Senior prices and gratuities on Amtrak

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Joined
May 1, 2022
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3
Location
England, Darlington.
Hi Everyone across the pond.
I am planning to fly to Chicago to take a ride on the CZ to Emeryville.
As I am in England it is very expensive to call Amtrak to ask lots of questions, as i have been reading posts on this forum, you all seem to have a good knowledge of how how Amtrak works, and of course about America.

I read Amtrak have pricing for senior people, or as we call them in England, Old aged pensioners, (Maybe not politically correct) I don't mind. Would anyone know if I and my wife coukd qualify, long shot as I am not a US citizen, also I notice veterans also get a discount, I am ex military in England, maybe another long, A shy boy get no sweeties ?
As I do more research into this trip, I will no doubt have more questions, one springs to mind as I am typing this, I would really like to be made familiar with the system for gratuities (Tipping) as I know it is the custom in America, we in England are not really use to it, so i do not want to offend any one that gives good service, embarrass them or me by not giving a Thank you back, not just on Amtrak, but across the whole spectrum of the correct way to appreciate the help or assistance given as no doubt I will be needing it, from getting off the plane, to booking into a hotel for the night, then the train taxis etc.
Long post, but I have a lot to learn.
 

PaunchyPirate

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Location
Pennsylvania
As for the Senior Citizen rate, I don't think you will have any problem getting it if you are over age 65. In the US, it's not usually a hassle to get senior discounts as long as you have government ID proving your age (passport, driver's license, etc.). A lot of places never ask you to prove it. If you haven't already, create an Amtrak Guest Rewards account on Amtrak.com. Then go to your profile inside that account and select the Preferences tab. There is a place there where you can select your Discount type -- Senior (65+). You may be asked for ID at some point to prove your age, but that should be all. I've never seen where anyone had to prove they were a US citizen or anything.

However, it looks like you can only select one Discount. Military (Active) and Military Veteran are selectable options, but you can only select one overall Discount type. I think generally, they would be expecting US Military for this discount, but who knows. They may not exclude our Allies.

I suspect you can only get one discount, however, so I would just go with the Senior discount.
 

AmtrakBlue

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As for the Senior Citizen rate, I don't think you will have any problem getting it if you are over age 65. In the US, it's not usually a hassle to get senior discounts as long as you have government ID proving your age (passport, driver's license, etc.). A lot of places never ask you to prove it. If you haven't already, create an Amtrak Guest Rewards account on Amtrak.com. Then go to your profile inside that account and select the Preferences tab. There is a place there where you can select your Discount type -- Senior (65+). You may be asked for ID at some point to prove your age, but that should be all. I've never seen where anyone had to prove they were a US citizen or anything.

However, it looks like you can only select one Discount. Military (Active) and Military Veteran are selectable options, but you can only select one overall Discount type. I think generally, they would be expecting US Military for this discount, but who knows. They may not exclude our Allies.

I suspect you can only get one discount, however, so I would just go with the Senior discount.
He may not be able to join AGR because he's not in the US.
 

PaunchyPirate

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Good point. I now see the membership guidelines say for US and Canadian citizens.

OP, you may still qualify for the discounts. It's worth a try to get them.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
England, Darlington.
As for the Senior Citizen rate, I don't think you will have any problem getting it if you are over age 65. In the US, it's not usually a hassle to get senior discounts as long as you have government ID proving your age (passport, driver's license, etc.). A lot of places never ask you to prove it. If you haven't already, create an Amtrak Guest Rewards account on Amtrak.com. Then go to your profile inside that account and select the Preferences tab. There is a place there where you can select your Discount type -- Senior (65+). You may be asked for ID at some point to prove your age, but that should be all. I've never seen where anyone had to prove they were a US citizen or anything.

However, it looks like you can only select one Discount. Military (Active) and Military Veteran are selectable options, but you can only select one overall Discount type. I think generally, they would be expecting US Military for this discount, but who knows. They may not exclude our Allies.

I suspect you can only get one discount, however, so I would just go with the Senior discount.
Hi, Thank you for the information, I will try the 65+ As it will be a good discount on $1200 fare. Keep you all posted as to the outcome. The veterans was a bit cheeky of me as i have not really contributed to the USA.
 

zephyr17

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Note the senior discount of 10% only applies to rail fare, any type of accommodation charge, such as a sleeper room or business class seating, is not discounted. Further note that for sleeper accommodations the accommodation charge is by far the larger component of the fare, typically at least twice as much or much more (depending on the yield management bucket) than the rail portion of the fare.

There will be no problem booking a senior fare, anyone of sufficient age is eligible irrespective of whether or not a US resident. If doing so on the website just follow the steps in the prior post. if asked for proof onboard by the conductor, your passport will do fine.

Discounts cannot be combined. So just use the senior discount, it is easiest, and the question of whether or not a veteran of an allied military is eligible does not come up.
 
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niemi24s

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The following chart contains the Coach and Sleeper fares for all long distance trains, with the CZ at top center. Note that these fares are for one adult and include both the undiscounted rail fare ($224) and additional sleeper fare. 36.4 - 1 May 2022 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg
The additional rail fare for another adult will always be $224 but with the 10% Senior discount for both it's less than that by $44.80 or $179.20. The Accommodation upcharge for a sleeper room remains the same for one or two passengers.

If your travel plans are flexible you could go through the laborious process of checking fares for all your possible dates searching for the lowest possible fare. Sounds like you intend on getting a Roomette (coded R, above) and these are the ones for which the lower fares can be found - simply because there are more of them.

YouTube is a good place to find videos explaining the different types of sleeper rooms on our Western trains, and this is one of the best I've found so far: . Note that this video is about sleeper rooms on both Superliners (double decker Western trains) and Viewliners (single decker Eastern trains).

Your choice of taking the CZ going West is a good one, with a much greater chance of getting to see the Rocky and Sierra Mountains while the Sun's up!

Tip: I'd not plan anything for the day after your scheduled arrival in EMY at 1610hrs because a freight train derailment could make you miss whatever you had planned. Instead, recommend getting off the CZ at either Sacramento (SAC) or Davis (DAV) Califormnia, spending the night and completing your trip the next day with a 1½ hour train ride. There are about a dozen trains from either of those places to either EMY (or SFC if you intend going to downtown San Francisco) and you could get there as early as sunup. We always plan an idle day between getting off the train and whatever is next - just in case.
 
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daybeers

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Even if you serve in some capacity in the U.S. military for years, later decide to go to one of their academies, and fail, the benefits provided to veterans are revoked. No VA, no discounts, no nothing.

Not sure how that's fair.
 

zephyr17

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Hi, Thank you for the information, I will try the 65+ As it will be a good discount on $1200 fare. Keep you all posted as to the outcome. The veterans was a bit cheeky of me as i have not really contributed to the USA.
You won't get the discount on the full $1200. That sounds like a mid-bucket roomette fare with 2 riders on the full route rail fare if on the CZ. You will get the senior discount on the $448 rail fare for 2 if both are eligible. You'll get a $44.80 discount, not a $120 one.

If you can get a roomette for 2 on the full route CZ for $1200, if it is peak season, grab it as soon as you can. Mid bucket is about as good as you are going to get in high season, and if you wait you could be looking at $280 more for high bucket.

Also, the senior discount has to be applied at the time of booking.
 

jis

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: A number of posts of Senior Transit Cards and Fares has been moved to its own thread under the Commuter and Transit Forum:


Please direct transit fares related material to the new thread and reserve this thread for Amtrak fares discussion.

Thank you for your understanding, cooperation and participation.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I would really like to be made familiar with the system for gratuities (Tipping) as I know it is the custom in America, we in England are not really use to it, so i do not want to offend any one that gives good service, embarrass them or me by not giving a Thank you back, not just on Amtrak, but across the whole spectrum of the correct way to appreciate the help or assistance given as no doubt I will be needing it, from getting off the plane, to booking into a hotel for the night, then the train taxis etc.
Welcome to the forum but please do not think of tipping in terms of guilt or embarrassment. Give whatever you feel is right when you are treated well but do not worry about so much about causing offense. When a gratuity is expected body language will often indicate this or you will see a tip line or presumptive charge on the bill. You can largely ignore tip jars and anything that requires the customer to walk up to a counter. If withholding a tip for poor service feels wrong you can rebalance the scales by adding the withheld amount to the next person who provides good service. Be aware that in/after the pandemic service is often very limited. In any case I hope you enjoy your visit and find whatever sort of adventure you are seeking. :)
 
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One thing to consider when deciding how much to tip is that certain classes of employees in the US are paid a lower base wage because it is assumed that they will earn the balance in tips. This mainly applies to wait staff at restaurants, though according to the US Department of Labor, a "tipped employee" who may potentially be paid less than the normal minimum wage is one who customarily and consistently makes more the $30 a month in tips. That's not a whole lot.

Because of this, I will pay a decent tip to any tipped employee, even if the service is only so-so, end even for bad service I might leave something. Just because the service isn't up to one's exacting standards doesn't mean that the server doesn't deserve a minimum decent livelihood, which isn't possible without tips. The customary tip for restaurant meals was traditionally 15% of the check before taxes, but if I pay with a credit card I will leave 18%, because the banks who process the credit card take a 3% fee, and, presumably this would get nicked from the tip.

It should also be noted that Amtrak employees, whether they are considered "tipped employees" or not make considerably more than the standard minimum wage -- thus I don't feel the same obligation to tip them regardless of the level of service. However, I am nearly always satisfied with the service I receive, and do usually leave tips.
 

PeeweeTM

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May 9, 2011
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Perhaps it was just a Covid side effect, so I don't know if this option stays, but I bought a middle-ish bucket roomette fare last autumn, saw a lower bucket fare last winter, modified my reservation to that lower fare within a few minutes and got a refund on my creditcard within a few days.

I don't want to sound cheap, but still, this could help you save some money, too.

Greetings from Holland!
 

crescent-zephyr

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With tipping, I think there should be a national law that a business has to explain if they pay their employees minimum wage or higher, or that they pay below minimum wage and expect tips to pay the rest.

At coffee shops, ice cream shops, counter service restaurants, etc. I don’t usually tip very much (if at all) but if I knew the employees weren’t getting paid even minimum wage I would certainly add to my tip.

As it applies to Amtrak, I think it should be explained in writing that Amtrak employees are paid well and the tipping is just that, a tip for good service and should not be thought of as a requirement like in a traditional restaurant or cruise ship situation.
 
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