Amtrak’s Elite Status Program: Select Plus

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 Plus status, the second highest tier in the program,

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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 plus status would mean spending $5,000 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:

50% Bonus on Amtrak Trips

Pretty self explanatory, but you’ll earn an additional 50% 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.

Access to Special Events

Don’t get too excited here. You’ll be invited to attend their National Train Day, and receive some other marketing type emails. Nothing special.

Access to Club Acela, Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge, First Class Lounges and United Club lounges

By far, this is probably the most valuable benefit at this tier level. Club Acela locations are in major hub cities in the Northeast, while Metropolitan lounges are in major hub cities of long distance routes in the midwest and west. You’ll also receive access to all United Club lounges, throughout United’s network, which, in and of itself, is valuable.

50,000 Point Transfer Limit

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

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 Plus members.

Bottom Line

This one may be worth it, depending on how much you value lounge access. If you’re a high spender with Amtrak, and also travel United when flying, earning 10,000 Tier Qualifying Points may make sense.

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Comments

  1. Nigel says

    Some comments on the Select Plus benefits:

    * Access to the ClubAcela lounges in Washington, Philadelphia and New York is valuable because of the ease of boarding trains early – important on busy business days. There is dedicated platform access in Washington, (generally) advance platform notification in New York and elevators to the platform in Philadelphia. All more important than the free sodas/coffee….

    * Rule Buster awards (although at a higher points level) can be useful for personal and/or friends & family travel around the Holidays.

    * I received 4 Upgrade Coupons and 1 Companion Certificate this year – the Upgrades are good until 3/1/15. Disappointing to learn that these have been discontinued.

    * “Transfer Points’ (50,000 points limit) is about transferring points in from partners like Chase. ‘Sharing Points’ (100,000 points limit) is about sharing your points with others – since you can easily book award trips for others, points sharing may not be a very valuable benefit.

    * Minimum 500 point earning for Acela trips between Washington, New York and/or Boston in Business Class (cheapest tickets on Acela), means that one can earn Select Plus with 5 round trips on the Acela Express in the North-East Corridor.

    Hope this additional information helps.

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