How To Save Money On Amtrak Tickets
How To Save Money On Amtrak Tickets

12 Tips On How To Save Money On Amtrak Tickets

If you like to save money, you probably want to save money on Amtrak. In this article, I’ll share some of the tips and tricks I have discovered over my years of travel.

If you’re new to traveling, there are a few things you can do to save money on Amtrak and other modes of transportation. One important thing is to be flexible with your travel plans. Additionally, booking your tickets early is usually the best practice. 

Let’s see if we can help you save some cash!

1) Save money on Amtrak by getting their emails

Stay up to date on the latest Amtrak deals.

Subscribing to Amtrak’s email updates is a great way to stay informed about their latest promotions.  

Additionally, Amtrak Guest Rewards members receive exclusive offers. Furthermore, you also get to stay updated with the latest Amtrak news.

While we all get a lot of emails in our inboxes, this could be worth your time. Another one you might enjoy is the Travels with Kev email.

2) Save money on Amtrak by getting a travel buddy

While I am a solo traveler, having a travel buddy can save you money. It can be fun to share your experience with someone else; the bonus is you can save some cash.

Paula and Mack
Paula and Mackenzie outside of their Amtrak sleeper car

This tip is more useful if you are sharing an Amtrak sleeping accommodation. There is one room rate when booking a room on Amtrak, and both passengers pay a rail fare, so if you share a room, you can split that room rate.

When booking two people in a room, the price on the screen is the price for both, provided you searched for two people.

Another Way Two Passengers Can Save Money

If you want a little more room and are considering a bedroom, sometimes booking two roomettes can be cheaper than one bedroom. You need to call Amtrak or go to a staffed station to see if you can get the rooms across from each other or at least near each other if you do this option.

This tip could also work in reverse, meaning that one bedroom could come in cheaper than two roomettes.

While the bedroom has more room for luggage and whatnot, two roomettes give each person more personal space, and this way, no one has to climb in an upper bunk. Plus, if you get them across from each other, you can go back and forth for the best views.

3) Save money on Amtrak: with Amtrak Share Fare

Amtrak Share Fares are discounts that save up to 60% off tickets for eight passengers traveling together on the same reservation, but there are deals for three or more. Here’s how the deal works:

Seating in the new Amtrak Venture cars.
  • First Passenger – regular price (or lowest available fare)
  • Second Passenger – regular price (or lowest available fare)
  • Third Passenger – 17% off all tickets
  • Fourth Passenger – 30% off all tickets
  • Fith Passenger – 39% off all tickets
  • Six Passenger – 47% off all tickets
  • Seventh Passenger – 54% off all tickets
  • Eight Passenger – 60% off all tickets 

Share Fares are available on coach seats for most Amtrak routes, including the Northeast Regional, Empire Builder, Auto Train, Downeaster, Palmetto, and California Zephyr. The offer is also available in Acela Business Class.

Discounts are applied automatically when qualifying travel is selected from the Amtrak Share Fare page or using code V291 on the Amtrak app or website. A 2-day advance purchase is required to get this deal. 

Call 1-800-USA-RAIL to make reservations for 9 to 14 travelers. For reservations with 15 or more, please complete a Group Travel Request.

4) Save money on Amtrak with Amtrak’s online deals

Amtrak’s online deals include seasonal and limited-time offers and exclusive discounts on select trains.

The Amtrak website offers several short and long-term deals, and for more information, check out the Amtrak deal page,

5) Save money on Amtrak with Multi-Ride Passes

Select routes such as the Hiawatha offer flexibility and savings with multi-ride passes. Passes range from monthly to ten-ride, and a student six-ride in a few areas. It is kind of like bulk buying of tickets. These tickets are not transferable, meaning others cannot use yours.

For more information, check out this page on Amtrak’s Multi-Ride Passes.

6) Save money on Amtrak with Multi-City Tickets

Palmetto coming into CHS
Amtrak’s Palmetto pulling into the new Charleston Station

Multi-city tickets allow you to book a trip or sections of your adventure together without them being in consecutive days or cities.

In other words, if you plan a journey from the Sturtevant Depot to Charleston, SC, but want to spend a few days in Philadelphia, you can book it on one ticket.

From my experience, this seems to work better when connecting with an East Coast long-distance train.

It can be worth the try even if it is not a guaranteed way to save money, for it can still help you stay organized with fewer tickets.

7) Join The Rail Passenger Association

Boarding the Silver Star in New York
Boarding the Silver Star in New York

Members receive a 10% discount on Amtrak’s rail fare when purchasing tickets three or more days in advance (the discount does not apply to upgrades). 

The Rail Passenger Association (RPA), formally known as the National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP), is a non-profit organization that promotes passenger rail services around the United States.

RPA’s mission includes developing and fighting for both regional rail and Amtrak.

Yearly or monthly memberships are tax-deductible, plus you receive a 10% discount on Amtrak rail fares and with other companies. This reduction applies only to rail fare costs, not upgrades such as a room, business, or first class.

Further down in the article, it describes how the PRA/NARP discount works a little more.

Join the Rail Passenger Association

8) Save money on Amtrak with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Program

Amtraks loyalty program to earn free rides (after redeeming points)!

Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) is a multi-tiered rewards program offering free Amtrak travel.

Siemens SC-44
A Siemens SC-44 Charger on Amtrak’s Hiawatha during a Sturtevant Depot stop.

AGR awards two points for every dollar spent on Amtrak travel, plus you can get points from shopping and joining RPA.

Like airline rewards programs, points earned for travel allow you to advance in tiered programs. Status-level rewards include free upgrades, companion coupons, and bonus points. Click the link for more information on the points program.

To ensure you get all your Amtrak Guest Rewards points, use your Amtrak Guest Rewards Number every time you book.

Your points expire if your account is inactive for two years. You can reset this clock when you book and travel before that date, or there are other ways that Amtrak suggests keeping your account active.

Ways to accumulate Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

You can double-dip with several options when using an Amtrak Credit card; more information is in the next section.

New AGR members earn 500 bonus points if the first Amtrak trip is within 90 days of joining.

10) Get the Amtrak Credit Card

Earn points from shopping and paying bills.

The Amtrak Mastercard will help you accumulate points faster for free adventures if you plan a cross-country trip or ride the regional routes.

Typically, Amtrak offers 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 within three months of activating a new card (click the link below).

Bonuses of the card include:

Amtrak Credit Card
Amtrak Credit Card (Courtesy of the Amtrak Website.)
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on Amtrak travel, including onboard purchases*
  • You can earn 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, including transit and rideshare1
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases*
  • Round-trip companion coupon upon account opening and card anniversary*
  • One-class upgrade upon account opening and card anniversary*
  • Station lounge pass upon account opening and card anniversary*
  • 20% rebate on Amtrak onboard food and beverage purchases in the form of a statement credit
  • 5% point rebate when you redeem points for Amtrak reward travel*
  • Earn tier status faster with 1,000 TQPs (Tier Qualifying Points) each time you make $5,000 in qualifying purchases*
  • Your points don’t expire as long as your account remains open*
  • There is no limit on how many points you can earn as long as your account stays open*
  • No foreign transaction fees**

If you want more information on the Amtrak Mastercard getting one, click here.

* For more details, check out the Credit Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions in the Summary of Credit Terms section at the time of application. Please see the Amtrak Guest Rewards Program terms and conditions at Amtrak.com/guestrewards for information regarding expiration, redemption, forfeiture, and other limitations on Amtrak Guest Rewards Points.

11) Do You Qualify For Everyday Discounts?

Anytime discounts are available for qualified passengers but do not apply for upgrades.

There are some trains where you could save more than the percentage listed below.

  • Seniors receive 10% off for those 65 years or older.
  • Kids two and under are free, but their names must be on an adult’s ticket. Children between 3 and 12 are 50% off and must travel with someone 18 or older.
  • Active Military members and spouses receive 10% off but must have a valid military ID.
  • Veterans from any branch receive 10% off base tickets *New as of August 2019*
  • Military kids: Two to twelve military kids receive half off, plus an additional 10% off (the best deal out there!).
  • People with a disability and a companion (when booked together) receive 10% off.
  • US Federal Employees have a discount program, but you must book through a federal employee travel management company or corporate booking tool. They are not bookable on Amtrak.com.
  • Groups of 20 or more people receive a discount but might not be bookable online.

12) Student Discounts!

Amtrak offers students between ages 17 and 24 the chance to save 15% on purchases made one (1) day in advance with our national student discount. This discount makes it easier for adventurous spirits to enjoy wherever they go and have less stress about getting there. There are some terms and conditions for receiving your discount.

Find More About Student Discounts

How Discounts Apply To Your Reservations

Coach reservation discounts count toward the total cost of the ticket, but they do not apply to Saver Saver Fares or sales.

Amtrak Superliner roomette seat
Amtrak Superliner roomette seat

Business-class and room accommodations discounts are more challenging to understand because the discount percentage only applies to the rail fare (coach ticket price) that everyone pays, not the upgrade cost.

For example, when booking a business class ticket on the Lincoln Service between Chicago and St. Louis.

Without a discount, a business class ticket is $52. That ticket breaks down to a $31 rail fare and $21 for the business class upgrade; the cut comes off the rail fare of $31 (a saving of $3.10), making the $52 business class ticket $49.

With rooms, looking at the train, The City of New Orleans, a coach seat costs $135, and a roomette costs $269, with a 10% discount coach, which is $122 and $256 for a roomette.

Each person pays a rail fare and one room cost with room accommodations. Using the example of the City of New Orleans, the roomette is $269 for one and $404 for two people without a discount. For this example, each person pays $108 to ride the train, and the room costs $135. So this means $108 (First rider) + $108 (second rider) + $135 (room price) = $351 for two people.

Room reservation includes all scheduled dining car meals on the train.

The prices given were used as an example and may change at times. 

Booking Tips To Save Money

Flexibility is key

Amtrak Viewliner dining car seating.
Amtrak Viewliner dining car seating.

When booking, consider checking a few dates before or after your target date; leaving a day sooner or later could save money on Amtrak tickets.

Flexibility is not always possible, but the savings can be worth the inconvenience.

Buying tickets as early as possible often helps, not only for rooms but for a coach ticket.

The best thing to do is check different times to get a feel for ticket prices and see when is best for you to book.

Kev’s Notes

I know a few things about this.

Before my first Amtrak trip, I signed up for AGR and earned points after the conductor scanned that first ticket. Because I travel often, do online purchasing, and fill out surveys, I received several free trips from the points I earned, even a free coast-to-coast ride with roomette accommodations!

NARP/PRA is a cause I support, fighting for Passenger Rail nationally and regionally, but the discount is handy. Over the years, I averaged 100 train rides, and the 10% off has saved me more than the cost of my membership fee.

I hope this helps you save money on Amtrak tickets. You could use that money to get something special from the cafe car.

Safe Travels!

Kev

Note: The information given was current at the time of publication.

Read all the restrictions and fine print to ensure you get the most out of the suggested programs. Travels with Kev is not affiliated with Amtrak. The information is a guide and not associated with Amtrak. Deals can change anytime Amtrak seems fit.

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Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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