Eurostar abandoning trial of 180 days advance booking

Back in December I posted about Eurostar extending their booking window from four months to six months.  This seemed a sensible thing for them to do, especially for the leisure market, and I fully expected it to become permanent.

It seems not.

Eurostar 6

A Head for Points reader recently contacted Eurostar to ask why he could not book a train for later in the year and was told:

The extended booking horizon was a trial through the summer to allow our customers from the USA, Australia and such like to be able to plan their travel well in advance along with their flights and was a success. However, we are unable to maintain this horizon throughout the winter as we have been unable to secure agreement from the other line operators involved at this time.

Currently the horizon is still 180 days at our call centre but this will start to shrink back to normal throughout July/August and the website is further restricted due to system restraints which means that the booking horizons for online are not able to marry up with the booking horizon here at the contact centre. As the horizon shrinks back to 120 day the website will realign with the contact centre.”

…. which is a shame.

PS.  Despite my scathing review of Eurostar food earlier this year, I am booked on them again (Standard Premier) in September as we are taking the kids to Paris and Disney.  This was booked as an American Express Membership Rewards conversion into Eurostar Frequent Traveller points, before anyone asks!  It will be interesting to see if anything has improved.

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Comments

  1. Is there any benefit for booking with Eurostar points rather than Avios? Seems to be an equivalent number of points. But better to use their own loyalty scheme for any reason – e.g ease of booking, cancellation etc? About to book trip to Brussels and don’t currently have Eurostar account (any offers for signing up by the way – for me or anyone who refers?). Thanks.

    • Frenske says:

      The benfit would be that you can use up orphan Eurostar plus points. Additionally you would still earn Eurostar Plus points.

      There are no referral bonus as far as I know.

    • Click search by category menu on the right under Eurostar and you will see articles from last year that compare the 3 ways of redeeming for Eurostar.

      Basically, using Avios the number of Avios needed is roughly what gets you 0.5p per point. Unless booking very quiet trains a long way ahead, you will use fewer Amex points for the same trip if converting into EFT.

      EFT also allows one way bookings and / or mixed classes. Using Avios you must book a return.

  2. Andrew says:

    Interestingly we travelled on the direct train to Disney in standard class and on the return journey, I was able to book us in a standard premier carriage (no food served obviously.) Apparently they sell so few seats in standard premier on the Disney service that many of the 2-1 seated carriages are used for standard class.

  3. I must admit this is good news for me and I suspect the other people who don’t live in London. I attempted to purchase an advance ticket on Eurostar with their £69 promotion last month only to notice that all the good time cheap seats had gone. I say this as I was attempting to book my connecting train on Chiltern and I can only book this the standard 12 weeks in advance. This is compared to late 2012 when I was able to get the same type of tickets 12 weeks in advance with OK availability.

    • Lady London says:

      For Eurostar there have been times when making a through booking on Eurostar from a non-London station in the UK showed better pricing or availability than from London. The UK stations you can book from are on the pulldown list of starting points. I tested this out from York or Newcastle a while back. Although sadly I wasn’t going to be able to be in Yorkshire at that time to start the journey!

      • I wonder if you’d need to? Does Eurostar cancel your reservation if you no-show for York-London? (as airlines would) I doubt it….

        • Trevor says:

          No, you don’t have to start at the start. They have no real way of connecting your bookings and knowing if you boarded the first train. This is a good way to get cheaper tickets too – you can book from a station like Roosendaal in southern Netherlands to London via http://www.nshispeed.nl/ which can be cheaper than a normal Brussels to London ticket, and then only get on at Brussels Midi anyway.

  4. Andrew S says:

    At least a good substantive reply from customer service…