Historical Rates?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by njulian, Feb 20, 2017.

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  1. Feb 20, 2017 #1

    njulian

    n

    njulian

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    Hi,

    I'm wondering if anyone knows how pricing works now. I'm looking ahead at October and rates are super high. Would they be more likely to rise or drop as the travel dates get closer? I know they used to start out with low price posted in the beginning then go up as the travel date got closer, and then they tended to have high prices at first, drop somewhat and then go up close to travel date. There used to be a site where you could see the different bucket pricing to guess when the best time to purchase might be. Is this still available or does anyone have any advice on when best pricing might be? TIA
     
  2. Feb 20, 2017 #2

    niemi24s

    n

    niemi24s

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    Don't know of any particular website, but I have this chart showing all the various buckets for the LD trains:

    25 Jan 2017 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg

    There are many different "rules of thumb" for when the best time to book might be or when the lowest fare will be, but my personal favorite is:

    • If you date of travel is flexible, use AmSnag to select a date within your window of travel that has the lowest rates and book it. Then, unless your rates were at low bucket, sign up for an AmSnag Fare Alert and have the fare modified to the lower rate when (and if) you are notified of a rate reduction.

    • If your date of travel is set in concrete do the same as above but any any fare level..

    All other rules of thumb I've heard here have proven to be mostly wishful thinking. An AmSnag fare alert will notify you only if the rate drops or when an accommodation becomes available. Here's a synopsis of Fare Alerts over a period of 5 months.

    AmSnag Fare Alertsa.jpg

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2017
  3. Feb 21, 2017 #3

    njulian

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    njulian

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    Thank you, that's helpful. I'm running into October Sunset Limited ELP to ANA at over $400 to over $500 for roomette..one way..which seems crazy.
     
  4. Feb 21, 2017 #4

    niemi24s

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    niemi24s

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    I see total fares as low as $385 during Oct 2017.
     
  5. Feb 21, 2017 #5

    Ronbo

    Ronbo

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    This is what I found on AmSnag just now...... IMG_1026.PNG
    As low as $243.00. I am not sure if this is the itinerary you were searching or not.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2017
  6. Feb 21, 2017 #6

    niemi24s

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    niemi24s

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    It's good to remember that the total fare for sleeping accommodations is the sum of the sleeper charge plus the low bucket coach fare - not the Saver fare. The Saver fare is the $107 shown above, the low bucket fare is $130. So the lowest total fare for Oct 2017 for the trains shown above is $130 + $136 = $266. And $10 for a BC seat makes it $276 on 1 & 12 Oct 2017.

    But other combinations of trains and dates can get up close to $500
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2017
  7. Feb 21, 2017 #7

    Ronbo

    Ronbo

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    I didn't know that about the Saver fare. But still, I don't see how she came up with the fares being between 400 and 500 dollars or above, unless she was looking at the bedrooms.
     
  8. Feb 21, 2017 #8

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

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    Going back 5 years or so, when the ticket sales opened for a train, you could buy a ticket 11 months out at the low bucket fare. That system was revised a few years ago and now it appears that pricing of fares takes in a complex formula of sales history. demand by season (month) and some arbitrary ongoing adjustment that can vary the fare on a days notice. Its hard to figure out the formula so you must now check or set a fare watch to get a reasonable fare.
     
  9. Feb 21, 2017 #9

    neroden

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    neroden

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    If your dates of travel are EXTREMELY flexible, booking trips in January (but not the New Year's rush) and Feburary (but not holiday weekends) gets you the lowest-demand months on most trains, which should give you more chances to get cheaper tickets.

    Though not the Silver Service apparently. And apparently this is more true of trains further north (no big surprise there); people travel less in cold, snowy weather.

    Since Amsnag will only look forward 30 days, if you have ultra-flexible dates, it's still a good rule of thumb to travel in the "low season".

    This doesn't tell you *when to book* those tickets, of course.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2017
  10. Feb 21, 2017 #10

    niemi24s

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    niemi24s

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    While AmSnag can only do fare searches in individual 30 day increments, but those increments can be as far out into the future as 11 months - the same time limit that Amtrak has
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2017
  11. Feb 22, 2017 #11

    Cho Cho Charlie

    Cho Cho Charlie

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    Yep. I use to make regular use of the fact.
     
  12. Feb 22, 2017 #12

    niemi24s

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    niemi24s

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    Seems like that's pretty much the way it is now - at least for the trains I've checked for the 10 Dec - 8 Jan 2018 period:

    • EB: Coach is Saver Fare except for 3 days when it's low bucket (23 & 24 Dec and 2 Jan); Roomettes are constant at second lowest bucket; other sleepers are higher

    • CZ: Same as above.

    • SM: Coach is always low bucket (not Saver); Roomettes are Low Bucket except for 9 days; Bedrooms a mix of low and middle buckets with one next-to-highest bucket on 22 Dec.

    • LSL: Coach is a constant low bucket; Roomettes are a bucket or two above low bucket; Bedrooms about the same

    So Saver or low bucket fares are indeed available 11 months out - at least on these trains - and another apparent rule of thumb bites the dust. Others are cordially invited to search for trains where low bucket accommodations are NOT available 11 months in the future. My eyes just gave out - but not enough to miss the rest of my hockey game. :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2017

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