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Amtrak’s Boston/New York/Philadelphia/Washington, D.C., train corridor is the busiest in the country, serving as a quick, hassle-free option for those traveling between these cities.
Thanks to a partnership between Amtrak and United Airlines, customers carrying the United Club℠ Card have access to ClubAcela lounges in all four cities. These lounges offer a nice space away from the public for Amtrak’s best customers.
MileagePlus® loyalty program members and cardholders can also earn points or miles on select routes. We’ll look at the train and other benefits that come when you have this airline credit card in your wallet.
United Club℠ Card
The card allows new cardmembers to Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on purchases. The annual fee is $450.
The United Club℠ Card comes with a United ClubSM airport lounge membership, priority security lanes, boarding and baggage handling, two free checked bags and a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® President’s Circle® Membership.
Perks include trip delay reimbursement, auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection, price protection, return protection and extended warranty. There’s also access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and the Inside Access program, which allows cardmembers to buy private experiences such as wine tastings and culinary events.
Using the ClubAcela lounge
Those with the United Club℠ Card who travel on a same-day Amtrak ticket can use ClubAcela lounges at the Boston South, New York Penn, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., train stations. This perk is normally reserved for first-class Amtrak passengers, those who reserved a sleeping car and Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus and Select Executive members. Business class Amtrak passengers can buy a day pass for $25 at the Philadelphia and Boston stations.
Here’s what you get with ClubAcela access:
- Dedicated agents. They can help with reservations, ticketing and local information.
- Priority boarding. The Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia clubs have separate entrances to the tracks, allowing club occupants to board trains first and get the best seats. In New York, club staff will announce a train’s track before it is announced to the 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. Free non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are available.
- Business services. The lounge offers free Wi-Fi, fax and photocopy services, conference room access, newspapers, periodicals and television.
- Guest access. You’re allowed to bring immediate family members traveling with you or two guests.
Note that having the United Club℠ Card alone isn’t enough to get into ClubAcela. One of that card’s perks is a free United Club airport lounge membership, and you must show that card to get in.
Earning points and miles
The Amtrak-United partnership allows passengers who belong to the Guest Rewards or MileagePlus loyalty programs to earn miles or points for travel. When flying on United, those who take Amtrak to connect to or from the Newark-Liberty International Airport hub from either Philadelphia, Wilmington, Stamford or New Haven, will earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points on the whole trip, including the flight.
Book the Amtrak segment when you book your United flight at 800-UNITED-1 and provide your Amtrak Guest Rewards member number to earn points. You’ll earn 1 Amtrak point per mile traveled, at a minimum of 500 points, plus a 25% point bonus for travel in United business class and 50% bonus for travel in United first class, on top of the points you earn for your Amtrak travel.
If you prefer MileagePlus miles, you can choose instead to earn award miles on economy or business class fares per segment on Amtrak when you fly United and make a connection at Newark-Liberty to or from any of the following: New Haven Rail Station, Conn.; Stamford Rail Station, Conn.; Philadelphia; and Wilmington Rail Station, Del.
You can also earn 500 MileagePlus award miles per business class segment or 750 award miles per first class segment on Acela Express trains, with no connecting flight required, between New York Penn Station and the following train stations: Boston’s South, Back Bay and Route 128 stations; and Washington D.C. Call Amtrak at 800/872-7245 and give them your MileagePlus number to receive award miles credit.
The bottom line
For those who frequently travel on Amtrak’s busiest corridor, having access to ClubAcela is a great perk that comes with the United Club℠ Card. The business center services and early boarding make this particular benefit especially attractive. And the chance to earn plane miles and train points can’t be dismissed.
If you mix traveling on United and Amtrak, this partnership is another perk that more than helps justify the card’s $450 annual fee.