Amtrak Discounts

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Amtrak Discounts
Posted by meatball914 on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 9:37 AM

I know Amtrak has started to nickle and dime over discounts (I recently lost my senior discount since the qualifying age went up to 65 yrs).  Today, however, I tried to book a trip online and the AAA discount option was not available.  It also does not show up on the DEALS section of the webpage.  Has Amtrak dropped this discount unannouced?  Does anyone have any information?  I used this discount for so many years.

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Posted by oltmannd on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 11:28 AM

meatball914

I know Amtrak has started to nickle and dime over discounts (I recently lost my senior discount since the qualifying age went up to 65 yrs).  Today, however, I tried to book a trip online and the AAA discount option was not available.  It also does not show up on the DEALS section of the webpage.  Has Amtrak dropped this discount unannouced?  Does anyone have any information?  I used this discount for so many years.

 

Me, too.  Poof!  Might have to try to use my "pass" from now on...

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by PJS1 on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 5:40 PM
Here is a link to Amtrak’s website that outlines the current discounts:
 
 
I am 78.  My annual income, thanks to a lucking savings and investment scheme, is greater than when I was working.  So why should I get a discount?  Just because someone has reached a certain age does not mean that they cannot afford to pay full fare.  Some can't; but many can. 
 
For those seniors that don't have a lot of income, Amtrak could offer them a senior discount fare based on a qualified income level.  With today’s computer technologies, once a person has qualified for the discount, it could be made seamless.  No one would know other than the recipient. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 9:36 PM

JPS1
Here is a link to Amtrak’s website that outlines the current discounts:
 
 
I am 78.  My annual income, thanks to a lucking savings and investment scheme, is greater than when I was working.  So why should I get a discount?  Just because someone has reached a certain age does not mean that they cannot afford to pay full fare.  Some can't; but many can pay full fare. 
 
For those seniors that don't have a lot of income, Amtrak could offer them a senior discount fare based on a qualified income level.  With today’s computer technologies, once a person has qualified for the discount, it could be made seamless.  No one would know other than the recipient. 

You mean there is no reward for growing older?  Just the slowing down and aches and pains as well as the multiple continuing medications?

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Posted by Sunnyland on Monday, February 26, 2018 8:46 PM

I just booked a trip on MO River Runner and was able to get the discount as I am over 65. Don't belong to AAA, so know nothing about that one.  New cancellation policies too.  But Amtrak Guest Rewards for now is still working the same, I will redeem some of those points when I hope to ride City of NOLA again this summer. I still get e-mails with points listed so I will find out, but read there would be no problem with those.  I paid for my ticket to Lee's Summit as it was not that expensive and can get more points and I always use that credit card for larger expenses to get more points.  At least they don't go away like airlines now do, TWA would keep them active, but not these other airlines. I have not flown in years and don't intend too, not my idea of fun any longer from what I hear. I racked up a lot of miles with TWA Getaway Tours to Europe multiple times and glad I did it then.  

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Posted by runnerdude48 on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 1:33 PM

I suspect Guest Rewards will be the next perk to fall.  I don't think it will go away entirely but I think redeeming points will be much more difficult.  You will still have multiple ways to earn points but when you come to redeem them the number of seats and rooms available for rewards travel will be controlled just like the airlines do now.  Probably based on the number of seats/rooms available on a given train.  Maybe one room per sleeper so say 3 during peak season on the Coast Starlight but only 1 on the Cardinal.  Number may increase seasonaly on some trains.  More in the summer to Florida and fewer in the winter.  Amtrak Guest Rewards is the only rewards program that I ever use and if they make it difficult I'll go back to the airlines because Amtrak's fares are too expensivew for the poor service they provide.  Travel 1st Class on the plane for a trip that takes hours as opposed to days.  Cheaper too.

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Posted by DENNIS SCHAUER on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:12 PM

Yeah, I was trying to book a ride from Chicago to Florida, and lo and behold, no AAA discount any more.  Maybe if I fly a whole lot on Delta I could get some Amtrak points.  What do you think?

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Posted by GN_Fan on Sunday, March 18, 2018 7:16 AM

JPS1
Here is a link to Amtrak’s website that outlines the current discounts:
 
 
I am 78.  My annual income, thanks to a lucking savings and investment scheme, is greater than when I was working.  So why should I get a discount?  Just because someone has reached a certain age does not mean that they cannot afford to pay full fare.  Some can't; but many can. 
 
For those seniors that don't have a lot of income, Amtrak could offer them a senior discount fare based on a qualified income level.  With today’s computer technologies, once a person has qualified for the discount, it could be made seamless.  No one would know other than the recipient. 
 

I'll be 75 in May and am an ex-pat retired with my wife in Italy.  We have NO SAVINGS, and rely entirely on 2 Social Security checks and a small pension.  Neither of us have worked in well over a decade and do not want to, but Amtrak's senior discount is a blessing that is slowly eroding.  Our yearly trip is to visit relatives in Maine and our son in California, with the distance between them spanned by Amtrak on the Lake Shore Ltd, the Empire Builder, and the Coast Starlight, and is done exclusively by sleeper.  And yes, we can afford that because we live in a country that has both public health and public transport.  You do not have that luxury and I feel for you and all of your compatriots.

If you feel that you don't need an Amtrak discount, why do you take it?  Travel as an adult, and not as a senior.  It is an easy choice to make, just don't change the default adult catagory to senior and you've got the full fare.  This is not rocket science.  There are a LOT of older folks in the US holding down mulltiple jobs just to pay for health care and private trasport because the gov't refuses to provide either.  Do not short change those hard working people with this cockamamy scheme.  They worked hard all of the lives, and in the end, they CANNOT RETIRE because the gov't is not there for them.  Just because they make X-amount of bucks to pay hospital bills is not a reason to screw them on their 50th anniversary vacation.

Have a heart.  Just because you have income doen't mean that you don't have bills.  Think of your fellow man instead of thinking about $$$. 

 

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, March 18, 2018 10:54 AM

"If you feel that you don't need an Amtrak discount, why do you take it?"

I would be stupid not to take the Amtrak senior discount.  Just as I would be stupid not to minimize my income tax liability.  But that does not mean that I believe having reached an age milestone is a good reason to give a customer a discount.  Many seniors can afford to pay full fare, and if Amtrak changed its policy, I would not squawk.

Given today’s technologies, all commercial carriers, including Amtrak, could seamlessly grant discounts based on income, as opposed to age, and perhaps achieve a better outcome.  Many retired people probably would qualify for the discounts, but so too would some younger people.  I don’t believe age should be the defining breakpoint.  

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Posted by runnerdude48 on Sunday, March 18, 2018 12:14 PM

Neither age nor income should be the defining point to offerred discounts.  It should be market driven.  Discounts should be offerred until the number of reservations reaches a certain point, or a certain percentage of capacity, and then they should either be adjusted or eliminated.  Seasonal discounts would also make sense.  The earlier you commit to a trip and purchase your ticket the bigger the discount.  That is the only fair way to do it.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, March 18, 2018 1:09 PM

Someone here made a point about early discounts.  If Amtrak had enough spare equipment it would find the early demand for space and add additional cars for those trains and or routes. 

Amtrak as well could provide for the additional personnel needed for the additional equipment.

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Posted by GN_Fan on Monday, March 19, 2018 3:09 AM
What you're really saying is that you must present your income tax return to the ticket agent in order to get a discount. Trump said he would disclose his tax return, but lied about it and never has done it. If he doesn't have to, neither do I. Income alone is not a measure of whether you can afford it because there are no offsetting expenses there. You'd need to produce a full income statement just like a businesses do that includes not only income, but expenses also. This is the only way your scheme will work, and it's easy to cheat since nothing is certified by a CPA.
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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Monday, March 19, 2018 4:13 AM

GN_Fan
What you're really saying is that you must present your income tax return to the ticket agent in order to get a discount. 

 

No; what he said is HE doesn't need it so no one should get it.  He then offered a different discount based on income.

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Posted by PJS1 on Monday, March 19, 2018 9:37 AM

Phoebe Vet
 What you're really saying is that you must present your income tax return to the ticket agent in order to get a discount.  

No; what he said is HE doesn't need it so no one should get it.  He then offered a different discount based on income. 

This is what I said: 

"For those seniors that don't have a lot of income, Amtrak could offer them a senior discount fare based on a qualified income level.  With today’s computer technologies, once a person has qualified for the discount, it could be made seamless.  No one would know other than the recipient."

I did not say no one should get it.  

If you are referring to another post, which argues that no one should get discounts, I could make a case for that point of view.  By granting discounts, Amtrak, as well as any business, assuming all other revenue requirements remain constant, has to recover the cost of the discount from others, which means the fares for younger people, as an example, are higher than they would be otherwise. 

Setting up an income qualified discount program for seniors could be seamless.  Most seniors qualifing for the discount would only have to fill out a short request form, which could be done on-line or over the phone.  The IRS, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid already have their income information.  It would be a simple matter for Amtrak to verify it and, if appropriate, issue the discount.  

No one would have to present their income tax return to an Amtrak ticket agent!

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, March 19, 2018 10:16 AM

At its beginning, Amtrak offered one discount which is no longer offered--the clergy discount, which was available to ordained ministers of the Gospel, was 50% off the cost of first class travel, and was good for both coach and first class travel.

This was a continuation of a discount that most railroads had offered (though it was not good for use on some trains). 

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Posted by Enzoamps on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 12:30 AM

I am a senior on low fixed income.  Discounts mean something to me, and may make the difference between travel or no travel.  One problem with "qualifying" financially is that you might think it is private, but Amtrak like any other organization will surely sell their lists of qualified seniors.  Even if they don't disclose my specifics, they will sell my name and address as "low income qualified".  I will then get marketing calls and mailings from others that I don't want, not based on Amtrak, but based upon my financial situation.

 

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Posted by PJS1 on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 12:22 PM

Enzoamps

One problem with "qualifying" financially is that you might think it is private, but Amtrak like any other organization will surely sell their lists of qualified seniors.  Even if they don't disclose my specifics, they will sell my name and address as "low income qualified".  

There is no evidence that Amtrak sells any of its customer information.  Amtrak is owned by the federal government and operates like a government agency.  There are strict rules about government agencies selling lists containing personal information.  It could happen but it is unlikely.

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Posted by GEORGE RUEDEMAN on Monday, March 26, 2018 9:13 PM

Folks,  Rail Passangers Association membership will give you a 10% at this time.  Membership is fro $25.00.  We need more members as we lobby for more money for Amtrak.

 

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Posted by Sunnyland on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 4:14 PM

By now I have booked my trip to NOLA and was able to redeem points OK, but it did take more than it did 2 years ago.   The agent told me points will never expire as long as I have the Amtrak Guest Rewards Master Card and use it, if I give it up, they will expire. I always use it anyway to get more points but that was good to know. I was talking about airlines take points away now and mentioned TWA Getaway tours. Turns out the agent used to work for them and we had a nice chat about how wonderful they were.  I have not been on a plane since TWA went down and do not intend to, as I have no where I need to go that I can't go to on a train. 

 

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Posted by 243129 on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 4:58 PM

Just to revise the list of discounts being revoked add the veterans discount which is no longer offered.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 17, 2019 4:19 AM

Message just received today from the Veterans Administration:

Amtrak Passenger Discount for Military Veterans

Veterans receive a 10% discount on the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak trains.

Use the Fare Finder at the beginning of your search on www.amtrak.com and select ‘Military Veteran’ for each passenger as appropriate to receive the discount.

Military Personnel Save 10% and Get Ahead of the Ticket Line


With valid active-duty United States Armed Forces identification cards, active-duty U.S. military members, their spouses and their dependents are eligible to receive a 10% discount on the lowest available rail fare on most trains, including for travel on the Auto Train.

Just use the Fare Finder at the beginning of your search on www.amtrak.com and select ‘Military’ for each passenger as appropriate to receive the discount.

Additionally, Amtrak supports and thanks troops by welcoming uniformed military personnel to the head of the ticket line.

Discount Limitations

  • The Veteran/military discount is not valid with Saver Fares or weekday Acela trains.
  • The Veteran/military discount does not apply to non-Acela Business class, First class or sleeping accommodation. Veterans can upgrade upon payment of the full accommodation charges.
  • The Veteran/military discount is not valid for travel on certain Amtrak Thruway connecting services or the Canadian portion of services operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada.
  • The Veteran/military discount may not be combined with other discount offers; refer to the terms and conditions for each offer.
  • Additional restrictions may apply.

Visit www.amtrak.com for more information.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of the VA.

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Posted by alphas on Thursday, October 17, 2019 4:57 AM

In regards to airline mileages expiring, SW Air's do not.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, October 20, 2019 2:35 PM

I think some of you are a little mixed up on the purposes of discounts.   Discounts are offered to incent people to try the train whom otherwise might not consider it due to price.   Same reason car rebates are offered.   It is an attempt to increase patronage.

Also, Amtrak eliminated completely the Veterans discount, Congress instructed Amtrak to restore it and Amtrak did so.    According to Mr Anderson's testimony before Congress it takes a min of 90 days to offer or withdraw discounts due to the complexity of programming them into Amtrak's Arrow Reservation system.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 20, 2019 2:48 PM

The verb is not 'incent', it's 'incite'.  We've gone down the rabbit hole ruining English with too many of these nitwitted back-formations to tolerate this now.  Go ahead and use it in quotes if you want, but not straight as though it's proper standard written English -- because it is not.

CMStPnP
Also, Amtrak eliminated completely the Veterans discount, Congress instructed Amtrak to restore it and Amtrak did so. 

That, in a nutshell, is what I think most of Anderson's 'machinations' are designed to achieve.  (BTW I expect the 'toys for tots' crisis to be resolved exactly the same way, with exactly the same Congressional action and probably with some quiet waiver of all such activity from the 'profitability' mandate...)

Congress said in 2015, in essence, "Make it pay OR ELSE."  Rather than keep begging for allowances, Anderson says "OK, if that's what you want, that's what I'll set up to do" ... with the understanding that if it squeaks enough, Congress will grease it; if it doesn't, the money gets saved or the underlying condition gets removed.  

I'm watching with great interest what Amtrak's response to what Delta announced will take effect November 5th will be.  Both the reported method of finding and then assessing choices in setting up their new 'incentives' and the actual improvements to be made are interestingly applicable to Amtrak coach and business class, and not just on LD services.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, October 20, 2019 8:15 PM

He did not mean "incite" at least I hope not.  Preferably he should use incentive as a noun and say, "provide an incentive for people to use... " As an alternative phrasing ,  he could use one of those bastardized noun-verbs (since 1960),  "incentivize." Ugh!! 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 21, 2019 12:04 AM

charlie hebdo
He did not mean "incite" at least I hope not.

It's an older meaning of the word, but still the basis for where 'incentive' historically comes from.  "Incentivize", as you note, is just wrong, and to use it he'd be doubling the sin of putting 'incent' in quotes to show he understood it wasn't a standard thing.

It's really only his use of the word as if correct that I objected to, a bit like I don't like to see 'surveil' used, although the correct word to use in its place no longer has the correct semantics for the usual context anymore.

I use, exactly as you indicate, a construction with 'incentive' as noun even if it's a bit cumbersome at times.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:13 PM

Overmod
The verb is not 'incent', it's 'incite'. 

Your actually incorrect the correct verb was "incent" look it up in the dictionary.   Incent as to give people incentive.   Using "incite" would be fairly crappy grammar.

 

verb
US
verb: incent; 3rd person present: incents; past tense: incented; past participle: incented; gerund or present participle: incenting
  1. provide with an incentive.
    "it makes sense for the government to incent people to invest in research and development"
     
Origin

Oh look there are no quotes around it either.    You guys should stick to nitpicking around railfaning.    Epic fail on grammar this time.Surprise

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, October 24, 2019 6:24 AM

CMStPnP
Your actually incorrect the correct verb was "incent" look it up in the dictionary ... You guys should stick to nitpicking around railfaning.

Suggest that before you comment on matters of grammar or usage you comprehend things like, say, the correct form of 'your' in your sentence, or the spelling of words like 'railfanning.'  Or the proper use of commas and other punctuation.  You should stick to criticizing ... whatever it is that you do better than writing.

Tolerance of back-formations is not the same thing as finding the etymological basis for a word like 'incentive', which means no more 'something that incents' than 'surveillance' means 'the act of surveiling'.  Had you actually gone beyond looking up 'incent' and actually looked up 'incentive', you would find that its origins (Latin incentivum) are quite different.

You are perfectly correct that using 'incite' would be crappy in place of 'incent', as it no longer has the appropriate current meaning, but please note that's not what I said should be done... and if I left that impression, let me haste to correct it.  (In case anyone is going to bring up 'incense', that appears to be fairly radically different, too)

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, October 24, 2019 7:39 AM

Perhaps others need to realize that I and Overmod and Deggesty and others are language purists.  'Incent' was derived from  the long-standing noun + verb syntax 'give an incentive' in the 19th c. and only in the US, 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, October 24, 2019 9:25 AM

charlie hebdo
Perhaps others need to realize that I and Overmod and Deggesty and others are language purists.  'Incent' was derived from  the long-standing noun + verb syntax 'give an incentive' in the 19th c. and only in the US, 

The English language, in all its permutations (USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc.) is among the most dynamic of languages in the World - creating new words and idioms and syntax on a daily basis.  The recognized Dictionary's of the language put new words into their publications every year, they also revise some of the definitions of words as their meanings have been changed by their evolving common usage.

Grammar Nazi's are fighting a rear guard action trying to stop the continuing evolution of the language and how it is used, they are losing.

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