(EXPIRED) Amtrak USA rail pass for $299

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Amtrak is offering a USA Rail Pass for $299 through June 22, 2021. That’s $200 off the regular price of $499 and could potentially be a great deal in the right situation, though it’s worth double checking prices for your intended routes to be sure it’ll work out to be an advantageous deal.

The Deal

  • Amtrak is offering a USA Rail pass for $299. The pass is good for 10 segments over a 30-day period and must be used within 120 days of purchase.
  • Direct link to this deal

Key Terms

  • Valid through June 22, 2021
  • The USA Rail Pass is not a ticket and is not valid for travel; it is used to obtain all tickets for travel.
  • The pass validity period is 120 days following the date of your purchase. Once you travel on your first segment, you will have 30 days before your pass expires.
  • When traveling on a USA Rail Pass, you must have a ticket and a reservation for each train you board.
  • The USA Rail Pass entitles you to travel in regular Coach class seats. For USA Rail Passes purchased after June 2021, upgrades to Business class or Sleeping Car accommodations are not available at this time.
  • Once your first travel segment is reserved, you must complete your travel within the selected travel duration of the pass. The travel duration period begins on the first date of travel, not the date on which the reservation was made.
  • The USA Rail Pass is valid for travel on all Amtrak trains except Auto Train, Acela, Thruway bus connections (7000-7999 series), and the Canadian portion of trains operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada.
  • Travel is restricted to four one-way trips between two cities, and to all cities in between, over the same route.
  • USA Rail Pass prices are subject to change and are not guaranteed until actual travel reservations are made.
  • The USA Rail Pass may not be combined with other offers, discounts or promotions.
  • The USA Rail Pass is not available for purchase onboard trains.
  • The USA Rail Pass is non-transferable.

Quick Thoughts

The USA Rail Pass allows for 10 segments in a 30-day period. You have 120 days use your pass, but once you begin travel you must complete all of your segments within 30 days.

Something about the train appeals to me despite the fact that I’ve rarely traveled by Amtrak. Still, on some of the scenic routes, this could be a lot of fun. In the fall of 2019, I took the Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo, passing through Santa Barbara and up along the coast. It was a beautiful ride and there was even a special public viewing car with a guide narrating the trip.

I enjoyed quite a spacious seat in business class for a good deal using Amtrak points I’d earned through the shopping portal.

Unfortunately, the USA rail pass is good for coach class only and you can’t buy up to business class or a sleeper car even if you’re willing to pay for it. Still, at $30 per segment, this could work out to be a solid deal.

I’m not entirely clear as to what constitutes a segment. This is what the questions on the purchase page say about segments:

A travel segment occurs any time you board and disembark one of our trains (or other scheduled services). If your trip involves making one connection, you will use two segments of your USA Rail Pass.

As I read that, it sounds like if you don’t switch trains you only use one segment. A number of the western routes like the Empire Builder and California Zephyr run from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. I don’t know whether a route like that would really count as a single segment. However, this would likely be a deal even if a trip like that is broken over multiple segments.

When I saw this offering, I was initially pretty intrigued, but the requirement to complete travel within 120 days of purchase didn’t line up with how I imagined I’d use it. Since this sale is valid through June 22nd, the pass would be good through October 20th at the absolute latest (and that is assuming you buy on the last day and begin travel in late September).

Still, this could be a great deal for the right person who is able to take advantage.

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