Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other London life Maximising cashback / Avios / points on commuting and train travel

  • jumpersforgoalposts 54 posts

    Hi everyone,

    I’m about to leave a job where I get free travel in London to a job which I have to pay for my travel (cue no sympathy from anyone!).

    My commute will be via Avanti West Coast (appx £80 per week) and I don’t think I qualify for any railcards as it’ll be peak travel times and am not fortunate to be under 30 anymore.

    What is the best way to maximise cashback/points/avios? And what do people do now?

    (for reference, I have BA PP and AMEX plat)

    SamG 1,727 posts

    Keep an eye on any cashback from your banks and cards or Curve – often see LNER or Avanti for 5 or 10% cash back. You can use any train company website to book any ticket

    Also check out trainsplit to see if that throws up anything

    Also check if your station is in the network railcard area. I find it cheaper to book a single in and then a single home with my network railcard and just pay for the tube with my contactless

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,355 posts

    I use Avanti for leisure travel on trips to Manchester but I book via LNER because on my MBNA (and other cards too) there are regular 5% cash back deals and 5% on airtime rewards and I buy a couple of hundred quid worth of vouchers and then buy tickets using those.

    These are individual tickets though so not any sort of season ticket which you may need for work and LNER May nit sell season tickets in Avanti routes.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,190 posts

    @SamG

    “I find it cheaper to book a single in and then a single home with my network railcard”

    Is that because your journey home is an off peak one? My understanding which may be wrong is that Thameslink off peak only applies after 19.01

    Londonsteve 210 posts

    The network railcard provides one third discount on all fares after 10am weekdays.

    John 1,084 posts

    @SamG

    “I find it cheaper to book a single in and then a single home with my network railcard”

    Is that because your journey home is an off peak one? My understanding which may be wrong is that Thameslink off peak only applies after 19.01

    Off peak times are specific to each ticket and determined by the restriction code.

    You can use the BRFares website (unofficial / enthusiast) to find out a ticket’s restriction code.

    Many off-peak tickets on Thameslink routes have restriction code B1 (https://nre.co.uk/b1) which have no restrictions after 0930

    jumpersforgoalposts 54 posts

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Just to add to the mix, reading the HfP website this morning, you can book rail tickets through Uber and with the 15% off gift card, that gives a decent discount to the train fare.

    It seems like I should be checking regularly before I buy tickets to see what card is going to offer cashback etc.

    Thanks all!

    Gary 298 posts

    reading the HfP website this morning, you can book rail tickets through Uber and with the 15% off gift card, that gives a decent discount to the train fare.

    Great timing as need to purchase Eurostar tickets which seem to be available after doing a dummy booking on Uber app. Can someone confirm Uber gift cards from Amazon for 15% off also valid for rail spendings (not just for taxis) as need to buy a bunch of them?

    jumpersforgoalposts 54 posts

    reading the HfP website this morning, you can book rail tickets through Uber and with the 15% off gift card, that gives a decent discount to the train fare.

    Great timing as need to purchase Eurostar tickets which seem to be available after doing a dummy booking on Uber app. Can someone confirm Uber gift cards from Amazon for 15% off also valid for rail spendings (not just for taxis) as need to buy a bunch of them?

    Yes I used the uber credit via amazon gift card this afternoon for some rail tickets.

    It just shows up as £XXX credit in your account to use for any uber services.

    SamG 1,727 posts

    @SamG

    “I find it cheaper to book a single in and then a single home with my network railcard”

    Is that because your journey home is an off peak one? My understanding which may be wrong is that Thameslink off peak only applies after 19.01

    It’ll vary by specific journey but there is no restriction on using the network railcard after ~10am – I actually buy 2 x Anytime day singles on my journey as I travel in at peak time so an off-peak ticket is no good at all (not that my line has evening restrictions anyway)

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,190 posts

    @SamG

    “I find it cheaper to book a single in and then a single home with my network railcard”

    Is that because your journey home is an off peak one? My understanding which may be wrong is that Thameslink off peak only applies after 19.01

    It’ll vary by specific journey but there is no restriction on using the network railcard after ~10am – I actually buy 2 x Anytime day singles on my journey as I travel in at peak time so an off-peak ticket is no good at all (not that my line has evening restrictions anyway)

    Thanks, just checked my journey and it looks like £14 single in (morning peak), £13 single home (network railcard discount). So buying an anytime for £24.50 is better. Even better is the book of 8 journeys Thameslink seem to do.

    TooPoorToBeHere 264 posts

    Even better is the book of 8 journeys Thameslink seem to do.

    If that’s a carnet ticket where you have to write the date on before travel, be vigilant about doing this clearly and without leaving any possible hint (eg bad biro, or writing on uneven surface) that the ticket has been altered.

    Carnets are highly prone to abuse (ie pax doesn’t fill in the ticket until they see an RPI, or pax tries to alter the date to re-use a ticket) and in consequence there has been heavy-handed enforcement. I’d consider videoing myself filling in the ticket.

    There are loopholes and is scope for fare optimisation on the rail network, although peak time commuting into London is probably the type of journey that is least amenable to it. Happy memories of fellow pax’ eyes going like saucers as I explained my 19c split and stack of orange cardboard to do peak-time Leeds-London return for £110 vs the £249 normie price to the conductor.

    Super Secret Stuff 372 posts

    Commuting everyday or certain days?

    If you needed a season ticket within the gold card area boundary, no matter how cheap the season ticket is, you’ll get a gold card which gets a third off. Anytime after 9:30

    Also, Uber travel is giving 10% back as Uber credits at the moment

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,190 posts

    Only certain days. And the Thameslink carnets are not carnets per se. All a bit confusing tbh.

    NigelHamilton 230 posts

    I’ve commuted various routes over the years, the carnets are a good idea, but also consider a 7 day season split over two weeks if you don’t need to be in the office each day. Bought on the Wednesday or Thursday, in my case they are more than 50% cheaper than buying daily fares (though that probably says more about the ridiculous price of an anytime return) and saves around £3k on an annual season. LNER and Avanti have regular 5% cash back offers which can be used on season tickets, though the cynic in me says thats partly to drive revenue away from ticket offices….

    SamG 1,727 posts

    Even better is the book of 8 journeys Thameslink seem to do.

    If that’s a carnet ticket where you have to write the date on before travel, be vigilant about doing this clearly and without leaving any possible hint (eg bad biro, or writing on uneven surface) that the ticket has been altered.

    Carnets are highly prone to abuse (ie pax doesn’t fill in the ticket until they see an RPI, or pax tries to alter the date to re-use a ticket) and in consequence there has been heavy-handed enforcement. I’d consider videoing myself filling in the ticket.

    There are loopholes and is scope for fare optimisation on the rail network, although peak time commuting into London is probably the type of journey that is least amenable to it. Happy memories of fellow pax’ eyes going like saucers as I explained my 19c split and stack of orange cardboard to do peak-time Leeds-London return for £110 vs the £249 normie price to the conductor.

    I think they’re on the smart card these days, so just need to make sure that you tap in and out correctly. I do remember some horror stories about these and overzealous RPIs though they were also very open to abuse

    The network railcard has a minimum fare so it sounds like it doesn’t make sense for your journey. Depending on your travel pattern one thing that is a possibility is to buy a season ticket from Hatton to Lapworth for about 200 quid which comes with a Gold card. This entitles you to 1/3 off after 9.30am with no minimum fare and you can also attach it to an oyster for 1/3 off off peak tube fares

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.