The Ultimate Guide to Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus Status

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Amtrak’s Select Plus status is their second highest tier in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program.

There are three levels to the Amtrak Guest Rewards loyalty program:

Comparable to a mid-tier status on an airline, the Select Plus status offers members the opportunity to upgrade, take companions along for free on select journeys, and access major station lounges throughout the system. That’s the level we’ll be discussing in this post.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What the status is
  • How to earn Amtrak Select Plus status
  • What the benefits are and how they differ from other tiers
  • How to maximize this status and make the most of Amtrak travel

How to Earn Amtrak Select Plus Status

To earn Amtrak Select Plus status, you need to earn 10,000 Tier Qualifying points in a calendar year.

Let’s break this down:

  • You can earn 2 points per dollar on every dollar you spend with Amtrak. So, if you were to just hit this status based on this spend alone, you’d need $5,000 spent over the course of the year with Amtrak.
  • You earn a 25% bonus on Amtrak Acela Express Business Class travel, and 50% bonus on Amtrak Acela Express First Class travel. Both of these percentages calculate into your tier point qualification summary, so, if you travel Acela Express even just several times throughout the year, you’ll hit Select Plus status faster.

Bottom Line: To earn Select Plus status, you need to spend roughly $5,000 throughout the year with Amtrak, not including additional bonuses that you may incur from Acela travel.

The Benefits

Four One-Way, One-Class Upgrade Certificates

These upgrade certifications are valid for one direction of travel on most local services where there’s a Business Class or First Class. These upgrades cannot be used on long-distance Sleeper Class services.

These are the trains you cannot use a one-class upgrade on:

  • Adirondack®
  • California Zephyr®
  • Capitol LimitedSM
  • City of New Orleans®
  • Empire Builder®
  • Keystone Service®
  • Silver Meteor®
  • Silver Star®
  • Southwest Chief®
  • Sunset Limited®
  • Texas Eagle® 

Bottom Line: Upgrades are available to the next class of service, and only on shorter, non-long-distance trains.

To apply an upgrade, call Amtrak within 12 hours of departure and reference the coupon number of your voucher. If space is available, they’ll upgrade you. You can also seek the assistance of an Amtrak agent at any staffed station.

Amtrak Business Class
Most Amtrak Business Class seating is in a 2×2 configuration and includes extra legroom and complimentary beverages. Image courtesy of Amtrak.com.

Unlimited Access to Amtrak Clubs and Lounges

Unlike Amtrak Select status where you receive only 2 club passes a year, with Select Plus, you have unlimited access to all of Amtrak’s Clubs and Lounges.

These include:

  • Boston, Massachusetts, South Station ClubAcela
  • New York, New York, Penn Station ClubAcela
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 30th Street Station ClubAcela
  • Washington, D.C., Union Station ClubAcela
  • Chicago, Illinois, Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Los Angeles, California, Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Portland, Oregon, Union Station Metropolitan Lounge

Inside each of these clubs, you’ll find basic amenities such as salty or sweet snacks (think packaged goodies), soft drinks, water, coffee, restrooms, a television playing one of the major news networks, and an Amtrak agent to help with any last minute or future ticketing needs.

If you travel Amtrak regularly, lounge access is a huge benefit. With lounge access, you get to skip waiting around in the crowded terminal.

Now, here’s where this benefit gets even better. Because you have access to all of Amtrak’s lounges, and because Amtrak and United have a codeshare partnership, you also have access to all of United’s clubs. Simply present your same-day United boarding pass and your Amtrak Select Plus credentials to gain access.

You don’t have to be traveling in business class or first class on United, and you don’t have to be on an international flight. This is a little known benefit, but one where Amtrak elites can benefit tremendously.

If you hold Select Plus or Select Executive Status with Amtrak, you don’t need to hold a credit card that gets you United Club access or chase down United status just for the lounge perks.

Keep in mind, you only have access to United’s lounges and not those of any Star Alliance partner.

Bottom Line: Probably the biggest benefit of Select Plus status is the complimentary Amtrak lounges and United Club access.

Point Bonus

As an Amtrak Select Plus member, you receive a 50% off point bonus on all Amtrak travel.

This is in addition to the 25% bonus you receive when you ride Amtrak Acela Express in business class, or the 50% off you get for traveling Acela in first class.

These points can add up quickly and can be used for a multitude of offerings, the best of which is redemption towards Amtrak train travel.

Priority Handling

When you call in for any ticketing assistance, you’ll move to the top of the queue, ensuring you receive prompt service.

Generally, Amtrak’s phone lines aren’t busy enough to get full value from this benefit, but it’s nice to have in case of severe weather that may affect on-time departures and arrivals.

amtrak acela express first class
Newly refreshed seats on Acela Express (2018). Image courtesy of Amtrak.

Two Companion Coupons

Every year, you’ll receive two companion coupons that can be, interestingly enough, used on any one-way or round-trip journey (so you’re best saving them when you have round-trip plans).

You can only use them for coach class seating, however, you can upgrade to Sleeper Class, or any other premium service by paying the applicable upgrade fare or accommodation charge for both people.

You cannot have one person in a Sleeper Service and the other in coach, but you can have both in coach or both in a premium seating option.

Bottom Line: If you play this benefit right, and purchase your original coach fare on an ordinarily expensive route, such as the Acela, you’ll maximize your value for your complimentary companion.

Exclusive Discounts

As a Select Plus member, enjoy some exclusive discounts at major retailers worldwide:

  • Earn 20 points per dollar at 1-800 flowers
  • Save up to 25% off Budget car rentals, plus earn 750 points
  • Earn double points on every Enterprise rental car 
  • Save up to 25% off Hertz rental cars, plus earn double points
  • When you stay at La Quinta Inns and Suites, earn 750 points
  • Earn up to 10,000 bonus points when you book hotels through Rocketmiles
  • Earn up to 500 bonus points with SurveyPointsClub
  • Earn up to 20 points per dollar at Teleflora
  • Earn 4,500 points for a 6-wine shipment at Vinesse Wines

Final Thoughts

Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus Status is certainly a step up from the baseline Amtrak Select status.

With complimentary lounge access across both Amtrak’s system and United’s system, this is sure a unique tier level, even when compared to what airlines are offering as their middle of the road option.


Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Frequently asked questions

How do I earn Amtrak Select Plus status?

To earn Amtrak Select Plus status, you need to spend at least $5,000 a year on Amtrak, to earn 10,000 tier qualifying points.

You can earn these points quicker by taking Acela Express in Business Class, or Acela Express in First Class as these carry a point bonus.

What are the benefits of Amtrak Select Plus Status?

Benefits include:

  • Four one-way one-class upgrades
  • Unlimited access to both Amtrak and United lounges
  • Point bonus
  • Priority handling
  • Two companion vouchers good for a free companion ride
James Larounis

About James Larounis

Jamie first got his hook on miles and points during a high school choir trip to Europe, where he flew in Lufthansa First Class (thanks to his dad’s then US Airways miles) because economy was sold out.

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4 comments

  1. Jill Hurwitz November 25, 2019

    If I want to earn TQP points for Select Plus status next year, do I get TQPs only if I buy a ticket for myself in 2019 for travel in 2019? That is, do I get TQPs if I buy tickets 1) for another passenger not traveling with me and/or 2) for travel in 2020 (assuming I purchase the ticket in 2019)?

    Regards, Jill

    Reply

  2. David Banker January 2, 2020

    If I earn Select Plus status in June 2019, for example, how long do I remain eligible for Select Plus status? Right now, the Amtrak Guest Rewards website (via Safari browser on my iPhone) suggests my status expires in February 2020 (next month!). Makes no sense…

    Reply

    • James Larounis January 8, 2020

      Hi David, based on this, you should have it through February 2021, it appears. My suggestion would be to call Amtrak Guest Rewards directly to see if there may be a glitch, or what may be wrong with the displayed date. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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