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

Nov. 01, 2020
3 min read
United and Amtrak cut ties; end mileage earning and lounge access
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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.

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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.

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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 image by NurPhoto via Getty Images

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023