Forget Flying—Amtrak Has a Secret Deal You Need to Know About

This deal offers ten trips to more than 500 Amtrak destinations.

With all the issues airlines have been experiencing lately, flying can certainly be a drag.

Not only was there an FAA system outage this month that brought flights to a standstill nationwide and an onslaught of travel chaos, but flight cancellations and delays are always a looming concern, not to mention a hassle. While flying may be the fastest or easiest option for some trips, it’s not the only travel choice available.

For travelers looking to skip the airport, Amtrak may have the deal for you.

What is the Amtrak deal?

Amtrak’s USA Rail Pass is currently $200 off its original $499 rate. The Rail Pass that covers ten train rides to any Amtrak destination is just $299, thanks to the discount.

Once the pass is purchased, it can be activated for up to 120 days. After activation, the ten rides must be used over a thirty-day period, meaning it’s the perfect way to enjoy a month-long delight of weekend getaways and gorgeous domestic views.

And Amtrak agrees. “From town hopping to cross-country adventures, the USA Rail Pass makes travel that much easier—plus, you’ll save too,” its website states.

How does the USA Rail Pass work?

Following pass activation, travelers book each segment—defined by the Amtrak website as “any time you board and disembark one of our trains”—of their trip through the Amtrak website, app or one of its agents. Additionally, each segment requires both a ticket and a reservation.

Fortunately, there are no blackout dates or time of day restrictions. Lots of airline passes, like Frontier’s unlimited flight pass, enforce blackout days, meaning this train pass may be an option to consider if you’re looking to save on holiday travel.

Passes are per person, and they are only available for traveling in Amtrak’s Coach class. However, coach on a train may be different from when you imagine airplane coach. According to Amtrak, the accommodations feature “wide, reclining seats with a big picture window, ample legroom, and no middle seat.”

Can I cancel my USA Rail Pass?

The pass offers lots of flexibility. Amtrak allows full refunds if travelers want to cancel their pass. However, it must be canceled within a 120-day period and only if nothing has been scheduled yet.

For those that book their segments, “your pass is also fully refundable up to 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure of the first booked segment,” the website says. Otherwise, a 25% cancellation fee is applied if a refund is requested during that 48-hour window.

Rebookings are also offered if a segment was booked but could not be met due to any service disruptions.

How long is the deal available for?

The $200 discount is available now through Jan. 20.

If you’re looking for on-the-ground views and an easy way to save money while still seeing national parks, underrated cities or simply some life-changing travel experiences, this may be the pass for you.

And for anyone with a New Year’s resolution to travel more, the USA Rail Pass may just be your ticket there.

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Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan is the Assistant Editor of Trends, where she writes lifestyle articles for Readers Digest, Taste of Home, and Family Handyman. When she’s not writing, you can find her listening to a podcast.