Lounge Access-without same day ticket

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J-1 3235

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My last few attempts to visit a Metropolitan Lounge have been rebuffed, as I was not traveling on Amtrak. I see this language now in the "benefits" of Select+:

Access to Amtrak clubs and lounges with your member card and same-day Amtrak ticket.

When was that language added, as in years past one could visit at any time. I can understand being denied if the lounge is filled to "Covid" capacity, but considering how many are traveling, some on three day a week trains, how often is the lounge in Chicago or Boston full?

Thanks!
 

jis

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Each time I have been to the Chicago Lounge it has been pretty full, though there is much more space to stretch out in the new one, specially upstairs.

Boston is seldom crowded. The Moynihan Train Hall Met lounge in NY will probably be much less crowded than the previous one used to get, often SRO.Washington DC can get hopelessly crowded in the afternoon.

Of course everything is pretty empty in the COVID era I am sure.
 

WWW

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Have used the Lounge in Chicago many times and not on a revenue ticket -
The 261 org adding private cars to the EB and usually having less than 25 riders of which only
5 or 6 actually show up a few hours prior to boarding.
Waiting for the EB and our cars to make up in the yard I would go to the desk and inquire if we
could use the lounge while we wait.
Amtrak has been very generous in extending complimentary hospitality.

The old dive adjacent to the Track 19 bypass was never much of place but the Metropolitan Lounge
is great with plenty of room although I have only been in there three times pre-pandemic since our
clients use of the cars is of course very limited. Opening the upper level would be a great way to
allow more usage and distance spacing - but then with reduced passenger loads maybe Amtrak
has the right formula with keeping the lower lounge open only and factor in reduced daily trains
from 7 to 3. This should change in a few months.

Looking forward to a visit in late October and maybe something in August/September in conjunction
with a Rocky Mountaineer Colorado trip (EB CZ RM and the return).
 

bms

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I have a Select Plus card, and I always show that along with my same-day ticket. Never had a problem getting in the lounge in Chicago.

The Chicago lounge is nice, but does not compare to the First Class Lounge in Philadelphia which is downright spectacular.
 

MARC Rider

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I've used my Select Plus card for years at the DC lounge, even when I rode in on MARC, with no problem. Occasionally, I'll get asked what train I'm taking. Never been asked to show my ticket. Sometimes I don't even buy my ticket until I get into the lounge. Same for New York, Philly and Boston. I used my Select Plus card to get into the Lounge in Chicago last year rather than try to find my sleeper ticket. I was let right in, and nobody asked me what train I was riding.
 

jis

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When I used to be Select+ I used it to use the NY Club Acela mostly to wait for NJTransit trains, or just as a pit stop.

I am not Select+ any more and unlikely to be one in the near future, so all that is beyond my universe now. Now the only way I get in there is by traveling by Sleeper or Acela First Class.
 

SubwayNut

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I was Select Plus from 2013 to 2016 when I lived in New York City and went into the New York Club Acela all the time when I wasn't taking Amtrak, whether it was to stop and use a clean restroom when I was in Midtown already or a couple times was seeing friends off I remember once it was someone taking the Lake Shore in coach and I got them priority boarding with the sleeping car passengers, and other time a friend who had just taken NJ Transit up from South Jersey, it was never questioned. You are a member we let you in.
 

MARC Rider

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whether it was to stop and use a clean restroom
This is generally true, but there was a trip I took in 2019 when the plumbing in the Club Acela restroom went haywire, and the floor was a lake. I was actually rather impressed by the cleanliness and order in the general public restroom in NYP. Now if only Baltimore and Washington were as nice.
 

HP_Lovecraft

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I had the same question-
I'm flying into NYC on business for the day, but wanted to check out the new Moynihan station, and the lounge often has the only "clean" bathrooms in the city.... and lately, bathrooms are hard to find.

Usually I'm taking the train into NYP, so I'll always have a ticket when they ask. I guess there is no harm in buying the cheapest ticket I can find. The "same day ticket" does not have to actually originate from the station where the lounge is located?
 

FrensicPic

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My last few attempts to visit a Metropolitan Lounge have been rebuffed, as I was not traveling on Amtrak. I see this language now in the "benefits" of Select+:

Access to Amtrak clubs and lounges with your member card and same-day Amtrak ticket.

When was that language added, as in years past one could visit at any time. I can understand being denied if the lounge is filled to "Covid" capacity, but considering how many are traveling, some on three day a week trains, how often is the lounge in Chicago or Boston full?

Thanks!
Interesting...current wording on the AGR website for Select Plus is"
  • Access to Amtrak lounges
No mention of needing a same day ticket. I was not aware of that.

 

Bob Dylan

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Interesting...current wording on the AGR website for Select Plus is"
  • Access to Amtrak lounges
No mention of needing a same day ticket. I was not aware of that.

This is another case of the Left hand not knowing what the Right one is doing!🤬

Way to "Reward" your Most Frequent Customers Amtrak! NOT!!!
 

caravanman

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It seems reasonable that folk should have a same day ticket to access the lounge facilities, after all, the facilities are for folk waiting for trains, not for anyone who just wants a clean bathroom?
One revolutionary idea might be to provide plenty of public seats and clean facilities for all, but I can't see that catching on. ;)
 

WWW

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The airline lounges operate on the same theme - same day ticketing on that carriers or partner codeshare flights.
Most of the airline lounges are well past TSA security check points so it is ease to regulate who can use the facilities.
Still yet at the lounge entrance a scan of the customers ticket or flash/swipe of a membership card gains entrance.

With the Amtrak lounges if there was no reception desk (gate guard dragon lady airline term) anyone off the street
could come in and lounge around eating and drinking whatever is the grub of the day and in some cases use the
shower bath facility.

A common subterfuge is to tailgate a member into the lounge on his credentials - works some of the time - seen
it happen at Delta's SkyClub lounges - alert agents are effective in stopping this charade but even then some get
through when a crowd rushes the reception desk.
The covid virus has reduced capacity or closed some of the lounges making it harder to get a pass.

If you are paying or entitled to use these lounges don't let misuse lead to reduced enjoyment of the facilities !
 
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I wonder if this is just temporary to keep the number of people in the lounge down because of the virus. If so, that is sensible.

In more normal times, I do enjoy having a lounge available even if I am not taking an Amtrak trip. For example, if I take regional rail into Philly, and it’s too early for my hotel room to be ready, I will stop at 30th Street and go to the PHL lounge to use the facilities and have a cup of coffee and a snack.

Considering the amount of Amtrak travel that it takes to make it to Select Plus, I do not consider that my having a free cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll in the lounge is excessive.
 

Exvalley

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From the Amtrak website: Amtrak Station Lounges

Who is Eligible for Lounge Access?
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards members traveling with a same-day Amtrak ticket and valid Select Plus or Select Executive member card.
  • Amtrak passengers with a same-day travel ticket (departure or arrival) in First Class or sleeping car accommodations.
  • Amtrak Business class passengers with a same-day travel ticket (departure or arrival) may use the lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland and St. Louis.
  • Complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass holders may access ClubAcela, Metropolitan Lounge and Unstaffed Lounge locations.
  • Private car owners/lessee and party between time of arrival and departure specified in the reservation. Provide your reservation number to the Amtrak representative upon entry.
    • Due to space restrictions, private car owners and their groups are not permitted in the Los Angeles - Union Station Metropolitan Lounge.
 

FrensicPic

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I wonder if this is just temporary to keep the number of people in the lounge down because of the virus. If so, that is sensible.

In more normal times, I do enjoy having a lounge available even if I am not taking an Amtrak trip. For example, if I take regional rail into Philly, and it’s too early for my hotel room to be ready, I will stop at 30th Street and go to the PHL lounge to use the facilities and have a cup of coffee and a snack.

Considering the amount of Amtrak travel that it takes to make it to Select Plus, I do not consider that my having a free cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll in the lounge is excessive.
"because of the virus." That was my line of thought as well.
 

FrensicPic

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I was just looking at the Single-Visit Station Lounge Passes my wife received (she is Select). It does state on the reverse "Same-day Amtrak ticket required."
I didn't keep the mailer with my Select Plus card so I can't verify any conditions to the "Club Access" printed on the card.
Not a biggie for us as we tend to travel business and sleeper class so we have (same-day) access anyway.
 

DoB

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It seems reasonable that folk should have a same day ticket to access the lounge facilities, after all, the facilities are for folk waiting for trains, not for anyone who just wants a clean bathroom?
At most of the stations with lounges, a significant majority of train movements (and passengers) are on carriers other than Amtrak. It seems to me that, once a regular Amtrak rider has reached Select Plus status, it is quite reasonable to grant him access to the lounge even while waiting for a different carrier's train.

For regular commuter rail riders, this change is a significant downgrade in the Select Plus/Executive benefits package.
 

caravanman

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I guess if most passengers trying to use the lounge are travelling with "other" railroads, then even more reason to restrict the lounge to Amtrak Ticket holders?
 

jis

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The only remaining reason for getting Select Plus is to get the additional AGR points. It is not really worth doing anything special to get it. If one reaches it in normal course of things. If not c'est la vie.

Also turns out, now that I don't go to Penn Station that often, and half the time when I do it is by Sleeper, I really don't have an opportunity to exercise my Lounge rights as much as I did before. Similarly when I am in Chicago I am either doing Sleeper or Business Class. Don't do METRA much.

Having said all that, it looks quite likely that I will make Select Plus this year in the normal flow of things as international travel will most likely not be convenient at all until some time next year.
 
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