United and Amtrak partnership ending


United and Amtrak have long had a partnership that resulted in some code sharing on itineraries that included both train a plane (to my knowledge, most notably on deals “departing” Philadelphia’s train station to connect to a flight via Newark airport). Those code share sales have apparently ended. Reciprocal mileage earning is slated to end December 24, 2020 and reciprocal lounge access will end February 4, 2021.

a man taking a selfie

Most readers won’t find this news terribly relevant, but those who have been able to take advantage will surely see this as a big disappointment (indeed Matthew Klint at Live and Let’s Fly laments the end of it). That Live and Let’s Fly post clued me in to one big thing I’d long missed: it has apparently been possible (and still is until December 24th) to credit United flights to Amtrak and earn 1 Amtrak point per mile flown. Given that Amtrak points can be quite valuable (and that United instead awards miles based on fares, which have been decreasing domestically for years), this was a significant opportunity to earn a nice return that I’m sad to have missed. I’ve redeemed Amtrak points a few times over the past few years and been happy with the experience and value.

people on a train with people on seats
I think I used up the last of my Amtrak points on this trip from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo last year, which featured this car with huge windows to take in the scenery.

Furthermore, while Amtrak lounges aren’t quite what you may be used to if you’ve spent much time at international business class airline lounges, they have (had?) free food and coffee and a slightly more comfortable place to sit while waiting for your train. I guess you’ll now have to pony up for the business class fare rather than rely on United status to get you in the lounge.

Again, this news will only be relevant to a segment of readers, but that segment will surely feel some nostalgia and disappointment to see this end.

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