Eurostar Frequent Traveller (not to be confused with Eurostar Plus Points, their leisure-based loyalty scheme) announced on Thursday that it was introducing a ‘part points, part cash’ redemption option.
Here is the new range of pricing:
Standard Class, return
- 900 points, or
- 700 points + £30, or
- 600 points + £45, or
- 500 points + £60
Standard Premier, return
- 1800 points, or
- 1400 points + £60, or
- 1200 points + £90, or
- 1000 points + £120
Business Premier, return
- 2500 points, or
- 2000 points + £75, or
- 1800 points + £105, or
- 1600 points + £135
Note that ‘cash and points’ tickets can only be booked by telephone. There has been no change to the points required for an ‘all points redemption.
Is this a good deal?
It is certainly a good deal if you don’t have enough points to get the tickets you need, because you now can. That is a no-brainer.
If you need two tickets, you need to do the maths based on the cash price. Imagine you have 1,000 points. You can either redeem 900 points for one free Standard ticket and pay cash for another, or use 500 points + £60 for two redemption tickets.
If a Standard Class ticket would cost more than £120, ‘part pay with points’ is a better deal. You also get to retain flexibility – if you had one redemption ticket and one cash ticket, you would lose flexibility because the cash ticket would be non-changeable.
However, there is one scenario where I do not think that ‘part pay with points’ is a good deal.
Eurostar Frequent Traveller is an American Express Membership Rewards partner. The transfer rate is 15:1.
As you can see above, Eurostar is effectively charging you £15 for every 100 points you need. However, if you have some Amex points, you can get those same 100 Eurostar points by converting 1,500 American Express points.
Using 1,500 Amex points to save £15 values them at 1p each. That is a VERY GOOD return on Amex points, which are only worth 0.5p if redeemed for gift cards and rarely more than 1p when redeemed for airline miles or hotel points.
Before using ‘part pay with points’, consider transferring over Amex points instead if you can. It is a better deal.
Other new redemption options now available
If you really can’t face more train travel, Eurostar has also introduced a new broader range of non-rail redemptions. These are generally poor value compared to redeeming for rail travel.
A £75 Selfridges gift card, for instance, costs 1,500 points – that is almost enough for a Standard Premier return ticket. One interesting option is a range of treatments at the St Pancras Spa which start at 2,900 points. You can find full details of these online.