Discover if it is worth upgrading your ticket with this comparison of Eurostar Standard Premier Vs Standard
Travelling by train is hard to beat. Watching the landscape unfold from your window, stretching your legs, walking to the buffet car.
You don’t get this from seat 9b on a Boeing 767.
Eurostar has been a game-changer for travel between London and Continental Europe, operating fast, frequent and comfortable services from the English capital to Paris and Brussels and beyond. And if you want to inject an extra dose of comfort into your journey, you can upgrade your ticket to Standard Premier.
But is Eurostar Standard Premier worth it?
Get the lowdown in this Eurostar Standard Premier review based on a journey I took as part of a one-week Belgium itinerary. In the spirit of empirical research, I travelled out to Brussels in Eurostar Standard and back to London in Standard Premier.
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Why You Should Travel by Train with Eurostar
In my experience, taking the Eurostar to Paris or Brussels knocks the socks off flying.
But why should you travel from London to Paris or Brussels by train instead of flying?
First and foremost, once you factor in the time needed to navigate security, it’s quicker. Queues are more modest and as most train stations are in the centre of town, there are no time-consuming transfers needed.
Are you someone who likes to travel with hand luggage only and hates decanting toiletries into teeny-weeny bottles? There is no need to do this when you are travelling by Eurostar and there are also no restrictions placed on your luggage size or weight.
Admittedly, the scenery on the journey between London and Brussels / Paris is no match for that seen from the windows of the Glacier Express, the Carlisle to Settle line, Norway’s Flåmsbana and the so-called Harry Potter Train in Scotland (to name but a few of my favourites). But it’s many times more interesting than the views over the English Channel at 30,000 feet.
Last but by no means least, travelling by Eurostar between London and Paris is reported to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% per passenger compared with flying.
It’s also worth mentioning that the cost of your Eurostar ticket to Brussels buys you free onward travel to any station in Belgium (you just need to select the “any Belgian station” option). A marvellous opportunity to explore gorgeous Ghent or to stuff your face with chocolate in Bruges.
Eurostar Classes of Service
Eurostar offers three travel classes:
- Standard Premier
- Business Premier
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these classes of travel on Eurostar.
Eurostar Standard Premier Vs Standard: The Differences at a Glance
Eurostar Standard Premier Vs Business Premier
The seats and carriage in Eurostar Business Premier are the same as that of Standard Premier. You pay the (hefty) premium for the level of service and food.
Eurostar Business Premier offers the following enhancements:
- A three-course meal with champagne
- Use of the Business Premier lounge in London, Brussels and Paris (those in Paris and London have their own cocktail bar)
- Fully flexible tickets
- Fast-track ticket gates
- Boarding guarantee if you need to switch to another train
Eurostar Standard Premier Review
Eurostar Standard Premier train carriage
This is one of the main differences between Eurostar Standard Premier and Standard.
In Standard Premier, the carriage is far more spacious, its seats laid out in a 2 + 1 configuration compared with the 2 + 2 layout in Standard class. There are also single seats, perfect for those who are travelling alone or for business travellers wishing to crack on with some work.
The overhead storage easily accommodates a medium-sized suitcase. For larger pieces of luggage, there is a space at the end of the carriage.
Complimentary magazines are also available.
Eurostar Standard Premier seats
The seats in Eurostar Standard Premier are very comfortable, upholstered in brown fabric and offer lumbar support and a leather headrest. They are also wider and have more leg room than those in Standard class.
There is a generous pull-down table, footrest, two seat pockets and a separate drinks holder. A power socket and USB charging point kept my devices full of juice for the journey. There’s even a mirror with a flip-down cover on the back of the seat in front.
Eurostar Standard Premier food
The complimentary meal service started as we glided out of Brussels Midi Station.
From the choice of two mains, I opted for the tasty leek quiche with beetroot salad. This was served with bread and washed down with a cheeky Bordeaux.
Dessert was a sticky date sponge, which was followed by a hot drinks service.
Think of it as a better class of airline food.
The Eurostar Standard Premier menu varies according to the time of day and the service on which you are travelling. You can take a sneak preview here.
I have travelled on Eurostar more times than I care to remember, and customer service has always been excellent, regardless of which class you are sitting in. This was no different on both legs of this journey, with friendly and helpful staff.
What Eurostar Standard Premier doesn’t buy you
Don’t expect business lounge access or fast-track through passport control and security. You will need to upgrade to Eurostar Business Premier for these perks.
Is it Worth Upgrading to Standard Premier on Eurostar?
For the marginal price that I paid (€20), upgrading to Eurostar Standard Premier was well worth it.
In real terms, this upgrade buys you a tasty light meal served at your seat, a comfortable and spacious seat and lower passenger density. The reduced carriage occupancy also means that there is less competition for luggage storage space.
Greater still are the intangible benefits of Eurostar Standard Premier. Its quieter and less frantic environment results in a more relaxed journey, and there is a feeling of exclusivity.
Ultimately, the value of an upgrade to Standard Premier on Eurostar will depend on what is important to you. At €20, I consider this to be a good use of my travel budget. But this may be a different story when the cost of a Eurostar upgrade rises to €50 and beyond
Upgrading to Eurostar Standard Premier: FAQs
Can you upgrade your Eurostar Standard ticket?
It’s easy to upgrade your Eurostar ticket to Standard Premier after booking.
Simply log in to your Eurostar and navigate to Manage a Booking. Then, click on the button to upgrade to Standard Premier
You may also be able to upgrade your ticket on the day of travel. Arrive at the train station a little earlier than usual and head to the Eurostar ticket office.
Eurostar does not offer upgrades to Business Premier.
Is there a Eurostar loyalty program?
Eurostar has the equivalent of a frequent flyer program, Club Eurostar. For every £1 you spend on Eurostar travel, you’ll earn 1 point, which you can then use for ticket discounts and seat upgrades on Eurostar.