Amtrak Discounts

9818 views
76 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 10,699 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, October 26, 2019 11:59 AM

Thanks, Overmod.

It is certainly involved; I have not read it in full yet (it's close to my lunch time). I doubt that the individual railroad passes were that involved.

Johnny

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,483 posts
Posted by 243129 on Sunday, October 27, 2019 9:18 AM

CMStPnP

 

 
243129
A feeble try at damage control.

 

.........and it's working, score for me!Big Smile   I guess your going to have to figure out how to live with this.

 

Forsooth, how will I ever be able to go on!Huh?

JMK
  • Member since
    April 2012
  • 17 posts
Posted by JMK on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 1:15 AM

I love trains and train travel, but flying is much cheaper, so I'll fly from now on. 
Jim K

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,482 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 8:47 AM

Deggesty
Amtrak certainly has cracked down on reduced fares.

I have to wonder whether this is associated with the Congressional 'mandate of profitability'.

Every dollar Amtrak 'leaves on the table' by providing an actual discount is a dollar that could have gone to reduce a "deficit".  On the other hand, not providing enough juicy-sounding discounts will fail to motivate potential butts to buy tickets.  So make your Web-site discounts panel look really, really long, and really good in the language and pictures, and keep 'em rolling in ... if you lose them on the back end, aw shucks!

But there's still the advantage that you can go into a Congressional committee hearing and point out with a straight face that you did everything possible to reduce 'that part' of the Amtrak deficit.  And even justify the strategy above as 'incenting' (to use a fine Wisconsin phrase) the maximum number of potential marks while simultaneously diligently arranging for the Government to actually 'lose' as little as possible.

I wonder if there are performance awards for the best combination of offering attractive-sounding things with one hand and ensuring minimum actual 'fulfillment' with the other.  I'd also think it's a safe bet that there are people in Amtrak legal who are pretty well compensated for carefully ensuring that there is full and fastidious compliance with the actual 'letter' of the fine print, as with circ/promo at Time Warner on mass mailings and sweepstakes offers.

Makes you yearn a bit for the 'good old days that never were' where incentives to buy would be made with a real smile and a desire to establish ongoing return custom.  Much of what Amtrak does at present along these lines appears to be anything but. 

  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 4,486 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 9:26 AM

JMK

I love trains and train travel, but flying is much cheaper, so I'll fly from now on. 
Jim K

Depends on when you fly.   I always fly first class for leisure over the holidays because a good portion of the time the plane is late and we are just sitting there waiting for a gate to open or some other nonsense (almost as bad as getting stuck behind the Metra Express).   I have long legs and coach is unbearable for me longer than an hour flight.

Christmas flight in September was more expensive than RT on the Texas Eagle from Dallas to Chicago.    So Amtrak landed the ticket.

  • Member since
    September 2017
  • 2,948 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 9:29 AM

Not really so different than the argument going on in retailing 30-40 years ago: when to offer promotions and price-off sales. It culminated in clearance sales before Christmas and increased sales while greatly reducing sustainable markups. It's a balancing act.  

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,482 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 10:24 AM

charlie hebdo
Not really so different than the argument going on in retailing 30-40 years ago: when to offer promotions and price-off sales. It culminated in clearance sales before Christmas and increased sales while greatly reducing sustainable markups. It's a balancing act.

But this is different.

Look at the discussion we had earlier, about 'marginal pricing' relative to actual demand.  Would it be 'immoral' for Amtrak to run pricing up (and perhaps make discounts more inapplicable) in timeslots or services that are either near-filled or expected to be?  I'd argue 'of course not' even though there's a certain amount of mercenary zeal involved in the idea.  (In fact I'd argue that not to do so, which in essence would mean that the early birds who could afford to lock up tickets and space sufficiently in advance would get all the worms, and anyone else has to ride standby or see about the bus, is unfair in a different way.)  I see no despair in adjusting to 'supply and demand' so that it just closes ... the flip side of this being standby allocation so that the last seat on as many segments as possible is sold without leaving anyone seatless or bedless as applies.

But this is a form of bait and switch, where you're attracted by discounts and then repeatedly and somewhat viciously nickel-and-dimed down.  That's not the same thing as running a Christmas sale with loss leaders, or the kinds of promotion with coupons that 'stack' with discounts at your local grocery store that's savvy about human nature.  I'd point out that the perception that a company 'cares about you' has been a principal concern in "marketing and promotion" since well before the age of Elbert Hubbard ... and it is just as important to avoid the perception that a company essentially doesn't give a crap after the customer is in the door, or out of the showroom.  

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • 1 posts
Posted by Uncle Howie on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 3:10 PM
At the moment the only sure fire discount from Amtrak is to join the Railroad Passengers Association. You can join on line at Railpassengers.org or call 202-408-8362
  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 938 posts
Posted by Sunnyland on Thursday, November 21, 2019 6:57 PM

I knew they had raised the age for seniors from 62 to 65, but did not affect me as I was already 65.  Never  belonged to AAA but did hear that one was discontinued too. They did restore the military one after a lot of complaints.  I use Amtrak Guest rewards charge card and accumulate points to redeem for free or discounted trips. They also send email surveys that I answer  and get points for those also.  

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 938 posts
Posted by Sunnyland on Thursday, November 21, 2019 7:04 PM

JMK

I love trains and train travel, but flying is much cheaper, so I'll fly from now on. 
Jim K

Depends on when you go, I have not flown since 2003 and luckily I have no need to do it, no family to visit etc. So I can take the train wherever I go.  I have heard too many complaints lately about airlines and how small the seats are and no leg room. One friend is 6'3" and over 200 lbs, and he says his fat axx never fits in the seats.  Have read stories of dragging the man off the plane to make room for a crew person to fly, a dog dying in overhead and child sitting in vomit on a seat that had not been cleaned up at a terminal.  When her mom questioned the attendant was told "that's not my job", Maybe not but it was her job to make sure the seats were clean.  The mother and child were kicked off the plane for causing commotion and she said she'd never fly again.  I flew a lot with TWA and no airline comes even close to the level of service they had. I have never flown Southwest but friends do like them.  I'll stick to Amtrak. 

 

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 447 posts
Posted by JPS1 on Thursday, November 21, 2019 9:12 PM

Uncle Howie
At the moment the only sure fire discount from Amtrak is to join the Railroad Passengers Association. 

Amtrak has a lot of discounts.
 
Children 2 through 12 ride half-price very day.  Infants under 2 rides free.
 
Seniors get a 10 percent discount on rail fares, but the discount does not apply to premium class services.
 
Active due U.S. military personnel, as well as their spouses and their dependents, save 10 percent on their rail fare.
 
Veterans of the U.S. military save 10 percent.
 
Adults passengers with a disability qualify for a 10 percent discount on their rail fare.  Passengers with a disability travelling on Downeaster trains (Boston, MA to Portland, ME) are eligible for a 50% discount. Child passengers with a disability are eligible for the everyday 50% child discount plus an additional 10% off the discounted child's fare, regardless of the service on which they travel.
 
Rail Passenger Association members qualify for a 10 percent discount on their rail fare. 
 
Groups of 20 or more can qualify for a group travel discount, which is determined by Amtrak at the time of purchase.
 
Last, but not least, federal government employees qualify for discounted fares for business travel within the Northeast Corridor as well as discounts for business travel on coach fares nationwide.
 
Amtrak does not say publicly how much revenue is lost because of discounts.  Given that the discounts only apply for the most part to coach fares, the cost as a percentage of total revenues probable is pre
 
This is summary of the discounts offered by Amtrak.  The details can be found at Amtrak.com.  
  • Member since
    October 2019
  • 3 posts
Posted by PeteMthree on Thursday, November 21, 2019 9:33 PM

AFAIK, while the senior discount is not available (never was?) on the Auto Train, the NARP discount is and was.

Yes, I know that it's no longer "NARP", but, similarly, that really tall building in Chicago, to me, will always be the Sears Tower, even though it isn't.

Pete

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,482 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 22, 2019 8:30 AM

JPS1
Amtrak has a lot of discounts.  

I love it when a man of his experience and skill quotes something like this without either reading the fine print or actually observing the actual discounts being offered.

Suggest he do so, whether or not he thinks he's too busy to read such minutiae, and report back on, for example, the actual 'children's discount' if, as the language implies, there are multiple children riding.

  • Member since
    December 2018
  • 447 posts
Posted by JPS1 on Friday, November 22, 2019 9:35 AM

Overmod
 JPS1 Amtrak has a lot of discounts.   

I love it when a man of his experience and skill quotes something like this without either reading the fine print or actually observing the actual discounts being offered.

Suggest he do so, whether or not he thinks he's too busy to read such minutiae, and report back on, for example, the actual 'children's discount' if, as the language implies, there are multiple children riding. 

The objective was to summarize the different discounts offered by Amtrak. 

If one wants the details for each class of discount, they can be found on Amtrak's webpage or by calling the company.  In some cases, i.e. group travel, one has to call Amtrak for the details.  

  • Member since
    September 2017
  • 2,948 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, November 22, 2019 10:00 AM

Well stated, Overmod !  Summaries are worthless if the correct information is omitted,  distorted or misleading. 

  • Member since
    September 2014
  • 1,180 posts
Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Friday, November 22, 2019 10:12 AM

I don't see alot of distortions ! He just stated thier we're discounts.

  • Member since
    September 2017
  • 2,948 posts
Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, November 22, 2019 10:16 AM

Read my post more carefully. Note the word 'or' not 'and.'  The summary omits key conditions,  as Overmod points out.  

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy