What are Club Eurostar points worth?
I had pondered this question – without answering it – in various articles, including this one on which is the best American Express Membership Rewards points redemption.
Back in December 2019, I finally sat down and looked – objectively – at a number of different Club Eurostar redemptions in an attempt to accurately work out what a point was worth. Last week, however, Club Eurostar announced that all return redemptions booked from October 2020 would incur a fee of £32.
I decided to rework my calculations to reflect the new £32 fee.
Because Eurostar is not currently running a normal service, with normal pricing, I have used the same sample prices that I used back in December 2019. I am expecting that Eurostar reverts back to this pricing as coronavirus eases.
How much are Club Eurostar points worth?
Whenever I write about Club Eurostar I have said, historically, that I value a point at 10p.
10p per point always seemed 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.
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).
Last December, I looked at pricing for a weekend break to Paris booked one month, two months and four months ahead of travel. As the exercise was done in December, prices may have been lower than what you would find if I did the same exercise in another month. I have not used current pricing as I am not sure that this is reflective of ‘normal’ rates.
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:
One month ahead: £239 return
Two months ahead: £151 return
Four months ahead: £134 return
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
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’. I have adjusted the pricing by £32 to reflect the new redemption fee, which begins in October 2020.
One month ahead: 13.8p per Club Eurostar point (peak pricing)
Two months ahead: 11.9p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)
Four months ahead: 10.2p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)
One month ahead: 10.3p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)
Two months ahead: 11.9p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak out, peak return)
Four months ahead: 9.4p per Club Eurostar point (off-peak pricing)
Here is how the value per Club Eurostar point has changed due to the £32 redemption fee:
One month ahead: was 15.9p, now 13.8p
Two months ahead: was 15.1p, now 11.9p
Four months ahead: was 13.4p, now 10.2p
One month ahead: was 12.0p, now 10.3p
Two months ahead: was 13.3p, now 11.9p
Four months ahead: was 10.1p, now 9.4p
As you can see, the value of Standard redemptions has fallen more sharply than the value of Standard Premier redemptions. This isn’t surprising, since the £32 fee is proportionately smaller when compared to the cash cost of Standard Premier.
It used to be that Standard redemptions were better value Club Eurostar redemptions than Standard Premier. This has now changed.
Whilst there is still a small difference in our sample, I would now value Club Eurostar points at 10p irrespective of whether you redeem in Standard or Standard Premier.
In the past, I valued Standard Premier at 10p and Standard at 12.5p. I know that, strictly speaking, the Standard Premier valuation should come down but there was a bit of flab in this number before. I am happy to keep it at 10p per point but with the caveat that the opportunity to outperform is lower than it was.
Assuming that you will get your Club Eurostar points by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points at 15:1, I should reduce my ‘value of an Amex point when used for Eurostar’ from 0.66p to 0.85p to a flat 0.66p.
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.
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.