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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

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.