Saving big money on upcoming Amtrak trip (but not on rail fare)

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me_little_me

Engineer
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Lately, it has been my habit to check reservation prices on my trips, not just on my Amtrak fares which I have been doing for years. For my upcoming trip to western Colorado this month, I have been checking prices at hotels and rental cars. I have saved close to $750 since originally booking. Here are some examples when I first made reservations in June for October trip after canceling it for June travel. So this shows changes in price for this months trip while periodically checking prices.

Rental car in Grand Junction for 1 week at Enterprise. Booked at $450. Rebooked to Avis to $422. Rebooked to Enterprise at $400. Rebooked to Enterprise at $301. (This is the only one where I remember all the prices.

Hotel for 1 night in GJT. 3 Changes, dropping about $10 each time to current price of $133

Hotel for 3 nights in Moab (they think they are a $1M resort) started at ~$1210. Three changes later, $735.

Hotel for 3 nights in GJ - Two changes dropped price to $421 from about $460

Fancy Hotel in Chicago overnight - Two changes dropped price from $298 to $249.

Total savings about $750.

The rental car changes required making a new booking for the same days then canceling old one.

The hotels (Marriott) were easier. Select reservation then edit, then it shows old price with taxes & fees; click "show all taxes and fees" to see comparable new price. Check both Senior and AAA rates, then make change. Same reservation number - new price.

For Amtrak, it is a real pain in the butt because one has to go through multiple screens and settings to see the new price and since the new price might be a better deal when changing room type, it means multiple tries. Luckily, each of 4 segments is a separate reservation, I don't encounter e.g. segment 1 going up and segment 2 going down on a single reservation. Not one segment has gone down. Mostly no rooms available or significantly higher prices.
 

flitcraft

Conductor
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Jan 10, 2018
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Thanks for the reminder to check reservations, me-little-me, and also for your helpful advice on how to take advantage of lower rates! I'm happy that you saved some big bucks, and even happier that you were thoughtful enough to share the info!
 

Dakota 400

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The hotels (Marriott) were easier. Select reservation then edit, then it shows old price with taxes & fees; click "show all taxes and fees" to see comparable new price. Check both Senior and AAA rates, then make change. Same reservation number - new price.
I do the same as you and. at least at Marriott properties, the Senior Rate is frequently is better than the AAA rate.
 

me_little_me

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I do the same as you and. at least at Marriott properties, the Senior Rate is frequently is better than the AAA rate.
You are right, except when it isn't. Not often, not even remotely often but sometimes there is a special for AAA only. In my case, one hotel had no senior rate availability but did have AAA rate.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
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Jul 12, 2020
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On my recent rail pass I checked for hotels a mile or less from the station,under$100 and garnering decent reviews. Once those criteria are met I book. I used to rent a car from different stops,but rental prices are way too high for my budget,so I walk.
 
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