How to get a discount on Heathrow Express (2016 edition)

Last year I wrote a post on the different ways of finding a Heathrow Express discount.  Quite a few things have changed since then, though, so I thought it was worth an update.

‘Secret’ discounts are nearly, but not quite, dead

The important thing to remember is that the generous discounts that many airlines used to offer for buying Heathrow Express tickets via their websites are gone.  You could often save up to 14% this way.

The only offer I know of is in association with MasterCard – which will run until 31st December 2016.

The link for your discounted Heathrow Express ticket is here.

Here are the prices available via this link, with the normal prices in brackets:

Standard Class: 

Single £19.36 (£22), Return £31.68 (£36)

First Class:

Single £26.40 (£30), Return £47.52 (£54)

Still not a bargain, of course, but certainly cheaper than it was!

Heathrow Express

Remember that children now travel FREE

Children under 15 now travel for free on Heathrow Express.

This makes a substantial difference to the maths when you compare the train to a taxi.  As a family of four, we have increased our use of the Heathrow Express since this policy was launched a year ago, mainly when travelling at peak times on a Friday when I didn’t want to trust the M4.

Make SERIOUS savings by booking in advance

A range of Advanced Purchase tickets was introduced last year.

With 15 different Advanced Purchase ticket options, the range is baffling to put it mildly.  You can see the full list of prices here.

The bottom line is that tickets can be as cheap as £5.50 one way.  Combine that with the fact that children under 15 are free, and a family of four could get to Heathrow for as little as £11.

Discounts for two or more people travelling

Heathrow Express has a special offer for 2 people travelling together – £54 return in Standard Class.  Full details are here.  You need to use promotion code DUOSAVER when you book.

If you are travelling in a group of three or more adults, see a deal for that here which saves 33% using Heathrow Express discount code 3RDOFF.

Heathrow Express First Class

Earn Avios points or Heathrow Rewards points when you book

You are able to collect Heathrow Rewards points on Heathrow Express tickets booked online.   This works on both the main website and the HEx app.

You earn 1 Heathrow Rewards point per £1 spent. They can be redeemed 1:1 for Avios airmiles, Virgin Flying Club miles, Etihad miles, Emirates miles, Miles & More miles, Heathrow shopping vouchers and various other bits and pieces.

From September 2013, you have also been able to collect Avios points with your Heathrow Express tickets.

This is a far more generous offer than the Heathrow Rewards one.  The earnings table is:

  • 100 Avios per adult standard single ticket purchased
  • 200 Avios per adult standard return ticket purchased
  • 200 Avios per adult business first class single ticket purchased
  • 400 Avios per adult business first class return ticket purchased

You need to visit or to book.  These sites do not allow you to mix a promotional code with your booking, nor can you book Advanced Purchase tickets.  You also do not earn Heathrow Rewards points via these links.

Using a railcard on Heathrow Express

Don’t forget that if you have a railcard (National Railcard, 16-25 Railcard, TFL Annual Gold Card, Senior Railcard etc) then you can also get a discount – my Mum gets 34% off with her Senior Railcard.

In a recent change, you can now use railcards online for full fare tickets.  You cannot use them to buy in the train.

Big discounts if you work for an airline

You save 75% on full-fare Express Saver and Business First tickets if you work at Heathrow – see here.  However, this discount also applies to employees of airlines that operate out of Heathrow who have a valid airline photo ID card.

This means that if, for example, you work for British Airways at Gatwick, you are still entitled to 75% off your Heathrow Express ticket.  An easyJet employee would not as easyJet does not fly from Heathrow.

Don’t forget Heathrow Connect

If you don’t want to take the HEx at all, the slower Heathrow Connect from Paddington is also an option. If you are flying from Terminal 1-3, it is a direct service. You need to change trains for Terminals 4 and 5, which means – if you are going to T5 – it is more hassle than the HEx. However, at £19 for a return ticket as opposed to £34 on the Heathrow Express, you may find it worth it.

If you have a London travelcard, for up to Zones 1 to 6, you get a further discount as the price will be based on the fare from the edge of your travelcard zones, not to or from Paddington.

And, of course, there is the tube and indeed bus options. Both are cheaper, but the tube does lack the comfort and space of the trains – the Heathrow Express is, in my view, the ‘poshest’ train service in the country. In many ways, it depends where you are starting from as to whether going via Paddington is convenient.

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  1. So can I book my HEX using the link you provided with my HEX account and still get the Heathrow Rewards points and pay using my AMEX or do I have to pay with a Mastercard as part of the discount conditions?

  2. If I have got it right, the Tube to Heathrow from central London (or vice versa) is £5 (morning peak) or £3 (other times). The cheapest HEX ticket is £5.50 each way (90 days in advance, non refundable, weekend or bank holiday only). As a commuter with a Gold Card, the Gold Card discount does not seem to apply to the advance HEX fares. If you are not travelling at the weekend, it is actually cheaper to buy a normal flexible return with Gold Card discount (£23.70) than two 90 day advance non flexible singles for specific dates (£12.10 each). Or save the best part of £20 and just get the Tube.

    Regarding contactless (or Oyster) pay-as-you-go with daily caps versus Travelcard, it is much more flexible to pay as you go for occasional days. The numbers quoted above are not directly comparable – £6.50 is the Zone 1&2 cap, and a £12.10 Travelcard gets you out to Zone 4 (peak) or Zone 6 (off-peak); that said, the PAYG option is still cheaper (£9.30 or £11.80 per day respectively) unless you are in London long enough (typically 5 or more days) to make a 7-day Travelcard worthwhile. (Summary – contactless or Oyster is probably best for short visits; Travelcard for longer visits.)

    Tip: remember to get your Gold Card discount added to your Oyster card.

  3. Ah, here we go: London Travelcard v Oyster Card v Contactless Card in 2016:

  4. Surprised not to see mention of the free upgrade to First with *G!