What are Club Eurostar points worth? We do the maths.

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What are Club Eurostar points worth?

I have pondered this question – without answering it – in a couple of recent articles, including this one from two weeks ago on which is the best American Express Membership Rewards points redemption.

Whenever I write about Club Eurostar I say that I value a point at 10p.  With my Eurostar travel picking up over the last couple of years, I started to wonder whether I was undervaluing them.

10p per point was fair, in my mind, based on my personal Eurostar travel.  However, my use of Eurostar is NOT typical.  When I go to Paris it is usually to review a hotel for HFP, and I take off-peak mid-morning trains out and mid-afternoon trains home.  These trains tend to be relatively cheap, even if booked at 2-3 weeks notice.

Most Head for Points readers do not use Eurostar like this.  Even if they take the same trains that I do when working – which will normally be a cash trip paid for by their employer – they are likely to want to redeem for a weekend break.

Here is the key point – Club Eurostar lets you redeem on ANY train.  You need more points for peak services, but as long as seats are bookable for cash you can book them for points.  There are also no taxes or charges to pay.  Free, for once, really means free.

What are Club Eurostar points worth?

Here is the pricing:

Standard class – 1,000 Club Eurostar points off-peak and 1,500 points peak, return

Standard Premier – 2,000 Club Eurostar points off-peak and 2,500 points peak, return

Business Premier – 3,000 Club Eurostar points at all times, return

Peak and off-peak is NOT driven by date.  There are a fixed number of tickets available for each service at off-peak pricing and then it switches to peak.

For the purposes of this analysis:

I am only looking at London to Paris, the most popular redemption option

I am only looking at Standard and Standard Premier.  In my mind, Standard Premier is the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of value – you get the same Business Premier seat and a three course meal with wine, but you don’t get fast track security, lounge access or a ‘premium meal’.  Many people are perfectly happy with Standard, however, especially if travelling as a couple (I think that there are no solo seats in Standard).

What are Club Eurostar points worth?

I looked at pricing for a weekend break to Paris booked one month, two months and four months ahead of travel.  As it is currently December, I would expect my prices to be lower than what you would find if I did the same exercise in May.  I am tempted to repeat it then to see the difference.

I took the same trains on each occasion, which I thought were the ideal ‘weekend break’ services:

18.01 from London St Pancras on Friday, arriving at 21.15 in Gare du Nord

19.13 from Paris Gare du Nord on Sunday, arriving at 19.39 in St Pancras

Here were the prices:

Standard:

One month ahead: £239 return

Two months ahead:  £151 return

Four months ahead:  £134 return

Standard Premier:

One month ahead: £239 return (not a typo – it was the same price as Standard!)

Two months ahead:  £299 return

Four months ahead:  £219 return

What are Club Eurostar points worth?

Let’s look at the value you are getting for your points on this basis, turning the prices above into ‘pence per Club Eurostar point’.

Standard:

One month ahead: 15.9p per Club Eurostar point (peak pricing)

Two months ahead:  15.1p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)

Four months ahead:  13.4p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)

Standard Premier:

One month ahead: 12.0p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)

Two months ahead:  13.3p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak out, peak return)

Four months ahead:  10.1p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)

Looking at these numbers, it looks like I can increase my Club Eurostar valuation to at least 12.5p for anyone happy to redeem in Standard for a long weekend in Paris.  For anyone who prefers Standard Premier, 10p still looks fair.

Assuming that you will get your Club Eurostar points by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points at 15:1, I should increase my ‘value of an Amex point when used for Eurostar’ from 0.66p to a range of 0.66p to 0.85p.

Of course, you need to factor in the fact that cash tickets would earn valuable Club Eurostar points back.

As with airline miles, you will find that your points have substantially more value if your lifestyle means that you are likely to need to travel at short notice.

What are Club Eurostar points worth?

How to earn Club Eurostar points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Club Eurostar does not have its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Club Eurostar points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 15:1 into Club Eurostar points.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, so you earn the equivalent of 1 Club Eurostar point for every £15 you spend.

American Express Platinum also comes with a great Eurostar benefit – 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.  Note that this benefit only applies to personal Platinum cards issued in the UK (and possibly France, Belgium and the Netherlands).  It is not a benefit of the Business Platinum card.

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Comments

  1. The earning rate of 1 point per £1 lowers the valuations substantially.

    The two-months ahead standard class is actually 13.1p not 15.1p and the two-months ahead standard premier becomes 11.7p not 13.3p.

  2. Last time I checked most London-Paris trains priced at 750, not 500 one way, sadly

    • You are looking too close to departure then – as you can see, even on peak trains they are there a few months out.

  3. memesweeper says:

    Redeeming on the ‘long’ routes like Marseille delivers a great return too.

    • +1 for ‘long haul’. Marseille, Nice, Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps, all pleasant trips.

    • Matthew Goode says:

      I’ve redeemed on the ski train, which saved about £180 one way I think. Excellent use of points!

  4. Can you transfer Eurostar points back to MR points? Thanks

  5. Standard premiere remains one of the sweetest sweet spots around, for cash as an AMEX Platinum, the premium-ness of a business ticket never cut it for me. My opinion only natch. Being one of those southerners 😉 I’d take Eurostar over flying any day.

  6. “lifestyle means that you are likely to need to travel at short notice.”

    I think the question for many people is whether your lifestyle is likely to _allow_ you to travel at short notice!

  7. I can confirm that the personal AMEX Platinum card here in France does grant access to the Eurostar business Premier lounge

  8. Anybody used Nectar points for booking Eurostar tickets ? Any surcharge ?

  9. Anyone doing the Amex Platinum’Tale of two cities’ trip..? a) just out of interest – we’re really excited as it looks epic and b) am a thinking we should be looking to collect the points from the Hyatt nights and premier plus Eurostar tickets…

  10. Are redemptions flexible? If so, that would add value.

  11. A Business Premier return to Paris always costs £490 no matter when booked, so you’re getting 16.3p value per point there.

    The difference between Business Premier & Standard Premier isn’t huge, but the 10min check in & fast-track at St Pancras (where it’s enforced / works, unlike in Paris) is a real benefit for those without Carte Blanche status. There is also a calmer and more exclusive atmosphere in the carriages as it’s never discounted / not upgradable into. There is also Champagne, hot food…and once in a blue moon they will offer you a real espresso !

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