Riding the Rails – AMTRAK

Did you know that you could accumulate points on AMTRAK like you do with airlines and hotels?  Well, you can!  I was happy to read when I received my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card that AMTRAK is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. Currently,  AMTRAK is running a Double Points promotion with travel now through October 31, 2013.  That’s twice the point earnings!  You must first become a member of Amtrak Guest Rewards and then you need to register here for this promotion!

double promotion

When I was a kid, my mother and I always took the train to wherever we were going on vacation because she had a phobia about airplanes. I’ve taken the train to southern Florida numerous times as well as to the West Coast – all from Boston.  Now as an adult, I’ve continued to ride the rails though not as often as I would like – probably a combination of time and the cost.  I found it relaxing to board the train and then just…….relax.  It was the time period between leaving work or your home and the start of your vacation.  I was able to decompress, take a deep breath and arrive at my destination fully relaxed and ready to begin my vacation.  I fondly remember the time we left Boston and went to Chicago on an overnight train.  After arriving in the morning we spent the day in Chicago before we had to go back to the train station to get our train to the West Coast.  The train, the Super Chief,  had the Vista Dome

photo: wikipedia
photo: wikipedia

feature where we could go up the stairs and there would be a glass dome over us so we had an unimpeded view of the countryside.  The interesting part of this trip, and I “think” they still do it or at least a version of it, is that we were in the last Pullman car and in the middle of the night in Arizona, our car was unhitched from the train.  We waited for another engine to take our car up to  the Grand Canyon where we awoke.  We spent the day touring the area and it is a day that I have not forgotten in the decades since. Later that day we boarded our Pullman again and were taken to the same spot on the tracks where we were unhitched the night before.  This time we would be awaiting another westbound train to “pick us up” and continue our journey. Click here for some information on trains in the Grand Canyon.

When was the last time that you rode the rails?

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4 thoughts on “Riding the Rails – AMTRAK

  1. No, it is not. Philly is the furthest south station that has a code share.

    “Now, Amtrak and United Airlines are teaming up to provide the ultimate in seamless travel. Through our innovative service agreement air/rail program, Amtrak provides connecting service on Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains between Philadelphia, Wilmington, Stamford and New Haven to anywhere United Airlines flies from Newark International Airport.

    The partnership allows travelers to make one reservation for both air and rail tickets by simply calling United Airlines, logging onto United.com, or calling their local travel agent.

  2. I recently took a flight from Philly to San Diego. Being the mileage runner that I am, I accomplished this in as many legs as I could. I traveled from Philly to New York to Los Angeles to San Diego. The interesting and relevant part is that the first leg of the trip was from ZFV to EWR (Newark). For those of you who don’t know, ZFV is the 30th Street Rail Station in Philly. Yep, United has codeshare “flights” on Amtrak.

    To be honest, it would have been more convenient to drive to EWR than to go to Philly train station, wait for the late train, make it to Newark 12 minutes before my plane is scheduled to leave (Thank God everything out of Newark is late!!). In Newark, I told my significant other that I was going to use my status to run through security to get to the gate to plead with them to hold the plan for a few minutes and that she should get herself through security with our two daughters as quickly as possible and join me at the gate. Now from time to time, we all loose something at security, but somehow she managed to loose the girls. I got a call from her five minutes after I got to the gate that she could not find the them. We walked up and down the terminal, they were nowhere to be seen. Tried their phones, no luck. How do you lose a 13 and 14 year old???

    Luckily, I had been working with the oldest daughter (14 years old) on how to get through an airport (transferring my love of flying 😉 ). They came running up about 10 minutes later as the door was getting ready to close. Yeah, our first class seats through upgrades were saved!!

    As an aside, as I nervously waited by the gate for some word from my two daughters, a man came off of our plane saying that there were four empty first class seats and that due to his status, he deserved one of them. No matter what our status is, we should never get the “do you know who I am” attitude. If you “deserve” an upgraded seat, one will be offered to you.

    Would I take the codeshare again? No, too much hassle. Am I glad that I did? Yes, for the experience of having done it. If I lived in Philly, maybe it would be a convenient option. But it is not coming from DC.

    Yes, DC. This was my Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (RIP John Candy) trip. Damn me for always looking for the cheapest flights!

  3. When our kids were little, we took the auto train from Lorton, VA, to FL. So nice to wake up at your destination and have your car with you! I didn’t sleep very well from being jostled around all night, but the kids loved it, and they still talk about that trip now as adults.

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