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Eurostar: Standard Premier vs Business Premier – what’s the difference?

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Eurostar offers three classes of travel on its services from London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and beyond, all the way from Standard to Business Premier.

In this article I want to look at the difference between Eurostar’s premium cabins, Standard Premier and Business Premier, both of which I recently reviewed on a trip to Amsterdam.

My Eurostar Standard Premier review is here and my Eurostar Business Premier review is here.

Eurostar St Pancras

How much more expensive is Business Premier?

Let’s start with some representative pricing for the Eurostar service between London and Paris for a weekday trip in June. Here are the lowest fares in each cabin, one way:

  • Standard from £39
  • Standard Premier from £99.50
  • Business Premier from £245

Standard and Standard Premier fares tend to fluctuate significantly, with prices varying between £38 and £89 for Standard and £99 and a whopping £219 for Standard Premier, depending on which train service you select.

In contrast, Business Premier pricing tends to remain static – in this case, at £245. This reflects the flexible nature of Business Premier tickets, which are aimed at the business traveller market where additional flexibility is often required.

Nevertheless, these prices still represent fairly substantial pricing differences across the cabins. A Business Premier ticket will generally cost twice as much as a Standard Premier ticket and at least four times as much as a Standard fare.

At the station

Priority lanes

One of the biggest perks of Business Premier tickets is the fast-track security and immigration. Standard Premier travellers must use the same, often packed, queues reserved for Standard passengers.

You can also use the priority lanes if you are a Club Eurostar Carte Blanche member. To achieve Carte Blanche status you need to spend £2,400 on Eurostar tickets or make 32 return journeys in a membership year.

You could get Carte Blanche status within 5-6 return Business Premier journeys – and then potentially downgrade to Standard Premier for your remaining trips and enjoy the benefits of Carte Blanche for the rest of your membership year.

Eurostar cocktail bar London

Lounges

Another perk reserved exclusively for Business Premier and Carte Blanche members is use of the departure lounges at London St Pancras, Paris Gare du Nord and Brussels Midi.

The lounges are genuinely good, although you won’t find much to eat. On the positive side they do feature an impressive cocktail bar and a good selection of magazines and newspapers.

Remember that you can also get access to Eurostar lounges by carrying an American Express Platinum charge card and showing it at the door. No guests are allowed, although you do get a 2nd free Platinum card which you could give to your usual travel companion.

On board

The seat

You may be surprised to find that the seats for Standard Premier and Business Premier are identical, albeit at completely opposite ends of the train. This is what they look like:

Eurostar Business Premier cabin

As you can see, there are a range of seating options in a 2-1 configuration, with a number of single rows as well as groups of two or four with fixed tables.

Both classes feature free wifi and mobile and laptop charging via the USB and mains plug sockets, so there really aren’t any differences between the two classes.

Food and drink

One of the key onboard differentiators is the food and drinks service. Both classes get a free meal service, but in Standard Premier this is what Eurostar calls a ‘light meal’ served on a single tray, accompanied by red or white wine, beer or soft drinks:

Eurostar Standard Premier meal

This is upgraded for Business Premier, with a three-course meal designed by Raymond Blanc and accompanied by wines, champagne or spirits:

Eurostar Business Premier starter

and

Eurostar Business Premier main course

Here is the summer 2022 menu for Business Premier which was announced last week. You will have a choice of 2-4 mains per service:

Starters:  

  • Roasted asparagus custard with pea shoots and chilli  
  • Bulgur, kalamata olives, tomato and rocket salad with ciabatta and croutons  
  • Bulgur with fresh herbs, chickpeas and roasted red pepper, roasted almond paste, red pepper, pumpkin seeds  

Mains:  

  • Sustainable cod loin, lemon verbena hollandaise, crushed potato, steamed broccoli  
  • Beef tagine, couscous with courgettes, peppers, apricots and sultans  
  • Falafel, aubergine puree, lentils, tomato and vegetable chilli with Swiss chard  
  • Salmon flakes, lemon coriander butter, basmati and wild rice, cooked egg, carrot, courgette, and shrimp paste  
  • Chicken fillet, roti, pepper coulis with smoked paprika, rosemary and spinach organic spelt poelee  
  • Quinoa salad, mange tout, tomato confit, roasted red pepper hummus, red and yellow peppers, chickpeas, coriander, parmesan shavings  

Dessert:   

  • Goat cheese from Yonne region with apricots and rosemary  
  • Creamy chocolate cake with lime caramel and ginger  
  • Chaource from Champagne-Ardennes, sour cherry chutney   
  • Pistachio and apricot tartlet 

Other differences

Flexibility

One of the major differences between Standard Premier and Business Premier is the flexibility of the ticket.

Business Premier fares offer you complete flexibility, letting you exchange or get a refund for your ticket before and even after departure. You won’t have to pay any difference in fare and Eurostar will find a seat on a train for you even if Business Premier is full under its boarding guarantee.

From Amsterdam you can also choose to exchange your ticket for an indirect route on a Thalys train, changing at Brussels.

Standard Premier members get slightly less flexibility, with the ability to rearrange your trip up to seven days prior to departure, although you’ll be on the hook for any fare difference. If you want to change your ticket within seven days of departure you’ll have to pay a £40 fee.

Seat selection

Both Standard Premier and Business Premier offer free seat selection so there is no difference here.

Conclusion

So, for up to double the price of Standard Premier, what does Business Premier get you? Fundamentally, it’s:

  • Priority security and immigration
  • Lounge access in London, Paris and Brussels
  • An upgraded three course meal designed by Raymond Blanc
  • Complete ticket flexibility

Is this worth the £35 – £150 jump in price you can expect to pay for Business Premier? That will depend on what is important to you. If flexibility is important to you, as it is for many business travellers, then it may be worth paying the premium so you can change your ticket at any time.

(You’ll also earn more Club Eurostar points and reach top tier status faster, as this can be earned by spend or segments.)

Of course, if you’re going on holiday and your plans are unlikely to change – or you have good travel insurance – you may be just as happy in Standard Premier where you get a bit more personal space than in Standard plus a light meal. For most travellers, Standard Premier is the sweet spot.


How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards

How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (June 2022)

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 cards

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

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 (31)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Gordon says:

    When travelling in Europe or transiting through from May 2023 you will need to factor in the ETIAS. (The European Travel Information and Authorization System)….One more travelling fee and another hoop to jump through….

    • lumma says:

      Is filling an online form and paying €7 once every three years really something to “factor in”?

      • Gordon says:

        Yes…. Because if you don’t do it you won’t be travelling ?

        • lumma says:

          Travelling to many EU countries in 2021. Check online for COVID requirements, fill in pre travel forms, make sure you’ve got your vaccination docs, arrange any tests.

          Travelling to many EU countries after EITAS comes in. Fill one form in and pay fee, forget about it for a few years, same as you’ve done for years for travelling to the USA, Canada, Australia, etc.

          The only people who need to worry about it are those with dark pasts who may be rejected entry due to criminal records.

          • Gordon says:

            You still need to complete one to travel….”Being my point”….

          • jeff77 says:

            “The only people who need to worry about it are those with dark pasts who may be rejected entry due to criminal records.”

            Or stupid people who are too stupid to read travel rules before they go.

          • Alex Sm says:

            Unless we have another omicron or another yet unused letter of the Greek alphabet!

        • ChrisC says:

          And the same is true if you don’t have a US ESTA and the equivalents for Canada and Australia and other countries – you ain’t getting on the plane,

          Heaven help you if you want to go somewhere that requires you to get a visa for a much greater cost.

          • lumma says:

            Well exactly, but I don’t see how it’s “another thing to factor in” when it’s something that you’ll hardly think about.

            If it’s anything like the ESTA form, even if you haven’t filled it in, it’s usually pretty much instantaneously granted unless you’re a former drug trafficker or you accidentally clicked the “yes I am a terrorist” box.

          • jeff77 says:

            “it’s usually pretty much instantaneously”

            Mine took two days. Zero convictions and I didn’t tick any terrorist box. Although, given what happened yesterday in Buffalo, they should be worried about terrorists already there

          • Rob says:

            I did one last week and it took a few hours – I was refused instant approval, probably because it was a new passport that hadn’t been used before for an ESTA.

  • takke says:

    Standard can go significantly higher than £89. If you’re travelling to Paris over the Jubilee weekend, prices are as high as £189.50 one way for Standard, and up to £229.50 one way for Standard Premier. Like everything else this summer, prices are looking much higher than we’ve been used to in the past.

    • Rob says:

      Transfer some Amex points over – remember you are GUARANTEED redemption availability as long as cash seats are available.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Why go to Paris over the Jubilee weekend while all the fun will be happening in the UK!

      • jeff77 says:

        I’ll being doing something that’s actually fun rather than this jubilee stuff! Each to their each though!

        Great to have an extra bank holiday! Hope she doesn’t pop her clogs in the next couple of weeks.

        • Gordon says:

          I’m sure Charlie will honour it if the worst happens….

      • Rob says:

        I’m not regretting booking those 4 Club World seats to Mauritius, to be honest …. 🙂

        • Gordon says:

          I’ll be waving my flag, But only to celebrate 3 weeks in Singapore and Bali starting on the 6th 😊

          • Gordon says:

            But the flag will be flying at half mast because of the increased tax costs of the companion voucher for club world seats….

        • jeff77 says:

          Traitor 😜

  • John T says:

    Helpful, relevant and well-written advice. Thanks Rhys.

  • JAXBA says:

    “Let them eat cake…”

    Not everyone has an Amex…

    • sloth says:

      Pretty sure most people who want one can apply for one…

      • jeff77 says:

        More likely to be successful with the application than with the Barclays avios card

  • Smid says:

    I do wonder for the future of Business on the Eurostar.

    It was pretty much for the EU. So the traffic in MEPs and other admin will have dropped massively. Those would all be on expenses with nobody blinking an eye at that price.

    I lived near the EC and European parliament, and the pubs were full on a Sunday night, but empty on a Friday, due to EU business. A lot of brits there.

    • Smid says:

      Of course there is also the Paris route (I do forget that exists, I did live in Brussels for a while), but they are probably full of city types who commute to work in Brussels or Paris now, because the job has gone.

      • sloth says:

        If you work in ib you know by and large this is a myth. The amount of jobs that have gone to Europe so far is minimal. Whether that changes in the future who knows…

  • Roy says:

    Slightly OT, but with the merger of Eurostar and Thalys having completed (the latter apparently to be rebranded under the Eurostar name in due course) there appears, unsurprisingly, to be an intention to replace/combine Club Eurostar and My Thalys World with a unified loyalty programme.

    My Thalys World has always seemed rather underwhelming to me, so I hope this doesn’t bode badly for the future of Club Eurostar…

  • Alex Sm says:

    Has Eurostar withdrawn the old (more comfy and spacious) seats completely? I remember the times in 2018-19 when you got an old seat on the way out and a new seat on the way back. The comparison was not in favour of the latter…

  • Bill says:

    BTW for the readers from the US, your AMEXPlatinum will NOT get you access to the lounge. Only for British cardholders 🤬

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