Deals of the week: Amtrak kids travel free, $40 transcon flights and more

Oct 24, 2020

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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

As travel begins to pick back up, so do the deals. Each week we’ll highlight some of the best sales, cheap fares and more that we’ve spotted. 

For more TPG news and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter here!

Amtrak

Amtrak is offering a fantastic sale aimed just at kids. 

When you book an adult ticket, you can bring one child, age 2-12, to travel free with each paid ticket. The sale is valid for travel on Amtrak on numerous lines, including the Acela, Northeast Regional, Adirondack, Amtrak Cascades, Carolinian, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Hiawatha, Illinois Service, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Michigan Services, Missouri River Runner, Heartland Flyer, Piedmont, San Joaquins and Vermonter.  

This sale is also valid on trains that travel on the national network: Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle. 

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

This deal is even available for rooms, so if you’re looking for socially distant travel you can also book a Roomette with this deal.

If you’re thinking about taking your kid, note that you must book by Oct. 25, 2020, for travel between October 26 and December 17, 2020. Note that there are numerous blackout dates, November 24–25 and November 28–30, 2020. Luckily, Thanksgiving nor Black Friday are travel blackout days.

Related: Why I’m switching my loyalty to Amtrak

Sample itineraries

Here’s a look at some of the best deals you could book. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you may be able to find deals between other cities as well.

New York to Washington for $103 one-way on Acela:

Screengrab from Amtrak


Jacksonville, Fla., to Miami, Fla., for $295 one-way in a Roomette:

Screengrab from Amtrak


How to book

You can book directly through Amtrak, via the website or the app. Just remember to add a child’s ticket when you check out. If you decide to hop on the promotion, make sure you pay for the tickets with a travel rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which is the best card for general travel purchases.

You might also consider applying for one of two co-branded credit cards issued by Bank of America. The Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® and no-annual-fee Amtrak Guest Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® both offer 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. TPG values Amtrak points at 2.5 cents each, making each of these bonuses worth $500.

Make sure to check out our ultimate guide to Amtrak Guest Rewards for more on how to earn and burn points with the loyalty program.

The information for the Amtrak Guest Rewards and Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Transcontinental one-way flights

Everybody loves transcontinental flight deals. We’re seeing some amazing nonstop one-way deals between New York (JFK, EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Las Vegas (LAS) for as low as $39 one-way, or $77 round-trip.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Even better, some of these deals are in Main Cabin and not basic economy, so you’ll be able to bring a bag and earn more miles.

Airlines: JetBlue, Delta, American
Routes: JFK/EWR/BOS/BWI to LAX/SFO/LAS/DEN
Cost: $39+ one-way or $77 round-trip in economy class
Travel Dates: Nov. 2020 – Feb. 2021
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; starting Jan. 1, 2021 earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier® Card (3x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare booked directly with the airline or amextravel.com) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Sample itineraries

Here’s a look at some of the best deals you could book. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you may be able to find deals between other cities as well.

Newark (EWR) to Las Vegas (LAS) for $38 one-way or $77 round-trip in United basic economy:

Baltimore (BWI) to Denver (DEN) for $48 one-way in United basic economy:

Screengrab from United

Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK) for $82 one-way in American Main Cabin:

New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) for $83 one-way in Delta basic economy:

How to book

There are no tricks to find these fares. Just head to Google Flights, plug in your desired departure city and your destination. Then, use the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you and then click through to book with the airline directly or an OTA such as Expedia or Priceline.

Screengrab from Google Flights

FlixBus $5 Northwest deal

FlixBus is back with another flash sale, this time to destinations along the Pacific Northwest, so cities like Seattle, Eugene, Corvallis, Tacoma, Olympia and Portland are included.

(Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The deal is for $5 fares through November 18, so make sure you book and travel by then. 

Sample itineraries

Here’s a look at some of the best deals you could book. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you may be able to find deals between other cities as well.

Portland, Ore., to Eugene, Ore., for $5 one-way:

Screengrab from FlixBus

Corvallis, Ore. to Portland, Ore. for $5 one-way:

Screengrab from FlixBus

How to book

You can book directly through Flixbus, but note the sale ends on Nov. 18. Before you book your next bus trip, make sure you’re using a credit card to maximize your purchase. Here are the best cards to use for bus purchases:

The information for the Wells Fargo Propel card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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