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A look at Club Eurostar, almost two years in – how is it going?

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Club Eurostar, which replaced Eurostar Frequent Traveller and Eurostar Plus Points, is now approaching its second birthday.

We don’t give it much coverage on Head for Points, mainly because it doesn’t run many promotions and we are generally news-driven.  It remains a good scheme, however, and I will occasionally make Membership Rewards transfers from American Express in order to redeem for a ticket.

Remember that free tickets with Club Eurostar are genuinely free – there are no taxes or charges.

Club Eurostar review

Club Eurostar was formed from the merger of the two existing loyalty programmes.  Eurostar Frequent Traveller was theoretically aimed at frequent business travellers whilst Eurostar Plus Points (which only offered train gift vouchers as rewards) was aimed at the leisure market.

This was eventually seen as being too confusing, and a new hybrid scheme was put together.  Overall, they got it right.

How do you earn Club Eurostar points?

Club Eurostar is fully revenue based for earning, but not for redeeming.

For every £1 spent you earn 1 point.  Tickets priced in € are converted to £.

This is, in all cases, more generous than the previous Eurostar Frequent Traveller earning chart, especially for people on cheaper tickets.

How do you spend Club Eurostar points?

Whilst the earning rate went up, the cost of redemptions also went up.  The changes were modest, however, and there was one major improvement – the launch of ‘anytime’ redemptions.

Club Eurostar redemption chart

Historically, Eurostar redemption availability was good unless you wanted to travel on peak time trains on a Friday night or at the weekend.

‘Anytime’ rewards get around this.  You can now redeem additional points to guarantee yourself a seat.  The additional premium is fairly modest, if you remember that British Airways wants a 100% premium to open up an Avios seat, and only Gold members can do that.

Club Eurostar also increased the number of seats available for standard rewards by giving everyone access to the extra tier of redemption seats which were reserved for Carte Blanche top tier members.

Upgrades and discounts

Club Eurostar allows you to upgrade your ticket with points.  This is only available between Standard and Standard Premier – you cannot upgrade from Standard Premier to Business Premier.

Upgrading a cash economy ticket costs just 500 points each way.  It can be done online, using the ‘upgrade journey’ function under ‘use points’.

I have been told by Eurostar, although I have never tested this, that there does NOT need to be redemption availability in Standard Premier in order to do this.  As long as there are cash tickets for sale, you can upgrade.

‘Points Pooling’ is now available

Whilst Club Eurostar does not have family accounts, it has something even more flexible – points pooling.  You can transfer points to anyone you want, although transfers inwards do not count towards status.

Here are the rules:

  • You can share a maximum of 3,000 points in one go
  • You can share a maximum of 6,000 points in each calendar year
  • You can share a maximum of 3,000 points with one member in each calendar year
  • You can share points with a maximum of four people in each calendar year
  • You can receive a maximum of 3,000 points in each calendar year
  • Points have to be shared in multiples of 100

What are the Club Eurostar tier levels?

Club Eurostar has three membership tiers instead of the two tiers on the Frequent Traveller programme.

Classique – your status when first joining

Avantage – after 400 points earned or 5 return trips in a membership year

Carte Blanche – after 1,800 points earned or 24 return trips in a membership year

Avantage lets you spend points with other railway partners (TGV, Thalys, Lyria) and the Club Eurostar shop.

Carte Blanche members can use the Business Premier and Rail Team lounges, get fast track access, have a dedicated Club Eurostar support team, can use the Business Premier ticket office and have a cab waiting at arrival.

American Express Platinum Club Eurostar lounge access

American Express is a Club Eurostar transfer partner

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Club Eurostar at the rate of 15:1.

You would need (1,500 x 15) 22,500 Amex points for an ‘anytime’ Standard return ticket.  At peak times (Friday nights out, Sunday nights back) this is potentially very good value.

Using 15,000 Membership Rewards for a ‘value’ return ticket looks like a weaker deal as – if you have complete freedom to pick and choose your trains – you can get return tickets for well under £100.  However, you should still be able to get around 0.65p or above per Amex point.

The sweet spot remains Standard Premier.  This gets you the same seat as Business Premier but a lower quality meal and no lounge access.  At 30,000 Amex points for a return ticket, this is good value.

Holders of The Platinum Card from American Express get FREE access to all Eurostar lounges, irrespective of ticket type.  This is restricted to UK-issued Platinum cards.  No guests are allowed, but if your partner has a free supplementary Platinum card then this will get them access.  At quiet times you may find the lounge staff allow you to bring in young children – we have got away with this in the past.

There are no taxes to pay on Club Eurostar redemptions.  Free means free.

Club Eurostar has an earn and burn partnership with Accor

Club Eurostar has a two-way partnership with Le Club AccorHotels, the hotel loyalty chain covering Ibis, Novotel, Mercure, Sofitel, Pullman etc.

You can transfer Accor points into Club Eurostar, as well as transferring Club Eurostar points into Le Club AccorHotels points.  The exchange rates are not fantastic, however – this article explains the Eurostar / Accor partnership in detail.

Club Eurostar review

How is Club Eurostar looking, almost two years on?

Merging the two schemes into one was a sensible move, and it was done in a way which kept most people happy.

To be fair, there were some issues over tier points when the scheme launched, with some people losing out due to the way points were carried over.  Anyone who contacted Eurostar had their case looked at and, in most cases, a status adjustment made.

The current scheme is free to join (Eurostar Frequent Traveller previously required you to spend £250 / €285 on tickets before you could join) and earning points is straightforward.  More importantly, the ability to redeem for any train, any time – if cash seats are available – gives members a lot of confidence that they will be able to redeem for the seats they want.

Full details can be found on the Eurostar website here.

Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (September 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 (26)

  • Oli says:

    This reminds me of the massive devaluation we suffered as Carte Blanche, with Standard peak tickets going from 900 to 1500 points.

    • Renaud says:

      Today the only tangible benefit of CB is lounge access. Whereas previously I never had any problems booking redemptions at short notice for 900 points, now even weeks in advance I have to cough 1500 points. The new accrual rate (£1 = 1 pt) doesn’t make up for this increase.

    • Ben says:

      +another1 this made it pointless to retain Carte Blanche, which I did religiously before these changes. I think it will hurt them long-term.

      • Renaud says:

        To be honest I still consider priority check-in and lounge access (cocktail bar!) as valuable benefits. But I find the value for money of points has dramatically decreased for CB holders.

  • TM says:

    I would recommend trying to upgrade with cash from Standard to Standard Premier at the terminal. I contemplated using 15k MR points to upgrade our tickets, luckily I didn’t as I managed to upgrade them for £39 each at the info desk. (London to Paris, 4 days ago)

    • PaulC says:

      I’m contemplating whether or not to upgrade our Standard seats to Standard Premier for £148 or 15,000 MR points travelling London to Brugge. Would you advise not to and try and negotiate a better deal when we arrive at check-in?

      • TM says:

        Depends how much you mind missing out on Standard Premier if there is no availability at the terminal. I didn’t mind, and the price of £191 per person to upgrade online before arrival I thought was not reasonable.

        You could take a look at the seat map by going to change your seats, to see how full it looks. I would guess that the availability should be fine, but don’t hold me to that!

        • PaulC says:

          Its our first time on Eurostar so don’t know what its worth. We do however have a booking in Standard Premier from Brugge to Amsterdam a few days later so wont be missing out completely if we don’t get it from London to Brugge. I think i’ll take the gamble and will ask at the information desk at Check-in. Thanks for the info, I didn’t think to ask at the information desk on Check-in.

          • Gavin says:

            It’s not really worth much at all IMO – the Standard seats are spacious enough. The meal is hardly worth anything. There may be a bit more value in Standard Premier if you’re travelling alone and can get one of the single seats.

    • Rich says:

      Interesting data point.

      How much were your original tickets, and what was the price difference to SP on your departure day?

      • TM says:

        I paid £56 each for two one-way tickets. I didn’t check how much the actual SP tickets were selling for on the day – the upgrade to SP was £191 each however. IIRC the SP tickets at the time of purchase (in May) were selling for approximately £180.

  • Shane says:

    As you don’t specifically mention, can one assume that the above purchase and upgrade options are generally (if not always) preferable to converting points into discounts off a cash ticket?

  • PJJ says:

    Am I right in thinking that you can no longer book travel for family and friends and claim the points yourself ?
    Thanks all in advance

    • Rob says:

      You can, by setting up accounts for the other people and then moving them across via pooling. They won’t count for status though.

      • Rob says:

        Has been there for ages – I thought it was dead due to the BA / FT falling out, but no!

      • N says:

        Eurostar live chat actually suggested this to me soon after the changeover!

    • Renaud says:

      That’s correct. As Rob says, now you have to set up separate accounts for all your F&F instead of just quoting your FT number at booking, which is less convenient. And you can only transfer by multiples of 100, so a portion of the points will always be wasted. I think the only benefit of the new method is that it allows you to credit retroactively if you forgot to fill your number at booking time.

  • xmenlongshot says:

    Same here – page virtually unusable

  • Liz says:

    Can no longer access HFP via phone or ipad – only desktop which I rarely use.

    • Rob says:

      Even if Google Adsense has not managed to kill it yet, it isn’t currently being loaded because there are no external ads on the mobile site. It is in your cache somewhere.

      I have tried to replicate it on both my wife’s iPhone and mine, and the kids iPad, since the ads were pulled (none of which were used to access HFP in the few hours before the ads were pulled) and it doesn’t happen.

      A look at the Google Adsense forum shows this is a global issue, not just us.

  • Geoff says:

    The scheme became even less interesting today. I received an email confirming that you will need 32 return trips or 2400 points from october 2019 to be able to access the Carte Blanche status. This is a huge change and one that basically will segregate a lot of already generous eurostar clients.

    It now harder to get points, they are of lower value and 32 returns is a very very very hefty bill.

    The amex platinum now almost looks like an interesting investment.

    • James Aber says:

      Yeah I saw it too, it is ridiculous. I actually feel like most people I know or encounter in the lounge, got their access through their credit card. Very rarely, aside from my work colleagues, do I encounter CB members.

      If they want to tackle overcrowding, perhaps don’t make your most valueable customers suck it up. Maybe limit the lounge accesses or something for credit card holders (like some airline lounges do, limit it to 6/year or whatever)

  • Crole says:

    Though I have already completed my Carte Blanche requirement of 1800 points this year I have been notified that I now have to earn an additional 600 points to remain in CB. This because my membership years ends after the October 2019 increase to 2400 points minimum. I find this pretty high handed.

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