What are Club Eurostar points worth?
After the Club Eurostar relaunch this week, which doubled the cost of free trips – albeit with a higher earning rate going forward and a status bonus for elite members – I thought it was worth taking a fresh look at their value.
The numbers we came up with will be fed into a revised article on the best American Express Membership Rewards redemptions.
How much are Club Eurostar points worth?
Prior to last week, we valued a Club Eurostar point at 12p-15p. This was higher than its pre-pandemic level to reflect the increased cost of cash tickets.
Remember that Club Eurostar lets you redeem on ANY train. You need more points for ‘anyime’ redemptions but as long as seats are bookable for cash you can book them for points. This means that the value you get depends on whether you prefer to travel on the most expensive services at peak times.
Here is the new points pricing from 1st October 2023:
- Standard class – 2,000 Club Eurostar points for normal reward availability and 3,000 points ‘anytime’, return
- Standard Premier – 4,000 Club Eurostar points for normal reward availability and 5,000 points ‘anytime’, return
- Business Premier – 6,000 Club Eurostar points at all times, return
You now earn 1.2 points per £1 spent, with a 25% to 75% status bonus if you have elite status. A Carte Blanche (the old top tier, now 2nd tier, which has a 50% elite bonus) member would need to spend £2,800 for an ‘anytime’ return in Standard Premier.
‘Normal’ and ‘anytime’ reward pricing is NOT driven by date. We understand that there are a fixed number of tickets available for each service at the base price and then it switches to ”anytime’.
For the purposes of this analysis:
- I am only looking at London to Paris, the most popular redemption option. However, it is worth flagging that one benefit of the new scheme is the ability to travel further into Europe – for the same points price – via a free connection to a Thalys service.
- 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 yesterday for one month, two months and four months ahead.
How much are typical Eurostar weekend break tickets?
I took the same trains for each example, which I thought were the ideal ‘weekend break’ services:
- 18.01 from London St Pancras on Friday, arriving at 21.20 in Gare du Nord
- 19.12 from Paris Gare du Nord on Sunday, arriving at 20.30 in St Pancras
Here were the prices:
- One month ahead: £238 return
- Two months ahead: £193 return
- Four months ahead: £138 return
- One month ahead: £318 return
- Two months ahead: £298 return
- Four months ahead: £183 return
What does this mean for ‘value per point’?
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: 9.5p per Club Eurostar point (2,500 points return as one leg was ‘anytime’)
- Two months ahead: 9.7p per Club Eurostar point (2,000 points return)
- Four months ahead: 6.9p per Club Eurostar point (2,000 points return)
- One month ahead: 8.0p per Club Eurostar point (4,000 points return)
- Two months ahead: 7.5p per Club Eurostar point (4,000 points return)
- Four months ahead: 4.6p per Club Eurostar point (4,000 points return)
What about upgrades?
Good question. In my article yesterday I said that upgrading from Standard to Standard Premier is now better value than it used to be, because the upgrade cost has not risen sharply.
Let’s look at what you get, comparing the cost of Standard and Standard Premier. Remember that the cost to upgrade is 1,200 points return.
- One month ahead: cash difference is £80, value per point is 6.7p
- Two months ahead: cash difference is £105, value per point is 8.75p
- Four months ahead: cash difference is £50, value per point is 4.2p
Upgrades can only be done by phone after you have booked your Standard seat for cash.
Club Eurostar points have fallen in value but less so over the longer term
Based on the analysis above, we can say a few things:
- Eurostar cash pricing has continued to creep up which offsets some of the devaluation in the reward chart (your free ticket now has a higher value)
- Standard class redemptions are the best value, and it is still possible to get just under 10p per Club Eurostar point
- Travelling in Standard Premier – either as a points upgrade or as a direct redemption – will get you 7p-8p per point on a good day
- There isn’t a major difference in ‘pence per point’ between a Standard Premier upgrade and a Standard Premier direct redemption
So …. to my surprise, the value of Club Eurostar points has not fallen as far as I thought if you look over a longer time horizon. This is especially true when you adjust for the 20% boost given to your existing points balance last weekend and the 20% increase in your earn rate going forward (now 1.2 points per £1 vs 1 point).
What does this mean in practice ….
Your existing stash of Club Eurostar points is worth less than it was last week. This is undeniable.
However, compared to the value you would have got pre-pandemic (in terms of pence per point, not in terms of the number of free trips your pot would get) the difference is smaller.
Arguably all that has happened is that – via a mix of the 20% boost to your existing pot, the new higher earning rate of 1.2 points per £1, the status bonus for elites and the ongoing increases in cash fares – the value of your points has been pulled back to the level they had when the scheme launched back in 2017.
One clear place where value has been lost is with transfers of American Express Membership Rewards. 15 Amex points gets you 1 Eurostar point, and with that Eurostar point worth 9p-10p in Standard or 7p-8p in Standard Premier, we need to decrease our ‘value of an Amex point when used for Eurostar’ to 0.55p.
Not adjusting this transfer rate was a mistake (the transfer rates from Accor were adjusted) and means that it is no longer worth it unless you plan to redeem on a very expensive day. Moving this from 15:1 to 10:1 would mean that Eurostar transfers continued to be attractive and would ensure the payments from American Express keep coming.
How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (December 2023)
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
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.