Amtrak’s Elite Status Program: Select

I’ve been reviewing several aspects of Amtrak recently, and wanted to take a look at their elite status levels for those of you who may ride the rails frequently.

Amtrak has 3 elite status levels:

  • Select
  • Select Plus
  • Select Executive

Today, I’m going to look inside Amtrak’s Select status, which I held for several years while in college.

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Unlike airline status, Amtrak’s elite levels are a bit different – don’t expect many of the same benefits you would in the air.

So, let’s talk first about Tier Qualifying Points – these are earned for every dollar you spend on Amtrak. So, yes, Amtrak is a revenue based program. You’ll earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on Amtrak travel, with a 100 point minimum per trip. So, earning select status would mean spending $2,500 on Amtrak travel – which, if you’re a frequent user in the Northeast Corridor, may not be hard to do.

Once you do that, you’ll earn select status and begin to earn benefits:

25% Bonus on Amtrak Trips

Pretty self explanatory, but you’ll earn an additional 25% bonus on the amount of points you earn on your trip. Note that this is based on the fare of your ticket, and NOT mileage (like airline travel).

Priority Phone Number

I generally find Amtrak’s agents to answer fast on their regular line, so didn’t find too much value in this benefit, but it’s there for high call volume times.

50,000 Point Transfer Limit

Unlike the general members below this status, you can transfer up to 50,000 Amtrak points to another member.

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Many years ago, you used to earn 4 upgrade coupons per year that allowed you a one-class upgrade. These were most lucrative upgrading from Business Class to First Class on the Acela Express train, though these certificates have since been discontinued for Select members.

Bottom Line

If you’re going to earn this status anyways by way of excessive Amtrak travel, it’s worth it. However, don’t go out of your way to get the perks included – it simply isn’t worth it, and most of what’s provided is simply a marketing ploy for unknowledgeable people.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Juno says

    Actually it can be than $2500 for someone like me.. who lives in Baltimore and works in DC.
    I am Select member and usually trips on Amtrak is only about $16 and $14.40 with AAA discount (for purchased ticket 3 days in advance) but last minute tickets could be upwards of $25.

    With the minimum of 100 points per trip, I usually reach 5000 points for about $1000.
    Not bad since being Select member allows me to transfer UR to Amtrak then to Hilton/Choice hotels

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