Cross-Channel rail operator Eurostar has just made it much more difficult for its customers to join the business level tier of its frequent traveller programme.

Frequent traveller members currently earn one point for every pound they spend on travel with Eurostar.

Travellers need to accumulate at least 1,800 points in a 12 month period in order to qualify for membership of the carrier’s Carte Blanche programme – which allows travellers benefits such as Business Class check-in at all times and access to the operator’s business lounges in Paris and London.

However, from October, Eurostar has risen the number of points its customers must accumulate to 2,400, before they can be upgraded to the Carte Blanche tier in the programme.

Cost of Carte Blanche rises to £2,400

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This means that, in any one year the cost of joining the Carte Blanche will rise from £1,800 to £2,400, a 33% rise in one move.

Tunnel vision?

Eurostar’s new trains arguably less comfy, while tier prices are hiked. The company sent notices to its customers, today, informing them of the stingy change to its points structure.

“We’re writing to let you know that we’re making a change to the points threshold for reaching Carte Blanche level.

“From 23 October 2019, you’ll now have to earn 2,400 points or make 32 return journeys with us in a membership year to reach Carte Blanche.”

Bizarrely, Eurostar claimed it was raising the cost of its Carte Blanche programme to make life sweeter for the very members who are being hit by the extra charges.

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“We’re making this change to improve the comfort and experience of our Business Premier passengers and Carte Blanche members at our fast-track ticket gates and in our Business Premier lounges.”

Prolific London contacted Eurostar to ask why it was raising the threshold by such a large amount, however, the operator, which has enjoyed a monopoly as the only cross-Channel train company since it launched in 1994, stuck to its line of improving service levels for members.

“We periodically review our loyalty programme to make sure that we offer a high quality of service for our members”, said media spokesperson, Rob Haycocks.

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“The changes have been designed to benefit Carte Blanche members and business premier ticket holders, to make sure that we can continue to offer those features (fast track gates and our business lounge).”

“Press for Champagne”

Earlier this month the rail travel brand launched a ‘Press for Champagne’ button that allows passengers to order a glass of fizz direct to their seat.

Fast fizz

Eurostar launched Press for Champagne to start 25th birthday countdown. The promotion is part of the countdown to the operator’s 25th anniversary.

It’s only available on certain services from London to Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam until the end of the month.

There’s also another catch, as only the first 25 customers per train who request it will be able to get their hands on the Champagne.