Some recent press coverage elsewhere (eg Business Traveller here, by the ever-excellent Alex McWhirter) has drawn attention to the huge spike in Eurostar ticket prices since the pandemic eased.
This isn’t price gouging by the train company. In a meeting with MPs last week, Eurostar explained how it has been forced to cut capacity by 30% due to Brexit-related passport issues – it simply isn’t possible to process passengers quickly enough to run full trains.
Fares, as you would expect, have shot up in response. If you still think you can get £39 tickets, think again. You won’t get much under £200 return in Standard at a sensible time, even booking a couple of months ahead.
As Club Eurostar points have NO CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS (Seat for sale for cash? It’s yours for points) they are worth serious consideration.
How much are Club Eurostar points worth in 2022?
Historically we have valued Club Eurostar points at around 10p. Based on a 15:1 transfer ratio from American Express Membership Rewards, this valued your American Express points at a poor 0.66p.
More recently I edged up my valuation to 12p – 15p per Club Eurostar point. This meant that, at 15:1, you were getting 0.8p to 1p per American Express point which is ‘good to very good’. Where are we now?
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
One way tickets are available for half of the above prices.
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).
I looked at pricing for a weekend break to Paris booked one month, two months and four months ahead of travel.
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 21.17 in Gare du Nord
- 19.13 from Paris Gare du Nord on Sunday, arriving at 20.39 in St Pancras
Here were the prices:
One month ahead: £300 return
Two months ahead: £225 return
Four months ahead: £165.50 return
One month ahead: £330 return
Two months ahead: £300 return
Four months ahead: £240 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’.
One month ahead: 20p per Club Eurostar point (1,500 points return)
Two months ahead: 18p per Club Eurostar point (1,250 points return)
Four months ahead: 16.5p per Club Eurostar point (1,000 points return)
One month ahead: 14.7p per Club Eurostar point (2,250 points return)
Two months ahead: 15p per Club Eurostar point (2,000 points return)
Four months ahead: 12p per Club Eurostar point (2,000 points return)
Club Eurostar redemptions are currently excellent value
As you can see from the numbers above, you are currently getting a lot more for your Club Eurostar points than you did historically.
With cash prices creeping up due to high demand and capacity constraints, 15p per Club Eurostar point is now a fair valuation for Standard Premier trips, and 18p – 20p per Club Eurostar point for trips in Standard class.
Assuming that you will get your Club Eurostar points by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points at 15:1, you would be getting 1p per point for Standard Premier redemptions and up to 1.33p per Membership Rewards point for Standard redemptions.
Eurostar tickets could now be the best use of American Express Membership Rewards points, especially if your lifestyle means that you are likely to travel at short notice. You can read our review of Eurostar Standard Premier to Amsterdam here.
How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (December 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:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 1,333 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 2,000 Club Eurostar points. Card benefits include Eurostar lounge access.
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 666 Club Eurostar points. This card is FREE for life.
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.