The launch of Club Eurostar last week appears to have contained a sting in the tail for many members.
Eurostar Frequent Traveller status points – as opposed to ‘spendable’ points – have not been carried over into the new programme.
Instead, existing members have had their status points reset to zero, their current status level extended for a further year and will be given an additional period to earn the necessary points.
If you were already Carte Blanche then this has no impact on you. OK, you’ve had your status points wiped out but you do not need to requalify anyway this year
If you were never going to reach Carte Blanche status, you are also OK
The hit has been taken by members who were at the basic level but were pushing to get Carte Blanche status in their current membership year.
Let’s assume that your Eurostar membership year runs to April 2018 and you had earned 1,000 of the 1,500 points previously required for Carte Blanche status. You thought you were well on the way.
What has happened now is that your status points have been taken back to zero. You have been given the mid-tier Avantage status but that does not come with any of the key Carte Blanche benefits, albeit that you do now have the benefit – previously only offered to CB members – of booking any seat on any train as a redemption.
As compensation, Eurostar is giving my example member until April 2019 – so 17 months – to earn enough points from scratch to reach Carte Blanche status (£1,800 of spend). For some people this will be seen as a decent deal. For those people who fully expected to reach Carte Blanche in their current membership year and – in my example – would start getting lounge access, priority security etc from April 2018, it is a mess.
There seems to be a groundswell of bad feeling building up amongst impacted members, especially as this was not communicated in advance in any of the earlier emails about the new programme. Some members had continued to travel with Eurostar during the last couple of months on the assumption that they were generating new points to carry forward.
There is a fairly easy fix here for Eurostar – carry over the deleted points.
But there is snag. I imagine, because everyone has had their membership year extended by 12 months, carrying over points from this year will result in a lot of people achieving Carte Blanche in 2018 who would not normally qualify. For a year, until these people dropped down again, there could be pressure on lounges and security.
I get a feeling that something has to give, however, because the people impacted the most are the up-and-coming frequent travellers which the company needs to keep happy.
I contacted Eurostar about this and they said that they would look at complaints on “a case-by-case basis”. If you feel that you were on track to reach Carte Blanche in your current membership year, based on your travel to date, it is worth getting in touch.
How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (August 2022)
Club Eurostar does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Club Eurostar points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.
Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 1,333 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 2,000 Club Eurostar points. Card benefits include Eurostar lounge access.
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 333 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for life.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Membership Rewards points convert at 15:1 into Club Eurostar points which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, so you will get the equivalent of 1 Club Eurostar point for every £15 you spend.
American Express Platinum comes with a great Eurostar benefit – Eurostar lounge access!
You can enter any Eurostar lounge, irrespective of your ticket type, simply by showing The Platinum Card at the desk. No guests are allowed but you can get entry for your partner by issuing them with a free supplementary Amex Platinum card on your account.