Amtrak Lounges title card

Amtrak Lounges: Add a new experience to your adventure

Your next Amtrak adventure might allow you to use one of the Amtrak lounges! If you are traveling across the county through Chicago, that lounge can be a lovely oasis. This article covers what passengers can use these lounges, what stations have and offer them, and more.

Since most of my trips start in Chicago, I have had a lot of experience with the new and old Chicago Union Station lounges; I like the new one better. But I have enjoyed the other Amtrak lounges within the national system.

What stations have lounges?

Within the system, there are staffed and unstaffed lounges.s

Stations with staffed lounges:

Boston SouthChicago Union
Los Angeles UnionPortland Union
New York Moynihan Train HallWashington Union
Philadelphia William H Gray III 30th Street

More about staffed stations further down.

Stations with unstaffed lounges.

Wilmington, DE (WIL)New Orleans, LA (NOL) Magnolia Room
St Louis, MO (STL)St Paul, MN (MSP)

More about unstaffed stations further down.

Who is qualified to use Amtrak lounges?

To obtain Lounge access, you need a same-day ticket and one of these:

  • Amtrak Guest Rewards members with Select Plus or Select Executive status.
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards Station Lounge Pass.
  • First Class or private room ticket, aka a sleeper accommodation.
  • Business class passengers may use the lounges in Portland and St. Louis.
  • Business class passengers must purchase a day pass to use the Los Angeles and Chicago Union Station lounges, new for 2023.
  • Private car owners/lessees and parties between the arrival and departure times specified in the reservation should provide their reservation number to the Amtrak representative upon entry.
    • Amtrak does not allow private car owners and their groups in the Los Angeles – Union Station Metropolitan Lounge due to space restrictions,
  • Station lounges or First Class waiting areas do not allow pets.

Amtrak rules for the lounges

Here are a few highlights of the lounge rules; check Amtrak.com for the complete list. Most of this section is verbatim.

  • Amtrak reserves the right to restrict access to family and business associates during peak periods.
  • Individuals must be at least 18 years of age. No one under 18 will be admitted without accompaniment by an adult lounge customer.
  • The attire and conduct of lounge customers and their guests must be in keeping with good taste and a dignified atmosphere.
  • You cannot bring food and beverages into the lounge for consumption; chat with the lounge if you have questions.
  • All lounge locations are non-smoking.

How to get an Amtrak Guest Rewards Lounge Passes

There are a few ways to get an Amtrak Guest Rewards lounge pass that will get you in the lounge regardless of your accommodation, but space could be limited.

Redeem Amtrak Guest Reward Points for passes.

Amtrak Credit Card
Amtrak Credit Card (Courtesy of the Amtrak.com)

You can redeem 1,500 Amtrak Guest Rewards points for a single-visit lounge pass, and if you want to do this, click here to use your Amtrak points.

Lounge passes from the Amtrak credit card.

If you open or have the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard®, you get free lounge passes upon opening and on the card’s anniversary date.

Check your Amtrak Guest Rewards account to see if you have a lounge pass waiting.

Who can purchase lounge day passes?

Business Class passengers can purchase a day pass at these lounges:

CUS Enterance
Outside the entrance to Chicago Union Station’s Great Hall
  • $25 for:
    • Los Angeles Union Station Pacific Surfliner Business Class passengers
  • $35 for these stations
    • Boston’s South Station
    • Chicago Union Station
    • Philadelphia’s William H Gray III 30th Street Station
  • $50 a day for:
    • New York Moynihan Train Hall

These prices can change anytime, and Amtrak may limit availability due to space limitations.

How to buy a lounge day pass

If you have a business class for a same-day train and want to purchase a day pass, see the lounge agent. They will help you get things going and answer your questions.

You can reserve conference rooms in an Amtrak Lounge.

Amtrak offers our travelers access to complimentary conference rooms at select locations.

  • You can book conference rooms on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Usage is limited to two hours.
  • Attendees may accompany customers reserving conference rooms.
  • Meeting organizers must arrive before other participants are allowed to enter.

Reserve conference rooms in advance by calling the locations directly.

  • Boston, MA – South Station: (617) 757-1520,
  • Philadelphia – William H Gray III 30th Street Station: (215) 349-3090,
  • Washington, DC – Union Station: (202) 906-3012.

Amtrak Unstaffed Lounge

A few lounges do not have an agent, so see a ticket or station agent for assistance. But they still provide a place to wait for your train and sometimes allow for priority boarding.

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

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

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.

There was complimentary coffee, comfortable seating, and a few outlets for charging.

The ticket agent gave me the code to the lounge, and the conductors informed us when it was time to board the train.

There was a small area for kids. While the lounge was nothing too exciting, having less traffic and a more secure place to leave my bag for a second was nice. I have heard that the lounge has seen some updates since I was there last.

Offerings at staffed Amtrak lounges.

Food at Chicago Union Station
Snacks and drinks for Chicago Union Station Lounge passengers

Lounges allow you to relax and enjoy comfortable sitting, but that is not all.

While waiting for your train, you can enjoy:

  • Free Wi-Fi.
  • Attendants are available to help with reservations, ticketing, and local information.
  • Most lounges give you a place to store your bags.
    • These areas are often unsupervised. So use at your own risk.
  • Lounges have bathrooms, so they are close, and you do not have to leave if you have “to go.”
  • There are outlets, and most lounges these days have USB charging stations.
  • Most staffed lounges offer red cap service to help you get to and from your train and, in some cases, connecting services.

Lounge food and drink

Food, coffee, and bar in New York
The food and drink counters at the Metropolitan Lounge at Moynihan Train Hall

Typically, you will find snacks in lounges include things like:

  • Food offerings vary from lounge to lounge, but standard offerings:
    • Pretzels and chips
    • Muffins, sweet rolls, and other sweet treats
    • Fresh fruit
    • Coffee, tea, soft drinks, water, and juices
  • Chicago and New York lounges offer more, including cash bars.

Amtrak lounges hours and locations

For unstaffed lounges, check with station agents.

Station Hours of OperationLocation
Boston, MA (BOS)
Boston South
5:30 am – 9:30 pm, dailyBetween the ticket office and the information booth
Chicago, IL (CHI)
Chicago Union
6:00 am – 9:00 pm, dailyIn the hallway leading to the Great Hall
Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Los Angeles Union
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
6:30 am – 9:00 pm dailyEnd of the hall behind stairway 1, then up the stairs
Portland, OR (PDX)
Portland Union
9:30 am – 5:40 pm, dailyInside the boarding area at gate 5
New York, NY (NYP)
New York Penn
Moynihan Train Hall
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
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
Chicago Union Station entrance

My Experiences In Amtrak Lounges

Here are my experiences with a few lounges; things can change since I was last there. The New Orleans lounge is in the unstaffed lounge section of this article if you missed it.

Washington DC Union Station

Washington DC’s lounge can go between bustling and a ghost town. Either way, it is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the station.

WAS Lounge
The refurbished Metropolitan Lounge in Washington DC Union Station

There is handy unsupervised luggage storage just past the front desk. It is convenient if you want to leave the lounge.

If you want a more secure place to store your luggage, you can pay a fee to hold it at the ticket counter. However, you cannot store luggage overnight.

If you are not leaving the lounge and want to tuck your bags away, there are places on the main level by the stairs where you can place your bags.

Los Angeles Union Station

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 must use the elevator or the stairs to reach it.

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.

In the past, the lounge had souvenirs for sale.

Often, they have cookies and fruit for snacks, plus things to drink like coffee, soda (pop), tea, and water.

Redcaps” can often help you get from the lounge to your station or bus, depending on where you are going.

Philadelphia 30th Street Station

Food and drink area at the lounge in Philadelphia
The food and drink area at the Amtrak lounge in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Lounge offers a nice place to rest and wait. It provides couch and chair seating, plus a table and desk for you to use.

Walking to the seating, you will pass a snack and beverage station. Feel free to find a place, drop your gear off, and return for a treat and beverage.

One nice thing about this lounge is that you can go directly to the platform via elevators, which makes getting to your train easy!

The staff will give you a heads-up about when you need to get ready, help you down to the platform to wait for your train, and tell you where to stand.

Portland Union Station

Portland Union Station Lounge
Portland Union Station Lounge

The Portland Union Station is neat and quaint but still does the job.

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 Union Station

Chicago offers slightly more than average because it is the biggest hub for Amtrak’s long-distance trains and the Midwest corridor. This station provides an excellent selection of snacks for passengers to enjoy.

The lounge has TVs and schedule boards, so you can easily monitor departure times and track information.

Inside the Chicago lounge
Inside of the Chicago Union Stations lounge

Soft drinks, coffee machines, and various snacks are available on the lower level, and bathrooms on both floors.

Chicago’s lounge also offers showers; you can ask the attendant for towels and access. There is also unstaffed baggage storage. The upper lounge is the “quiet area.”

The bar is on the lower level by the stairs to the upper level. The bar carries wine, beer, and basic cocktails to enjoy as you wait.

Since sleeper passengers can consume adult beverages in their rooms, sometimes these prices are lower than on the train. You can toss some non-open ones in your bag before heading out. I am not suggesting anything, just saying. Check out the cafe page to see the current menu process.

This lounge does not have direct access to the tracks. When it is time to board your train, the staff will announce, have you and others line up by the doors, and someone will lead you and your fellow passengers to the tracks. If you need red cap service, staff will tell you where to meet them; often, the spot is by the front doors.

This lounge has a shower for you to use, as well as towels and washcloths.

New York

The New York lounge is the flagship of all Amtrak lounges.

A look at New York Lounge
A view of the New York Metropolitan Lounge

This lounge offers more than I have seen everywhere else. While you wait, you can get hot and cold food, like sandwiches and treats, brewed coffee, espresso drinks, hot and cold tea, and more. There is also a cash bar if you are so inclined.

There is casual seating, tables with outlets, and USB ports for those who work while we travel. If you want, there is a balcony where you can sit and people-watch.

Additionally, there are lockers for you to put some of your valuables in, though I did not see locks.

The boarding process for this lounge is similar to that of Chicago, but the leader will take you to the line of passengers boarding and help you cut the line to get to the sleepers.

How to use Amtrak Lounges

Using an Amtrak lounge is not hard, but knowledge is power, which could help you get prepared.

Getting into an Amtrak-staffed lounge

Using an Amtrak lounge is easy. Here are a few tidbits I do when using Amtrak Lounges that may help you.

The desk for the New York Metropolitan lounge
The check-in desk for the New York Metropolitan Lounge

You can walk into most lounges, but Washington Union Station requires you to use a doorbell for access.

Before I walk in, I have my boarding pass, aka ticket, ready. I often print out my tickets.

You can print your ticket out at the ticket desk or Quik-Trac Machines in any station with a lounge, but you can use your app ticket or the ticket from the email.

Upon entering the lounge, I check in with the agent at the desk by showing them my ticket, and they check to ensure I have access. They may mark your ticket or give you a pass to make it easier for them to identify you as a checked-in passenger.

Once in Amtrak lounges

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

After check-in, I often walk around to familiarize myself with the amenities and find a spot.

You are welcome to partake in the food and drinks.

There is free WI-FI, and speeds may vary.

Watch the time and arrival/departure monitors as you wait to see how your train is doing. If no screens are up, I use my phone to check the status, which is more so for Philadelphia or Washington, DC.

Pay attention to boarding calls!

If you are at the train’s originating stop, keep an ear out for any early boarding announcements, or at least one person in your travel party should.

Washington DC Lounge
Inside the Acela Lounge in Washington (DC) Union Station

Amtrak can start boarding early, like 30-45 minutes, which can sneak up on you.

It is not uncommon for me to work while I wait, so my computer and charger are out,

An hour before the scheduled departure time, I pack up my chargers and big headphones, so when the time comes, I need to slide my computer or iPad into my bag and start walking to the train or meeting area. I often switch to my smaller headphones.

Trains can load trains early at Portland (PDX), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (CHI), New York Penn (NYP), Boston South (BOS), and Capital Limited in Washington DC (WAS).

What happened to Club Acela?

Club Acela WAS
The entrance to Club Acela in Washington, DC

It seems that Amtrak rebranded all the Club Acela lounges into Metropolitain lounges—Club Acela was at most stations, with lounges along the Aclea route.

What not to do in an Amtrak Lounges

Most of this is common sense; some are my opinion, but I will still throw this out for your consideration. I hope this section does not come across as judgmental, but the story’s moral 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 if you do not leave your belongings all over or take up a lot of seating space when the lounge is busy or for a long time.

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

Laying on the couch while wearing shoes is uncouth, especially when the lounge is busy.

Also, do not put your feet on the furniture. We might do this at home, I do, and no judgment there, 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 or dirty shoes.

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 Amtrak lounges

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.

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

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

Sadly, I base this section on my experience with other passengers.

Amtrak Lounges warp up.

Looking at the coffee station in New York
Looking toward the coffee station at the New York Metropolitan lounge

Amtrak lounges are great places to wait for the next part of your Amtrak adventure, and if you are prepared, things should go smoother and faster.

Remember to think of others regarding how much space you take up and snacks you grab.

Make sure you listen to announcements and ask questions if you have them, and get ready so if your train is ready to board early, you are prepared to go.

Remember, if there is a delay in the departure or arrival of your train, the people at the desk have nothing to do with the delay. They cannot “fix it,” either, so be considerate. They want to help get you on that train just as much as you want to be on it.

Remember, if I can travel, you can too!

Safe travels!

Kev

Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

This Post Has 5 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

  3. Tim Warke

    Very helpful info. Wonder if you can answer a query I have – if I am checking a bag at LA Union Station (going to San Diego), can you check it in from the lounge or do you have to do that first before entering the lounge? Thx.

    1. Kevin Monteith

      I am glad I can help! You should check your bags before you head to the lounge. Besides, you walk past the ticket luggage check-in area on your way there.
      Kev

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