If you've travelled with the Eurostar before, you've probably heard of their frequent traveller program. They're quite proud of this and like to announce it over the tannoy system during the train journeys. The frequent traveller scheme however has a lesser known sister-program: Eurostar Points Plus.
Eurostar Frequent Traveller
The Eurostar Frequent Traveller program will allow you to gain points and then exchange these points for rewards.
Though primarily aimed at business travellers, you don't have to travel on business to qualify for the frequent traveller program. You'll be able to register as a frequent traveller if within the last 3 months, you've bought a single Eurostar trip of more than £250. Then just fill in the application form and upon succesful approval you'll receive your membership pack. This should be within 28 days of your application.
How does it work?
After you've received your membership card, you'll start earning points. The Frequent Traveller scheme has 2 tiers. Initially, you'll be on the first tier called Eurostar Carte Classique. Once you've earned more than 1500 points (within a membership year!), you'll be upgraded to the second tier called Eurostar Carte Blanche.
Points are earned as follows:
|Number of points earned|
|Eurostar single journey price||Above £205||200|
|Less than £55||15|
|Stay at partner hotels||50 per night|
|Car hire through Avis||50 per booking|
|American Express membership reward points||1 eurostar point per 15 Amex points|
Tip: Points stay valid for 3 years after they've been earned. However, if your membership expires, they stay valid for 1 year after expiry.
Points can be exchanged for a number of rewards such as:
- Eurostar tickets
- Eurostar gift vouchers
- Shopping vouchers
- Car rental
- Experience days
There are also benefits associated with each of the membership tiers.
- ticket pickup at the e-ticket machines in Paris and London
- SMS alert if your service has been cancelled
- commision-free currency, exclusive savings and discounts
- dedicated customer contact centre
- online account management
Same benefits as carte classique plus
- access to the business lounge
- dedicated ticket desk
- express 10 minute check-in
- dedicated taxi service
Eurostar Plus Points
There are no requirements to join this scheme. Just create an account on the Eurostar.com to join. You'll get your membership number straight away.
Unlike the Frequent traveller scheme, the Plus points program only allows points to be collected when booking through eurostar.com.
How does it work?
Every time you log into your account and buy tickets you'll earn 1 point per pound spent. You can earn more points by sharing your membership number with friends and family. When they enter the number during the online booking process, their points will simply be added to your account. Points are capped at 1500 per quarter, with a maximum of 750 points from family and friends.
Beware: Remember to put the membership number when buying the tickets as points cannot be added later.
Once you've acquired 300 points, these will automatically be converted to a £20 electronic voucher which can be used to purchase more trips. Points cannot be exchanged for any other rewards.
Unfortunately, there are no other benefits associated with this loyalty program.
Are they worth it?
The answer is simple. Ofcourse they are. Providing you were planning to spend the money anyway, these loyalty programs provide a nice little bonus.
For most of us, chances are we'll be looking to buy tickets which provide best value for money. So to be honest, for us money savvy travellers, tickets are likely to be costing less than £100 for a single journey and we'd never qualify for the Frequent Traveller scheme. In this case, the Points Program is the only and best option.
Should you buy a higher rate ticket in order to benefit from the frequent traveller program? Definitely not. Most of the benefits associated with the first tier aren't worth spending the extra money. Chances are slim you'll ever make it to the second tier using medium price tickets. Assuming you buy tickets in the region of £100 for a single journey, you'd have to make 15 return journeys in a year to make second tier.
- Plus Points (PP) allows for tickets to be picked up at the e-ticket machines using the membership card. You can do exactly the same using your credit card. Or even simpler, you can print them at home.
- SMS alert if your service has been cancelled. Ok, this is one thing you wouldn't normally get. Though from personal experience I can say that Eurostar is very good in updating their website in case of cancelled services.
- Commision-free currency, exclusive savings and discounts. It's unlikely that the money saved on commission will be more than that spent on the ticket - unless you use exchange money frequently.
- Dedicated customer contact centre. If you're not on frequent traveller, you won't get the dedicated customer contact centre. However, as a regular traveller who's had to get in touch with the contact centre during busy times in the past, I can assure you that the Eurostar Contact Centre is one of the best, even if it's not dedicated;
- Online account management - you get this anyway so no additional benefit here.
So what if you're a traveller who has spent more than £250 on a single journey? The answer is to apply for both. A little-known fact is that when booking online through eurostar.com, points can be accredited to both the Points Plus and the Frequent Traveller program. Just log in to your account, enter your frequent traveller membership number and your points will be added providing the name of the person travelling is the same as the frequent traveller membership holder.