VIA Rail Preference program

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VIA Rail Preference program



Does anyone travel by VIA Rail regularly?

I just got a letter from the Preference program. Because I traveled so much in 2006 between Kingston and Toronto (while my son was living in Kingston), I ended up getting into the "Privilege" level, which is apparently a level above the usual regular program. You have to spend over $1000 on the train every calendar year to get it.

So anyhow, now I get two points instead of one for every dollar spent. And since I've never cashed in any of my points, I have something like 2400 points. I have no idea what to do with them, though. My next vacation is in the US, where I can't use the points.

I guess I should enjoy this year of "preference" while I can, because this year I likely won't rack up a thousand bucks worth of travel now that my little one lives in Mississauga.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Does anyone travel by VIA Rail regularly?

I have something like 2400 points. I have no idea what to do with them, though.[/b]

I use them as I go, not save them up. You still go to Kingston on occasion to see your family, or to take your son for a visit with your family? Just use them up.

Enjoy the ride. I always get a kick out of knowing I haven't had to pay. Feels a little naughty, somehow.

Last night I saw a new friend off to London at Toronto's Union Station. He had already figured out one of the best tricks of Via travel: if you are making a medium length trip like London or Kingston, the cost of upgrading to Via 1 is about the same as the cost of a restaurant dinner, which comes included with the Via 1 ticket. And the bonus is, free booze. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] (Good heart medicine, eh?)

[ 14 May 2007: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]


What, what? Come again? Are you sure about that? What do you mean by "upgrading"?

For an adult, a round-trip ticket to Kingston from Toronto on regular fare is about $161. For VIA One, it's $307. What gives?

And not only that, but I try to book ahead and get the supersaver which is about $100!

[ 14 May 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I travel a lot between Montreal and Toronto, so I rack up a lot of points too. With enough points you can get a free trip--or at least half a trip (one way). I never remember how many points you need, I just ask after it's been awhile since my last freebie if I have enough points.

Are you asking how you can use your points, Michelle? A weekend trip to Ottawa or Montreal could be nice, but if you can't spare the time, just keep saving your points until your next (Canadian) vacation. As far as I know, they don't have a past due date.

Bobolink Bobolink's picture

I travel VIA Rail from Belleville to Toronto regularly for medical care not available here. In the last two years, I have earned 3 free round trips. It helps keep my health care costs down.


Hey! I just got my VIA Preference package in the mail today! They must be doing them all at once.

Michelle, if you didn't throw out the envelope, read the info on the flaps. Under "Redeem and Go", it says that between any two cities in the Quйbec-Windsor corridor where travel is more than 3 hours (examples: Montrйal-Toronto, Ottawa-Toronto), you can get a free Comfort Class ticket for 1125 points, and a VIA 1 for 2425.

If travel is less than 3 hours (e.g. London-Toronto, Montrйal-Ottawa, Quйbec-Montrйal), Comfort costs 550 points and VIA 1 is 1625.

ETA: Those are all one-way tickets of course...

[ 14 May 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]


Actually, one can trade one's points for gift items such as a Sherpa to help you from the platform to the car, and a "VIA RAIL" watch.

Yes. It's always slow.


Oh, I know what I COULD spend the points on. I'm just not sure WHAT to spend them on. One thing I was thinking is that I might splurge and go VIA 1 one way sometime. I'm not sure, though.

Or, I could just be boring and use the points for the occasional free trip to Kingston. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Bobolink Bobolink's picture

The Sunday 10:00 p.m. train from Toronto to Belleville and Kingston often puts all passengers in the VIA 1 car as there are not enough passengers for the 4-car train. There is no VIA 1 service. The run is a repositioning one so that there will be an early morning commuter train leaving Kingston for Toronto at 5:25 a.m. Monday morning. The seats are bigger on VIA 1 but still arranged 2 X 2. I don't know what the service is like. I haven't traveled VIA 1 for almost 30 years.

[ 23 May 2007: Message edited by: Bobolink ]