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How I got good value for my American Express Membership Rewards points with Eurostar

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I need to be in Paris for two days at the end of June, returning home on a perennially expensive Friday evening.  As my hotel is only three metro stops from Gare du Nord it made sense to take the train back rather than fly.

With cash tickets reassuringly expensive for booking two weeks in advance, this was a good opportunity to check out the new ‘guaranteed availability’ benefit of redeeming with Club Eurostar points.

As I didn’t have any Club Eurostar points, this required a transfer from American Express Membership Rewards.  I thought it was worth looking at the value I got from this.

Club Eurostar points with American Express Membership Rewards

Transferring Amex points to Club Eurostar

Club Eurostar is the new Eurostar loyalty scheme launched last Autumn.  It replaced the two previous schemes, Eurostar Frequent Traveller and Eurostar Plus Points.

Reward availability with Eurostar was always pretty good.  It is now perfect, because under Club Eurostar you can book on ANY train in ANY class as long as you are prepared to pay a small premium.

Here is the new redemption chart – only look at the ‘Club Eurostar’ column:

The transfer rate in from Amex is 15 Membership Rewards to one Club Eurostar point.  This means you’re looking at:

Standard Class – 15,000 Amex points return (22,500 for an ‘Anytime’ ticket)

Standard Premier – 30,000 Amex points return (37,500 for an ‘Anytime’ ticket)

Business Premier – 45,000 Amex points return for an ‘Anytime’ ticket

Tickets can be booked as singles or returns in any of the three classes.

All Eurostar routes cost the same number of points, making the South of France and the Winter ski services excellent value.

Friday night Eurostar tickets are not cheap ….

Booking two weeks in advance for a Friday evening service in Summer was never going to come out well.  This was the pricing I was looking at, for a one-way from Paris to London:

Standard Premier:  £215

Business Premier:  £303

I didn’t want to travel in Standard, as 2 hr 20 min in a full train did not really appeal – and the saving was only £50.  The idea of a private solo seat in Premier was far more interesting.

In terms of points, it was going to be:

Standard Premier:  1,250 Club Eurostar points, which is 18,750 Amex Membership Rewards points

Business Premier:  1,500 Club Eurostar points, which is 22,500 Amex Membership Rewards points

However, you can only transfer Amex points in multiples of 1,500.  This means that the Standard Premier ticket would actually have cost me 19,500 Amex points.

The only differences between Standard Premier and Business Premier are better food, lounge access and 10-minute check-in.  I have lounge access via my Amex Platinum charge card.  Despite that, I still decided to use the extra 3,000 points for Business Premier as life is short and my Membership Rewards pot is large – although I doubt the meal will be worth the notional extra £25-£30!

This is how the redemptions worked out:

Standard Premier:  1.14p per Amex point

Business Premier:  1.34p per Amex point

However …. I always stress that you should value redemptions based on what you would reasonably have paid.  Would I have paid £303 for Business Premier when Standard Premier was £215?  No way.  I didn’t mind using an extra 3,000 Amex points though.

You could also argue that I didn’t need to get the Friday peak train.  If I had waited until 6.45pm I could have bought a Standard Premier ticket for £137.  If I’d done that, though, I wouldn’t have been home in time to put my kids to bed which is something I don’t like to miss if I can help it.  There would also have been a lot of hanging around given that I couldn’t have pushed my hotel check-out beyond 4pm.

American Express Membership Rewards Eurostar

Other points to note ….

Had I booked earlier, I would have been able to get a one-way Standard Premier ticket for 1,000 points instead of 1,250 Club Eurostar points.  I ended up with a pricier ‘Anytime’ ticket.

‘Anytime’ tickets have one important bit of upside if you are converting points from Amex.  Because you are guaranteed to be able to redeem the seat you want, you don’t need to worry about reward seat availability disappearing whilst you wait for the points to transfer across.

As it happened, it took 48 hours for the points to move across from American Express to Club Eurostar.  My accounts were already linked – if yours are not already linked, the first transaction may take a little longer.

Without wishing to state the obvious, there are no taxes or charges on Eurostar redemptions.  Free means free. 

With a bit of organising and advance booking, you can get a return Standard ticket from the centre of London to the centre of Paris – or south of France – for 15,000 Membership Rewards points all-in (no taxes or fees) so it can offer a decent deal. 

I ended up paying a lot more but that is the price you pay for booking a Friday night train in a premium cabin at two weeks notice …..


Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to earn Club Eurostar points from UK credit cards (June 2021)

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 cardsThese are:

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.

Comments (40)

  • kk says:

    Do the gates really close 30 minutes prior to departure?
    In my experience this time is purely advisory and the gates still work past 30 minutes, i.e. there isn’t a hard cutoff. Although I think I’ve only pushed it a few minutes.

    (this is apart from the issue of queues, which is another matter)

    • the real harry1 says:

      T5 agents are meant to be very strict about all matters conformance, if you’re 1 minute late for Security you won’t be allowed past boarding pass check & I imagine gates are similarly fairly strict.

      Other terminals, other airports maybe not so bad.

    • John says:

      even if the automatic gates are closed, there’s the channel for manual check-in, if there’re no queues i’d think they’d let you through if you were a few minutes late

      with Carte Blache/business they claim 10 minutes minimum, that’s easily doable at St Pancras, probably Brussels too as trains are infrequent, but if it’s bust at GDN you’d to queue-jump at both passport controls and then again at security, any of which could trigger abuse or worse

  • testpie says:

    I had issues adding my Eurostar ID to Amex Member Rewards, called up and we got there after three attempts.

    I then had issues redeeming with the ID I added, so had to call again. My advice would be, if your Club Eurostar ID is problematic when you add it online, call Amex Customer Services and do the lot (add account and transfer points in one go.

  • Eddie says:

    Do you have to use the points immediately on booking or can you “park” in your Eurostar account for later use. Thinking of treating my daughter and husband with SP returns to Paris for her 40th birthday but it’s next April and my current 30000 plus Gold points expire in August as I intend to then close cards and wait six months to churn

    • Rob says:

      You can park them – they will expire at some point but not quickly.

      • menachem says:

        a friend of mine has a ba account with points that expired…., does anyone know if there is a option to revive them ?

        • Rob says:

          Can always call but BA is not known for it. Starwood gave me some back once.

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