How I got free membership of Eurostar Frequent Traveller, saving £250!

I have run an interesting series of articles this week, written by Nick Burch, on Eurostar and its various earning and redemption options.

If you want to redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for free Eurostar trips, the most effective route is to transfer your points to Eurostar Frequent Traveller.

The key benefits of this, as opposed to redeeming with Avios or getting Amex Membership Rewards to book directly for you, are:

Substantially better availability, even at short notice

Fixed reward prices, even when redeeming for very high priced seats

The ONLY redemption route that lets you book Business Premier

The ONLY redemption route that lets you book one-way tickets

Some flexibility (other options have none) – you cannot refund a reward ticket, but you can change the dates once

However, there is a snag. In theory, you cannot join Eurostar Frequent Traveller until you have personally spent £250 on Eurostar tickets.

Eurostar

Comments to Nick’s article suggested that you could work around this, however. If you have an American Express Membership Rewards account, you can go into it, do a dummy transfer to Eurostar Frequent Traveller, and then select the option ‘I don’t have an account so please create one for me’.

I gave this a try, and this is what happened:

Tuesday – I followed the steps above and used the Amex Membership Rewards website to request they open a Eurostar Frequent Traveller account for me

Wednesday – I received an email from Amex saying that my Amex account was now linked to my Eurostar account. I went to the Amex MR website, did a dummy Eurostar transfer, and noted down the Frequent Traveller account number that was showing under my linked programmes.

Wednesday – I tried to use the Eurostar website to get a password for my account. However, this was not possible – Amex had not used my email address when creating the account.

Wednesday – I called the Eurostar Frequent Traveller service centre (08448 117117). They pulled up my details using the account number and changed the email address from Amex’s (!) to my own. I was told that the system refreshes overnight and I could use ‘Forgotten your password?’ from 1pm Thursday.

Thursday PM – I was not able to access the website, despite what I was told on Wednesday

Friday PM – I could still not able to access the website, so I called Eurostar again.  It seems that there is a technical issue which means that, even after they have changed your email address, you still need to log on with your old one for the change to take effect.  But I don’t know what that was!  The guy from the call centre went off to speak to his technical guys, and 10 minutes later it was fixed.

I used ‘Forgotten your password?’ successfully using my email address and could access my Eurostar Frequent Traveller account. No £250 purchase was required to get me enrolled!

This is a good result for me. My kids are getting to the age where a trip to Disneyland Paris is on the cards, and it would be very unlikely that I could snag seats during school holidays using Avios or getting Amex to book directly.

I can now transfer some Membership Rewards points directly into Eurostar Frequent Traveller and hopefully take my pick, pretty much, from the available trains. I may even sneak in a cheeky day trip to Paris as well at some point soon ….

Achica '£20 off' code working again!
IHG changes the Avios earning rate at Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc
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Comments

  1. Are you going to complain to Amex?

  2. esperluette says:

    I m confused about transferability. the amex cards i hold each have their own programme eg BA/ BMi, SPG, AA.can they all be redeemed as MR points?if yes how? or only as avios ?
    many thanks

    • No, only MR – earning cards (Green, Gold, Platinum) give you MR points that can be transferred to other programmes. With the ones you mention you only earn in that ‘currency’. SPG though is a pretty good one for transferring to other programmes should you so wish.

  3. Not sure. Just to be careful, I changed the address and email on my Plus Points account before asking Amex to open my EFT account.

  4. Glad it worked for you too – a nice little leg-up from Amex as usual, helping to justify that £450!

  5. Ha ha!

    Just went thru the first 4 steps as outlined by Raffles above.

    Always makes me giggle how these articles on HFP must cause so much confusion with these card companies and merchants etc

    ie Eurostar suddenly getting so many calls asking for email addresses to be changed!

  6. First of, great blog.

    Second, I have only very occasionally used Eurostar. However, with kids that a probably a little younger than Raffles’, I felt it might be a good idea to start the EFT membership now so it can help when/if we do Eurodisney a couple of years from now. So I’ve followed the steps outlined and now have an Amex induced EFT membership number, for which they are in the process of changing email address to my own. BUT I was told by the reps on the 0844 number above, that you have to book a £250 ticket once every year, or else they close the account. Is this correct??

    • I honestly don’t know. Should probably dig out the rules!

      However, with Amex, you can generally get them to open new accounts for you anyway simply by repeating the process above.

      • Thanks Raffles. I have just received the following email: –

        “Dear Camille

        Following your telephone call on the XX October, our Technical Team linked your e-mail address with your Frequent Traveller Amex account.

        Your password is XXXXXX”

        Note they refer to it as the EFT “Amex” account…..meaning it appears they differentiate between it and the regular pay-£250 fare account. Didi others emails say the same?
        Will check the T&C’s when I get a chance.

        Sure, you can get Amex to repeat, but what happens (a) to the points in the account they close? More importantly (b) any ticketed, but not yet travelled, sectors paid for with points from such an account?

        I suppose the best strategy would be to only transfer MRs into EFT when required and only the amount necessary for a planned redemption, which deals with (a) above. But I think clarity on (b) would help. Antone have any experiences.

        • Its clear that you should only move points across when you need a ticket. And as long as a redemption is ticketed, you will be good to go even if they shutter your account.

          I got my plastic EFT card today, by the way!