Amtrak's Offering a Steep Discount on Its USA Rail Pass — but Only for a Limited Time
See the country from a train window this spring or summer, for less.Amtrak is ready to help you get on the rails again this spring and summer with a steep discount on one of its coolest ways to see America outside your train window.
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If you’re a frequent Amtrak traveler, you may be familiar with the USA Rail Pass, which affords 10 rides over 30 days to more than 500 destinations.
Now through March 29, users can save $100 and buy this pass for $399, which is less than $40 per segment.
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Deal basics © The Points Guy Amtrak Palm Springs Station (PSN) (Photo by Laser1987/Getty Images)
Routes: Valid for travel on all Amtrak trains excluding the Auto Train, Acela, Thruway bus connections (7000-7999 series) and the Canadian portion of trains jointly operated by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada.
Amtrak’s new Acela trains delayed until fall 2023
It could be close to a year and a half before Amtrak’s new, state-of-the-art Acela Express trains begin service, an Amtrak representative told TPG on Friday. It’s a timeline that falls far short of previous projections by the rail operator that the new trainsets would be serving the northeast U.S. by 2021. The new timeline …Word of the delay for the new trains came the same week that Amtrak publicly shared photos of the interior of the upgraded trains to the public. TPG got a first look at the train interiors back in 2020 inside the Hornell, New York, factory where they’ve been in the works for several years now.
How to book: Directly through Amtrak.
Travel dates: The pass is valid for use 120 days following purchase. Once you complete your first travel segment, your pass expires in 30 days. There are no blackout or time of day restrictions for travel.
Book by: March 29 © The Points Guy (Screenshot from Amtrak)
A travel segment refers to any time you board and disembark an Amtrak train, meaning if you are making one connection on your trip, that will count as two segments.
Sample routes © The Points Guy (Screenshot from Amtrak)
Read more: Faster Wi-Fi but slimmer seats: Here’s a first look on board Amtrak’s newest trains
The USA Rail Pass can only be used for travel in coach seats, on trains en route to Amtrak domestic destinations, minus the aforementioned exclusions.
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“Craving some adventure? Hop from town-to-town as you travel across the country,” touts Amtrak in the sale announcement. “Or just want to spend your weekends away from home? Whether you’re looking to discover hidden gems or just want to visit some friends in the next city over, the USA Rail Pass makes it easy to get more getaways.”
Travelers could use the Rail Pass on its more than 30 domestic train routes in more than 46 cities, including:
- The Vermonter train: St. Albans – Burlington – Springfield – New York – Washington
- Sunset Limited: New Orleans – Houston – San Antonio – El Paso – Tucson – Palm Springs – Los Angeles
- Missouri River Runner: St. Louis – Washington – Sedalia – Independence – Kansas City
- Michigan Services: Chicago – Grand Rapids- Ann Arbor – Detroit – Pontiac
- Capitol Corridor: Auburn – Sacramento – Emeryville – Oakland – San Jose
There are many particulars with using the Rail Pass. As mentioned, you have 30 days to complete travel, starting from the first date of travel. Also, travel is limited to four one-way trips between two cities and to all cities in between, over the same route.
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Amtrak Guest Rewards members can earn 2 points per dollar spent on each USA Rail Pass purchase, the points of which will be credited to your account after your first travel segment. You cannot redeem points for a Rail Pass.
Note that you can modify your trip prior to the scheduled departure time of a booked segment. However, it must be rebooked within the 120-day period or 30 days of the first used segment, depending on what is applicable. Alternatively, you can cancel a segment and credit it back to the pass as long as you cancel pre-departure.
Maximize your purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns bonus points on travel purchases, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on travel) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel).
The USA Rail Pass will be on sale through next week, so you have a little time to contemplate your purchase. If you’re planning on traveling a lot in a condensed period of time, especially to Amtrak-friendly destinations, this is your chance to travel back-to-back while saving money.
Amtrak Shares Sneak Peek Inside New High-Speed Acela Trains
Courtesy of Amtrak The new Amtrak Acela fleet is currently being tested along the Northeast Corridor. In northern Europe, the concept of flygskam—“flight shame” in Swedish—gained momentum in 2019, as more people opted for trains over planes in the name of sustainability. But in the United States, many American travelers who would like to reduce their carbon footprint by ditching air travel have fewer options and an aging Amtrak system. That’s about to change next year—at least for people who live along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.
Featured photo by Barry Winiker/Getty Images.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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