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With this week’s furlough driven cancellations to flights, especially on the busy Boston / New York / Washington, D.C. corridor, lots of people who planned to fly are being sent to Amtrak trains, which are still operating reliably. Ironic, as is is an entirely federal funded program.
But did you know that an airline benefit is in place at all of Amtrak’s Club Acela lounges?
All United MileagePlus® Club card holders (and The United MileagePlus Presidential PlusSM Card) who are traveling on a same-day Amtrak ticket are eligible to use Amtrak’s Club Acela lounges, which are available at the Boston South, New York Penn, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. stations. This access is normally reserved for first class passengers on Amtrak and its own top tier elite members, but because of a legacy relationship with Continental Airlines, all United Club members have access.
Here’s what you can expect:
- Dedicated agents who can rebook your train. The ticket counters at Amtrak stations are notoriously long. With access to Club Acela you can get rebooked by a dedicated agent.
- Priority boarding. Sort of. The Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia clubs have separate entrances to the tracks, letting club occupants board trains first and secure the best seats. In New York the club staff will announce a train’s track before it is announced to the broader public in the station, giving you a chance to line up first. In Boston red caps will come to pre-board passengers from the lounge.
- Beverages and snacks. There’s a basic fountain machine and potato chips in most of the lounges. Not much more.
- Free Wifi. Pretty standard here.
- Guest access. You can bring up to two guests ticketed on an Amtrak train with you into the club as a United Club member.
The key though is you need to have your United Club membership card in hand, *not* your United Club credit card. As a United MileagePlus® Club card or The United MileagePlus Presidential PlusSM Card holder, United sends you each year a separate United Club membership card. Keep it handy as the agents at the Amtrak Club Acela won’t accept anything else.