Amtrak is a national passenger railroad service that covers over 21,000 miles in 46 states, District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces.
Amtrak’s rich history can be found on their website here.
Beginning on May 1, 1971, Amtrak started serving 43 states with a total of 21 routes.
Over the next few years Amtrak expanded their services and worked toward making passenger trains popular again.
Amtrak aimed at speed and precision.
By 1988 they had more passengers between Washington D.C. and New York than all airlines combined.
Through building state partnerships and transforming technology, Amtrak has become one of the top passenger rail services in the United States.
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How to Save with Amtrak
Amtrak has a large variety of discounts, including a military discount.
Continue reading for details on the military discount.
Amtrak Military Discount
Amtrak offers a 10% discount to active military, their spouses and dependents.
They also offer the ability for military personnel to jump to the head of the ticket line.
How do I use the discount?
To get the military discount you must have an active-duty United States Armed Forces identification card.
The discount will be applied when booking your trip.
Here’s how to redeem the military discount step-by-step:
Step 1: Click the Book Now option at the top of the page here.
Step 2: Enter your trip details into the required fields. For the purposes of this article, we’re doing to “book” a trip from Newark, NJ (Penn station) to Richmond, VA (Main street station).
Step 3: Under the “Traveler” section, click the drop down arrow.
The screen will open to show other options for travelers as well as a discount section.
Step 4: Use the drop down to select “Military Adult (Active)” under the discount section and hit “Done”.
You’ll notice a pretty significant difference in Amtrak fares between the military rates and non-military rates.
For example, in the trip I “booked” above, here’s what the standard rates looked like:
And for the exact same trip, with the military discount selected:
That’s a pretty significant discount if you ask me!
Are there any restrictions?
There are restrictions regarding which promotions can be combined with the military discount.
There are also restrictions on which type of trains or routes that can be booked using the military discount.
See full list of discount limitations here.
Military Children Discount
Military children ages 2-12 can also receive a 10% discount in addition to the everyday children’s 50% discount on the lowest available adult rail fare.
This is a discount that stacks and could potentially save you a large amount.
You must present a valid active-duty United States Armed Forces identification card in order to use the discount.
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Restrictions on certain trains and routes are similar to the Military Discount for adults.
To use the discount, follow the same steps for a military discount, but choose “child” in the appropriate category.
A second option to choose the discount for the child’s ticket will appear. Select “Military Child”.
Information on the Military Children Discount can be found here.
Other ways to save with Amtrak
Amtrak offers six other ways to save including: deals, discounts, vacation packages, SmartFares, email subscriptions and rewards.
1. Deals and Promotions
Current promotions can be found on their deals page.
The promotions are listed throughout the page and include the type of deal, details about the deal, the valid date range and an option to book using that deal.
You can view the deals that apply to all regions, or select a specific region that is closer to you on the right hand side of the page.
While the deals vary, some deals include buy one, get a certain percentage off, flyer discounts, low price fares to different events, discounts on travel during certain seasons and more.
Some discounts are only available for a limited amount of time and others are available for closer to a year.
Check out the page for all of the current promotions.
2. Everyday Discounts
Amtrak has a long list of discounts available.
See below for a list of every day discounts:
- Child Discount-Infants, not occupying a seat, ride free and children ages 2-12 receive 50% the lowest available adult rail fare with paying adult. Details here.
- Senior Discount-Seniors aged 65 and older receive a 10% discount on most rail fares with valid ID. See more information here.
- Passengers with Disabilities Discount-An adult with a disability can get a 10% discount and children with disabilities receive an additional 10% on top of the 50% child discount.Assisting companions also receive 10% off and passengers traveling on Downeaster trains receive 50% off. See page for details and restrictions.
- Group Travel Discount-This discount allows large parties of 20 or more to travel as a group with discounts on each ticket. Visit the group travel discount page here for details.
- Rail Passengers Association Membership Discount-Rail Passengers Association members can receive 10% off of the lowest rail fare on most trains.Tickets must be purchased three days in advanced and membership cards must be available during the duration of the trip. See details at this link.
- Kids ‘n’ Trains Discount-This discount is for groups of 20 or more kids on the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquins trains that allows for reduced prices and educational stops around California. Visit the Kids ‘n’ Trains page for more information.
- Government Discount-This program allows federal employees discounts on business travel in the Northeast Corridor and nationwide coach fare discounts. See the Corporate Program page here for a complete list of locations and details.
- Corporate Program-The Coprporate Program gives certain corporations incentives and discounts on select routes. See full list of routes and details here.
3. Vacation & Rail Tours
Amtrak offers discounts on vacation and rail tours.
There are various vacation destinations and tour locations.
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Each package offers a different discount and can include different accommodations such as hotel stays or free meals.
You can find a current list of vacation and rail tours on the Tour site.
4. Save with SmartFares Program
The SmartFares program allows for up to 30% off one way coach fares when you book Tuesday-Friday on select trains for travel that will be happening in the future.
The discount is to promote early booking.
For details and restrictions visit the SmartFares deals page.
5. Subscribe to Emails to Save
The email subscription includes discounts and sales on fares, rewards offers and news about Amtrak.
To sign up for the email subscription follow this link and select “Subscribe Today”.
A new window will open asking you to fill out your name, email and zip code information.
6. Amtrak Guest Rewards Program
Amtrak Guest Rewards allows members to gain points for travel on and off the train.
The program will give you exclusive offers that benefit Amtrak travel and their partners.
Points can be redeemed for travel and shopping experiences.
To sign up, click “Join Us” at the bottom of this page.
The link will take you to a new page where you will be asked to enter in your information in addition to reading the terms and conditions.
Amtrak has a large variety of discounts.
They offer a Military Discount as well as a Military Children Discount.
You can save anywhere from 10% to above 50% on tickets for yourself and your family using the two military discounts.
In addition to the military discounts mentioned, six other savings options were covered above.
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Amtrak’s deals are being updated weekly, so check their promotions page out regularly to save!