Auto train - best time to book for the best rates?

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Joined
Mar 23, 2020
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2
Recently used the Auto train Feb 21 and March 7th of this year. We had booked July 2019 - 8 months in advance and we able to get the "SuperSaver" rate for the round trip. I was looking today to ry and book for Feb 2021 and there are no "SuperSaver" rates or Value rates - only the Flexible tickets. Which are way too expensive for 2 people roundtrip. I can drive it for considerably less money. I looked at multiple dates and could not find anything but the flexible rates. Does anyone have any idea when other more affordable rates are made available on the Auto train or when the best time to book is to secure the best rates? I thought booking a full year in advance, I would be able to get a better rate? Any ideas? Has there been a new pricing structure implemented or something? Any info is appreciated.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,164
Best way to look for the least expensive fares is this: AmSnag Verson 2.02 It allows you to look at thirty days worth of fares at a time. and as far out as about 335 days, say 11 months. The best time to look is as soon as you know when you want to go. There's really no bad time to look. There's a chart showing all of the long distance train fares (buckets) here: Long Distance Train Coach & Sleeper Fares (Buckets) But sale prices are not shown on that chart.
 
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dlagrua

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,083
From what I can see, many routes now open the pricing at peak high bucket and that is left in place for several months. Then Amtrak closely monitors the rate at which tickets sell and adjusts the fares on the fly. As one or more buckets are sometimes removed from the fare structure it also appears that past history may be taken into the equation Its a complicated system and varies from one route to another. Best way to get a good fare is to keep checking about 5 months out. If fares are going down they might relax at this point but not always. I have friends that report getting the best fare 1 month out. My approach is to keep checking and if the fare is within our budget we book.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,164
Best way to get a good fare is to keep checking about 5 months out.
Ah, the old "5 months out" wheeze. Let's hope Covid-19 doesn't have the same longevity.

FWIW, as of the present time, low bucket sleepers are available 11 months out ( 01/24/21 through 02/22/21) on 8 of the 14 LD trains having sleepers. If I wanted to book a train during that or any earlier period I'd be a fool not to check now for a low bucket fare.
 
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