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The Ultimate Guide to Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus Status

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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

There are 3 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.

In this post, we’ll review what Select Plus status is and how to earn it, detail the benefits and how they differ from other tiers, and show 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 must earn 10,000 Tier Qualifying points in a calendar year.

Let’s break this down:

  • Members can earn 2x points with Amtrak. So, if you were to hit this status based on this spend alone, you’d need $5,000 spent over the course of the year with Amtrak.
  • Earn a 25% bonus on Amtrak Acela Express business class travel and a 50% bonus on Amtrak Acela Express first class travel. Both of these percentages are calculated into the tier point qualification summary. So, if you travel Acela Express 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

4 One-Way, One-Class Upgrade Certificates

These upgrade certifications are valid for 1 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
  • Auto Train
  • California Zephyr
  • Capitol Limited
  • Cardinal
  • City of New Orleans
  • Crescent
  • Empire Builder
  • Keystone Service
  • Lake Shore Limited
  • Silver Meteor
  • Silver Star
  • Southwest Chief
  • Sunset Limited
  • Texas Eagle
  • Train/Thruway series 7000 – 8999

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

To apply for an upgrade, either call Amtrak within 12 hours of departure and reference the coupon number of your voucher or hit “Apply Coupon” on the website or mobile app. If space is available, you’ll be upgraded. 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 Credit: Amtrak

Unlimited Access to Amtrak Clubs and Lounges

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

These include:

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

Inside each of these clubs, travelers 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.

For those who travel Amtrak regularly, lounge access is a huge benefit. Enjoy the benefit of relaxing in a calm lounge area instead of waiting around at the crowded terminal.

Bottom Line: Probably the biggest benefit of Select Plus status is the complimentary Amtrak lounge 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 granted when you ride Amtrak Acela Express in business class, or the 50% off you get for traveling Acela in first class.

These points add up quickly and can be used for a multitude of offerings, the best of which is redemption towards Amtrak train travel (points are a great way to travel cheaply on Amtrak).

Hot Tip: Do you know where Amtrak can take you? If not, check out all of the Amtrak routes within the U.S., including both regional and long-distance options.

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 gain 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 Credit: Amtrak

2 Companion Coupons

Every year, you’ll receive 2 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 20x points 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 20x points 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, this is a unique tier level, even when compared to what airlines are offering as their middle-of-the-road option.

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:

  • 4 one-way, one-class upgrades
  • Unlimited access to both Amtrak and United lounges
  • Point bonus
  • Priority handling
  • 2 companion vouchers good for a free companion ride

Do you get Amtrak lounge access as a Select Plus member?

Yes, you get unlimited access to Amtrak lounges as a Select Plus member.

What's the point bonus for an Amtrak Select Plus member?

Amtrak Select Plus members receive a 50% point bonus on Amtrak trips.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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