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Amtrak Lounges

What You Need To Know About Amtrak Station Lounges

Depending on your next Amtrak adventure, one of the Amtrak lounges could be part of your next rail journey!

CUS Amtrak Lounge
A view of the upper level of Chicago Union Station’s Metropolitan Lounge, this area offers comfy chairs and a quiet space to wait.

Visiting an Amtrak lounge can add a special touch to your experience, for they are a comfortable place to wait for your train.

This article covers what passengers can use Amtrak lounges, what stations have and offer them, and more.

There are two lounges within the Amtrak system: staffed and unstaffed.

No matter what kind of lounge is at the station, this article will help with your prep.

Due to the pandemic, Amtrak may not offer all services discussed in this article, and some lounges may be temporarily closed. Please adjust your expectations accordingly.

Do you qualify to use an Amtrak lounge?

Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge.

  • Select Plus and Select Executive Amtrak Guest Rewards members with a valid member card and a ticket for same-day travel.
  • Amtrak passengers with a same-day travel ticket (departure or arrival) in Acela First Class or sleeping car accommodations.
    • Chicago Union Station Lounge is for sleeper and business class passengers as part of their ticket.
  • Complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass holders may access staffed and unstaffed Lounge locations.
  • Private car owners/lessee and their party may use them between arrival and departure times specified in the reservation. Provide your reservation number to the lounge agent.
    • Due to space limited in Los Angeles Union Station’s Metropolitan Lounge may restrict the size of a private car party in the lounge.
  • Some passengers can purchase day passes, and more info is below.

Club Acela Requirements (Washington DC)

  • Club Acela customers traveling in First Class or sleeping car accommodations, Single-Day Pass holders, Select Plus, and Select Executive members may bring immediate family members traveling together or one non-family guest. Unaccompanied guests are not permitted.
  • Other than those listed above, access is limited to ticketed passengers. You must display a ticket each time a customer enters the Club.
  • Amtrak reserves the right to restrict family and business associate access during peak periods.
  • Individuals must be at least 18 years of age. No one under 18 will be admitted without accompaniment by an adult Club Acela customer.
  • The attire and conduct of Club Acela customers and their guests must be in keeping with good taste and a dignified atmosphere.
  • You may not bring food and beverages into Club Acela for consumption. Advise the Club attendant if special needs require consumption of personal food and drink while in the Club
  • All ClubAcela locations are non-smoking.

Who can purchase lounge day passes

Business Class Passengers

Business Class passengers can purchase day passes at:

  • Philadelphia’s William H Gray III 30th Street Station $35
  • Boston’s South Station for $35 per day
  • New York Moynihan Train Hall for $50 per day

All Amtrak Passengers at Chicago Union Station

CUS Enterance
Outside entrance to Chicago Union Station’s Great Hall

Amtrak coach passengers can purchase a day pass for $35 their day of travel; business class and sleeper passengers already have access.

How to purchase a day pass

See a station agent when you get there if you want to purchase a day pass at any of these stations.

Amtrak may limit the number of passes sold due to space availability.

Amtrak unstaffed lounge

Unstaffed lounges do not have an attendant but provide a place for you to wait for your train and, in some cases, allow for priority boarding. Go to the ticket counter for assistance if you need help while using these lounges.

These lounges often provide coffee and snacks, subject to availability.

StationSleeper PassengersBusiness Class
New Orleans, LA (NOL)
Magnolia Room
YesNo
St Louis, MO (STL)YesYes
St Paul, MN (MSP)YesNo

Ask an Amtrak employee for the lounge location and hours. In the case of the Magnolia Room in New Orleans, you need a code to enter that is available from the ticket agents.

My experience with the Magnolia Lounge in NOL

NOL lounge
The Magnolia Lounge is available for sleeping car passengers at New Orleans Union Station.

My only experience with an unstaffed Amtrak Lounge was The Magnolia Lounge in New Orleans.

Amtrak had complimentary coffee, comfortable seating, and a few outlets for charging.

Amtrak staff informed those of us using the lounge when it was time to board the train.

The lounge had a small area for kids. While the lounge was nothing too exciting, it was nice to have less traffic and a more secure place to leave my bag for a second.

Offerings at Amtrak staffed lounges.

Lounges give you a place to relax and enjoy comfortable seating.

While waiting for your train, you can enjoy complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and free WiFi.

Amtrak Lounge Snacks
Snack for passengers to enjoy while in the lounge waiting for their train. Photo courtesy of Amtrak

Most lounges give you a place to store your bag, but these areas are often unsupervised.

Attendants are available to assist with reservations, ticketing, and local information.

The food offered is usually pretzels, chips, muffins, fresh fruit, sweet rolls, and other tasty treats. The food offering will vary from lounge to lounge.

Lounges, like New York and Chicago, may offer a greater variety of food and snacks, although, during that pandemic, Amtrak cut back much of these services,

Lounges have bathrooms, so they are close, and you do not have to leave if you have “to go.” Some lounges

As lounges get updated, USB charging stations are more plentiful, along with computer outlets.

Amtrak may suspend some food service, so plan accordingly.

Amtrak lounges hours and locations

Station Hours of OperationLocation
Boston, MA (BOS)
Boston South Station
Metropolitan Lounge
5:30 am – 9:30 pm, dailyBetween the ticket office and the information booth
Chicago, IL (CHI)
Chicago Union Station
Metropolitan Lounge
6:00 am – 9:00 pm, dailyIn the hallway leading to the Great Hall
Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Los Angeles Union Station
Metropolitan Lounge
5:00 am – 10:00 pm, dailyOn the second floor, above the ticket office, walk toward the car rental booths; then take a left. From there, head up the stairs or take the elevator.
Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
William H Gray III 30th Street Station
Metropolitan Lounge
6:30 am – 9:00 pm dailyEnd of the hall behind stairway 1, then up the stairs
Portland, OR (PDX)
Portland Union Station
Metropolitan Lounge
9:30 am – 5:40 pm, dailyInside the boarding area at gate 5
New York, NY (NYP)
New York Penn Station
Moynihan Train Hall
Metropolitan Lounge
5:00 am – 9:30 pm
Monday to Friday
7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday
full-service bar open
11:00 am – 7:00 pm daily
Mezzanine level
Washington, DC (WAS)
Washington Union Station
Club Acela
4:30 am – 8:00 pm
Monday – Friday
6:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday
Behind the information booth, between gates D and E
Lounge times and availability may change at any time

My Lounge Experiences

Washington DC

Amtrak Was Lounge
Here is a luggage storage area in Washington (DC) Union Station lounge.

Washington DC’s lounge can be bustling, and other times it’s a ghost town.

You can store luggage in an unsupervised storage area just past the front desk at this lounge.

This lounge has two levels with places under the “plants” (see photo) to store luggage. Amtrak recently upgraded this lounge with new furniture and light cosmetic upgrades.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles lounge is a little tricky to find but worth finding.

LA Union Station Lounge
The food and drink area in LA Union Station Lounge

The lounge is on the second story, so you need to use the elevator or the stairs to reach this second-story lounge.

The attendant stores your luggage behind the desk or in the conference room, so it is safe if you want to walk around without lugging your bags.

There are a few available souvenirs in the lounge. Often they have cookies and fruit for snacks, plus things to drink like coffee, soda (pop), tea, and water.

Often “red caps” can help you get from the lounge to your station or bus, depending on where you are going.

Philadelphia

The Philadelphia lounge offers a nice place to rest and wait for your train. One nice thing about this lounge is that you can go directly to the platform via elevators for most trains.

This lounge is on a balcony that offers a view of the hustle and bustle of the station. The last time I was there, desks were available if you needed a workplace.

Portland Union Station Lounge
Portland Union Station Lounge

Portland

The Portland Union Station is neat and quaint.

The lounge offers an unsupervised place for your gear, and the last time I was there, there was no food, but there were beverages.

It is a relaxing place to sit back and wait for the Empire Builder or the Coast Starlight.

This lounge is toward the back of the station and near gate 5, where you board the train. If you are leaving this station, it is a short walk to the train.

Chicago

Chicago offers a little more than the average lounge, but it is the biggest hub for Amtrak’s long-distance trains and hosts the midwest corridor. This station provides an excellent selection of snacks for passengers to enjoy.

Chicago Amtrak Lounge
Snack and beverage area at Chicago Metropolitan Lounge

The Chicago Union Lounge has TVs and schedule boards throughout the lounge. So you can keep an eye on departure times and track information.

Soft drinks, coffee machines, and various snacks are available on the lower level, with water dispensers on both floors (or there were before the pandemic),

Chicago’s lounge also offers showers, talk to the lounge attendant if you wish to use it, and unstaffed baggage storage. The upper lounge is the “quiet area.”

How to use Amtrak Lounges

Getting into an Amtrak-staffed lounge

Using an Amtrak lounge is easy. Here are a few tidbits you should know for your first visit.

The lounge in the Boston South Station. Photo Courtesy of Amtrak

Some staffed Amtrak lounges require you to use a doorbell for access, so if the door is locked, look for the button.

To save time at the desk, prepare your boarding information to show the agent before entering or while you wait in line.

After entering the lounge, check in at the desk with the agent by showing them your ticket; they will check to ensure you are there on the right day and inform you what you need for your train.

If you leave and return, the attendant may mark your ticket during check-in to show you have already checked in.

Once in the lounge

After check-in, feel free to walk around and familiarize yourself with the amenities. You are welcome to partake in the food and drinks.

After looking around and obtaining a snack and drink, find a place to sit and enjoy. There is free WI-FI, but depending on how many people are using it, it might be slower than you want.

WAS Lounge
The refurbished Club Acela Lounge in Washington DC Union Station. Photo courtesy of Amtrak

As I have traveled over the years, I noticed that the WiFi has improved, but it is complimentary, so you can’t complain too much.

Watch the time and arrival/departure monitors as you wait to see how your train is doing.

Keep an ear out for any early announcement or at least one person in your travel party.

Close to your departure time, like 30-45 minutes prior, if you are at the start of a route, turn down your volume levels on your headphones, avoid phone calls, and pay attention to announcements. Trains can load trains early at Portland (PDX), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (CHI), New York Penn (NYP), Boston South (BOS), and Washington DC (WAS) for the Capital Limited.

Before leaving the lounge for food (or drink), ask if you can bring outside food back into the lounge; this can vary at different lounges. It’s less frustrating if you know you can or cannot bring food into the lounge ahead of time than learning that fact with your food in hand.

What you should not do in an Amtrak Lounge

Most of this is common sense; some of it is my opinion, but I will still throw this out there.

I hope this section does not come across as judgmental; the moral of the story is to be considerate of your fellow passengers and the staff.

Remember, Amtrak lounges are shared spaces.

Be respectful of others when using this shared space. You may need to rearrange your bag, which is fine, as long as you do not leave your belongings all over or take up a lot of seating space when the lounge is busy.

How not to sit in the lounge
Here is one way to use a lounge, not the suggested way.

It is uncouth to lay on the couch while wearing shoes, especially when the lounge is busy. Also, do not put your feet on the furniture. We might do this at home, I do, but it’s not cool when you are in a public space.

Besides, people don’t want to put their food and drink on a table where you just placed your feet.

Please clean up after yourself; it does not take that much effort. It is incredible how many people leave messes.

Remember that the food in the lounge is for more than just you; it is not there for you to stockpile for your trip.

Using Electronics in a lounge

When it comes to electronics, use headphones!

mobile-phone-samsung-music-39592
Phone, headphones, and your favorite podcast app.,

Keep phone calls short or find an area that will not disturb others.

Using the speakerphone option on your phone is disruptive to others; headphones can help instead.

Video calling (Facetime, Skype, etc.) is okay if you follow the same rules.

People sometimes do not realize how loud they are when talking on the phone and what information they accidentally share with others.

Sadly this section is based on the experience I had with other passengers.

Remember, if I can travel, you can too!

Safe travels!

Kev

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Kev

Kev has been traveling with Amtrak since 2012, celebrating his tenth year this year. Over those years, he has been on over 700 trains covering over 200,000 miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by assisting them to get started. Kev enjoys making music as an organist.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Stig_Clarkson37

    Excellent, updated info! I’m riding on the City of New Orleans next week, southbound, and I appreciate all of the help. Keep up the good work!

  2. Ronnie Amtrak

    Great Info. I got the passenger train bug when 8 after my sister moved to Spokane, Wa, Yes I rode both the Northern Pacific and Great Northern. First rode superliner in 1988, yes that is when some were built still in use today! I’ve lost count but have ridden the Zephry somewhere near 30 times. Actually did it 3 round trips Chi to Sac last year. I have found that different lounge agents run things as they interpret the rules. Once was told that I had to check my 2 pieces of luggage saying the conductors were tired of all the luggage! And the agent got very mad when I read the big luggage rules sign right behind her. But for 99% of the time they are always good.

    1. Kev

      Hi Ronnie,
      I am glad you like the info. I love the Zephyr too! Things are a little more chill in the Chicago Metropolitan Lounge than in the past; at least yesterday, they did. Thanks for sharing!

      Safe Travels,
      Kev

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