; through March 30.
  • Downeaster: Free companion ticket. Buy three days in advance; travel through Dec. 31.
  • San Joaquins: 50 percent discount on up to five companion tickets for travel through April 30, 2019.

Ed Perkins, editor

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

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