Amtrak Has Finally Brought Back Its USA Rail Pass—and It's on Sale

Fifty is looking mighty good on you so far, Amtrak

Amtrak Southwest Chief

Courtesy of Amtrak

The return of the USA Rail Pass is being celebrated in true Amtrak fashion—with a sale. From now until June 22, 2021, the reinstated all-you-can-ride passes are just $299, nearly half off from the regular $499 price tag.  The national rail service, which turned 50 this year, has been on a roll lately, from restoring daily service on long-distance routes to offering up great fare sales. This latest news is proof they are not slowing down and are continuing to let the good times roll.

The new reinstated USA Rail Pass boasts a few changes from prior versions, most notably that it’s available in a contactless, pandemic-friendly electronic form. Passes can be purchased online at Amtrak.com, and riders who install the Amtrak App on their phone will be able to start building and modifying their hop-on/hop-off itinerary through the app, check train times, download tickets to show the conductor, and get boarding information.

“We want to offer customers a truly unique way to travel this summer,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Roger Harris. “With the new electronic USA Rail Pass, customers can take advantage of a great value and newly streamlined web and mobile app interfaces to make managing personalized travel plans convenient and easy.”

Travelers will have 120 days from the date of purchase to start collecting punches (electronically, of course!) on their passes. Passes are valid for 30 days from the first ride and are good for 10 segments to over 500 destinations across the country.

Think of the possibilities! A different getaway every weekend for a month? Sorted. Backpacking trip along the coast? Totally doable. Long-haul journey across several states? Why not?! Or, hey, you could just ride the rails and snag an eyeful of scenery from the train windows and observation cars—you know what they say: it’s about the journey, not the destination.

Before you get too excited, though, we feel it's only fair to warn you that you can’t use the USA Rail Pass to book rides on the Acela, Auto Train, any of the Canadian stops of the Maple Leaf, or on any of the Thruways Bus Series 7000-7999. There’s also a fair amount of fine print.

For all intents and purposes, a segment is defined as any time you board and disembark the train. If you have a connecting train, that’s two segments. Changes and cancelations are totally fine, free, and don’t count toward your total segment number as long as they are made before the scheduled departure.

USA Rail Passes are good for Value or Saver fare tickets, you’ll need to stick to coach class (sorry, no upgrades are available at this time), and you can only take a max of two roundtrip journeys between the same two destinations—consider it a good excuse to explore someplace new.

To start getting inspiration for your USA Rail Pass journey or to purchase a pass, visit the Amtrak site.

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