Mad Dash to Tour Colleges? Amtrak’s Secret Discount Program

Amtrak Campus Tour
Amtrak Offers Discount Train Tickets

My daughter is a junior in high school and we have been bombarded with colorful brochures.

How to choose?

The best advice we have been given is to scope out several campuses this spring — a state school, a small college, a large urban campus.

Amtrak offers a buy one – get one 50% off campus visit program to high school juniors and seniors and their parents.  Children over age 13 must buy “adult” tickets on Amtrak, so this deal amounts to 25 percent off of two fares.

This seems like a good deal…but you won’t find it on Amtrak’s deal page!  

The discount tickets must be purchased between December 17, 2013 – December 16, 2014, and are valid for travel  from January 1 – December 19, 2014.  There are a large number of blackout dates, though, include around spring break and other holidays.

There are some restrictions: 

  1. Tickets must be booked a minimum of 3 days in advance; no exceptions.
  2. Students must travel with an adult, parent or guardian.
  3. Reservations must be made online.
  4. Promotion is not valid for Acela Express, Auto Train, Canadian portions of joint AMTRAK/Via Rail service to Ontario and 7000-8999 Thruway bus series.
  5. Blackout dates:  February 14, 17; April 17, 18, 21; May 23; July 3, 6; August 29; September 1; October 10; November 25, 26, 29, 30; December 1, 2014.
  6. F0llow the instructions online and the discount will be automatically applied.

Double Points on Amtrak Travel

While you are at it, sign up for Amtrak’s Guest Rewards loyalty program.  It is one of the best values out there!  You get 500 miles just for enrolling.

Be sure to check for any promotions that may require separate registration.  For instance, from March 17 – May 17, 2014 Amtrak is offering double points on all routes!

For 1,500 points, you can travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles, one way; for 4,000 points, you can get a one way award ticket for travel anywhere in the Northeast corridor.

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