- I bid on an Amtrak upgrade and went from business class to first class.
- My upgrade cost $95 (on top of my $57 business-class ticket) and came with lounge access and food.
- The Amtrak Lounge was elegant, the first-class seat was spacious and I enjoyed my four-hour ride.
A few days before my Amtrak ride from New York to Boston, I got an email from Amtrak asking if I’d like to bid on an “enhanced experience” using the BidUp process.
I was able to bid a minimum of $95 to get from business class to first class, which comes with complimentary meals, beverages, and large, reserved seats.
My original business-class ticket was $57. Even after a $95 bid, I’d still only be paying half price for a first-class ticket, which usually costs about $300.
So, I placed the minimum bid and waited.
My bid was accepted the morning of my trip. In total, I spent only $152 to sit in first class on the train.
With my first-class ticket, I could access the Amtrak Lounge at Penn Station, my departure point.
The Amtrak Lounge at Penn Station had tons of white marble and elegant lighting.
It felt clean and bright, and there was plenty of space to sit before I boarded my train.
There was also a self-serve tea and coffee bar with plenty of syrups and tea options.
The complimentary coffee and elegant vibes made lounge access feel like a huge perk.
The Amtrak Lounge had its own bathrooms, and I liked that it had a big screen that kept me updated on when each train was boarding.
As the first train car, we had the easiest access to the platform for embarking and disembarking.
It was nice to have a staff member bring us right to our seats.
My seat was comfortable, and I had an entire table to use to work, using the train’s WiFi.
Because we bid, we didn’t get to choose our seats. Fortunately, the ones next to us were empty.
We used them for our small bags and some personal items.
Since my train left at 11 a.m., breakfast and lunch options were available. The menu had things like chili, omelets, and beers.
Although I could’ve ordered complimentary alcohol or soda, I stuck with coffee.
It was La Colombe, one of my favorite brands, and it didn’t disappoint.
I thought my cheese plate was really tasty. There was a solid selection of different types of cheeses, and it kept me full for the whole ride.
Halfway through the trip, a staff member also came around to offer us mixed nuts as another snack.
I was impressed Amtrak offered something as upscale-feeling as lobster mac and cheese on board.
It looked good, and it came with a rich-looking dessert.
The bathroom had a mirror with soft lighting, a toilet, and a sink with countertop space that could fit a small cosmetic bag if needed.
The business-class seats looked almost as large as the ones in first.
Still, business class doesn’t come with perks like food service or lounge access. I was happy to be in my upgraded section.
When I arrived in Boston after a roughly four-hour journey, I disembarked at the front of the platform.
The relaxing on-train experience, access to an elegant Amtrak Lounge, complimentary food and drink, and personal escort to the train were worth the extra $95.
The four-hour train ride was worth it, too, even though a flight from New York to Boston would’ve taken about an hour.
An economy plane ticket would’ve cost about the same, but I’d also pay extra to order a rideshare to whichever NYC airport I chose. Based on where I was staying, it’s much easier and cheaper to walk to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan than to get to any nearby airport.
And, on the train, I didn’t have to pay extra to check my luggage.