If you’re ready to plan an epic cross-country train trip, Amtrak has got you covered. The country’s main rail operator is offering a 30-day USA Rail Pass at a cost of $299, or $200 off the regular $499 price.
The deal lasts until January 20 and allows passengers to take up to 10 rides in a 30-day period. The first segment of trip can be booked up to 120 days after the pass is purchased, and the 30-day period begins with the first leg of the trip.
Customers can purchase the pass on Amtrak.com, where they can also book and modify each segment of their rail journey. Pass holders will receive an electronic ticket for each train trip booked, which they will then present to the conductor when boarding.
Of the approximately 500 U.S destinations Amtrak services, some of the rail network’s most popular routes (most of which can be booked using the USA Rail Pass) include:
- Coast Starlight, a 35-hour journey from Seattle to Los Angeles that has been hailed as the most beautiful train ride in the United States
- California Zephyr from Chicago to Northern California
- Lake Shore Limited from either New York City or Boston to Chicago
- Empire Builder, which travels between Portland and Chicago
- Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles
- Southwest Chief between Chicago and Los Angeles
The USA Rail Pass is not available for Acela service, for the popular Auto Train route from Virginia to Florida, or for the Canada stops on the Maple Leaf line.
When using the USA Rail Pass, travel is restricted to two round trips (four one-way trips) between the same two stations. Amtrak suggests opting for its multi-ride pass for those who need to travel frequently between the same destinations.
Amtrak’s USA Rail Pass is only available for coach class travel (Saver and Value fares only—segments that only offer Flexible fares are not available for rail pass bookings), and upgrades to business and to private room accommodations aren’t currently available with the pass.
But that shouldn’t stop rail lovers from piecing together the cross-country rail journey of their dreams and simply breaking it up with comfortable overnight stays between segments (we’re guessing that’s the ideal way to use the pass and explore U.S. destinations with it anyway).
A USA Rail Pass travel segment is defined as when the customer boards and disembarks one of Amtrak’s scheduled service trains. If the trip involves making a connection, meaning getting off one train and boarding another, that will count as two segments for the USA Rail Pass.
Those who are members of Amtrak’s loyalty program, Amtrak Guest Rewards, will earn two points per dollar spent on each USA Rail Pass purchase. The points will be added to your account after you’ve completed your first segment of train travel. You cannot, however, purchase a USA Rail Pass using points.
This article was originally published in 2022, but has since been updated with current information.