One of the little known “secrets” in the travel industry is the partnership that exists between Amtrak and United. For those with elite status or club membership on these carriers, you have reciprocal benefits to access the lounges of the other.
Accessing United Clubs Using Amtrak Elite Status
You can access all United Clubs, both domestically and international, regardless of the class of service you’re flying or where you’re flying to, if you have Amtrak Select Plus or Select Executive status. As part of this benefit you have “unlimited access to ClubAcela®, Amtrak Metropolitan LoungeSM, First class lounges and United Club locations” so long as you present your tier status card.
To earn Amtrak status that allows for this lounge access, you’ll need to earn either 10,000 or 20,000 Tier Qualifying Points. To earn those points, you’ll need to spend upwards of $5,000 or $10,000 on Amtrak directly, which is tough to do unless you live in the Northeast Corridor. Trips under $50 earn a minimum of 100 Tier Qualifying Points, so you’re also able to qualify that way if you can manage to find some cheaper tickets. Unfortunately, there’s no credit card waiver or other way of earning this status outside of traveling trains directly. If you manage to earn Select Plus or Select Executive status, you also have a United Club membership, which is pretty cool.
Members may enter with themselves and any children under 21 years of age.
Accessing Amtrak Lounges Using a United Club Membership
Those with a United Club membership may access Amtrak Club Acela lounges (in Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston), Amtrak Metropolitan Lounges (Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland) or Amtrak First Class lounges (in St. Paul/Minneapolis, St. Louis, New Orleans and Raleigh).
Per the rules, “United Club Members with a valid United Club Card are entitled to access ClubAcela locations and may bring in two guests or their spouses and children under the age of 21. United Global First or United BusinessFirst passengers with a flight coupon or boarding pass with a same-day, international segment in United Global First or United BusinessFirst are also entitled to ClubAcela access.”
If you haven’t been inside a ClubAcela lounge before, you can read my review of the one in Washington DC here.
It’s interesting to note that if you’re connecting on a United First or United BusinessFirst flight, you’re also entitled to access, which for those connecting in Newark onward to New York, Boston, Philadelphia or Washington DC may be quite valuable.
The best way to get a United Club membership is through a United credit card, which includes lounge passes. To learn more about the credit card, visit here and continue to search through the cards until you see the United card appear, for a limited time offer.
Did you know you can access United Clubs or Amtrak lounges using reciprocal membership?
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