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The Ultimate Guide to Amtrak Guest Rewards Select 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 Select status is the entry-level status in Amtrak’s Guest Rewards program.

There are 3 status levels in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program:

Today, we’re talking about the lowest level, Select.

Those with Select status receive several benefits and special deals. Unlike most airline elite status programs, the entry-level position in Amtrak’s Guest Rewards program is more than a gimmick — even for an infrequent traveler.

In this post, we’ll take a look at:

  • What it takes to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards Select status
  • The perks that come with Select status
  • How to best use those perks
  • How to maximize status

How To Earn Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Status

You must earn 5,000 or more Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) in a year to earn Select status. Travelers earn 2 points per dollar spent on Amtrak, so, at a minimum, you can earn Select status with $2,500 spent on Amtrak travel in 1 calendar year.

When taking Acela Business Class, you earn a 25% bonus, but a whopping 50% bonus when you travel on Acela First Class.

Traveling on Acela Express trains in Business or First Class is the fastest way to earn Select status.

Bottom Line: To earn Amtrak Select status, you must spend a minimum of $2,500 on Amtrak travel to earn the required 5,000 points.

Amtrak Select Rewards Status: Earn More

Interestingly, unlike many airline programs, hotel lodging and car rental discounts are part of Amtrak’s elite benefits.

Select status members receive extra reward benefits, such as:

  • Earn up to 500 Amtrak Guest Rewards points per day on car rentals with Amtrak Hotels & Cars
  • Earn up to 10,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points per night on hotel stays with Amtrak Hotels & Cars
  • Earn 250 bonus points when you complete a survey at SurveyPointsClub
  • Earn 750 bonus points at Teleflora
  • Earn 5,000 points and 6 wines for only $6.99 per bottle, plus 3x per $1 spent on all future wine purchases
Amtrak Guest Rewards Select
Image Credit: Amtrak

Amtrak Benefits 

2 Single-Class Upgrade Coupons

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.

For example, you cannot upgrade from coach class seating to a Roomette or Bedroom but can upgrade from business class to first class on the Acela, which is probably the best value.

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

Typically, this benefit costs anywhere between $100 to $250, depending on the price of first class. That means if you buy a business class ticket and use an upgrade coupon, you’re getting $100 to $250 of benefits.

These single-class upgrade coupons are valid on regional services, but remember that the differences between coach and business on Northeast Regional are marginal at best.

Hot Tip: The best use of a single-class upgrade certificate is from Acela Express Business Class to Acela Express First Class since this includes roomier seating, onboard meals, and ClubAcela lounge access.

To apply for an upgrade, either call Amtrak within 12 hours of departure and reference the voucher coupon number or hit “Apply Coupon” on its website or mobile app (iOS, Android). If space is available, Amtrak will upgrade you. You can also seek the assistance of an Amtrak agent at any staffed station.

If you have one of these vouchers, we recommend showing up at the station earlier than the suggested boarding time to ensure the agent can adequately upgrade your ticket with enough time to spare.

Amtrak Guest Rewards
Image Credit: Amtrak

2 Single-Visit Passes to Amtrak Clubs and Lounges

Access to ClubAcela lounges is typically reserved for higher-tier Amtrak Guest Rewards members and passengers sitting in first class or sleeping car accommodations.

With your 2 single-visit passes, you can visit lounges in the following cities without having to meet any of those qualifications:

  • Boston, Massachusetts, South Station
  • New York, New York, Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 30th Street Station
  • Washington, D.C., Union Station
  • Chicago, Illinois, Union Station
  • Los Angeles, California, Union Station
  • Portland, Oregon, Union Station

Amtrak’s lounges are improving, but you can expect to find light snacks (chips or pretzels, in most cases, and maybe some cookies), sodas, water, and coffee. Some offer full bars and more robust food options.

Lounges also include private restrooms, newspapers, televisions, and high-speed internet and ticketing services if you need to speak with an Amtrak agent.

In stations such as Union Station in Washington D.C. or Penn Station in New York City, where it can be super crowded, having access to the ClubAcela or Metropolitan Lounge is a welcome amenity to grab a seat and munch on some light snacks.

No airline status within the United States offers lounge access to entry-level members.

Bottom Line: ClubAcela and Metropolitan Lounges are at major train stations and feature private restrooms, light snacks and beverages, and ticketing assistance.

Point Bonus on Amtrak Travel

Amtrak Select members receive a 25% point bonus on all Amtrak Travel. Members earn 2 points for every $1 spent on Amtrak, and Select members will earn 25%.

Remember, all members receive a 25% point bonus for Business Class and 50% for Acela First Class travel, so the Select bonus includes all classes of service and not just those on Acela.

Priority Call Handling

As an Amtrak Select member, you receive expedited call handling by calling the number on the back of your card.

Amtrak call center wait times are usually on the shorter end. However, it’s nice to know you receive head-of-the-line privileges when you ring in.

Managing Points

Amtrak Select members can purchase an unlimited number of Guest Rewards points (which is capped at 50,000 points for general members). Select Plus members can share up to 100,000 points per year with a friend and transfer up to 50,000 points per year from your account.

Discounted Amtrak Travel

As an Amtrak Select member, you’ll receive 10% off on 2 Amtrak trips.

Your discount is off of the entire fare. With that in mind, you’ll receive more savings and benefits by using your discount for a round-trip ticket instead of a one-way ticket.

Final Thoughts

Amtrak Guest Rewards Select status is comparable to entry-level elite status for an airline but has unique benefits you won’t find elsewhere.

Select status members receive benefits such as lounge passes, confirmed upgrade passes, and discount coupons for future travel.

If you travel in Acela Express Business Class or First Class, even just a few times a year, earning Select status is straightforward. It is a “teaser” into the higher Select Plus and Select Executive tiers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I earn Amtrak Select Status?

To earn Amtrak Guest Rewards Select status, you must spend $2,500 a year with Amtrak to earn more than 5,000 Tier Qualifying Points. You earn 2 points per dollar spent. To achieve status faster, travel in business class or first class as these carry a percentage bonus.

What are the benefits of Amtrak Select status?

Benefits of Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Status include:

  • Priority call handling
  • 2 single-class upgrades a year
  • 2 lounge passes a year
  • Discounts on Amtrak travel
  • Points bonus on Amtrak travel

Do you get Amtrak lounge access as a Select member?

Yes, you get 2 single-visit lounge passes per year.

Do Amtrak Select members get a point bonus on Amtrak travel?

Yes, Amtrak select members receive a 25% point bonus on Amtrak travel.

James Larounis's image

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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