Everything you need to know about the “Millennial” Railcard

After a limited trial last year, the 26-30 Railcard is going to be available nationwide by the end of 2018.

Like so many train journeys, the arrival of this new railcard has taken longer than expected. But it’s here at last. Nicknamed the “Millennial” Railcard, four million people will be eligible to get one and save on their train travel. It’ll work like all other railcards except this one will be digital only.

Based on the trial, it’s expected users will save an average of £125 each year, based on an average of six journeys over 400 miles travelled in a year.

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Here’s what you need to know about the Millennial Railcard.

Who can get the 26-30 Railcard?

An obvious one here, you have to be aged between 26 and 30 years old at the time of getting the railcard. But you can buy it the day before you turn 31 and still be able to use it for a year.

How much will the railcard cost?

It’s £30 for one year, though look out for discounts elsewhere. Most other railcards are available with between 10% and 20% throughout the year via codes (I’ll share the deals here when they are available). And Tesco Clubcard customers can boost their points to get an even bigger saving. It’s currently 50% off, so £15 in points, but it’s due to change soon to triple value, meaning you’ll only need £10 of points. I’ve written more on exchanging Clubcard points here.

What discount will you get?

As with other railcards, you’ll get a third off most journeys. You can get the saving on most ticket types, including off-peak travel via an Oyster card in London.

There are restrictions though. There’s a minimum fare of £12 between 4.30am and 10am Monday to Friday, so you can’t use it for commuting. You can get the full third off outside this time and all day at the weekend and on public holidays.

How do you get a Millenial Railcard?

We don’t know when it’ll be available – just that it will be before the end of 2018.  [UPDATE:] The railcard was finally launched on the 2nd of January 2019.

When it’s live you can apply online and then download it to your phone via the Railcard app. You’ll be able to use it instantly, so no waiting for the post or at the ticket office.

What happens if your phone goes dead?

For the first time, there won’t actually be a physical railcard issued. Now based on previous railcards I’ve had, I know you’re almost always asked to display your railcard by ticket inspectors. Having it on your phone is great as you won’t forget to bring it with you. But we’ve all had times our phones have gone dead, especially on long train journeys.

Well, National Rail has said that if your phone runs out of battery or is lost you’ll be able to log in on another handset. Though that only works if you’re travelling with someone, and that there’s wifi or signal that allows them to download it and log in.

It makes sense to buy a spare battery that you carry with you. You’ll use it frequently and its better than having to fork out a fine for not being able to show your railcard. I’ve got a couple of Anker power banks from Amazon which have been really good and held their charge.

You might already have a railcard without realising

If you travel in the South East, including by tube in London, and have an annual season ticket, then you’ve already got a Network Railcard. It’ll be called a “Gold card” but it does the same thing. It has the same time restrictions as the 26-30 card, and is limited to the South of England (here’s a map of where you can use it). But if you mainly travel within this area then you probably don’t need to get a millenial card too.

What if you’re not 26-30 years old?

Join the club! You might be eligible for another railcard. National Rail offers:

  • 16-25 Railcard
  • Two Together Railcard
  • Senior Railcard
  • Family & Friends Railcard
  • Disabled Persons Railcard
  • Network Railcard

If you’re eligible for any of the others, they might actually be better value for you, though that depends on when you are going to travel. You can read more about all the other railcards here.

More tips to save money on train travel

Cash hack: 10 tricks for cheaper train fares

Can split tickets really cut the cost of train fares?

How to get a refund for delayed trains

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