United and Amtrak cut ties; end mileage earning and lounge access

Nov 1, 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.

Come 2021, United Airlines will have one less partner.

For years, United and Amtrak have had a codeshare partnership, allowing you to purchase a flight to or from Newark with a connection on the Northeast Regional train to or from your final destination.

As part of the tie-up, flyers could earn redeemable miles for the train segment. (Amtrak Guest Rewards members could credit United flights to Amtrak as well.) Plus, the two transportation providers offered reciprocal lounge access for certain premium passengers and elite members.

Well, that’s all coming to a halt.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Effective Dec. 24, you’ll no longer be able to earn United MileagePlus miles through Amtrak and vice versa. Reciprocal lounge access ends on Feb. 4, 2021, as first reported by Live and Let’s Fly.

This is a blow to those who’ve taken advantage of the partnership in years past.

For one, Amtrak Select Plus and Select Executive elites will definitely miss out on United Club access when flying United. For those in the Northeast, Amtrak status was one of the best ways to access United lounges.

Amtrak’s four Northeast ClubAcela lounges aren’t as nice as United Clubs. Plus, you need to be a United Club member or long-haul Polaris passenger to access these Amtrak lounges on the day of travel.

While you could only earn up to 750 redeemable United miles for Amtrak-operated segments, the real value to the partnership was being able to purchase a train and flight in one ticket — for less than the cost of buying each individually. The codeshare applied to regularly scheduled train service to New Haven, Philadelphia, Stamford and Wilmington.

Having attended college in Philadelphia, I took advantage of the United-Amtrak partnership quite a bit. The United one-stop fares from ZFV (Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station) were roughly in line with those from Philadelphia’s airport.

But, I could walk to 30th Street Station and be at Newark in just about an hour. Plus, the one-stop United fares were lower than the nonstop ones from PHL on American. (In college, I had lots of time and much less cash.)

Flying to Newark and taking the train to ZFV was particularly appealing on long-haul and transcon flights. I much preferred United’s Polaris product to AA’s reverse herringbone business class on the Airbus A330 (that’s now retired). And again, it was often significantly cheaper to connect in Newark than fly direct to PHL.

Either way, the days of the United and Amtrak tie-up are coming to an end, just before it’s time for Amtrak to debut a brand-new Acela fleet.

Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.