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What are Club Eurostar points worth after the scheme relaunch? We do the maths

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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.

What are Club Eurostar points worth?

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.

What are Club Eurostar points worth?

‘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:

Standard:

  • One month ahead: £238 return
  • Two months ahead:  £193 return
  • Four months ahead:  £138 return

Standard Premier:

  • 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’.

Standard:

  • 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)

Standard Premier:

  • 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 are Club Eurostar points worth?

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

How to get Club Eurostar points and lounge access from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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:

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 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 (45)

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

  • pigeon says:

    Best value redemption will be peak season or very last minute booking. These fares will exceed £200, giving you 20p per Eurostar point, or 1.3p per Amex point (or nearly 1.6p for any Amex points you transferred pre-update).

    • pigeon says:

      £200 each way!

    • Richard T says:

      I’ve just booked for 4 of us to go to Amsterdam in 2 weeks time. Best points offer for return tickets was be 10,000 Eurostar points, cash ticket price was £994 (interestingly there’s a discount built into the cash price for children, but not on the points price). Decided to pay cash and hang on to my points for a summer trip to the South of France .

  • CamFlyer says:

    Reading this, I’m very happy that I used up my Club Eurostar points earlier this year!

  • Mike says:

    I’ve not traveled on Eurostar for many years (since relocating to the northwest). I’m staggered by how expensive the cash fares are compared to flying – I always recall it being competitive with flights…

    • Bill_B says:

      At ~6 months out you can get fares for £44, or slightly lower in a sale.

    • Chris W says:

      Eurostar benefited enormously from the summer airport travel chaos of 2022 and will continue to benefit as people look to travel more sustainably.

  • LittleNick says:

    What annoys me most is the lack of adjustment from Amex MR points to reflect the devaluation, is there any possibility this could still change?

    • Andyf says:

      Valid point. Radisson rewards devalued hugely why haven’t they increased the transfer rate. To match. It would be good to see a speculation article on what Amex transfer rates should be when taking into consideration the devaluations over the years. I’m assuming the Amex rates have remained the same for the past decade or more?

      • Rob says:

        Amex HATES people who transfer to airlines. When you redeem for statement credit it costs them 0.45p per point. Gift cards are 0.5p less any discount Amex gets. Airline transfers cost them 0.8p to 1p per point (everyone says Amex pays more than other partners due to bad negotiating). Every time it gets less attractive they are happy, until it gets to the point where cardholders cancel.

        • Skywalker says:

          @Rob – wow – so, this might be a silly question, but on a BAPP or BA blue card, does it cost Amex to sweep the Avios to a BA account in the same way or is it an entirely different mechanism?

          • Rob says:

            The BA card is a different commercial proposition for Amex – the card can only earn Avios, so Amex is stuck with paying for Avios. This isn’t the case with Membership Rewards cards where there is substantial profit for Amex if it can persuade people that statement credit or gift cards is the way to go.

    • Rob says:

      Possible, because I’m sure Eurostar likes the stream of cash.

  • x2000traveller says:

    OK, nice try but, once the PR puff about how it’s ‘all gone back to 2017 prices’ fades, this is still a significant devaluation.

    Given that my stash of points was only built up post lock-down, I am wondering whether it is worth accumulating any more. Could these in turn be devalued in two years time? Why not?

    The merger with Thalys was always going to be problematic IMHO so we can only hope that isn’t the first of several steps bringing Eurostar downwards to the Thalys experience, an operation which seems largely to be run by beancounters who have found they can fill the trains to the max without much effort because capacity is so limited….

    • Peter K says:

      I think you mistake Rob for the PR team of Eurotunnel. Yes it is a significant devaluation, but he’s just giving a useful analysis to consider.

      • Rob says:

        Face facts. ANY scheme where you earn based on £ spent but with a fixed reward chart MUST devalue. In 20 years time a Standard return will cost £1,000 return so you’d be getting ‘buy one get one free’ without a devaluation.

        Realistically redemption rates should go up every year in line with ticket price inflation, but instead companies do it in one jump every few years.

        Is ticket price inflation 67% since 2017 (adjusting for the 20% uplift)? Perhaps not quite as much, but not far off.

    • BahrainLad says:

      Yes Thalys still have the same number of trainsets in the fleet as they did in the late 1990s.

  • Tom says:

    Worth also reflecting that, as cash prices have increased since 2019, not only has the value of the redemption tocket increased, but the rate at which you earn points towards your redemption has also increased.

    A 1,000-point redemption on sub-£100 return tickets might require 10+ journeys, whereas a 2,000-point redemption on £150+ ticket (and at 1.2 pts per £) might only actually add 1 extra return ticket required to earn a redemption.

  • FatherOfFour says:

    Thanks for this analysis Rob. I was planning to transfer MRs to Club Eurostar to book a one-way from Paris-London at the end of the Olympics (assuming that cash prices will be extortionate). Certainly having second thoughts about this now and may end up using my less-than-ideally-timed Avios flight home instead.

    It’s interesting however that it might be possible to get “standard” seats on this service when it’s released- I had assumed it WAS based on dates and that a Saturday, during the summer hols, during the Olympics would definitely fall into “anytime” rates. Your article gives me hope this might not be the case!

  • PJJ says:

    Posted late last night, so will ask again

    If everyone was given a 20% rise in points, does that mean the 2 year expiry clock has been reset ?

    • pigeon says:

      Possibly, my statement simply says ‘points migrated’ so it seems like they don’t track when I last accrued a point. But officially they can expire them

      “8.3. Your Reward Points will expire if in a consecutive 24 month period you do not earn any Reward Points through purchasing tickets for Eurostar Services or through a Partner or Compensation Points.”

      Your options are to risk it, to hire a Hertz car and score 100 points, or to book rewards tickets, noting you have 1 change

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