How to get a discount on Heathrow Express (2019 edition)

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It’s been two years since we last looked at the different ways of finding a Heathrow Express discount.  A few things have changed since then, so I thought it was worth an update.

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

Five years ago, the generous discounts that many airlines used to offer for buying Heathrow Express tickets via their websites dried up.  You could often save up to 14% this way.

The only offer I know of is in association with Mastercard.

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 offpeak, £25 peak), Return £32.56 (£37)

First Class:

Single £28.16 (£32), Return £48.40 (£55)

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

EDIT: according to the comments, promo code TAJHOTELS still works for a 20% discount on standard (not Advanced Purchase) tickets. Use the main booking page here – there is no special landing page.

Heathrow Express

Remember that children travel FREE

Children under 15 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, mainly when travelling at peak times on a Friday when I don’t want to trust the M4.

Make SERIOUS savings by booking in advance

A range of Advanced Purchase tickets was launched around four years ago.  If you can plan ahead – a long way ahead – you can make big savings.

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 on a weekend or Bank Holiday.  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 – £55.50 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

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, Emirates miles, Miles & More miles, Heathrow shopping vouchers and various other bits and pieces.

You can also collect Avios points with your Heathrow Express tickets.  This is a far more generous offer than the Heathrow Rewards one because you earn 5 Avios points per £1 spent (see ba.com here).

You need to visit www.heathrowexpress.com/avios 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.

You can use railcards on the website for full fare tickets.  You cannot use them to buy tickets 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.

A free upgrade if you are Star Alliance Gold

From February 2016, you have been able to upgrade your standard class ticket to First Class if you had a Star Alliance Gold card from any of their member airlines.  Simply sit in the First Class carriage and show your Gold card to the conductor.

The website for the offer is here.  Note that whilst the website says that you needed to have a ‘full fare’ Heathrow Express ticket, this was never imposed.

A free upgrade if you are British Airways Gold Guest List

The least known benefit of being a British Airways Gold Guest List member is a free First Class upgrade on Heathrow Express.

As ba.com explains, simply sit in First Class and show your Gold Guest List card (not, for clarity, a standard BA Gold card – there is now a small ‘GGL’ in the corner of Gold Guest List member cards) and your standard class ticket to the conductor.

A free upgrade if you are a Heathrow Rewards Premium tier member

If you spend £750 in a calendar year in the shops at Heathrow Airport, you will upgraded to the Premium tier of the Heathrow Rewards loyalty programme.

One of the benefits of Premium tier membership as you can see here is four upgrade vouchers to use on the Heathrow Express.

Don’t forget TfL Rail (was Heathrow Connect)

If you don’t want to take the HEx at all, the slower TfL Rail service from Paddington is also an option. If you are flying from Terminal 2-3 or 4 it is a direct service. You need to change trains for Terminals 5, which means it is more hassle than Heathrow Express.  If you are heading to T4, on the other hand, TfL is more convenient than the Express as you are not changing.

TfL Rail is now included in the daily cap for all your tube, tram, DLR, bus, overground and National Rail travel in London – so you will never pay more than £12.80 for Zones 1-6 (which includes Heathrow).

The journey from Paddington to Heathrow costs £10.50 itself. At £21 for a return ticket as opposed to £37 on the Heathrow Express, you may find it worth it.

If you have a London travelcard, for Zones 1 to 6, taking TfL Rail will cost you nothing extra. If you have a smaller travelcard, you only pay the difference between zone 6 and the outermost zone on your travelcard.

And, of course, there are 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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Comments

  1. John says:

    Took TFL rail over the weekend to Heathrow. It stops at both T4 and T1-3, as well as about 5 other places between Paddington and T1-3. If travelling to/from T4, its the best way to go given the 30 minute wait between transfers from T1-3 and T4. Took 35 minutes to get from Paddington to T4, for £10.10 on contactless.

    • The Original John says:

      The proper capitalisation is TfL. The service between 4 and 123 runs every 15 minutes, but only every other train continues to Paddington. The tube runs every 10 minutes. One advantage of TfL Rail is that you can connect from the Central and District lines.

    • delbert says:

      Don’t you just hate that. Jeez. Anyone recall the Tefal advert.

    • Charlieface says:

      How about easyJet

  2. ChrisC says:

    The 75% discount only applies to HAL and airline employees not just people who work at LHR – not everyone working at LHR works for HAL or an airline.

    And at certain times of the day and the weekend it is free for HAL employees, Airline staff don’t get that extra concession

    • It is absolutely every single person working at LHR and possessing permanent Heathrow ID (regardless Landside or Airside), so it is also WorldDutyFree employee as cleaners or Costa’s baristas.

      HAL direct employees offer of free travels is completely separate bonus.

      • ChrisC says:

        That’s not what this page says

        https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/railcards
        “Heathrow Airport Limited Employee”

        “Available to Heathrow Airport Limited employees who have a valid “LHR” photo ID card showing the Heathrow logo (only). 75% discount is only available for one adult per ticket, per ID. ”

        I read that as you need to be employed by HAL not just work at the airport to get the discount. If you work for Costa then you aren’t an employee of HAL Limited are you even if you work at LHR?

      • AlexWlkr says:

        Absolutely correct.

        I’m a retailer at LHR and get the full 75% discount. If using the app it flags on the ticket inspector hand held terminal to ask to see an ID.

  3. Nick_C says:

    Or £3.10 on the Piccadilly Lane (off peak)

    • David says:

      Or £2.05 with a Railcard!

      • If you’re east of zone 1 you can go to Stratford, overround to West Brompton, district line to earl’s court then Piccadilly line to Heathrow for £1.50 9ff peak

        • Gavin says:

          I also go via Clapham Junction / West Brompton (avoiding zone 1) from South London for £1.50 off peak if I’ve not got much luggage.

          • David says:

            Yes but I don’t have *all* day! Saving £20 by taking the Piccadilly instead of the HEx is one thing, saving an extra £1 and adding 45 mins onto my journey to avoid Zone 1 is getting silly… I’d rather get to the airport and drink the £1 saving in the lounge instead!

  4. Paul says:

    Amex ran some discounts late last year which, when combined with advance booking made the service good value. Otherwise it’s a rip off when paying full fare!
    As for
    “the Heathrow Express is, in my view, the ‘poshest’ train service in the country.”

    It should be, full fare was and is still, Mike for mile, more expensive than flying Concorde used to be!

  5. delbert says:

    The promotion code ‘TAJHOTELS’ still works for 20% discount.

  6. Mr. AC says:

    If you travel often or have family visiting from overseas – buy a 12 ticket Carnet. At £198, it works out at 16.50 per ticket. Valid for a year, any day, any direction, anyone you give the ticket to. Extra bonus – you instantly trigger the 3000 Avios Heathrow Rewards sign up offer.

    • Are the Carnets available as digitally printable tickets delivered by email?

  7. Don’t forget various HEx corporate fares and discounts which many big companies have. The downside is that they do not usually combine with other discounts and do not earn rewards. So, need to do complex calculations every time what option is best

  8. Mark says:

    Tip: The Two Together railcard is combinable with advanced fares whereas DUOSAVER isn’t and so the Two Together railcard is always cheaper for 2 people travelling (if i recall correctly).

    • David says:

      Is it? The 26-30 Railcard doesn’t stack with advance fares…

  9. http://www.heathrowexpress.com/avios now offers Advance fares, meaning you can earn Avios on these discounted fares.

  10. Also, for completeness (although it’s a lesser discount than some of the others you mention): you currently get a 10% discount on an Express Saver ticket the first time you buy with the App

    https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/smartphone-mobile

  11. For any other cheapos who prefer the tube, there is an app which tells you which stations have elevators or escalators. (I’m that rare traveler who has lots of luggage but is too frugal, usually, to pay 1 pound more than I have to for transpo.)

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