How to Get Cheap Amtrak Tickets

Booking group tickets and redeeming points through the Amtrak Guest Rewards program are just two ways to score deals.
May 4, 2022
cheap amtrak tickets

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If you're thinking of an alternative to flying to your summer vacation spot, consider Amtrak. The railroad passenger company operates more than 300 trains daily to hundreds of destinations in the U.S. and Canada. There's a good chance an Amtrak station is located where you're headed.

If you're ready to climb aboard, here's what you need to know to get Amtrak tickets at a discount.

Tips to get cheap Amtrak tickets

Some tried and true budget travel strategies — such as booking tickets on during lower travel periods — can help you snag cheap Amtrak tickets.

1. Earn travel rewards and get rewarded

Before you ride, join Amtrak Guest Rewards. Joining is free, and you'll get 500 bonus points when you take a trip within the first 90 days your account is open. You'll also earn 2 points for every dollar spent on Amtrak travel. If you prefer to travel business or first class on high-speed Acela trains, which operate in the Northeast, you'll get a 25% point bonus on the former and a 50% bonus on the latter.

2. Snag bonus points through partners

You can also rack up Amtrak Guest Reward when you spend money at hotels, car rental companies and other retailers Amtrak has partnered with. A few examples:

  • Book a stay at one of Choice Hotel's more than 6,800 locations and you'll earn 250 Amtrak points.

  • Rent a car through Budget and you'll earn 50 Amtrak Guest Rewards points for every qualifying rental day.

  • Send your loved one some flowers using Teleflora and you'll add 750 Amtrak Guest Rewards points to your account.

3. Redeem points for trips

Once you have plenty of Amtrak Guest Rewards points stockpiled, get the most out of them by redeeming for Amtrak trips. Redemption rates vary by route, date and time, but you can save a ton if you combine your points with special promotions.

Parents, take note of Amtrak’s child discount, which allows infants under 2 to travel for free and additional children under 12 to travel for a 50% discount.

4. Travel when it's not as busy

You can often score a discount by planning your trips on less busy days. For example, Amtrak recently held a sale in which — as long as you traveled on Saturday — you could buy one ticket and get the next one free. A two-passenger Saturday ticket from New York to Boston was a mere $83.

5. Bring a friend — or three

Amtrak wants you to bring some friends along for your summer vacation. Its Share Fare deal gets you a discount for every plus-one. Here's the breakdown:

  • Passenger 1: Full price.

  • Passenger 2: 15% off full price.

  • Passenger 3: 60% off full price.

  • Passenger 4: 70% off full price.

That's a lot of potential savings. Pick up the phone and call some people who not only appreciate the scenic appeal of Amtrak, but also love a good deal.

6. If you're taking Acela, book early

Acela trains, which operate between Washington, D.C., and Boston, offer large leather seats, fast Wi-Fi and luggage storage for up to four bags. While Acela travel typically costs more than other trains, you can score a discount if you simply plan your trip in advance. Book a ticket on the Acela a minimum of 7 to 21 days prior to your trip, and you'll get a 25% discount.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

partner programs

IHG® Rewards Program

on IHG One Rewards’ website

IHG® One Rewards
Get exclusive benefits and earn points faster
World of Hyatt

on Hyatt's website

World of Hyatt
Enjoy free nights, member rates and more
logo image

on Alaska's website

Alaska Mileage Plan
Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
IHG® Rewards Program

IHG® One Rewards

Wherever you go, however you stay, IHG One Rewards offers rewards for every one.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

Highlights:
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
Highlights
  1. Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
  2. Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
  3. Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.

on IHG One Rewards’ website

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt

With the World of Hyatt loyalty program, enjoy a world of rewards designed to revolve around you.

on Hyatt's website

Highlights:
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Highlights
  1. Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
  2. Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
  3. Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.

on Hyatt's website

logo image

Alaska Mileage Plan

Mileage Plan is Alaska's loyalty program for anyone who loves to travel and is free to join!

on Alaska's website

Highlights:
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend
Highlights
  1. Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
  2. Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
  3. You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend

on Alaska's website

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