The ultimate guide to Club Eurostar
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For travel to Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam from London, there’s a more convenient option than flying: Eurostar. This scheduled train service runs high-speed trains through the Channel Tunnel departing from St. Pancras Station multiple times per day, reaching the aforementioned destinations in less than four hours.
If you take these routes frequently, especially if you travel on business, it pays to become a Club Eurostar member and save up points. Let’s take a look at how the programme works.
Earning Club Eurostar points
The train services’ programme is relatively new and has only been around since December 2017. It replaced the previous programmes Eurostar Plus and Eurostar Frequent Traveller, providing a clearer integrated programme with dedicated benefits.
There are several ways to earn Club Eurostar points including travelling on Eurostar trains, booking partner services and transferring from other programmes. All points earned will count towards your total balance. Points earned in the current membership year will count towards your elite status determination. Like with most airlines, you only earn points for your own ticket and not those of others (eg. family members). If you earn at least one point every two years, points will not expire.
Earn by taking the train
Earning Club Eurostar points on Eurostar trips is extremely clear and straightforward: every £1 spent gets you one point. The only exception is a train and hotel package, where you will earn 2 points per pound spent.
Earn using partners
Club Eurostar is building out its partner base. At the time of writing, the only current option is earning 50 points on a car rental with Hertz through the Hertz-Eurostar partner portal.
Earn by transferring from another programme
You can transfer points out of your American Express Membership Rewards account and into your Club Eurostar account at a 1:15 ratio in increments of 1,500 MR points (translating to 100 Club Eurostar points). That seems steep, but a return ticket on Eurostar will only set you back 1,000 at the base level. Since we have no current valuation for Club Eurostar points, let’s do a little math.
We value American Express Membership Rewards points at 1.4p apiece. Imagine you would like to book a London to Paris return trip with Club Eurostar points. For a Value redemption on this route, you need 1,000 points. That would require 15,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, worth £215.
With revenue return tickets on this route starting at only £80, this only makes sense when you are booking on short notice. Given this example, always do the math before making the transfer — it might only make sense to do so in very specific circumstances or for a slight top-up to get to your desired Club Eurostar points level.
When transferring, keep in mind the transfer time of up to five days. Like with airline reward seats, each train only has a limited number of Value seats available for redemption — if they run out, you might have to shell out 50% more points for an Anytime redemption.
Aside from the Membership Rewards option, you can also transfer from ALL (Accor Live Limitless) at a ratio of 4,000:350, with a minimum of 4,000 points (translating to 350 Club Eurostar points).
Points transfers between members
Club Eurostar allows points transfers with any other Club Eurostar member, as long as you adhere to the following rules:
- You can share a maximum of 3,000 points in one go;
- You can share a maximum of 6,000 points in each calendar year.;
- You can share a maximum of 3,000 points with one member in each calendar year;
- You can share points with a maximum of four people in each calendar year;
- You can receive a maximum of 3,000 points in each calendar year; and
- Points have to be shared in multiples of 100.
Points received from another member do not count towards the elite status level determination.
Club Eurostar provides three different elite tiers: Classique, Avantage and Carte Blanche. After enrolling, you are automatically assigned the Classique status, allowing you to earn points and redeem them on discounts, upgrades and tickets. Your elite level is determined by the number of points you have collected in your membership year. A membership year starts at your original enrollment date and renews each year at the same date.
You’ll reach Avantage status after collecting 400 points or taking five return trips (10 one-ways) in a single membership year. With Avantage status, you can spend your points on more rewards, like the Club Eurostar shop or with Railteam partners, allowing you to spend points on tickets in Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands.
The top tier status will be yours after collecting 1,800 points or taking 24 return trips (48 one-ways) in one membership year. That means you have to travel on Eurostar every other week or book relatively expensive tickets frequently, allowing you to cross the points threshold.
Carte Blanche status is desirable because it allows you access into the beautifully appointed lounges as well as fast track security. Especially the latter is a nice perk since it allows you to arrive at the train station only 15 minutes before departure, which could be a huge time saver. Lounge access includes one guest during workdays and up to four guests on the weekends.
Spending Club Eurostar points
Once you have saved up a nice balance, there are a couple of ways to convert these points to actual value: Eurostar tickets and upgrades, a transfer to ALL (Accor Live Limitless) or travel on one of Club Eurostar partners.
Redeeming on Eurostar trips
When you are redeeming for travel on Eurostar, there are three options: a discount on a train ticket, free train tickets or an upgrade.
The discount option is the first to reach, available from only 200 points. This amount of points gives you a discount of £10. Although, if you keep saving, it gets better: from 500 points onwards, you can redeem for tickets. Tickets go for set amounts of points, not depending on the route. There are no additional taxes or fees:
- Standard class (Value ticket): 500 points per one-way
- Standard class (Anytime ticket): 750 points per one-way
- Standard Premier class (Value ticket): 1,000 points per one-way
- Standard Premier class (Anytime ticket): 1,250 points per one-way
- Business Premier class (Anytime ticket): 1,500 points per one-way
Only a set number of Value tickets are available for each train service — when they run out, the remaining seats are available as an Anytime redemption.
The last option to redeem your points is an upgrade. They are available from 500 points per booking and allow you to upgrade your experience from Standard to Standard Premier (allowing extra legroom, wider seats and a meal with drinks served during the trip).
Transfer to ALL
In increments of 500, Club Eurostar points can be transferred to ALL (Accor Live Limitless). You might notice that this is a lot less favourable than the exchange rate when transferring the other way around, which was 350:4000. Therefore, this option is not recommended — unless you really need those last few ALL points to go get to a certain reward and can’t get them any other way.
Eurostar rail partners
As soon as you reach Avantage level, you gain the option to use your points on rail partners. That means you can redeem for travel on high-speed rail other than Eurostar, such as Thalys and TGV. This is potentially a very nice perk since it would mean you could get basically anywhere in France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands on the extensive high-speed rail network — all on points! Return trips are available from 1,500 points return.
Do’s and don’ts with Club Eurostar
Do look for award seats when prices are high. Award seats have a fixed cost, so when prices are high your redemption value per point shoots up. Also, when prices are high, it might pay to transfer some points over from American Express Membership Rewards or ALL to book that award.
Don’t use your Club Eurostar points for a discount. Rather, keep saving — where 200 points are only worth £10, 500 points will get you a one-way ticket, worth at least £40.
Do use your points for routes that would otherwise be expensive (like London to Marseille in summer) rather than routes that are usually not as expensive (like London to Rotterdam on a slow business day). This way, you maximise your rewards.
Don’t convert your Club Eurostar points into ALL points, as that will greatly decrease the value.
Club Eurostar offers a great way of sweetening the deal when travelling via high-speed rail. Given the growing concern about the environmental impact of very short-haul flights, the train is a good option to travel in style without spending much more time. Perks like lounge access and saving up for free travel is definitely a good addition to this alternative.
Featured image by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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