Amtrak Price Examples

On this page you will find numerous examples of prices of Amtrak trips. Amtrak is happy to quote you a price for your train trip by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. However, the price they give you is only valid if you make your reservation immediately on that same phone call. If you call back later to make your reservation, the price could change. Currently there is no way to obtain exact quotes online.

If you plan to stay in hotels during your trip, rent a car, or take tours in your destination cities, then you should also get a quote from Amtrak Vacations at 1-800-321-8684. The railfare from Amtrak Vacations will just about always be the same or lower than what you are quoted from Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL. However, Amtrak Vacations can often get you a lower overall price by combining your railfare with hotels, car rentals, tour packages, or even airfare in the Air-Rail Vacations Packages. Amtrak Vacations has a more liberal payment policy than 1-800-USA-RAIL and can also offer you the Trip Protection Option that provides more flexible rules for cancelling or changing your reservations without penalties.

You might want to compare a quote from Amtrak Vacations to what you arrange on your own. Sometimes you can plan a similar vacation for less money on your own, but Amtrak Vacations will often be able to quote a lower price with more options than what you could do on your own.

I haven't verified this, but I believe that any travel agent, especially those experienced with rail travel, can offer you the same packages and prices that you can obtain from Amtrak Vacations. The only thing I don't like about buying tickets from either Amtrak Vacations or travel agents is that they issue you tickets printed in red ink on flimsy paper that is hard to read. When you order tickets from 1-800-USA-RAIL, you will usually go down to your local station to pick them up and they are printed on heavy card stock.

Amtrak is now using a method that gives you lower prices the earlier you book your trip. This applies to both Rail Fare and Accommodations. The first few seats or rooms sold on a particular trip are sold at the lowest price. The next few are sold at a slightly higher price and the next few after that at higher still. This continues until the trip is nearly full. The last few seats or rooms sold will be sold at the highest price. Thus, the earlier you can make your reservations and pick up your tickets, the lower the price. I generally make my reservations 3 to 6 months in advance and usually get the lowest available price. This is also the reason why you can get one price quote when you call 1-800-USA-RAIL for information and then get a higher price quote if you call back later to book your trip.

You can get an Automobile Club (AAA) discount of 10% off the Rail Fare portion when you call 1-800-USA-RAIL, or by presenting your AAA card at any Amtrak ticket office, Travel Agency, or AAA Travel Agency. The discount does not apply to the accomodation portion of your fare. The AAA discount also doesn't apply to Air-Rail Travel Packages, to travel purchased from Amtrak Vacations, and the AAA discount usually can't be combined with other discount promotions offered by Amtrak.

Click here for some of Amtrak's latest travel and pricing promotions!

Below are some early comments that I wrote long before I understand as much as I do today about how pricing works at Amtrak. Even so, these comments are just as valid today as when I wrote them.

If anyone can clue me in to how Amtrak figures their pricing, I'd be greatly in your debt! The ticket agents can't explain it, the people that answer 1-800-USA-RAIL can't answer it, travel agents can't answer it, nor can any books that I have ever read about Amtrak! The reply I get from everyone is that they plug information about your trip into the computer and it comes back with a price. They can tell you how much is for your rail-fare and how much for your sleeping accomodation, but beyond that, nobody seems to know what logic the fare is based on.

I read a book that said that the basic cost of the Economy Bedroom is $60 per day, the Family Bedroom is $99 per day, and the Deluxe Bedroom is $120 per day, but few of my tickets have shown the sleeping accomodation prices to be that low. I'm also baffled about how the sleeping accomodation is billed if you board a train at 10pm at night and get off at 6am in the morning. Best I can tell is that you are billed for 2 days of sleeping accomodations (10pm-11:59pm one day and 12:00am-6am the next), but aren't on long enough to get a single meal of the 3 per day that are included in the price of the ticket!

Amtrak seems to use several factors in coming up with the ticket price. I know the price changes with the time of year. Summer and Holidays are the "Peak" season while most other times are the "Off-Peak" season. Prices tend to rise dramatically during the peak season and sleeping accommodations become almost impossible to obtain unless booked several months in advance. Sometimes you can get lucky and book a sleeping accommodation that someone else cancelled at the last moment. I have also heard that Amtrak modifies the price of the ticket depending on how many seats remain available on a particular train. If that is true, you get the lowest price by booking well in advance while the train is mostly unbooked, but can end up with a very high price if you wait till the last minute and grab one of the last few seats available! By basing their ticket prices on such fluctuating factors, it becomes impossible to print or post on-line a price sheet for Amtrak.


As of January 10, 1996, rates seem to have come down from their holiday highs and are back to something reasonable. I had to book a last minute business trip .. round-trip between Los Angeles and San Jose. The rail fare was $82 round-trip and the Economy Room was $67 each way. Keeping in mind that the $67 each way includes all meals, a happy hour, and access to the Pacific Parlor Car first-class lounge, this price is reasonable. It would be even more reasonable if I wasn't traveling alone since that $67 includes all meals for 2 people!


If you are a AAA Auto Club Member, you can get a 10% discount on your rail fare. The 10% does not apply to the sleeping accomodations portion of your fare, but it does apply to the rail fare portion even if you are in a sleeping accomodation. Also good news: You no longer have to book your travel through AAA nor pick up your tickets at AAA. You can just step right up to any Amtrak ticket counter and purchase your ticket with the 10% AAA discount! Just show your AAA card!


There are special low-cost fares for travelers from overseas. Check with Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL or your travel agent for details. I will post more details about that program as soon as I'm able to obtain further information.


Amtrak always seems to be running one special or another. It is a good idea to ask Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL or your travel agent about any specials that Amtrak might have available. They often have specials for college students and skiers.

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Last Updated: 03/01/97 - WebMaster: Steve Grande -