Avios sale – 40% off Eurostar tickets NOW BOOKABLE

At noon today, the last offer in the 2014 Avios sale launched.

Todays offer – which will run until midday on Monday – is a discount on Eurostar redemptions.

Here is a summary of the terms and conditions, which to be honest I think are very reasonable:

You can book to Paris, Brussels and Lille

Both 100% Avios and ‘part cash, part Avios’ bookings are reduced, but not ‘full cash’ bookings

All trips must be return, not one-way

Standard Premier tickets are reduced by 40%

Standard tickets are reduced by 33%

Bookings must be made by noon on Monday

You must travel between 3rd February and 14th May

Black-out dates are 14/02/14 – 24/02/14 and 04/04/14 – 21/04/14

Tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable once booked

Eurostar 6

This offer is ONLY available via avios.com, as British Airways Executive Club does not offer Eurostar as a redemption option.  If you want to book Eurostar seats, you will need to move your Avios from BA to avios.com via ‘Combine My Avios’.

Back in September, Nick Burch wrote a series of articles on Eurostar redemptions for Head for Points (see here, here and here).  The text below is taken from his article on redeeming Avios points for Eurostar tickets.

How to book

It is not possible to book Eurostar tickets from avios.com online.

When you want to book, you’ll need to ring the 0844 number listed on the avios.com Eurostar page and pay your phone company a small fortune (especially from a mobile) for the privilege. Alternately, head over to saynoto0870.com and find one of the “real” phone numbers for avios and call them on that! The menus are fairly clear on what to go for, and you’ll normally be through to a person in a minute or two.

But before you do that…

Go to the main Eurostar website, and search for regular cash tickets for the day(s) of interest. You MUST book a return ticket starting from the UK – it isn’t possible to book a one-way or a continent-originating Eurostar ticket through Avios.

(You can, though, book a through-train which connects to a TGV or Thalys train.  Nice, for example, is possible, as is Marseille, Lyon etc.)

Look up the times, work out when you want to go, and use the section below to figure a rough price.   The standard rules to remember are:

  • You can book for multiple people as long as you’re one of the travellers
  • You can only book in Standard or Standard Premier, not Business Premier
  • You can book mixed classes
  • You can only book non-flexible, non-changeable tickets

With your ideal trains selected, and your Avios transfered over if needed, give them a call and get a price.

A rough guide to prices

The avios.com Eurostar page lists starting prices for the various journeys that Eurostar offer. They also give some ideas of the different part-cash, part-Avios rates available, which can offer the best value. However, all the numbers on the website are *from* prices, and the final amount of Avios you need can, and often is, higher.

The cheapest cash tickets for a standard class return are £69, and the cheapest Standard Premier ones are £159. That’s for a journey from London, Ashford or Ebbsfleet to Lille, Brussels or Paris – it’s all the same starting price. Journeys on the Winter weekend ski trains start at £149 return, and the Summer Saturday services to the south of France are much the same.

Here are the headline Avios prices (these prices do NOT reflect the 40% discount which should be on offer this weekend):

Standard class return Lille / Paris / Brussels:

£69 or 9,000 Avios or 7,000 Avios + £20 or 2,000 Avios + £50

Standard Premier return Lille / Paris / Brussels:

£159 or 20,000 Avios or 12,000 Avios + £50 or 2,000 Avios + £120

Standard class return Alps / Avignon:

£149 or 25,000 Avios or 15,000 Avios + £60 or 2,000 Avios + £140

Standard Premier return Alps / Avignon:

£229 or 38,500 Avios or 15,000 Avios + £150 or 2,000 Avios + £220

The headline *from* Avios prices are only available when the cheapest headline cash fares are available. Once those sell out, the Avios price rises too. You’ll also notice that the cash + Avios rates don’t scale directly with the Avios, and so can offer better rates.

As you will see below, I ran some experiments and the cheapest *from* Avios prices offer the best value for money.  It starts to slip slightly (but not hugely) as the cash price for the Eurostar ticket increases. 

On both the standard class and Standard Premier returns, at the lowest Avios rates you’re only getting about 0.8p / Avios in value.  On a part Avios, part cash booking for when the cash price is lowest, you can get about 0.9p / Avios in value on cash + Avios booking. Once the price has started increasing, it drops to about 0.6p/Avios.  (Raffles note:  you will obviously do a lot better than this if you can book a sale seat.)

Eurostar 5

Looking at some real numbers, as I found from a long phone call with Avios.com asking for lots of different options, I managed to draw up this table:

  • Eurostar.com price || Avios rate || Equiv || Cash+Avios || Equiv
  • £69  ||  9,000 Avios || 0.8p / Avios ||  7,000 + £20 || 0.7p / Avios
  • £110 || 18,500 Avios || 0.6p / Avios || 11,000 + £50 || 0.5p / Avios
  • £120 || 20,000 Avios || 0.6p / Avios || 12,000 + £55 || 0.5p / Avios
  • £159 || 20,000 Avios || 0.8p / Avios || 12,000 + £50 || 0.9p / Avios
  • £174 || 29,000 Avios || 0.6p / Avios || 17,500 + £75 || 0.6p / Avios

(I believe the cash + Avios value on higher cash components are better value, but there was only so long I could spend on the phone asking for different pricing options…!)

Roughly speaking, once the very cheapest tickets have sold out on eurostar.com, count on getting about 0.6p per Avios in value, which isn’t amazing.  (Raffles note:  at a 40% discount, this would improve to 1p per Avios, which is a lot better!)

How easy is it to get the £69 return tickets, and hence the 9,000 Avios price?

A week out and you’ve basically no hope, even on the less popular London to Lille trains (Paris seems to be the most popular, then Brussels, then Lille). Two weeks out mid-week and there are some, three weeks out and you can find the odd weekend one.

If you book 2-3 months out (booking horizon is 180 days) you ought to be able to get pretty much the train you want! Eurostar do offer a “Flexible Dates” search, which shows the cheapest price each day for a month, which can be a big help in finding them.”

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

IHG extends its '10% off weekends' deal to 28 February
How to get a discount on Gatwick Express (2014 edition)
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  1. Can you remind me of the deal with lounge access and amex plat for Eurostar.

    I recall I can’t guest my wife in? What if she is a supp card holder on my account ? Can she get in then or does she have to have her own account?

    • No guests included, but if you’ve each got A Plat card then that’s fine as you’re both entitled. I must say they only had a cursory glance at it when I last used them!

      • Do they swipe the card or just look at it

        • They just check the name against the boarding pass. To be honest, they rarely even bother to check the boarding pass either, but I’d be wary of risking that!

        • Indeed at St Pancras on my outbound I just waved the Plat card in there direction and they smiled and let me in 😀 It’s a funny lounge there – good views out but very narrow and long. Much quieter upstairs when I was visiting and in retrospect I can see why they don’t want folk going through security too early given the relatively limited departure area seating.

        • This is an issue for me as wife has my surname on her supp plat card but her passport (and therefore the boarding pass) is in her maiden name still 🙁

        • I honestly doubt they are too bothered if you explain, if the initial matches.

    • If your wife has the supplementary Platinum on your account then, yes, she can get in with that.

  2. Any idea if there is discount for kids? Cash prices seem to be 30% cheaper for children. Do you get same discount with booking with Avios?

  3. Waribai says:

    “You can book for multiple people as long as you’re one of the travellers”

    I have previously booked for the whole family when I personally couldn’t travel and just not used my ticket. As all tickets are individually issued (especially if you get the ticket code of Eurostar and used the automated collection machines), you sacrifice the avios but it is a way of booking for friends/family when you yourself cannot travel. In a sale, I think this ploy could prove handy. Of course, this has to be weighed up against the cost of cash tickets as highlighted by Raffles above.

  4. Waribai says:

    Also, I am not sure if it has been mentioned beofre but avios cannot choose seats for you. So if you’re a family of four you will most probably be seated together but not necessarily at a table. If you phone Eurostar and give them your avios booking code they can re-allocate the seats so you are seated at a table and also give you the ticket code ensuring that you can use the automated ticket collection machines. You also can collect the tickets from any Eurostar machine and contrary to avios advice you can collect them long ahead of your travel date rather than ‘turning up one hour before and collecting them on the day.

  5. I wonder if they will (erroneously or otherwise) offer 40% off cash bookings, bringing the lowest price down to £41 return, which would be fantastic. I’m going to try calling ahead of the midday to see if the sale fares have been loaded – will report back with findings.

    • Do Avios.com do cash bookings for Eurostar though?

    • So I called them up – doesn’t appear that the sale fares have yet been loaded on the system (based on a random search of a couple of dates) so this one may only go “live” at midday

      I was informed that the offer only goes up to 14 May (seems a random date though so might not be correct) with some exclusions: 27 Jan – 4 Feb (??); 14 Feb – 24 Feb (presume half term); 4 April – 21 April (Easter). Shame, as I was hoping for a June trip to Paris/Brussels!

      The sale is for both Standard and Standard Premier. Not sure if 40% off or “up to” 40% off a la recent hotel sale.

      • Hmm, that’s annoying as I was hoping to book 21-23rd Feb. Guess apart from choosing a different date, there is no way around this 🙁

  6. Or forget it all and book via Amex MR instead – at least you know where you are with them

    • needroos says:

      What are the MR redemption options?

      • Click on the links in the post to Nick Burch’s other posts from September.

        Most flexible option is to let Amex open you a Eurostar Frequent Traveller account (the £250 spend requirement is waved) and then transfer points over. That is what I did.

  7. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Eurostar™ bookings from the UK to Paris, Brussels and Lille that are paid for in full Avios and part Avios will be eligible for a discount of up to 40%. Full cash bookings are excluded. Discount applies to return journeys only. A 40% discount will apply to any Avios used on selected non flexible Standard Premier Class Eurostar™ bookings or a 33% discount will apply to Avios used on selected non flexible Standard Class Eurostar™ bookings for bookings made between 12pm GMT 17/01/14 and 11.59am GMT 20/01/14 for travel completed between 03/02/14 and 14/05/14. Excluding 14/02/14 – 24/02/14 and 04/04/14 – 21/04/14. Once booked tickets are non changeable and non refundable. All bookings are subject to Eurostar™ conditions of carriage and Avios terms and conditions. Bookings are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available on some routes at certain times. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

    • ankomonkey says:

      I was planning this for early June but the end date prevents this. The only other option I could do was from 3/4 – their Easter blackout means only one leg would be possible at the reduced price.

      Not such a loss since they sneaked in the “upto” clause making the value less than I assuming anyway. This was my final attempt after they ruined the only other deals I was interested in with some sort of restriction that made it unattractive. At least they’re consistent…

    • Damn, was planning on using this for Eurostar from St Pancras to Bourg St Maurice in March for skiing but looks according to the terms and conditions it’s only available for journeys to Paris, Lille or Brussels – has anyone tried with different routes?

      • Nick Burch says:

        The winter ski trains and summer south-of-France trains are amazing value via Eurostar frequent traveller points – just 500 points one way, vs 450 one way to Lille/Paris/Brussels. Transfer some Amex MR points over, see one of the other posts for details.

  8. Side question, sorry. How long does it take for the Starwood points to be transferred from Amex? They’ve been standing there for more than 2 weeks now..

    • It can drag. My last Lufthansa transfer took a month. Each has a different schedule, I know that Emirates miles go across every Saturday for example.

  9. Thanks Raffles. I guess they do it on purpose, so you don’t cancel it..

  10. Hi All,

    Just thought i would let you know,
    Just made a booking in feb for a standard return for 6,000 avios a person.
    I’m not taking the outbound journey and euro star have confirmed that this will not affect the return jouney.

  11. Is the 40% off on the avios needed only or the avios and the cash needed? I.e. for a standard premier it is normally 2,000 Avios + £120… so with the offer would it be 1,200 (40% off) and £120 or would you also get the 40% off the cash part… so 1,200 and £72?


  12. Does anyone know what class (as per airlines!) Avios Eurostar book into? As you can see on GDS.

    This is St Pancras – Paris standard classes (may be hidden classes as well):

    QQS XPG 0831 1147 9F9010 J9 Z9 IC GC SC Y9 B9 H9 M9 K9 N9 Q9 V9

    Will enable me to research and book asap if anyone knows? I’ve never seen mention.

  13. I’ve just been quoted for a Paris return, in Standard for 2 Adults, 1 child & 1 infant – 15,000 + £30.
    In February, midweek.
    Apparently weekend seats are scarce.

  14. Just made a booking. February half term, outside sale times. 29000 avios in Std Premier. Held off booking it last week as was hoping it would be cheaper today, but wasn’t.

    How do I collect tickets if they were paid with avios? I don’t have a credit card to insert in to the collection machine as I didn’t pay with one!

    • Waribai says:

      Phone Eurostar and give them your avios booking code. They’ll give you the Eurostar one. Punch it into the machine and it’ll spit your tickets out.