Trip Framework – Go West! Chicago-Seattle-New York

In case you missed it, this is a multi-part trip framework. You can catch up on all the segments here:


Once you get to Chicago Union Station, you’ll be boarding the Empire Builder, one of Amtrak’s most famous routes. Quick history lesson:  The Empire Builder route was inaugurated by the Great Northern Railway in 1929 and today remains one of Amtrak’s most popular long-distance routes in its system.

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Amtrak Empire Builder at Two Medicine Trestle (Glacier, MT) – Image belongs to LocoSteve

It’s easy to see why! The views are said to be some of the most beautiful along any of Amtrak’s routes (although I’m pretty partial to the view from the Northeast Regional). Good thing you’ll have your own private viewing room!

Another good reason for having your own room with a bed? It’s a 46 hours trip across three timezones! Like the Twitter link above states, with a roomette, you get the following:

  • Two reclining seats which convert to a bed and an upper bunk that folds down
  • All dinning car meals included for roomette occupants
  • Personal room attendant – turn down, coffee and bedding
  • Reading lights
  • Climate control
  • Garment rack
  • Fresh towels and bed linens
  • Bottles of water

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This portion of your trip will set you back 27,635 Amtrak points, which is a savings of $801.

Once you get to Seattle, you’ll have ~80 hours to explore. But before we get to the exploring, let’s find out where you’re staying! I’ve chosen the Holiday Inn Express – Seattle City Center, which is a quick taxi ride or bus ride from the train station. Again, you’ll be getting in a little early, so ask the hotel to hold on to your bags before you head on out to explore!

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Holiday Inn Express – Seattle City Center

This hotel will set you back 60,000 IHG points and $300 plus tax. This is a savings of $579.93 off the standard rate of $879.93.

So what’s to do in Seattle? Well if you have a friend there, make them do the nice thing and show you around for a day! If not, some of things I would want to do are:

Given all that, and all the great food that Seattle has to offer, you’ll keep busy for the 80 hours that you’re there!

For the final portion of this cross-country trip, you’ll be flying Seattle’s hometown airline, Alaska Airlines, back to New York on the 20th. It’s a redeye, overnight flight that gets you into JFK on the morning of the 21st. This will set you back 20,000 miles and $5.60, rather than $263.10.

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Alaska Airlines Seattle – New York JFK

There you have it! A whirlwind tour of two cities and the American west by train. Tune in tomorrow for a breakdown on how I was able to accomplish all of this!

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