Free Ticket to Paris, Plus Other Rail Deals

Rail Europe is offering a round-trip to Paris with a Swiss Pass, and Amtrak and VIA Rail both have limited-time deals in North America.

Rail Europe

Buy a Swiss Railpass by October 13, and Rail Europe will throw in a "free" round-trip ticket from Switzerland to Paris on high-speed Lyria trains. This offer is limited to winter; you have to use the Swiss Pass within six months of issue, and you must use the Lyria ticket by December 10. The Lyria ticket is for second class—perfectly comfortable, by the way—but you can upgrade to first class for the fare difference. The French and Swiss railroads brand their cross-border TGV trains as "Lyria," and they run on three routes to Paris: from Geneva, Bern/Lausanne, and Zurich/Basel. As far as I can tell, other railpass agencies are not matching this promotion, but check if you have a preferred place to buy passes.

The usual suspects

Three Amtrak promotions feature access to football games: Oklahoma to Dallas for the Oklahoma-Texas game ($50 round-trip, buy by October 7), 25 percent discounts through January 1 on tickets to Oakland for Raider games for the entire season from cities along the Capitol Corridor, and 15 percent discounts through November 12 to Carbondale from along the Illinois route for Southern Illinois University games. Ongoing Amtrak promotions covered previously include 50 percent midweek senior discounts on the Capitol Corridor through October 27 and the "Campus Visit" 50 percent companion deal.

VIA Rail Canada's ongoing Express Deals promotion, featuring 75 percent off limited routes for limited dates, remains the world's best rail deal right now.

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