Do you want to save money on Amtrak? If you do, this article is for you if you want to save money on your next Amtrak adventure. If you are new to train travel, this article is a great page to bookmark for later.
Like any other form of travel, flexibility and early booking often yield the best deals.
Some discounts count for tickets bought on your day of travel, while others may need three or more days.
If you want to learn how to save money when booking Amtrak tickets, check out these tips I put together to see if you can save some money.
Let’s see if we can save you some cash!
1) Save Money On Amtrak: Sign-Up For Amtrak Emails
Stay up to date on the latest Amtrak deals.
Signing up for Amtrak emails is an excellent way to stay updated with Amtrak’s newest deals.
- Include limited-time promotions
- Amtrak sometimes runs spur-of-the-moment promotions where you buy now and travel soon.
- Or they offer deals where you book now and travel later.
- Exclusive deals for Amtrak Guest Rewards members (more about this below)
- Plus, receive the most recent 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 With 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, and a bonus if they can help save you both some cash.
You can save money with a buddy when sharing an Amtrak Sleeper Accommodation.
There is one room rate when booking a room on Amtrak, although both passengers pay a rail fare.
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
There is another way you can save money if traveling with others.
If you want a little more room and considering a bedroom, sometimes booking two roomettes can be cheaper than booking one bedroom. You need to call Amtrak or go to a staffed station to see if you can get 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.
3) Save Money on Amtrak With Amtrak Share Fares (3-8 Passengers)
Amtrak Share Fares is a discount for up to eight people.
Amtrak Share Fares provides a group discount of up to 60% off tickets for eight passengers traveling together on the same reservation. Here’s how the deal works:
- Passenger – regular price (or lowest available fare)
- Passenger – regular price (or lowest available fare)
- Passenger – 17% off all tickets
- Passenger – 30% off all tickets
- Passenger – 39% off all tickets
- Passenger – 47% off all tickets
- Passenger – 54% off all tickets
- Passenger – 60% off all tickets
Share Fares are available on Coach seats for most Amtrak routes, including train routes such as the Northeast Regional, Empire Builder, Auto Train, Downeaster, Palmetto, and California Zephyr. The offer is also available in Acela Business Class.
Discount applied automatically when qualifying travel is selected from this page or apply code V291 on the Amtrak app or website. A 2-day advance purchase is required to get this deal.
4) Save Money on Amtrak With Amtrak’s Online Deals
Amtrak’s online deals include seasonal, limited-time offers and exclusive discounts on select trains.
The Amtrak website offers some deals for you to check out.
- Current Deals
- Saver fares: Amtrak offers 25% off long-distance coach seats when purchased 14 days in advance. Reservations are limited, and restrictions do apply.
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 passes and a student six-ride pass 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
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 are planning a journey from the Sturtevant Depot to Charleston, SC, but want to spend a few days in Philadelphia, booking it on one ticket is possible.
While this trip may not save money, it’s worth trying. Even when this trick does not save money, it can still help you stay organized with fewer tickets.
7) Join The Rail Passenger Association
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 (PRA), formally known as the National Association of Rail Passenger Association (NARP), is a non-profit organization that promotes passenger rail services around the United States.
PRA’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 plus 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.
8) Save Money on Amtrak By Signing-Up For 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.
AGR awards two points for every dollar spent on Amtrak travel. Like airline rewards programs, points earned while traveling allow you to advance in a tiered program; for Amtrak, tier qualifying points (TQP) lead to advancement in status levels.
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. Points do not expire unless the account has been inactive for two years.
If your account is active, your old points do not expire; here is more on expiring points.
Ways To Accumulate Amtrak Guest Rewards Points
Are you traveling on Amtrak between now and April 28, 2023? If so, you can earn double Amtrak points for free! If you are already a member of Amtrak Guest Rewards, all you have to do is register, and this is just clicking a button. If you are not a member, you can sign up and register. It is a simple process, and all you need to do. For more info or to register, check out this page!
You can double-dip with several options when using an Amtrak Credit card; more information is in the next section.
- Points by shopping
- While this process takes a few more clicks to shop, it is a way to get additional Amtrak points even when you are not traveling.
- Buying or transferring points
- If you are a bit shy of points for your next trip, you can buy those extra points to travel when you want.
- Points from staying at hotels
- Don’t leave points on the table; your hotel points can go to your Amtrak Travel if you stay at a listed hotel.
- Car rentals
- Like hotels and shopping, this is an easy way of earning Amtrak points doing something you may already plan on doing.
- Partners and surveys
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 planning a cross-country trip or riding 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:
- 1 point for every dollar charged
- 2-3 points for every dollar spent on Amtrak travel and onboard purchases
- When redeeming points for travel, there is a 5% point rebate
- Passes and coupons include free business Class upgrades, companion coupons, and lounge passes for preferred cards.
- Tier qualifying points are available for faster progression within the program.
- And more!
If you want more information on the Amtrak Mastercard getting one, click here.
Another way to get 40,000 points is to open an Amtrak Credit Card! Earn up to 40,000 bonus points*¹ with the Amtrak Guest Rewards® credit cards. The offer ends on April 26, 2023. Learn how to get an Amtrak Credit Card to earn bonus points.
11) Do You Qualify For Everyday Discounts?
Anytime discounts 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 3-12 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: 2-12 military kids receive half off, plus an additional 10% off (best deal out there!)
- People with a disability and a companion (when booked together) receive 10% off.
- US Federal employees have a discount program. These tickets must be booked through a federal employee travel management company or corporate booking tool and 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 17-24 the chance to save 15% on purchases made one (1) day in advance with our national student discount – making it easier for those adventurous spirits to enjoy wherever they’re going and have less stress about getting there. There are some terms and conditions to receive your discount.
How Discounts Apply To Your Reservations
Coach reservation discounts come off the total cost of the ticket. Discounts do not apply to Saver Saver Fares or sales.
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). The $52 business class ticket becomes $49.
With rooms, looking at the train, The City of New Orleans, a coach seat costs $135, and a roomette $269, with a 10% discount coach, is $122 and $256 for a roomette.
Each person pays a rail fare and one room cost with room accommodations. Using the City of New Orleans example, 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 anytime.
Booking Tips To Save Money
Flexibility is key
When booking, consider checking a few dates before or after your target date; leaving a day sooner or later could save money.
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 of ticket prices to see when is best for you to book.
Amtrak offers “saver fairs” for tickets bought 14 days in advance, but those offerings are limited. You may book up to 11 months in advance.
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.
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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 programs suggested, and Travels with Kev is not affiliated with Amtrak. The information is a guide and not associated with Amtrak. Deals can change anytime when Amtrak seems fit.