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Amtrak Senior Discount

Luanne

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Maybe someone can explain this to me. I'm going to book a one way ticket for my husband and myself from Providence, RI to New York City. When I look up the fares it's cheaper for two adults, than for two seniors. Supposedly seniors are supposed to get a 10 to 15% discount so I'm very confused. I tried to see if maybe a senior fare has more benefits, but couldn't find any information. I'm looking at Business Class, but I wouldn't think that would make any difference.
 

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I’m guessing your finding a lower fare that the discount doesn’t apply to:

Passenger Discount for Seniors
Seniors Save 10%
Amtrak travelers 65 years of age and over are eligible to receive a 10% discount on most rail fares on most Amtrak trains. On cross-border services operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada, a 10% Senior discount is applicable to travelers aged 60 and over.
Discount Limitations
  • The senior discount is not valid with Saver or Flexible Fares.
  • The senior discount is not valid on the Auto Train.
  • The senior discount does not apply to non-Acela Business class, First class or sleeping accommodation. These upgrades are permitted upon payment of the full accommodation charges.
  • The senior discount is not valid for travel on certain Amtrak Thruway connecting services.
  • The senior discount may not be combinable with other discount offers; refer to the terms and conditions for each offer.
  • Additional restrictions may apply.
 

Luanne

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What I'm seeing is the fare posted on the website. For the train I'm looking at for two people the adult fare is $114. When I put in for the senior fare it shows $176 for two. It is a non-Acala Business class, but I'm still wondering why the senior fare would be more than the adult fare? If the senior fare isn't valid why would I be seeing a senior fare at all?

I just tried looking at another route and picked one of the higher priced options. For that the Senior discount did bring the price down. It's just very confusing to see a higher price when there is supposed to be a discount. Why wouldn't it just say discount not available.
 

BingoBangoBongo

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Are the $114 and $176 fares for each passenger or combined. I’m using the app and don’t see any Senior fare for a random August date I’m looking at. I know a couple of years ago I was looking for 1 Senior and 2 Adult fares from Albany to NYC and couldn’t book them together when I was searching, but you’re just looking for 2 Senior fares right?

For the date I picked (8/11) the $57 fares I’m seeing are Acela trains.
 
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Luanne

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Are the $114 and $176 fares for each passenger or combined. I’m using the app and don’t see any Senior fare for a random August date I’m looking at. I know a couple of years ago I was looking for 1 Senior and 2 Adult fares from Albany to NYC and couldn’t book them together when I was searching, but you’re just looking for 2 Senior fares right?

For the date I picked (8/11) the $57 fares I’m seeing are Acela trains.
The fares are for two people, Business Class. I am looking specifically at October 16 from Providence RI to New York City getting into NYC at 1:50 p.m.
 

BingoBangoBongo

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See the third bullet point on the discount restrictions.
 

BingoBangoBongo

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That is some strange pricing. I’d just book two adult tickets @ $57 each and enjoy the ride. The issue I had wouldn’t allow me to book 2 adults and a senior at the same time without charging the Senior the adult rate from Albany. We ended up driving so didn’t pursue it any further.
 

Luanne

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I plan to book the adult fares. I just couldn't figure out why the senior discount was more.
 

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Maybe seniors can afford to pay more? Just kidding but this happens a lot to avoid having to offer discounts.

Would be nice if businesses offered discounts for families with young kids. Places wa to to charge 8 year olds full price. No thank you.
 

Luanne

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Maybe seniors can afford to pay more? Just kidding but this happens a lot to avoid having to offer discounts.

Would be nice if businesses offered discounts for families with young kids. Places wa to to charge 8 year olds full price. No thank you.
Amtrak does have discounts for children 2 to 12 (under 2 they can ride free). It looks like, but don't quote me on it, that it doesn't apply to non-Acala routes, which would lead me to believe it does apply for Acala.
 

beejaybeeohio

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We found the same issue of senior fare being higher than adult for our booking on the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Portland mid-September. Base fare for 2=$56 + Business Class seats for 2=$40.
Now fingers crossed that wildfires don't impact this train. Already there are disruptions further south on the route and in some cases passengers leave the train for a segment on a bus!
 

Luanne

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We found the same issue of senior fare being higher than adult for our booking on the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Portland mid-September. Base fare for 2=$56 + Business Class seats for 2=$40.
Now fingers crossed that wildfires don't impact this train. Already there are disruptions further south on the route and in some cases passengers leave the train for a segment on a bus!
I'm glad I'm not going nuts.

We took the Coast Starlight from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle (and back). Beautiful route.
 

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Good luck. They have the world's worst website. Their website alone probably deters passengers. I tried it and knew immediately why they are struggling. I gave up after holding 2 hours and decided if I were to try again I will have a travel agent do it for me.
 

Luanne

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Good luck. They have the world's worst website. Their website alone probably deters passengers. I tried it and knew immediately why they are struggling. I gave up after holding 2 hours and decided if I were to try again I will have a travel agent do it for me.
Really? I've had no issues with the Amtrak website, other than I couldn't figure out why the Senior fare was more than the Adult fare. I will say I haven't completed booking the tickets yet. Maybe I'll have more issues then. You said you were on hold for 2 hours? I assume that was after calling, not on the website.

I've used the Amtrak website quite a few times to book trips. No issues.

I've found many other companies with far worse websites.
 

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The problem may that I'm trying to book a room and have too many questions. The 1st one was whether they have a low fare calendar, since I can travel anytime, and they could not tell me.
 

Luanne

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The problem may that I'm trying to book a room and have too many questions. The 1st one was whether they have a low fare calendar, since I can travel anytime, and they could not tell me.
I Googled and found out (not on the Amtrak site) that Amtrak does not have a low far calendar. I did find this however on the Frommer's website:

What days are cheapest on Amtrak?


"Before you start clicking links, make sure to check Amtrak's Weekly Specials, on sale between Tuesday and Friday each week. These are deeply discounted fares (often up to 80% off) that can be for any train in the country. It's a grab bag, but you might get lucky."

Since it's Friday I just tried this. Supposedly fares are up to 20% off. I clicked on the trip I'd been looking at, which was Business Class for 2 at $114. With the "discount" it's now $176. I think I'll stick to the un-discounted price. :p
 
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I've had lots of trouble with the Amtrak website over the years.

On the bright side, I've had good experiences with their phone customer service. Give them a call and they will explain the arcane reasoning behind senior fares being higher than regular adult fares.

I love Amtrak, but my personal aggravation with them is that when they have a sale, the one train I need to take regularly, the Pennsylvanian, is exempt from the discount.
 

Luanne

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I've had lots of trouble with the Amtrak website over the years.

On the bright side, I've had good experiences with their phone customer service. Give them a call and they will explain the arcane reasoning behind senior fares being higher than regular adult fares.

I love Amtrak, but my personal aggravation with them is that when they have a sale, the one train I need to take regularly, the Pennsylvanian, is exempt from the discount.
But it appears their "discounts" are higher than the regular fare. At least they have been for the route I'm looking at.
 

Luanne

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That's one of the problems I've had with the site.
Is it a site problem, or a problem with the way Amtrak does their fares? I think from now on I'm going to check all of the fares, adult, senior, and any discounts they may be offering, and then just book the cheapest. For us, for the train we want, it's going to be the adult fare (Business).
 

wackymother

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Is it a site problem, or a problem with the way Amtrak does their fares? I think from now on I'm going to check all of the fares, adult, senior, and any discounts they may be offering, and then just book the cheapest. For us, for the train we want, it's going to be the adult fare (Business).
Yes, do that. The Amtrak site is full of surprises. And one of the aggravating things about it is that there is probably some condition that makes that senior fare more than the regular fare, but it won't TELL YOU why it's coming out that way.
 

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The fares for sleeper accommodations have gone up significantly in the past six months, especially for bedrooms. In the past, I found some fare differences by travel date and and that fares would sometimes decrease closer to the travel date. Now they appear to start high, and get higher as space gets booked. Some trains don't have enough sleeper cars and Amtrak doesn't appear to be interested in adding capacity. The second sleeper and business class cars have been eliminated on the Cardinal. Hopefully things will improve with the new CEO and increased funding, but I suggest booking sleeper accommodations as early as possible.
 

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Years ago an Amtrak phone rep explained to me that fares are based on how full the train is.

Fares start at the lowest level. Then higher fares are triggered by demand--the train filling up--rather than time. So the farther out you can book (when the train is at its least crowded), the lower the fare will be.

It looks like that's still the case, since now the website shows the percentage of seats reserved.
 
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