AAA Discounts

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jmbgeg

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Amtrak has a series of discounts like AAA, AARP, etc. In my opinion, they should apply to accomodations, even if they have to gross up the overall price to all. Hotels offer AAA discounts....
 
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Tony

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..., even if they have to gross up the overall price to all.
I vote "no".

Why "gross up" the accommodation price for everyone by say 10%, so that you can then get a 10% discount for yourself.

BTW, as far as I know, Amtrak doesn't offer any AARP discount.
 

AlanB

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And while it's not officially an AARP discount, Amtrak does offer a discount to all Seniors regardless of whether or not they are AARP members. A very generous discount compared to the rest, since seniors get 15% off.
 

Bill Haithcoat

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And while it's not officially an AARP discount, Amtrak does offer a discount to all Seniors regardless of whether or not they are AARP members. A very generous discount compared to the rest, since seniors get 15% off.
But unless I am too old :lol: :p to remember it correctly the discount is only for the base railfare, not for private room charges.
 

sky12065

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And while it's not officially an AARP discount, Amtrak does offer a discount to all Seniors regardless of whether or not they are AARP members. A very generous discount compared to the rest, since seniors get 15% off.
But unless I am too old :lol: :p to remember it correctly the discount is only for the base railfare, not for private room charges.
I don't know if you're too old to remember correctly, :unsure: but... you remember correctly that the discount is on the rail charge only!
 
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Tony

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But unless I am too old :lol: :p to remember it correctly the discount is only for the base railfare, not for private room charges.
Isn't that the OP's point? That discounts offered are only for base railfare, and not for accommodations (private rooms).
 

sky12065

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..., even if they have to gross up the overall price to all.
I vote "no".

Why "gross up" the accommodation price for everyone by say 10%, so that you can then get a 10% discount for yourself.

BTW, as far as I know, Amtrak doesn't offer any AARP discount.
I would agree if Amtrak would have to raise prices by 10% to cover the discount. I seriously doubt though that it would require that amount.

Anywho, there may be factors that we don't know that could effect if the idea is even feasible. i.e. what is the $$$ agreement between AAA and Amtrak. If Amtrak is reimbursed in whole or part from AAA, AAA might not be able to support a deal to include accomodations!

Also remember that accomodations on Amtrak generally speaking, run higher per night that hotels do!
 

AlanB

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Also remember that accomodations on Amtrak generally speaking, run higher per night that hotels do!
But then most hotels don't see you going to sleep in Buffalo and waking up in Chicago the next morning. Additionally one must be cafeful to compare hotel rates where the package includes meals, otherwise the comparison is not fair to Amtrak either.
 

sky12065

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Also remember that accomodations on Amtrak generally speaking, run higher per night that hotels do!
But then most hotels don't see you going to sleep in Buffalo and waking up in Chicago the next morning. Additionally one must be cafeful to compare hotel rates where the package includes meals, otherwise the comparison is not fair to Amtrak either.
Well, unless you've slept through one whale of an unbelievable record breaking earthquake! :huh: :lol:

OK, I ran a sample run on the Amtrak site for sometime in August 09, round trip in a bedroom from New York to LA and I came up with a cost of $3338 as the accomodation fare (excluding rail rare) for the bedroom. At 6 nights that comes out to $556 a night.

Now I don't know where you stay, but I have never paid anywhere near that amount or even anywhere near half that amount for a night even when it was a convention with the VIP's costs and some meals added into the cost - and that's at an upscale hotel like an Omni, a Hilton or a Marriott to boot. Of course I didn't wake up in a different city each morning of the conventions, but at the same time my room was a whole lot bigger than on an Amtrak bedroom; I consider those as intangible considerations that at best, or worse if you will, wash each other!

Do I think that there are instances where your senario would apply? Again speaking in general, I think it could come close in some instances, but I'll still put my money on the chances that what I originally stated would most likely be the case.

I also think it's not a matter of comparisons being fair or unfair to Amtrak in the sense I believe you're thinking. I don't think that one

can in essence make comparisons of quality or usefullness either way because you are talking two distinctly different kinds of service of which each provides themselves nicely within the scope of their individual possibilities. The comparisons that I'm talking about are for the feasibility of AAA discounts on Amtrak accomodations only!
 
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The Metropolitan

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Amtrak has a series of discounts like AAA, AARP, etc. In my opinion, they should apply to accomodations, even if they have to gross up the overall price to all. Hotels offer AAA discounts....
Sounds like gross discrimination to me to gross up the price to all to discount it to AAA members, particularly given that Amtrak is funded largely by taxpayer money unlike most hotels.

If I don't own a car, either by choice or by necessity, I would have no reason to be a AAA member. Yet, why should I pay a higher premium on accomodations in order to make it cheaper for someone who does own a car and has a AAA membership?

I could understand a reciprocal deal between AAA and Amtrak wherin a portion of AAA dues are paid to Amtrak for the discount on accomodations (as I HOPE would be the case with the current railfare discount), but certainly not jacking up the price for someone who has no conventional use for AAA while cutting cardmembers a break.

Even regarding NARP members or Senior discounts, I just can't see it. For example, with NARP, the result would likely be an increase in dues, so you'd be paying for it anyway.

Amtrak probably should be attracting as many NEW prospective sleeper passengers as possible, not turning them away with high rates.
 
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sky12065

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Amtrak has a series of discounts like AAA, AARP, etc. In my opinion, they should apply to accomodations, even if they have to gross up the overall price to all. Hotels offer AAA discounts....
Sounds like gross discrimination to me to gross up the price to all to discount it to AAA members, particularly given that Amtrak is funded largely by taxpayer money unlike most hotels.

If I don't own a car, either by choice or by necessity, I would have no reason to be a AAA member. Yet, why should I pay a higher premium on accomodations in order to make it cheaper for someone who does own a car and has a AAA membership?

I could understand a reciprocal deal between AAA and Amtrak wherin a portion of AAA dues are paid to Amtrak for the discount on accomodations (as I HOPE would be the case with the current railfare discount), but certainly not jacking up the price for someone who has no conventional use for AAA while cutting cardmembers a break.

Even regarding NARP members or Senior discounts, I just can't see it. For example, with NARP, the result would likely be an increase in dues, so you'd be paying for it anyway.

Amtrak probably should be attracting as many NEW prospective sleeper passengers as possible, not turning them away with high rates.
Speeking of the rail fare only, why would you object to the discount given? Do you object to the Senior discount, the Student discounts, a military or veterans discount? I doubt there is any kind of sharing arrangements with those discounts. I look at it this way... cost sharing or not, it's a promotional cost on Amtrak's part to attract ridership!
 

AlanB

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OK, I ran a sample run on the Amtrak site for sometime in August 09, round trip in a bedroom from New York to LA and I came up with a cost of $3338 as the accomodation fare (excluding rail rare) for the bedroom. At 6 nights that comes out to $556 a night.
Well if you can get low bucket, the entire trip can be had for $1,920 not including rail fare. That's only $320 per night.
 

RRrich

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As Seniors we get 15% off the railfare. Better than nothing off. We would prefer 50% of the total, but we appreciate 15% off part.

If you don't like the discount available to you, don't take it!
 

sky12065

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OK, I ran a sample run on the Amtrak site for sometime in August 09, round trip in a bedroom from New York to LA and I came up with a cost of $3338 as the accomodation fare (excluding rail rare) for the bedroom. At 6 nights that comes out to $556 a night.
Well if you can get low bucket, the entire trip can be had for $1,920 not including rail fare. That's only $320 per night.
Alan, I wouldn't dispute what you've said, but figures I got from Amtrak were exactly what I posted. Perhaps if one could afford to keep checking or trying different dates or routes, the price could come down, but even $320 a night is a lot more than I've ever spent for hotels including conventions as I indicated in my OP.

Now, if you asked me if I thought $320 per night for an Amtrak bedroom was a decent price, my answer would be yes! Why? Because, along with other factors, Amtrak gives me something that no Hotel could ever give... a senic view of our country that can never be enjoyed elsewhere! :wub:
 

The Metropolitan

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Speeking of the rail fare only, why would you object to the discount given? Do you object to the Senior discount, the Student discounts, a military or veterans discount? I doubt there is any kind of sharing arrangements with those discounts. I look at it this way... cost sharing or not, it's a promotional cost on Amtrak's part to attract ridership!
I probably rambled in my initial post a bit, leaving it open to misinterpretation.

To clarify, I'm not at all opposed to the railfare discounts for Seniors, Students, AAA, or NARP members, as they do encourage ridership.

What I would be opposed to would be a sleeper discount that only AAA members could take advantage of that is paid for not by AAA but instead by bumping up sleeper fares for the rest of the riders. Many Amtrak riders may have no other need or desire for a AAA membership, and the result would be a taxpayer funded transportation amenity offering a gratis discount to an organization whose members already have higher than average per-capita incomes.

If AAA funds such a discount through dues, fine. If the rest of the riders fund such a discount through higher fares, not fine.

What I'd rather see are other incentives to ride sleepers more affordably open to all riders, such as:

10% discount on sleepers on departures from Monday-Wednesday when occupancy tends to be lower.

30% discount on still unsold sleepers in the first 2 buckets within 2 weeks of departure. In other words, if a low bucket $200 roomette is still unsold 2 weeks prior to the departure, the price drops to $140.

Sound a little more reasonable?
 

Shanghai

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In order to offer discount fares, another fare must cover that cost of the discount. That works for train fares, airline fares or other types of "fares." Some states/cities offer Homestead Tax Reductions for certain people, our Federal Tax System offers additional exemptions for seniors and disabled and some colleges offer financial aid discounts to needy students, but someone has to pay the bill. There aren't any free lunches, someone always has to pay!!
 

the_traveler

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What I'd rather see are other incentives to ride sleepers more affordably open to all riders, such as:
10% discount on sleepers on departures from Monday-Wednesday when occupancy tends to be lower.

30% discount on still unsold sleepers in the first 2 buckets within 2 weeks of departure. In other words, if a low bucket $200 roomette is still unsold 2 weeks prior to the departure, the price drops to $140.

Sound a little more reasonable?
I would go for that. They even do something similar to that with the "Weakly Specials"

I would like to see some kind of discount for unsold sleepers prior to departure. You could ask in the station if there were any sleepers available, and the agent would say yes, and then say the fare (may be high bucket). 5 minutes later aboard the train the fare is low bucket. I would not pay the high bucket, but would wait until I get on. But others would not even ask on the train, because they heard the fare from the agent - so Amtrak lost $$$!

While it's good for me (more rooms available :p ) I'm sure Amtrak could use the extra fares.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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The key to remember here is that Amtrak's prices aren't based on their costs at all. They're based on Amtrak having a fixed amount of equipment, and selling space on that equipment to the highest bidder. Much of what is said above would be true of a service where the supply can be readily expanded if there are enough paying customers demonstrating that the demand is high, but probably isn't true of Amtrak in 2009.
 

sky12065

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Speeking of the rail fare only, why would you object to the discount given? Do you object to the Senior discount, the Student discounts, a military or veterans discount? I doubt there is any kind of sharing arrangements with those discounts. I look at it this way... cost sharing or not, it's a promotional cost on Amtrak's part to attract ridership!
I probably rambled in my initial post a bit, leaving it open to misinterpretation.

To clarify, I'm not at all opposed to the railfare discounts for Seniors, Students, AAA, or NARP members, as they do encourage ridership.

What I would be opposed to would be a sleeper discount that only AAA members could take advantage of that is paid for not by AAA but instead by bumping up sleeper fares for the rest of the riders. Many Amtrak riders may have no other need or desire for a AAA membership, and the result would be a taxpayer funded transportation amenity offering a gratis discount to an organization whose members already have higher than average per-capita incomes.

If AAA funds such a discount through dues, fine. If the rest of the riders fund such a discount through higher fares, not fine.

What I'd rather see are other incentives to ride sleepers more affordably open to all riders, such as:

10% discount on sleepers on departures from Monday-Wednesday when occupancy tends to be lower.

30% discount on still unsold sleepers in the first 2 buckets within 2 weeks of departure. In other words, if a low bucket $200 roomette is still unsold 2 weeks prior to the departure, the price drops to $140.

Sound a little more reasonable?
I have no problem with what your saying here! As a AAA member I think the rail fare discount is something to be appreciated and not be disappointed because the accomodation fare is not also included! I guess you might consider that as looking at the glass being half full instead of half empty! :p

Exception: If the half full glass has my favorite hard or soft drink in it, then I'll look at it as half empty! :lol:
 
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NapTown Jim

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Sounds like gross discrimination to me to gross up the price to all to discount it to AAA members, particularly given that Amtrak is funded largely by taxpayer money unlike most hotels.
Maybe AAA has really good lobbyists. :ph34r:

If I don't own a car, either by choice or by necessity, I would have no reason to be a AAA member.
Do you not travel at all? AAA isn't just for roadside assistance. In fact we've used our AAA card to get discounts at museums, hotels, car rental, restaurants and of course Amtrak.

Amtrak probably should be attracting as many NEW prospective sleeper passengers as possible, not turning them away with high rates.
I agree. They ought to increase the supply (more sleeper cars!!!) so they can drop the price some with the extra volume.
 

NapTown Jim

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Also remember that accomodations on Amtrak generally speaking, run higher per night that hotels do!
But then most hotels don't see you going to sleep in Buffalo and waking up in Chicago the next morning. Additionally one must be cafeful to compare hotel rates where the package includes meals, otherwise the comparison is not fair to Amtrak either.
You could compare it to cruises and get a closer apples to apples comparison. For example, you could probably sail transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton 6 nights for about $1100/person or $2200/cabin. That comes to $366/nite and includes all meals AND entertainment. This makes the aforementioned bedroom rate on Amtrak look like highway robbery! Still....if I could afford it, I'd pay it, and I reckon if those rooms didn't sell they wouldn't price them as high.
 

AlanB

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Also remember that accomodations on Amtrak generally speaking, run higher per night that hotels do!
But then most hotels don't see you going to sleep in Buffalo and waking up in Chicago the next morning. Additionally one must be cafeful to compare hotel rates where the package includes meals, otherwise the comparison is not fair to Amtrak either.
You could compare it to cruises and get a closer apples to apples comparison. For example, you could probably sail transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton 6 nights for about $1100/person or $2200/cabin. That comes to $366/nite and includes all meals AND entertainment. This makes the aforementioned bedroom rate on Amtrak look like highway robbery! Still....if I could afford it, I'd pay it, and I reckon if those rooms didn't sell they wouldn't price them as high.
That's a much better comparison Jim. :)

Of course one way that cruise ships get around things and beat Amtrak is that they are all foreign registered and therefore have no unions to deal with or minimum wage laws. This puts the employee at a disadvantage and it creates the somewhat undocumented or at least uncounted upfront cost of major tips to the crew. Typically depending on the lenght of the cruise, one can expect to drop between $100 to $300 or even more in tips.
 

MrFSS

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Also remember that accommodations on Amtrak generally speaking, run higher per night that hotels do!
But then most hotels don't see you going to sleep in Buffalo and waking up in Chicago the next morning. Additionally one must be careful to compare hotel rates where the package includes meals, otherwise the comparison is not fair to Amtrak either.
You could compare it to cruises and get a closer apples to apples comparison. For example, you could probably sail transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton 6 nights for about $1100/person or $2200/cabin. That comes to $366/nite and includes all meals AND entertainment. This makes the aforementioned bedroom rate on Amtrak look like highway robbery! Still....if I could afford it, I'd pay it, and I reckon if those rooms didn't sell they wouldn't price them as high.
That's a much better comparison Jim. :)

Of course one way that cruise ships get around things and beat Amtrak is that they are all foreign registered and therefore have no unions to deal with or minimum wage laws. This puts the employee at a disadvantage and it creates the somewhat undocumented or at least uncounted upfront cost of major tips to the crew. Typically depending on the length of the cruise, one can expect to drop between $100 to $300 or even more in tips.
Last several cruises we have been on they automatically tacked $10/person/day onto the bill. Some travel agents have learned to get their customers an on-board credit (up to several hundred dollars) which can then be used to help pay that tip charge, assuming you don't spend it in the casino. :)
 
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