It's 2007, but do not fear: Like the great iron horses they connect to, Amtrak discount codes roll on. In the new year, Amtrak seems to be all about friendship: most codes for the popular Northeast Corridor only work for parties of two or more. There are a few for singletons, though, and we'll point those out as well.
As always, your first stop should still be Amtrak's weekly specials page (http://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak/WeeklySpecials), where they sell tickets on specific routes from a few days to a month in advance at up to 90% off. If you can't find your route on the weekly sale page (and remember, it changes every week), don't despair. Discount codes cover many of Amtrak's most popular routes. Sometimes they're also combinable with senior, children's, or AAA discounts. So pile on the discounts to get the absolute lowest fares.
Discount codes don't work during Amtrak's busiest periods. For the next few months, that's Feb. 16-19, April 5-9, May 25-28 and Aug. 31-Sept.3.
To use a discount code, start booking a ticket on www.amtrak.com. On the page with the list of trains, marked "2 - Select Train" -- there's a promotion code field near the bottom. Enter the code before you click the "View Fare" button. If one code doesn't work, try another. Remember the blackout dates listed above, and also that most codes require a three-day advance purchase.
Amtrak's Lonely Riders
The big-deal, whole-country, single-ticket discount codes are gone for now, leaving a few bargains fluttering in the wind.
Riders headed to Rhode Island can use V731 over the phone -- not online -- to get 20% off, at least through June.
If you're traveling anywhere along the Carolinian, Piedmont or Silver Star trains from New York to Charlotte, NC, you can nab 20% off with V630. This works on the whole route, including trips solely within the Northeast Corridor, as long as you're on those specific trains -- numbered 73, 74, 79, 80, 91 or 92. This code looks to be good through October 29.
Further south on the Silver Star trains, numbers 91 and 92, V662 will give you 20% off through March 15. This useful train goes all the way from New York to Miami via Orlando and Tampa.
Speaking of Orlando, if you're heading to Disney, pick up a free Orlando Magicard (www.orlandoinfo.com/magicard) and use it to book yourself a ticket over the phone with V542. That will get you 20% off tickets on Auto Train, Silver Service and Sunset Limited, for most of this year.
On the West Coast, H636 is the code for the Pacific Surfliner trains from San Diego to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles. You'll get 20% off the regular fare all the way through Dec. 13 with this code.
Fun With Your Friends on Amtrak
The rest of our codes require you to travel with a friend.
There's a flurry of codes all of which promise 50% off a companion ticket (that's 25% off each of two tickets) in the Northeast Corridor, which stretches from Portland, Maine down to Newport News, Virginia, with branches out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Albany, NY. V733 will last the longest, through 9/30/07, but if that one doesn't work, try V714 (through 5/31) or V383 (through 4/4). For trips within New York State through April, V707 extends the discount all the way up to Niagara Falls, NY.
In the Midwest, V539 will give you and a friend discounts on trains #311, 313, 314 and 316 entirely within Missouri. Missourians, your tax dollars are going to pay for these trains, so we're showing you the discounts.
Things get even cheaper when you head out West. In California, H641 will give you a free second ticket on the Pacific Surfliners from San Diego to LA, Santa Barbara and points north -- so that's half off each of your tickets. That one's good through May 21. In Oregon and Washington, H656 will give you a free companion ticket on the Cascades trains from Eugene to Portland, Seattle -- and yes, even Vancouver, BC.
AAA members traveling with a friend get special bonuses over the usual 10% AAA discount: an additional 50% off the second ticket, and 25% off business class or sleeper surcharges. Book over the phone using H644 and your AAA membership number. This code works with almost all trains except those traveling between Maine and Washington, DC or within New York State. Get more details by clicking here.
Have you found any other great Amtrak discounts? Tell us on our Message Boards today.