It is very much aimed at regular travellers and business travellers, but even small numbers of points can be used for discounts and upgrades so even if you only travel occasionally it is still worth joining.
Eurostar and Eurotunnel
Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two separate companies. Eurotunnel has its own frequent traveller scheme that lets you save by pre-paying for 10 or more crossings, but there’s no link with Club Eurostar.
Eurostar direct routes
These are the approximate journey times for the direct routes:
- Brussels 2h
- Paris 2h 15m
- Amsterdam 4h
- Lyon 4h 40m
- Avignon 5h 50m
- Marseille 6h 25m
- Bourg St Maurice 8h 20m
Trains to the Alps are twice a week from December to April.
The Eurostar trains to Rotterdam and Amsterdam have been direct outbound but require a stop for customs clearance on the return journey.
From 11th February you will be able to book tickets for the new services which are direct in both directions.
The Amsterdam direct trains begin on 30th April. Rotterdam direct begins on 18th May.
Eurostar ticket classes
There are 3 travel classes.
Standard is the cheapest, has less comfortable and less spacious seating arranged in pairs on both sides.
Standard Premier means nicer, more spacious seats with pairs on one side and singles on the other, and a light meal served at your seat.
Business Premier gets the same seats as Standard Premier but in dedicated carriages. There is a higher quality hot meal designed by Raymond Blanc, with Champagne, and you get access to the Business Premier lounges.
You also get extra luggage allowance and the priority ticketing and boarding gates means that you only have to be at the ticket gate 10 minutes before departure, compared to a minimum of 45 minutes for the other classes.
Earning Club Eurostar points
You earn 1 point per £ spent on tickets.
There are only a few partners. You can earn 50 points for car hire with Hertz using CDP 859340. This also gets up to 10% off. You can exchange Amex MR points or Accor ALL points to get Club Eurostar points.
Spending Club Eurostar points
A minimum of 200 points can be used for a £10 discount off a cash ticket. You can easily get double this value when redeeming for tickets or upgrades, if you have enough points.
Upgrade from Standard to Standard Premier for 500 points each way, as long as seats are available.
Points can be redeemed for any of the three travel classes. Anytime tickets can be redeemed as long as there are seats available for cash, so you can always use your points if you could use cash.
For Standard and Standard Premier there are also a limited number of Value tickets. These are 500 points cheaper but get booked out much sooner. Tickets become available for sale between 138 and 190 days before departure and Value award tickets don’t last long.
You’d have to spend £1000 at Eurostar to earn 1000 points for the cheapest award ticket, but the good news is that the pricing is the same for any destination, including Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. On those longer routes the value of the points increases significantly.
It would cost you 2500 points for a Standard Premier Anytime ticket on a 2 hour trip to Paris, a 4 hour trip to Amsterdam, 6 hours to Marseilles, or 8 hours to the Alps.
These are the return prices:
- Standard Value 1000
- Standard Anytime 1500
- Standard Premier Value 2000
- Standard Premier Anytime 2500
- Business Premier 3000
Given that return tickets are often substantially cheaper than singles, it is better to redeem for return tickets.
Tiers and benefits
There are 3 tiers.
Classique is the entry level and does nothing much more than letting you earn and redeem points.
Avantage requires 400 points or 5 return journeys and gives you the option to spend points on continental rail travel with TGV, Thalys and Lyria.
Carte Blanche requires 2400 points or 32 return journeys. That’s quite a lot, but it is the only tier with a significant benefit which is access to the Business Premier lounge. You also get a 12 month digital subscription to The Telegraph.
The other way to access the Business Premier lounge is to buy a Business Premier ticket or to have the Amex Platinum card. Carte Blanche members can take a guest into the lounge, but not Amex Platinum cardholders.
ou can exchange a minimum of 1500 MR points for 100 Club Eurostar points. Here’s how many Amex MR points you would need for each possible redemption:
- Standard Value 1000 = 15000
- Standard Anytime 1500 = 22500
- Standard Premier Value 2000 = 30000
- Standard Premier Anytime 2500 = 37500
- Business Premier 3000 = 45000
12500 Virgin Flying Club miles will get you a £50 voucher to use against a cash ticket. A Virgin Flying Club mile is worth about 1.25p, so this is swapping £150 of Virgin miles for £50. Not a good deal.
4000 Accor points will get you 350 Club Eurostar points. That’s €80 of Accor stays.
That means the cheapest standard award at 1000 Club Eurostar points would cost you €240 of Accor points, and cash tickets are much less than that.
In the other direction you can exchange a minimum of 500 Club Eurostar points for 1500 ALL points.
The cheapest tickets are mid-week and mid-morning. Last minute “Snap” tickets are available at https://snap.eurostar.com/uk-en/ but you can’t be certain which train you will get – you specify morning or afternoon.
Trainline.com has a price prediction tool. https://www.thetrainline.com/price-prediction#new-eurostar
Returns are cheaper than 2 singles. Standard Premier can sometime be only slightly more than Standard, and if you don’t mind taking chances then it is possible to buy a cheap upgrade at the station on the day, if there is availability.
There are often sales for the two cheaper classes, and occasional sales in Business Premier. Last July there was a sale offering £80 off return tickets in Business Premier, but that would still leave £410 to pay.
Standard Premier tickets are sometimes discounted by 30%, making them as cheap as £60 each way.
Based on some unscientific sampling of different dates and times, I came up with this approximate indication of potential points value. Prices are generally lower on mid-morning trains mid-week, or trains at less desirable times such as those arriving very late.
Prices are busier at weekends, especially Friday late afternoon when people are leaving work and picking the train that gets them into Europe in the early evening.
Even then, there are big variations in prices. Trains an hour apart can have prices £100 different.
This makes it hard to come up with “standard” prices, so I did some sampling and took an average. In this table I’ve deliberately rounded the values to avoid looking like it is a precise figure. The price variation means that this is only indicative.
It’s probably no surprise that at peak times, ticket prices go up, and you get more value from your Club Eurostar or Amex MR points.
Business Premier prices are fixed and so you always get around 1.1 or 1.2p per MR point. This is good, but do you really want to blow a load of MR points just to get a hot meal on the exact same seat?
Business Premier isn’t available on all routes. Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam have very similar prices so the points value on Business Premier tickets is consistent.
Prices for more distant destinations like Marseille are higher but the points cost is the same so obviously the value per point is higher.
It’s hard to find any availability for the Alps routes so I left it out, but given the demand versus supply then if you can find availability you will get good value.
I’ve calculated for Anytime tickets. If you can book Value tickets then you will get a much better value for your points.
At quieter midweek times, the value for your points is better on Standard Premier than on Standard, and it should generally be easy to achieve 0.5 or 0.6p of value for an MR point.
At busier times, 0.6p is a floor, and can easily go over 1p on the pricier trains.
In my sampling, Amsterdam had the biggest price difference at peak times, taking the point value to 1.1p.
The most interesting thing is how much value you could get from using 500 points each way to upgrade a Standard ticket bought for cash, to a Standard Premier.
For midweek tickets, the value per point when used for upgrades is better than for full redemptions, more often than not.
On the more expensive weekend tickets, points value when used for upgrades is comparable to a full redemption.
500 points is a much more reachable target and a much lower exchange of MR points and gives a good deal. Sometimes.
Scan through the booking system and you’ll easily find plenty of times where the price difference between Standard and Standard Premier is as little as £25, and on these occasions using points for an upgrade would be poor value.
The best ways to use CE or MR points are to upgrade a Standard ticket to a Standard Premier ticket when cash price differences are high, or for full redemptions at peak times.
The worst use is mid-week Standard.
Business Premier gives good monetary value per point, but is it worth paying the extra for the service?
Except at the busiest, most expensive times, the value gained for your MR points is not as good as you can get when exchanging for airline miles.
And finally, the best deals with Eurostar are when paying cash for Standard Premier is only a little more than Standard.