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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » How far in advance do YOU book?

   
Author Topic: How far in advance do YOU book?
Vicki
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We're planning a trip from CHI to SFO with our granddaughter in June 2014. I've already set an alarm for July 2013 so I can make our reservations exactly 11 months from our travel date. People laugh at me for reserving this far out but financially I need to get the best fare possible. I have a back issue and a two night coach trip is not an option. Plus, my granddaughter has her heart set on a sleeper. Since there's no way I can afford the train r/t we'll be flying home it looks like. Ideally, (in my dream state) I'd take the Zephyr west, then the Coast Starlight south, and the Texas Eagle home, but unless my husband gets called back to work soon that's not going to happen. At any rate, even though it's a looong way off, we're still excited.
Posts: 149 | From: Joliet, IL USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RRRICH
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I'm not sure how far in advance AMTRAK puts space in their reservations computers -- you probabaly don't have to reserve quite as far in advance as you think, but I'd definitely book the space by say October or November 2013 -- of course it never hurts to book as far in advance as you can, but, as I said, I'm not sure how far ahead of time the space will be in the computers.
Posts: 2427 | From: Grayling, MI | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vicki
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YIKES! Just price my dream trip. $2800!!!
Posts: 149 | From: Joliet, IL USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vicki
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Can reserve right now through July 11, 2013. I've always been able to book 11 months out on-line.
Posts: 149 | From: Joliet, IL USA | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TwinStarRocket
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Summer travel fares are much higher than the rest of the year. The Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card is an option where a summer trip costs no more points than a trip in January. A CHI-SFO roomette costs 20,000 points and a bedroom costs 40,000 points (year-round). You earn a point per dollar spent on your card, plus there are many offers for double and triple points. You can also buy points if you are just short of what you need.

Also, have you tried AmSnag? It is a website that allows you to shop for the cheapest days to travel in a 30 day period (SFO is not an Amtrak code, use EMY for Emeryville on the Zephyr). It is tricky to use, and there is not much variance in price in the summer.
http://biketrain.net/fooonuAmtrak/amSnag.php

It is not absolutely true that you will get the better price booking 11 months ahead vs. 10 or 6 etc. You really just avoid the price increase that happens when rooms start to sell out. For instance, if I look at SEP 2012 vs. JUN 2013 on AmSnag for a CHI-EMY bedroom there is very little difference in price. Sometimes prices even go down if a particular day is slow or has cancellations. But it is risky to wait for that if you want a particular day.

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Vicki
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Thanks for the tip about AmSnag. I will check it out. Unfortunately, when travelling with a teen I am pretty much forced to travel in the summer because of school. And last minute travel is not doable because I have to request vacation time two months ahead.
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mgt
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From the UK we have always booked 11 months in advance, that is more or less when the dates become available. That is probably why we have always had the E room on the Superliners, which is generally regarded to be the least noisy. Also, if 11 months in advance accomodation is flagged as being scarce on the Amtrak website it probably means that there is a tour group booked on that train on that date, which you might want to avoid. This matter has been discussed at length in the past!
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notelvis
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I usually book overnight trips 3-6 months ahead of time..... though I have booked a sleeper with as little as 15 days advance notice.

Of course I am also usually redeeming Guest Reward Points when I book accomodations.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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sojourner
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If booking sleepers, I book summer trips 10-11 months in advance, winter trips usually more like 5-6 months.

For most nonsleeper trips, I book much closer to time of travel.

Posts: 2630 | From: upstate New York | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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