Eurostar cancels services to the south of France – Lyon, Avignon, Marseille – until 2022

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Eurostar has announced that it is dropping its direct Summer service to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille.

What was more surprising is that, as well as cancelling all trips for 2020, it has also wiped the schedule for Summer 2021.

It’s obviously not the end of the world if you had planned to visit any of these cities by train.  TGV connections are available in both Lille and Paris, albeit with additional travel time required, and your connection is protected if you book a through-ticket from the Eurostar website.

Existing ticket holders can be rebooked, for free, onto a TGV connection for no additional fare.  You will need to pay any fare difference if you want to change your travel date during rebooking, however.  Refunds and Eurostar vouchers are also available.

You can find out more on the Eurostar travel agents website here.

Eurostar drops services to the south of France - Lyon, Avignon, Marseille

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.

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  1. Geoff says:

    I’m booked on one of the Amsterdam flights mentioned but the seat map does not show a first class option

    • Marcw says:

      You won’t be able to select first class, even being a Gold member flying Club.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Even if it did allow you to select F cabin, it would eventually relocate you into CW cabin. Gold members at 24 hours before departure may get lucky and it allow them to select a seat in F.

      • ChrisC says:

        The will only open up the F cabin if CW is full (42 seats) as it requires an extra member of staff.

        • Boris says:

          Not true currently as all 787s are operating with 7 cabin crew irrespective of pax load, route or type. If the F cabin opens, there’ll still only be 7 crew.

      • Travelling in the cramped CW cabin with someone’s face hardly more than a foot away from mine is the very last thing I would want to do at the moment.

    • Only some are down as 787-9. Rest are 787-8 with no First.

      • Geoff says:

        I am seated in row 1 with a 2-3-2 configuration so probably no first. Cant see the plane type.

  2. Peter North says:

    The scrapping of flights at short notice, cancellations at the last minute just goes to show that nothing is certain whilst the coronavirus is prevalent and this is likely to remain the case until the end of the year or beyond. The governments plans to allow us to fly to Spain but not to Portugal just goes to show how clueless and inept they are, the reality is they have no more of a clue on how things will pan out than the average joe public. Therefore making plans to travel anywhere in the next few months is pointless. Unfortunately all of our plans have been put on hold and its likely that the “new normal” is likely to be the “real and present normal” for some considerable time.

    • I can’t believe they don’t know you can drive into Portugal from Spain and back again and no-one would be any the wiser.

      • I think most car hire policies forbid hire cars being taken across borders though?

        • Gavin says:

          It’s not usually forbidden. I often drive rental cars between France/Switzerland/Austria/Germany. I had to pay an extra surcharge to take a German car into Slovenia though.

          • Most major hire car companies allow cars to be driven within the EU. The exception is usually UK and Ireland where they don’t want you to take the car to the continent without a surcharge. But virtually every company will let you drive between Spain and Portugal. I have never come across such a restriction before.

          • Lady London says:

            Restricted countries tend to be the ones where cars get nicked.

            So, for example, for Hertz you used to be able to take a grade A,B,C car to, say, Czechoslovakia but no higher grade and no Mercedes. Rules vary by country of pickup.

          • When I hire a car in Spain, the documents state the car cannot be driven across national borders, so it may be a Spanish specific rule? Seen this with several companies in Spain.

      • They do know. They’ve decided that it’s ok if a small number of people do it because most people won’t. Just like you can visit Ireland if you fly to Belfast and drive/train but if you go directly from Great Britain you have to quarantine

        • How do they know? Even if they’ve got some sort of surveillance system for car registration plates, there are ways to get round this. On the Spain/Portugal border in Galicia you can leave your car on the Spanish side and walk across the bridge over the Mino river into Portugal. There hasn’t been a border post there for donkey’s years. (This is an absolutely beautiful place to visit, by the way, it’s really like going back in time to another age).

          • Though it looks like they have re-established the border checks between Tuy and Valenca temporarily – that will be like a blast from the past! I remember doing this trip by bus with my friend as a teenager so we could get an extra stamp in our passports by going to Portugal for the day!

    • The Lord says:

      Not really sure what the government can do when the border between Spain and Portugal is open. Lisbon seems to be the problem area there and doubt many people will be flying to Malaga and Seville and then driving to Lisbon.

    • Harry T says:

      Depends how comfortable you are with uncertainty, and your own evaluation of risk based reward. I don’t mind booking cheap LCC flights and Avios redemptions that may or may not fly, as I will get my money back in the event of cancellation and I could afford to lose it anyway. If, however, I do get to fly, I’m likely to be able to visit major European tourist cities when the overall tourism load may be lower than it will have been for decades. If travellers from the US and many other countries are banned, and Europeans are not as willing to travel, then cities like Prague and Barcelona are likely to be much more tranquil and enjoyable than usual. Plus, I don’t personally care about getting trapped somewhere, as I don’t have kids and I’m young and low covid risk.

      If I didn’t have much money, or I had kids and was older, I’d be very unlikely to travel now. Booking long haul travel in the next couple of months is also dubious and would require optimism.

      • Yes – I still might risk it as a couple but if there was a second lockdown and we were somewhere with 2 teenagers for a fortnight it would be horrific!

        • Harry T says:

          I’m trying to spare myself the terror of teenagers for as long as possible!

    • “The governments plans to allow us to fly to Spain but not to Portugal just goes to show how clueless and inept they are”

      I don’t see the connection (other than the border between Spain and Portugal)

      • Because as soon as the Spain/Portugal border opens, there will be nothing, in theory, to stop people travelling between the two and then to the UK.

      • Amber Lynn says:

        do keep up

    • I’m quite happy to book something a few days in advance but I wouldn’t book too far ahead at this stage

  3. The Original Nick says:

    I’m Booked to go to Lille on the Eurostar on Saturday 22nd August. I’ve never been on the Eurostar before. Any suggestions on the best place to sit? Right-Hand side of the train or Left?

    • Chuck says:

      Nick, go to website man in seat 61 for great seat advice on Eurostar services. I like a left hander single seat personally YMMV

    • Seat 61 is the man in seat 61’s favourite seat

    • I prefer the right side for views but on a sunny day the south facing side could be a disaster

      • old bob says:

        If you have a Plat Amex, Whatever you do, ensure you get into the lounge. I don’t have one but managed to sneak in when the lady was momentarily distracted, I managed a couple of bottles of rather drinkable red, before being escorted out, later managing to fall off the inclined travellator to the platforms. It really didn’t matter whether my seat was right or left facing.I don’t remember, as I may as well been on the 9.25 from Middlesbrough to Eaglescliffe,

  4. Re Eurostar, I’ve heard a rumor in the travel industry about changes to the redemption points system for summer, any truth to that?

    • Not heard anything – not even sure how many of the Club Eurostar team are even working, given how slowly they are reacting (or not) to things like status extensions.

  5. What are people’s experiences with Eurostar cash refunds? No info on the website, only vouchers, vouchers. I phoned the Club Eurostar in the end as my ticket has a redemption element and the lady kindly refunded me both points and cash part. But I was lucky. What if you only have a cash ticket?

  6. Jonny says:

    Hi all,

    I’m seeing a 787 to Zurich on the 16th July. Currently due to fly on the 12th, but now considering switching and upgrading to CW on the 787.

    What’s the likelihood the plane will be switched out?

    Many thanks for your help,

    • IAG Cargo is out there selling cargo capacity on the flight, so as long as demand is there it will go – although as you saw with Amsterdam, it could move by a day or onto another Zurich service that day.

      My mate at IAG told me that Amsterdam was moved because it turned out that Tuesday and Thursday have far higher cargo demand.

  7. BA August flight cancelled…refund on the way…but car hire (avis) booked alongside apparently not refundable! Any ideas or avenues to pursue?

    • Lady London says:

      may not be refundable but might be movable – check your t’s snd c’s

    • Lottie says:

      Do you mean booked as a package holiday with ba flights and Avis car together? Or just a flight with a car added on? I have a package with a car in August so hoping I will get a full refund but maybe not…

      • Lady London says:

        if booked as a BA Holiday you will get a full and very prompt refund.

        • Lottie says:

          Thank you. I was questioning it as when ba cancelled my holiday in July they moved it to august, no change fee and no flight difference cost but the car had gone up £125, they said Avis wouldn’t budge so take it or leave it basically. I paid the extra so hopefully I get it back.

          • Lady London says:

            if you booked it as a BA Holiday I am surprised you had to pay extra for the car as the date change was not your fault. I think I would check the original.t’s and c’s and also ATOL rules which it should come.under

        • Yes, I got a full refund for my BA holiday next month when only the outbound flight was cancelled!
          BUT I also had car hire bookings in the US & Caribbean at Easter which were also refunded without any issues, in fact BA texted me in advance asking if I was still travelling and if not did I want a refund or voucher. I took a voucher and used it straight away to pay the fees on new avios flights for next year.

  8. Renaud says:

    What about Eurostar ski services, are they cancelled to for next winter? Couldn’t find any mention on the website and we were planning to use it for Easter 2021.

  9. Just as a heads up, the headline for this article which shows in the browser and on Google news, states Eurostar is dropping Lille not Lyon. Caused me a bit of panic when I read it!

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