Why it Pays to Book in Advance

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only 18 days away! I’m looking forward to relaxing at home with my family for a couple of weeks–it’s always nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of NYC. On Monday, I thought about upgrading my Amtrak ticket from Acela Business to Acela First, as I’ve always wanted to try Amtrak’s First Class service.

I had originally booked my trip home back in September, a one-way Acela Business class ticket for 4,297 points. That’s a bit more expensive that a one-way in Coachclass (usually ~2,490 points), but I wanted to both sleep in and properly time my connection in Boston, so I sprung for the Acela. TREAT YO SELF.

Fast forward to Monday, when I was thinking of changing my ticket, and I saw this:

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 2.06.56 PM.png

My eyes almost popped out of my head–that’s my train, and my seat, for 7,949 MORE POINTS. What the what!? That’s almost three times as expensive! I get that it’s a few days before the holiday, but it’s not even the busiest travel day. Insane!

This story is mostly to reiterate that you should book travel, especially around the holidays, as early as possible. I know Nick thinks I’m crazy when I start planning holiday travel MONTHS in advance, but I like to think I’ve saved us some serious cash this way. With Amtrak, I generally try to book tickets (either points or cash) about two to three months in advance, if the situation allows.

What did I do in the end? I have a pretty generous vacation allotment at work, so I added another day to the start of my vacation, and booked an Acela First Class ticket for the day before. It cost me an additional ~3,000 points, but I’m excited to try it out!

In my mind, this is a win-win:  I get another day home with my family and I get to try out Acela First Class.


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