MSE News

Frustrated teens offered £5 off new 16-17 Saver... if they've already bought a 16-25 Railcard

Teens and parents who've bought a 16-25 Railcard this summer will not be able to get a refund if they want to swap to the new 16-17 version – but they will be able to get £5 off their second purchase.

Frustrated customers who've recently bought the 16-25 Railcard have taken to social media to vent their annoyance after the new 16-17 Saver card was released today, offering generally better discounts.

People who have 16-25 Railcards – which cost £30 for a year or £70 for three years – have been told they can't get a refund even if they want to buy the new 16-17 card, which also costs £30 a year and was announced earlier this year.

The 16-25 Railcard gives a third off many rail fares, but the new 16-17 Saver card offers half-price fares, and so is generally better value.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train firms, says that 16 and 17-year-old customers who bought the 16-25 card between 1 July and 20 August this year can get £5 off their 16-17 card, if they buy before 31 October. However, it says once a railcard is issued it is non-refundable and can't be switched to another product.

See our Cheap Train Tickets guides for more ways to save.

What are customers saying?

On social media, many customers are expressing annoyance and confusion at having to pay again for the 16-17 Saver.

Some of their tweets can be seen below:

What does the 16-25 Railcard offer that 16-17 Saver card doesn't?

The 16-17 Saver costs £30, will be available at from 9am today and can be used to buy tickets for travel from Monday 2 September onwards. It's valid across England, Wales and services into Scotland, but not on ScotRail or Caledonian Sleeper services.

If you bought a 16-25 Railcard between 1 July and 20 August 2019, you can get a £5 discount.

The 16-17 Saver card will be valid for a year or until you turn 18, whichever comes first.

Generally, the discounts offered by the 16-17 Saver appear to be better than the 16-25 Railcard as:

  • It offers a bigger discount. It gives holders 50% off tickets, rather than the third off that the 16-25 Railcard offers.
  • It works on more fares. Unlike the 16-25 Railcard, the 16-17 Saver gives you the discount on peak fares without a £12 minimum spend.

    It also works on season tickets. It's worth noting that season tickets bought with the 16-17 Saver will remain valid for up to four months after the cardholder's 18th birthday.

However, in some cases, the 16-25 Railcard trumps the 16-17 Saver:

  • It offers money off First Class Advance tickets. The 16-17 Saver only works on standard fares.
  • It offers money off for travel on ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper services. The 16-17 Saver doesn't work on these services.

The 16-25 Railcard offers a third off Oyster off-peak pay-as-you-go daily price cap and single fares, as well as the London Off-Peak Day Travelcard, which the 16-17 Saver doesn't. However, with Transport for London (TfL) you can also get 50% off adult fares on bus, tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most London-based National Rail services with a free Zip Oyster photocard.

If you live in London, you also get free travel on buses and trams.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!