Amtrak customers will now be able to bid for a better seat on future train trips, allowing them to upgrade to the company’s business class or Acela first class.
The new service, called BidUp, will alert eligible customers with a push notification four days before their trip and invite them to bid on a new seat. Passengers can place, modify, or cancel a bid up to two hours before a scheduled departure.
There is no fee to make a bid and customers are only charged if they win.
“BidUp is a great way for more Amtrak customers to enjoy our premium services,” Roger Harris, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief marketing and revenue officer, said in a statement.
Customers traveling in coach can upgrade to business class while customers in Acela business class can upgrade to Acela first class, according to the company. The bid must apply to all passengers traveling on the reservation.
Amtrak Guest Rewards members will still earn points for their trip — and bonus points for traveling in business or first class — but points cannot be used to pay for an upgrade.
While bidding for a private room is not currently available, the company said it will be offered in the future.
Amtrak allows Acela business class customers to reserve seating in advance and allows all passengers to see how full a train is before booking in an effort to put customers at ease during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company has increased its safety measures, which include equipping trains with onboard filtration systems and partnering with Lysol to use EPA-approved disinfectant solutions certified to be proven effective against COVID-19.
Additionally, all passengers on public transportation in the U.S. must wear masks per a new rule by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which went into effect earlier this month.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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