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Bits: new £100 Amex Travel cashback offer, new Eurostar logo – and new Eurostar loyalty scheme

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New in brief:

New £100 Amex Travel cashback offer – for some

According to a handful of reports from HfP readers, a new Amex Travel cashback offer has launched on some cards.

This seems to be a very restricted offer, with none of the HfP team or our immediate families having it. It is definitely out there though.

If targetted, you will receive £100 cashback on a £400 pre-paid hotel booking made via Amex Travel. You need to book by 23rd March although the stay can be at any point.

Remember that stays booked via Amex Travel are treated as third party bookings, so you won’t earn any hotel points or receive any status benefits. You also won’t qualify for any discounted ‘member rates’ offered by the big chains.

New Eurostar livery

Eurostar launches a new logo – and a new loyalty scheme is coming

Last year, Eurostar and Thalys, the French train company merged to form ‘Eurostar Group’, the largest high-speed rail franchise in Europe.

Both companies were already majority owned by French group SNCF so this isn’t a radical change, although it will allow the two companies to to consolidate operations.

As part of the merger ‘Eurostar’ will become the single brand with ‘Thalys’ being ditched. This could get confusing, given that ‘taking the Eurostar’ is often used to mean the train service from London to Paris, Brussels and beyond.

A new brand identity is emerging from October this year. A new logo has been designed, inspired by ‘l’Etoile du Nord’, and it looks quite classy (click to enlarge):

New Eurostar logo

The existing Eurostar trains will retain their blue and yellow branding, whilst ex-Thalys trains will retain their existing red paint job.

A new, unified website will be launched, as will a new loyalty program, although details are firmly under wraps.

Eurostar has set an ambitious goal of carrying 30 million passengers by 2030 which would be an increase of 57% over 2019 numbers. That will be even more challenging, given the new border restrictions that Brexit has introduced which have led to 30% longer processing times. Only 61% of seats are being sold on the first London-Paris, London-Brussels and Paris-London trains of the day due to the inability to process a full load.

In St Pancras, in particular, the extra border checks mean that the station will have to be structurally altered to cater with longer waiting times – not an easy task in an operational train station.

The crunch point will come in December when the ETIAS visa waiver programme is introduced. On top of the time taken to confirm that each passenger is ETIAS registered, first time users will need to have their photograph and fingerprints taken at passport control, a process which will lead to subtantial queues.

Comments (83)

  • NigelHamilton says:

    I have the offer on my platinum card, 15,000 only apparently. And also seems to be an online booking only offer – so my idea of paying in advance for a FHR booking I already made might be out….

  • Adam says:

    Got the Amex travel deal, wondering if this’ll work if I go through the FHR site??

    • Rob says:

      Should work on a pre-paid FHR rate but the pre-paid ones no longer count for hotel loyalty points or status benefits, assuming you book a chain property.

  • John says:

    “In St Pancras, in particular, the extra border checks mean that the station will have to be structurally altered to cater with longer waiting times”

    Assuming juxtaposed borders will continue to operate, what is the purpose of the large-ish immigration/arrivals hall at St Pancras?

  • AndyC says:

    “…which have lead to 30% longer processing times…”

  • Mark says:

    Is the Hyatt offer new?

    Save to Card to get a £100 statement credit when you make one or more transactions up to £250+ in participating hotel(s) at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts by 30/4/2023. Valid once per Card for the first 50,000 Cardmembers to save. Terms, locations, payment restrictions and future communications about this offer will apply.

  • Steve says:

    Are we expecting an increased sign up bonus for The Platinum Card anytime soon?

  • x2000traveller says:

    Long standing UK Government policy is that ES has to pay for the UK frontier controls and provide the space in its terminals accordingly. That’s one way UK taxes are kept so low(!) Currrently, ES are also limited by the number of PAF, who do the Schengen controls on the way into the zone, that the French provide. If they are short of even one PAF officer, it certainly seems that the check-in queues become horrendous. If ES provided other terminals again, it would be at risk that the PAF have insuficient personnel available to staff them, meaning stranded passengers and delays…
    The new Schengen visa system is likely to be a complete disaster, as you note, particularly the finger printing requirement. Perhaps ES and the airlines can ultimately persuade the EU (Frontex?) to delay this a bit while they create a proper trusted traveller scheme underwhich all identity stuff is done, and checked, online before hand? The Home Office seems to have manage to do this for all EU citizens who have the right to stay in the UK, as a result of the end of free movement under Brexit,
    The ES departure lounge at St Pancras, in any case, could do with being urgently expanded, in my view. It has never coped will the large number of pax/train that came with the new Siemens trains a few years back. But it’s not just operational disruption that would be the cost: it would perhaps be the Benugo catering area that would have to go with alterations made to the walls and toilet areas at the back of the lounge to create some space? Quite a big bill for that, I would think.
    Although I’m sure it seemed a good idea at the time to devote so much space at StP to shopping, it has meant that ES has to have a very cramped departure lounge area which just keeps in getting under more strain as more controls are introduced. (Readers might recall that, once upon a time, when ES went from Waterloo only c. 1 in 3 pax were ‘randomly’ security screened but it has been total screening for over at least 15 years now. This also takes up a lot of space.)
    The arrivals area is needed so that all inbound pax can go through UK immigration and customs as necessary (2nd check or, occasionallly, the only check). It’s highly unlikely that Border Force could ever be persuaded to make this area smaller. Although it seems unlikely that one could stowaway on an ES train to get access into the UK, I recall that people have attempted this in the past …hence the ability to have 2nd checks.

    • Rob says:

      The upstairs area of the lounge is always empty in my experience, even at peak times, due to the general slothful nature of the public when it comes to walking up two flights of stairs!

      • AJA says:

        Speaking of stairs, any idea when BA will reopen the upstairs bit of the lounge at LGW? It’s been chained off ever since it reopened.

      • lcylocal says:

        I read the reference to the departure lounge here to be to the main departures areas, rather than the Carte Blanche/Business lounge.

        Reallocating some of the customs area has to be surely in scope? If some smaller airports can have a single red telephone, then you would have to hope some reconfiguration can be done.

        I wonder if the pragmatic solution on fingerprinting and photos is to set this up elsewhere in the station/area to be visited in advance by those travellers needing to complete the process prior to going through the gates. There is still some vacant property in the area.

        I wonder if the bigger problem is who pays? There are an awful lot of parties involved – Eurostar (effectively SNCF, SNCB and investors), HS1 Ltd (who own St Pancras), the UK Home Office and DfT, the French, Belgian and Dutch governments and the EU – I suspect all of whom can make a credible case for this being someone else’s problem/bill to pay.

      • Alex Sm says:

        But it’s a bliss for those who are not lazy! And an amazing juice bar is a reward 🧋

  • Mark says:

    St Pancas is a mess. There should be a queue for french residents and one for UK passports. At the moment it’s all mixed. The airports have not a bad system. Something about UK trains that attract incompetent operators.

    • Rob says:

      Except that a load of passengers are neither, doing a European holiday and using Eurostar as part of it.

      • patrick C says:

        I agree it wouldn’t help much.
        This brexit related stupidity which provides no added benefit to anyone, just huge costs. No refugee or immigrant has ever been really deterred by this system. (Worth adding that the uk actually needs these people but racism is a strong political tool)
        Also a government led.overhaul here would bring significant climate benefits as all too many flights still operate london bxl paris amd beyond.
        St pancras is probably one of the most underused big stations and the HSL1 does not earn it’s maintenance cost as a result. A well run border free station coukd easily accomodate twice the passengers and 2 operators.
        Now while Brits remain blinded by borders one should spend the money to redesign the station whise primary objective shoukd be to run trains not sell clothes

    • Alex Sm says:

      What to do with Belgians, the Dutch and others???

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