Save that seat: Amtrak now allows business class passengers to reserve Acela seats

Jul 28, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

All aboard! Amtrak has begun expanding reserved seating options for Acela business class customers beginning Monday, August 3.

Sign up for our daily newsletter to stay on top of travel news

The new perks will come at no additional cost, but will allow travelers to view and select their seats before traveling, including available spots in the Quiet Car. The preview tool will also allow travelers to see how full their train will be in order to gauge social distancing and personal risk comfort levels.

Related: Complete coverage of Amtrak Guest Rewards

“Reserved seating is one of several new initiatives we are undertaking in support of expanded health and safety protocols,” Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in a press release announcing the new feature. “By providing customers with an easier and safer boarding process that limits people moving through the trains trying to find a seat, we are able to meet customer expectations for safer travel.”

TPG reporter Victoria Walker recently stated that she’s temporarily switching her travel loyalty to Amtrak, given the company’s commitment to safety and hygiene by requiring face coverings and potentially banning customers who don’t comply, as well as its recent customer-friendly changes such as extending elite status and the expiration date on Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Throwing in cheap cash farespoints promotions and the ease of earning Amtrak points, Walker makes a compelling point for everyone to consider train travel in 2020.

Acela business class travelers receive an automatic seat assignment at the time of booking, but have the option to change their seat choice via the interactive map on the app or Amtrak website. Amtrak currently offers window seats only while Acela operates at a reduced capacity, for the sake of social distancing; aisle and rear-facing table seats will be blocked off on customer seat maps.

Related: Amtrak Acela restarts

Passengers traveling together with companions or in groups will be assigned seats in separate rows; however, they can choose to sit together while on board. Amtrak staff can also help modify customer seat assignments.

Related: New Amtrak app

The reserved seating feature will remain even after the COVID-19 pandemic, and will also be available onboard the new Acela trains which debut in 2021

During the pandemic, Amtrak has implemented a number of additional protocols to keep travelers and employees safe:

  • All travelers and employees must wear face masks on board trains and thruway buses, although masks can be removed within private rooms.
  • Amtrak deep cleans and sanitizes all trains prior to service, with additional en-route cleaning to disinfect restrooms and frequently touched surfaces.
  • Bookings have been limited on most trains to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas.
  • All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
  • All non-safety materials have been removed from seatback pockets.
  • Sinks are available in each car’s restroom for frequent hand washing.
  • To move between cars, customers can use an “automatic door open” button with their foot.
  • When the train is approaching a destination, conductors will make announcements regarding where and when customers can disembark to minimize door crowding.

Featured photo by Brendan Dorsey for The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.