If you usually work in London but are working from home for the forseeable future, you should be claiming a refund on your season ticket.
The reason I’m discussing this on Head for Points is that there is a little extra benefit if you do so!
What are the rules for refunding your Travelcard, bus or tram season ticket on Oyster?
Transport for London has put some guidelines in place.
You can claim a refund if there is at least:
- 6 weeks remaining on an Annual ticket
- 7 days remaining on a Monthly ticket
- 3 days remaining on a 7 Day ticket
Importantly, your refund will be backdated to the day when you last used your season ticket. The administration fee will also be refunded.
Why is this interesting to HFP readers?
For most Londoners, buying their season ticket is a great way of putting a large amount of spending onto a credit card. It can take you a decent way towards your next British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher or a new credit card sign-up bonus.
Here’s the sad news:
TFL will only issue refunds by bank transfer.
They will not send the money back to the credit card you originally used. This means that you don’t lose any miles or points and your ‘qualifying spend’ for any bonus is not reduced. Handy ….
Once you go back to work, you can buy a new Travelcard and put another chunk of spending through your credit card.
There is a catch though …..
For people who cannot see any way they will be returning to work for at least the next 4-6 weeks, you should be claiming a refund. This is regardless of the points aspect.
However, do the maths.
Your refund is NOT pro-rata. TFL will deduct the cost of a travel card for the period you have used.
If you bought a one-year Travelcard on 1st January and started working from home on 15th March (10 weeks in), your refund is NOT 42/52 of what you paid.
It is ‘cost of a one-year Travelcard’ minus ‘cost of 2.5 monthly Travelcards’.
This means that, if you have used your Travelcard in the last few days and expect to be back at work within 1-2 weeks, getting a refund does not make sense. You will be out of pocket because monthly Travelcards are disproportionately more expensive. However, for anyone who will be out of the office for at least two months – which is most of us – you will still make a saving by getting a refund.
Instructions on how to claim a refund on your TFL Travelcard or season ticket are on this page of the TFL website.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)