How to cheaply book a roommette from NYC -> Chicago?

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Bob Dylan

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Just took the Texas Eagle/Sunset from Chi-Lax. By taking Coach to Bloomington and a roomette the remainder of the way I saved $139. Prices have gone up recently by $200,but there still that big savings. I believe this is the only long distance train with that substantial drop off in price. Wonder if the Cardinal still has that price drop in Dyer.
You still sometimes get a reduced Room Charge if you do a Hybrid trip on the Eagle when riding #2/#422/#1/#421 if you are willing to change Cars in San Antonio during the layover for Switching.
 
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Used to be that when you booked a Room for a portion of a Hybrid LD Trip, with a Coach ticket for the first or last leg of the trip, if the Room wasn't occupied, the SCA would generally let you occupy the Room without changing to/from Coach.( long as you paid if you ate in the Diner during the Coach portion of the trip)😊
That’s right, but I didn’t want to mention it🤫😉
In my case, he let me stay until Boise, partly because he didn’t want to deal with the move so early in the morning (4:40AM)…
I did give him a generous tip…🙂
 

Ryan

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Wonder if the Cardinal still has that price drop in Dyer.
It seems to. Looking at 12/26/21 (a Sunday), you can go NYP-CHI in a roomette for $484. Bail out of the roomette at Dyer and the room charge drops to $382. Same thing if you're in a bedroom, the price drops from $1397 to $1058. Same train, same day, so you should be comparing like bucket for like bucket.
 

niemi24s

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Here's sort of the opposite thing shown by Ryan:

• Take the EB from SEA to CHI on 19 Apr 2022 and get a low bucket Family Bedroom (FB) for $866.
• Bail out of the FB 43 minutes early at the stop just before CHI (Glenview IL) and the fare for the FB jumps $1014 up to the high bucket of $1880!

Yield management strikes again!

[edit] But with Glenview being D coded for that train you probably couldn't book the rest of the way to CHI in Coach. Howsomever if you really wanted to go from SEA to Glenview on that day in a FB maybe that means you could save $1014 by booking to CHI and just get off one stop early?

Could there be other similar ways to save in the system?
 
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fhussain44

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Think I figured out a way to book a roomette from NYP - CHI using less points by doing as follows:

NYP -> BUFFALO ( coach ) ~3000 points
BUFFALO -> CHI ( Roomette ) - 13000 points

So total 16,000 points which is a savings compared to 22,000 points for all the way roomette. The train leaves Buffalo at around midnight so ideal for me to hit the sack. Perhaps in Albany I will ask the sleeping car attendant if I could board earlier..
 

Sidney

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The stops before the train's endpoints can save you some money. Earlier this year I took the Texas Eagle from Chi to Lax. Chi to Bloomington in Coach is $13. Roomette to LA $448. From Chi $600.Since I rode the fare is now $650,$876 from Chicago. It takes some experimenting with dates,but it can be done.
 

Brian Battuello

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I used to do Boston-Chicago quite a bit, and I could often get a better room fare (or even snag a bedroom) by booking Albany-Chicago. Or even sometimes Utica or Syracuse-Chicago. Once I had the overnight nailed, I could often fill in the beginning with a room that someone booked months ago to my intermediate city. Worth poking around.
 

fhussain44

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Once I had the overnight nailed, I could often fill in the beginning with a room that someone booked months ago to my intermediate city.
Not sure I understand what you mean by this? How can you book a room that someone else already booked?
 

Brian Battuello

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Someone in Syracuse books a room to Chicago. I book the same room Boston to Syracuse, and then move to another room (possibly on the NYC-CHI portion of the train) Syracuse to Chicago. I've done this sort of thing several times and saved a lot of dollars/points. You just have to play around with the reservation system and see what you can find. Straight through Boston-Chicago and NYC-Chicago are often the first rooms to be booked, so the "bucket" price goes up. If you are willing to change rooms mid-trip, you can save a bundle.
 

neroden

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Someone in Syracuse books a room to Chicago. I book the same room Boston to Syracuse, and then move to another room (possibly on the NYC-CHI portion of the train) Syracuse to Chicago. I've done this sort of thing several times and saved a lot of dollars/points. You just have to play around with the reservation system and see what you can find. Straight through Boston-Chicago and NYC-Chicago are often the first rooms to be booked, so the "bucket" price goes up. If you are willing to change rooms mid-trip, you can save a bundle.
Syracuse is the fourth-busiest station on the route, so it's very common for many rooms to be booked Syracuse-Chicago and Syracuse-Buffalo -- so Syracuse is the first station to check on for this room-switching strategy.

One should also check on Rochester (fifth-busiest), Buffalo (sixth-busiest), Albany (third-busiest), and Toledo (ninth-busiest), probably in that order.

(1st, 2nd, and 7th are Chicago, NYC, and Boston; Cleveland is 8th but you don't want to change rooms at that time of day.)
 

dlagrua

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The price of sleepers are very expensive because someone at Amrak has figured out that people will pay them but they may be too cheap. If greed is the object, why not try a $10,000 R/T ticket coast to coast and see if they sell? The question becomes; at what price point will riders seek alternative transportation? We certainly miss LD rail travel but this year we travel first class air, save a ton of money, and get there sooner. For us 2X the first class air fare is our value limit and in our view that is very generous.
 

AmHope

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Used to be that when you booked a Room for a portion of a Hybrid LD Trip, with a Coach ticket for the first or last leg of the trip, if the Room wasn't occupied, the SCA would generally let you occupy the Room without changing to/from Coach.( long as you paid if you ate in the Diner during the Coach portion of the trip)😊
Yup I actually did this once. It's because at the beginning and end of the LD routes they actually won't accept passengers for short trips where alternative Amtrak routes also serve the area, e.g. California Zephyr won't serve passengers at the end of the line from Sacramento to Emeryville. So for instance if you booked sleeper through to Truckee and then Coach from there to Emeryville, the odds of someone booking your room from Truckee are almost nonexistent, and completely impossible if you booked your room to Sacramento and your coach ticket from Truckee.

In most cases though this saves you very little money, and sometimes saves you nothing.

Sometimes when you're in those "no board" zones and your plans change for some reason, they'll let you stay on the train with no ticket a little longer if you have a good excuse. For instance in my case on the CZ I was booked through to Richmond, where I planned to switch off to BART, but the CZ was delayed past the last BART train so they let me stay on to Emeryville to avoid being dumped in downtown Richmond in the middle of the night (not a safe place to be then).
 
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