When I first joined VIA Rail, I bought the VIA 6 Pak during my university days is what got me started with VIA rail. Basically the VIA 6 Pak is when you pre-pay for 6 tickets that you can use at anytime and the price is already locked in for you. However, the 6 Pak is only available to people between 12 and 25 or 26+ with a valid ISIC card for travel between the Quebec City – Windsor corridor, as well as travel between Montreal, Moncton and Halifax. I also received my 500 sign up bonus after 6 months and I already had a good amount of points to work with.
So here are a few tidbits about VIA Rail.
- You will probably notice that I really like double or even triple dipping. I did talk about redeeming the points whenever you cannot find a cheap train ticket for the time and day that you want. There are also times when there is a discount on the number of points required for certain trips. Those are one of the best times to claim your points if you happen to make a trip anyway, so watch for that.
- Always sign up for any promotions that they may have. Sometimes the promotions are automatic, others require you to log into the website to register. An example of a promotion would be if you travel 4 times in the month of November, you will receive X amount of bonus points. I’ve taken advantage of quite a few of these generous offers. I hope they keep it up.
- I’ve only made elite status (Privilege) for one year. They do provide some valuable perks. I would like to indicate that one of the perks is the choice of different coupons. It was an easy decision for me to take the “Instantly earn 550 bonus points.” That way, I can use the points at my own leisure, which leads to my next point.
- Having a lot of VIA Rail points gives a lot of flexibility in your travels. They do not penalize for cancellations and you can change your reservation on time. This is such a great system and I really hope that they continue to operate this way.
- Another great way to use your points is to redeem train tickets for another person. It is such a great use of the points because it can be an amazing gift for someone to be able to travel for free. I used my points my on my mom once to come visit me. It felt great because I felt like it was my gift to her and the gift came from me spending my money. What a great return!
In short, I’m a very big fan of VIA Rail and I hope that they continue to remain competitive because they are an obvious great way to travel, as well as an amazing alternative to busing, driving and flying. Hopefully they continue to ramp up their program because the airlines could use a little more competition because of all their recent loyalty points devaluations and ever increasing ticket prices.