Amtrak Introduces eTicketing

Finally, Amtrak has introduced eTicketing. Train travelers can now purchase their Amtrak tickets online, as usual, but they can now print their eTickets at their own convenience as well. No more waiting in line at the ticketing office or the kiosk! Just print at home and head to the platform.

Even better, if you have a smart phone or tablet, you can either display the ticket to the conductor on the Amtrak iPhone app or as a PDF. Just like mobile boarding passes at airports, this could save travelers plenty of time and sometimes be a savior if you happen to forget your printed tickets at home.

amtrak eticket

Don’t forget, Amtrak is a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. One of the best values is a one-way ticket in the Northeast Corridor (Boston to DC and everywhere in between) for only 4,000 points.

To learn more about this new announcement, click here.

On Rails to DC: The Journey

Trip Index
Friday, July 29, 2011
95 Northeast Regional (NWK – WAS)
Depart: 10:51 am, Friday, July 29, 2011
Arrive: 2:00 pm, Friday, July 29, 2011
Duration: 3 hrs 9 mins

Joann’s first time on an Amtrak train ;). I wish it were the Acela but I can’t justify the premium you pay for the quick ride. However, the award I’m shooting for with Amtrak Guest Rewards points is either Acela Business or First class for 8,000 or 10,500 points respectively.

We were cutting it really close, getting to Newark Penn Station about 10 minutes before departure, but unlike the airport, you can make it from the curb to the boarding doors in about 5. We got there just in time, even had some time to admire how historic (read: old) this Penn Station is.

On the platform awaiting our train
Looking across the platform

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On Rails to DC: Background

Trip Index

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Background

A friend of ours is getting married this Saturday so we decided to make it a long weekend and do some sightseeing in Washington DC. In planning this trip, my mind immediately switched into points-mode and some early decisions were made. I have some Amtrak Guest Rewards points that are going to expire and Joann has never taken a trip on an Amtrak train before. I don’t think either of us would mind skipping the famous DC traffic. After this trip, I should be a short ride away from a nice redemption on Amtrak. I got started on AGR points thanks to a business trip I took on the Acela 2 years ago. And now that Chase Sapphire Preferred can transfer directly to Amtrak, I’ll have no trouble redeeming that Acela First or Business Class award!

Next up was lodging. This was my first attempt at Priceline’s Name Your Own Bid process so I did a lot of research on the process and, admittedly, a bit less on the actual location. After deciding that Dupont Circle would do, I won a bid for 3 nights at the Marriott Wardman Park for $84 a night. Compare that to the retail rate of about $175 per night for the 3.5 star and above hotels. I’m not in this game for stay/night credit or elite status so the savings far outweighs the few hundred points I would otherwise earn.

With that, we should be ready to rock. I’m sure we’ll figure out what to see and where to eat (my favorite thing to do on vacation) when we get there. See ya Monday!