Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

The Ultimate Guide to Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Status

James Larounis's image
James Larounis

James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

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

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 39U.S. States Visited: 28

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...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

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 a number of benefits and special deals. Unlike most airline elite status programs, the entry-level status 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

To earn Select status, you need to earn 5,000 or more Tier Qualifying Points in a year. You 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 you travel in Acela Business Class, you earn a 25% bonus and you earn a 50% bonus when you travel on Acela First Class.

The fastest way to earn Select status is by traveling Acela Express First Class.

Bottom Line: To earn Amtrak Select status, you need to 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 the benefits you get with Amtrak Select status.

Select status members receive extra reward benefits, such as:

  • Earn 10 points for ever $1 spent, plus 250 bonus points from 1-800 Flowers
  • Save up to 25%, plus earn 500 bonus points on all car rentals 2 days or more with Budget
  • Earn double points each day you rent a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Save up to 25% off of the base rate, and earn double points with Hertz
  • Earn 750 points when you stay at La Quinta Inns & Suites
  • Get 3,000 bonus points, plus earn between 1,000 and 10,000 bonus points per night, every time on hotels
  • Earn 500 bonus points when you complete a survey at SurveyPointsClub
  • Earn 10 points for every $1 spent, plus 250 bonus points at Teleflora
  • Earn a whopping 4,500 points and $0.01 shipping at Vinesse Wines

Image Credit: Amtrak

Amtrak Benefits 

2 Single-Class Upgrade Coupons

These upgrade coupons are valid for one-segment, one-way trips on most trains, except long distance 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.

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

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

Hot Tip: Your 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 use a single-class upgrade certificate, you need to present it to an Amtrak agent in person or over the phone within 12 hours of departure, and ask if seating is available.

If you have 1 of these vouchers, I recommend showing up to the station earlier than your recommended boarding time to ensure the agent can properly upgrade your ticket with enough time to spare.

Image Credit: Amtrak

2 Single-Visit Passes to Amtrak Clubs and Lounges

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

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

  • 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 the lounge you’ll find light snacks (chips or pretzels, in most cases, and maybe some cookies), sodas, water, and coffee.

Lounges also include private restrooms, newspapers, and televisions, as well as 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 located 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% on top of this.

Keep in mind, all members receive a 25% point bonus for Business Class and Acela First Class travel, so the Select bonus is inclusive of 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.

To be honest, 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.

Discounted Amtrak Travel

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

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

Final Thoughts

Amtrak Guest Rewards Select status is somewhat comparable to entry-level elite status for an airline but comes with its own 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, it’s very easy to earn Select status and is a “teaser” into the higher Select Plus and Select Executive tiers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 earn status faster, travel in business class or first class as these carry a percentage bonus.

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

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.


Travel is changing fast... Stay on top of all the points strategies, exclusive offers & pivotal news - and lock in huge savings along the way.

We respect your privacy. Please view our privacy policy here.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.



August 18, 2019

“These upgrade coupons are valid for one-segment, one-way trips on most trains, except long-distance services.”

That’s disappointing and (from my perspective) completely eliminates the primary value. On the West, Coast Starlight is the primary method for most people going south and it’s a long-distance service by design, not by choice. I’d rather do 703 (which is regional) for a part and Coast Starlight for the other part but that’s only an option northbound. That means you’re booking multiple separate segments just to be able to use coupons you earned.

What they really SHOULD do is get rid of what they call “Business” class, because it isn’t, move that car behind Coach and call it “Coach Plus” or something, move the dining car behind that and have the Roomettes become the “Business” class, move sleeper cars behind the dining car and set up a dedicated sleeper car cafe. That way, sleepers don’t have to walk through three cars to get something to eat and add value to being in “Business” class, because right now there’s no value for long hauls.

Rod Grafton

November 18, 2019

I read something about being able to get a free companion ticket when I signed up for this credit card. How do I go about getting this ticket?

Jarrod West

November 19, 2019

Hi Rod,

You should receive the companion ticket on the anniversary date of your account, 1 year after it was opened. Have you had the card open for a year yet?

Rod Grafton

November 18, 2019

How much in dollars are 12,000 points worth toward an Amtrak train ticket from Alliance Ohio to Riverside California?

Jarrod West

November 19, 2019

Hi Rod,

The value of Amtrak points varies depending on which type of train and ticket type you select. With that said, you can generally get somewhere around 2 cents per point in value out of Amtrak points. This would make the value of 12,000 points somewhere around $240.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Protection Status