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Yes, you can use a railcard on Stansted Express trains – ignore the website

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Is it possible to use a railcard on Stansted Express?

If you are trying to book tickets on the official Stansted Express website here, you would probably think that you can’t. After all, there is no option to add a railcard.

You would be mistaken.

how to use a railcard on Stansted Express

There is no option to use a railcard on Arguably you would therefore assume that it wasn’t possible, and would shrug your shoulders and pay the full price.

This is what you would pay for a one-way trip for two adults and two children:

how to use a railcard on Stansted Express

The cheapest option, given that there is no ability to use a railcard, is £45.60.

However, let’s see what happens if we use the website of another train company. I’ve used LNER because you may have an American Express cashback offer currently available for anything bought on their site.

Other train company websites DO let you apply a railcard for Stansted Express bookings. Here is the same booking as above but adding a Friends & Family Railcard:

how to use a railcard on Stansted Express

The price drops to £39, a saving of £6.60.

I should say that, tucked away on a standalone page of the Stansted Express website, is this message about railcards.

It says that you can use a railcard at a ticket office or on the Greater Anglia website – which is interesting, since Greater Anglia and Stansted Express are effectively the same company. It isn’t explained why railcard functionality is not available on the official Stansted Express website.

Comments (25)

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  • Londonsteve says:

    I’d have thought the motivation for the Stansted Express website to not accept railcards is abundantly clear. It’s generally why we need effective regulators but there aren’t many of those in the U.K.

  • Richie says:

    It isn’t ‘express’.
    It should be contactless.
    There should be regular barriers at Stansted for easy exit to avoid the very slow manual checks.

    • vneiz says:

      Take the lift up; there are no checks there.

      Last time I was there, when he saw on my ticket that I had a railcard discount, he told me to wait aside to show my railcard. I was flashing the railcard in his face, but he insisted that I step aside for him to check my railcard once the queue was finished.

      He wasn’t very happy when I told him that I should have taken the lift up.

      • Londonsteve says:

        Are you sure there are no checks exiting via lift? You’d think Greater Anglia would cover them too considering it’s an airport and nearly everyone is arriving with luggage of some sort. If they don’t, it’s an exit for fare dodgers looking to get to Stansted for the cost of the max London single fare having tapped in at Liverpool St.

        While I agree that Stansted really should be part of the contactless area and what’s going on has the smell of entrapment, you can get on a train at London termini by merely tapping through the barrier, but for most trains departing London there comes a point after which contactless is no longer valid. Stansted is not exceptional in this regard; you don’t take a train to Birmingham and assume you can tap out the other end, at least I’ve not heard this is a regular assumption the travelling public makes.

  • Ryan says:

    Normally any credits on LNER website stipulate you have to travel on an LNER service.

    That is certainly how their own rewards programme works.

    Don’t know if AMEX or LNER have this included but would seem odd to incentivise someone to travel on another TOC service.

    • Tim says:

      My understanding is thatvthe retailer take a cut of the fare for selling the ticket. I believe that this is 9% which may have made sense in the early days of privatisation when fares were lower and the cost of selling a ticket manually was high. But 9% is ample margin for reward points and profit even if you dont travel on the retailers train. Of course some retailers like dont run any train – btw you should never use then because they have booking fees not added eksewhere

      • Ryan says:

        There is no reward however for travelling on for example, an East Midlands Train, booked via the LNER website.

        I guess unless anyone has booked a service as above, we won’t know if the AMEX cash back is valid.

  • Al Stewart says:

    Just for info – there is no railcard selection possible on the ticket machines at Stansted. You actually have to go to the ticket office and buy your ticket there. I did ask why this was the case but the woman behind the counter just ignored me. If you are thinking that using the lifts from the station to the terminal will help you avoid a ticket inspection – a word of warning – they do (frequently) have staff manning the entry point to the lifts

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