How to get to Paris on points and miles

Feb 6, 2020

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It’s France month at TPG U.K.! As one of our closest neighbours, France is a popular holiday destination for us Brits — it’s close enough to even pop to Paris for the day. With the capital nicknamed “The City of Love” and Valentine’s Day falling on 14 February, it seemed fitting to give this month an injection of ooh la la and all things Français. Stay tuned for top tips on where to stay, how to get there as well as the return of our readers’ insider tips.

If you live in London, then it might actually be easier and cheaper to get to Paris than it is to other parts of the U.K. The Eurostar can transport you directly from St. Pancras to Gare du Nord in about two and a half hours and as well as that, several full service and low-cost airlines fly from London to Paris from early morning till the late evening. There are also direct links from airports all over the U.K. to the “City of Love”.

So here’s s a roundup of the options available to help you when planning your trip, especially if you want to visit around Valentine’s Day on 14 February.

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Flying

British Airways Avios

Probably the most useful of all of the points and miles options for people living in London is BA’s route from Heathrow (LHR) to Charles de Gaulle (CDG). There are up to eight return flights per day on weekdays in the busy summer season, giving you plenty of choice.

Related reading: The best ways to get to London from Heathrow

Thanks to BA’s Reward Flight Saver, you can get one-way flights to Paris from just 7,500 Avios + £0.50 in economy.

(Image courtesy of BA)

If you want go all out, you can treat yourself to a Club Europe flight for as little in cash as £0.50 + 12,750 Avios. However, it might not be worth it for such a flight, as the average time in the air is only around 45 minutes.

Related reading: Is business worth my business? British Airways’ A321 in Club Europe from Paris to London

(Image courtesy of BA)

It’s worth noting that you can alter the ratio of points to cash for flights using BA’s “more pricing options” tool on the summary page when booking flights.

For those who would rather earn than burn, you can expect to find prices in cash from around £70 for a return from London (LHR) to Paris (CDG).

(Screenshot courtesy of BA)

 

Air France Flying Blue

If you’re based outside London, you might have racked up some miles with Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue programme. The good news is you can redeem those miles on flights to Charles de Gaulle with Air France from five airports across the U.K., including Aberdeen (ABZ), Birmingham (BHX), Edinburgh (EDI), Manchester (MAN) and Newcastle (NCL).

Air France Airbus A319-100 aircraft with registration F-GRHR landing at London Heathrow International Airport in England, UK. Air France AF AFR AIRFRANS is the French flag carrier, a subsidiary airline of Air France-KLM group and member of SkyTeam aviation alliance. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Related reading: A fantastic upgrade to your airport experience: A review of PremiAir Manchester Airport’s brand-new private terminal

The combination of miles and cash for a direct, one-way redemption ticket to each city varies by a few thousand miles.

  • Aberdeen: From 10,000 miles + £32
  • Birmingham: From 6,000 miles + £28
  • Edinburgh: From 8,000 miles + £27
  • Manchester: From 7,000 miles + £28
  • Newcastle: From 10,000 miles + £28

There are also lower mileage options with KLM via Amsterdam (AMS) if you really want to keep the burning amount low.

Thanks to the announcement that Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM and Delta have launched a joint venture, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members should soon be able to also use points and miles to redeem flights on Air France- and KLM-operated flights.

Low-cost

There are also several low-cost options from airports up and down the country with airlines such as Easyjet, Flybe and Jet2.

EasyJet has nonstop flights to Paris (CDG) from Aberdeen (ABZ), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA), Liverpool (LPL), London Gatwick (LGW), London Luton (LTN), London Stansted (STN) and Southend (SEN).

Flybe operates nonstop flights to Paris (CDG) from five airports: Birmingham (BHX), Cardiff (CWL), Exeter (EXT), Manchester (MAN) and Southampton (SOU).

Related reading: Why the government saved Flybe but not Thomas Cook

And Jet2 has just one route from one of its main bases at Leeds Bradford (LBA).

Trains

In the ultimate battle, TPG U.K. pitted plane versus train and raced to Paris last year. Spoiler: The Eurostar only lost to the plane because of a slight delay in the Channel Tunnel.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 7, 2019 : An Eurostar train is leaving the Brussels-South railway station (Gare du Midi) to Amsterdam on August 7; 2019. Eurostar International Ltd is a Franco-British railway undertaking, which since 1994 operates high-speed trains linking Paris and Brussels to the south of England and London, via Lille and Calais, via the Channel Tunnel. Direct trains also connect London to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Marne-la-Vallée, Avignon, Lyon and Marseille. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Despite the slight hiccup, we definitely consider getting the Eurostar from St Pancras to Gare du Nord as one of the most viable options to get to Paris and the rest of France. With up to 18 return journeys per day, taking as little as two hours and 20 minutes at its quickest, what’s not to love?

The lowest fares can be found for around £46 one way. It’s also worth noting that Eurostar has its own membership rewards programme called Club Eurostar, which is also a transfer partner of American Express U.K. Membership Rewards.

Eurostar also has stops elsewhere in France. On its Brussels route, most trains stop in Lille and some in Calais. More exciting, from 22 May to September 2020 Eurostar operates a summer service from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille on the famous Côte d’Azur.

Related reading: 10 things to do when you get The Platinum Card from American Express U.K.

City of Marseille, France, seen from the old harbor and the good mother.
(Photo by Steve Lorillere/Getty Images)

The direct services run throughout the summer with up to four return trains per week.

On 24 May only and then from 19 July to 30 August, there will be a Sunday service. On the outbound, it stops at Ashford in Kent, Lyon and Avignon and on the return, Avignon, Lyon, Lille and Ashford:

  • London St Pancras 7:15 a.m. Departure ⇒ Marseille St Charles 2:45 p.m. Arrival
  • Marseille St Charles 3:22 p.m. Departure ⇒ London St. Pancras 10:12 p.m. Arrival

From 25 May until 7 September, there will be three services per week on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays (as well as the scheduled Sundays mentioned above):

  • London St Pancras 7:19 a.m. Departure ⇒ Marseille St Charles 2:45 p.m. Arrival
  • Marseille St Charles 3:22 p.m. Departure ⇒ London St. Pancras 10:12 p.m. Arrival

And on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 May only, the train’s final destination will be Avignon instead of Marseille:

  • London St Pancras 7:19 a.m. Departure ⇒ Avignon TGV 2:08 p.m. Arrival
  • Avignon TGV 3:59 p.m. Departure ⇒ London St. Pancras 10:12 p.m. Arrival

Related reading: London to Paris and beyond: Eurostar guide to families

Driving

France is also a great destination for those who love a good road trip. With several ferry options and the Channel Tunnel to get you across the water, you can be in France in no time at all. For example, London to Paris can take just under six hours.

(Image courtesy of Google Maps)

If you’d rather leave your own car at home and you have the Platinum Card from American Express U.K., then you automatically receive elite status with Avis and Hertz, which makes hiring a car and hitting the road a whole lot more tempting.

Bottom line

One of the great things about Paris and France is that getting there is easy and doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’ve got some points to burn, a passion for rail travel or just love a good road trip, there’s an option for everyone.

Featured photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images 

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