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How far in advance to book?

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Thanks, that makes far more sense.

I'd love for you to share you data sets some day.

 

Yeah, I really got all wrapped around the axle with my wording of all this stuff. Thanks for questioning what I wrote and prompting the edits. Hope it all makes better sense now.

 

Gave the nonverbal presentation of this data a lot of thought and have initially concluded that any graphic portrayal would be a mess - what with a line for each of the 32 trains. And some routes have significantly different data between the travel directions and that would get masked if the data for each direction was combined.

 

So that leaves the tabular form of the raw data, and that'll take the rest of the evening for my able assistants (Sons) to make up a spread sheet with 32 rows and 11 columns. That's because at present it's all nothing more than a hand-scribed single sheet of lined notebook paper. Give me some time on this.

 

Thanks again!

 

Edit: Well, it didn't take as long as I thought it would. Here's all the tidied up raw data - have fun with it.

 

Edit #2: New chart in place of the previous one, below, with an added column on the right showing availability for each of the 32 trains. This allows better recognition of route direction differences - some of which seem quite large.

 

Edit #3: Replaced the hand-scribed chart with a spreadsheet/FastStone version. Data is unchanged.

 

attachicon.gifLB Roomette DataC.jpg

An excellent chart. But it begs the question. Is the most availability in January and February because it’s in the middle of winter? Or, is it because it’s 3-4 months out from October. To answer that, I’d love to see this redone in a couple months.

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From a relatively simple question from the original poster, I hope she got her answer, to this ️Amazingly ridiculous

However, quite artistic, like looking at a Jackson Pollack painting ‼️

 

If you think that one was amazingly ridiculous, howzabout this one!

 

attachicon.gifLB Roomette 3D GraphA.jpg

 

This 3-D version shows which 12 trains had zero days of availability the last 5 or 6 months by spreading out the data in the z-axis.

I've been staring at that thing for maybe five minutes now and I can not decipher it. Is that supposed to be even theoretically legible?

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Excellent graph.

 

Despite a handful of outliers, there's a pretty clear pattern of lots of low bucket availability in the 4-5 month window.

 

It would be interesting to repeat the analysis over time to determine if the abundance of low bucket rooms is because of the 4-5 month window, or because that's where Jan/Feb (a.k.a low travel season) falls. My money is on the latter.

Thanks. That same pattern of lots of low buckets available in 4-5 months hence was also apparent in the bar graph in Post #32. But I don't care for term "window" because it kind of implies there are no low buckets available in the other 9 months. All we'd need is 11 volunteers to repeat this at 1 month intervals to gather a years worth of data.

 

Who'll be the first to sign up?

 

 

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I've been staring at that thing for maybe five minutes now and I can not decipher it. Is that supposed to be even theoretically legible?

Maybe this will help:

 

• Look at the two dimensional (2-D) chart in Post #47, then...

• Pretend you arrange those 32 colored lines so they're piled up one behind the other (in numerical order, away from you) with a tiny bit of space between them.

• Viewed in two dimensions you can't tell any difference until you...

• Pretend you change your viewing angle from straight on at the front to a viewing angle that's down and to the left...

• So the third dimension of the 3-D chart blossoms into view revealing those 32 lines spread out along the new z-axis in all their glory and splendour.

 

Some familiarity with solid geometry will help here.

Edited by niemi24s

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After reading this thread a few weeks ago, I delayed booking the 'key' part of my 2019 vacation on AGR points until 'about 5 months before' the travel date. Anytime in April works except for Easter Sunday and I can only be gone 1 Sunday. That way, I don't have the mobs of kids to deal with, etc. So, I started with Amsnag looking at CHI -> PDX via SAS and vice-versa, connecting in LAX hopefully, or, at worst, being bused 50-100 miles to catch the connection. In at the 20 times or more in the past 40 years or so, I've never missed that 1-4 hour connection, in either direction.

 

I prefer taking the Texas Eagle to LAX to get an almost-free extra night in a roomette compared to taking the California Zephyr and connecting at Sacramento. After checking each leg individually and finding the dates with lowest roomette prices, on a whim, I decided to try PDX->CHI to see what comes up. I was taken by surprise when I saw prices exactly $100 CHEAPER than booking each leg individually! In checking out the dates with the through price of $892 (vs $354+53more like8 = 992), one of them was the only date possible that could meet my Sunday being gone restrictions. , Actually, I'm 'stunned' to see a 'through' or 'conjunctive' fare offered. I haven't seen ANY conjunctive fares that were a discount in at least 5 years...maybe more. And I usually play 'games' trying to get a 'through' fare that's a savings.

 

I wanted to jump on it, but was a tad over 4,000 points short of the 30774 points 'price' departing PDX 4/11. I did a first class Acela trip on Monday WAS-NHV as well as 2 shuttles and a business class regional to WAS and hoped the points would have posted. AGR is getting slower and slower in posting points these days. I've given up emailing them with my concerns about it. Unfortunately, the points didn't post last night, so I had to buy 3500 points plus bonus this AM before booking it.

 

So, just before 8AM, I called to book my reservations and request roomette 14, my favorite, on both trains. The lady taking care of me seemed to know how to get a specific roomette, but struggled to make it happen. She repeatedly stated she could see 14 was open on both #11 and #422, but couldn't 'grab' it. 20-25 minutes later (she was really struggling), she came up with a 40774 points price...then immediately said it was 50774!! And it would only come up with roomette 8 & 11. So, I told her to cancel the whole thing as I only had 31K points available.

 

SO, I got to thinking...maybe in her 'screwing around', she actually 'grabbed' two or more roomettes, driving up the price. So 5 minutes later, I checked online and sure enough, it was back to 30774 points and showing 'only 3 rooms available at this price' once again. Obviously, she 'tied up' a couple roomettes causing the price increase! I immediately called back, and got Roger, who knows his stuff. He struggled a bit, but got it booked just like I wanted, roomette 14 on both trains and 30774 points. I also used my credit card to book #28 CHI-PDX on the 8th, giving me a bit more than 24 hours in Portland to ride more of their light rail and streetcar lines. I got the good price I saw last night, but had to settle for roomette #12 to PDX. Nuts!

 

BUT WAIT!!!! THERE'S MORE!!!

 

Maybe 5 minutes after finishing with Roger, I decided to see what my buying 1 roomette of the 'only 3 rooms available at this price' would do. To my UTTER AMAZEMENT, the 'only 2 rooms available at this price' were now 35,328 points (454 points higher) and $1024 ($132 higher)!!!

 

Lessons learned from this exercise:

 

1. Booking about 5 months ahead of time really works! Especially with flexible travel dates.

2. 'Only 3 rooms available at this price' is only true if you buy all 3 at the same time

3. My initial thoughts of waiting for the AGR points from Mondays' trip to post figuring there's 3 rooms at that price and if 1 or 2 gets sold, I still get the deal, is 100% FALSE!!! So much for trying to figure out how their 'bucket system' works...

 

Now all I have to do is decide how to get to and from CHI from Springfield, MA around those dates. I'm locked into the 'dog food express' #449 on Sunday the 7th unless I fly (over my dead body!). But coming back, I'm toying with the City of New Orleans to NOL, then the Crescent to NYP and a regional back to SPG. It depends on how fast I rack up more points.

 

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fter checking each leg individually and finding the dates with lowest roomette prices, on a whim, I decided to try PDX->CHI to see what comes up. I was taken by surprise when I saw prices exactly $100 CHEAPER than booking each leg individually! In checking out the dates with the through price of $892 (vs $354+53more like8 = 992), one of them was the only date possible that could meet my Sunday being gone restrictions. , Actually, I'm 'stunned' to see a 'through' or 'conjunctive' fare offered. I haven't seen ANY conjunctive fares that were a discount in at least 5 years...maybe more. And I usually play 'games' trying to get a 'through' fare that's a savings.

This has been discussed here a million times. The examples of Amtrak discounting connecting tickets are two numerous to count, and frequently offer some pretty significant savings. This is the case when connecting between any western train and any East Coast-Chicago train, when connecting between the NER and the Capitol, from the Crescent to the Sunset, etc. This has literally been the case for at least six years.

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Lessons learned from this exercise:

 

1. Booking about 5 months ahead of time really works!

OK, fine.

 

But how about booking 6, 8 or 10 months ahead of time?

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So all I have to say is I just booked a large trip in Sept. 2019 (posted in upcoming trips). Most of our (the wife and I) legs were booked at low bucket with only a couple at the next level up, which is a price point at which we are comfortable. What I noticed is that on most legs there was one or two low bucket offerings available when the inventory is released, and worst case it was the next level up. Those options often go quickly and that getting on Amtrak.com or calling in at 12:15am pacific time the day of offering (exactly 11 months out) yielded the low bucket if it was available for the train (the big variable for now is the demand for Amtrak Vacations). My reasoning for booking early and grabbing what I could is its a large trip and I have a set of days for vacation available, along with specific days to see our son in SLC. Now I can watch the fares and IF they drop I can call to see if I can modify to the lower price.

Edited by F900ElCapitan

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