How to Save Money on the Heathrow Express Train to London

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Using miles, points, and hotel deals to get to and stay in the United Kingdom for our upcoming trip was only the beginning of the process. Since we don’t plan to just sit in our hotel room once we arrive, we also needed to do some research and planning for how to get out around once we arrive without breaking the bank.

 

If you are flying into London Heathrow, as we are, one of the first ground transportation decisions you will need to make is whether you will take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington station. You certainly don’t have to take that route as there are many other ways to get into London including just taking the Tube, but in some cases the 15 minute express train will be the best option for a travel weary crew ready to get where they are going. I have taken the Heathrow Express Train in the past and really enjoyed the speedy experience.

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Like with many things in the travel world, prices for the Heathrow Express Train can range pretty dramatically from £5.50 for a 90 Day Advance Express Saver Bank Holiday or weekend one-way ticket to £27.00 for a one-way ticket purchased on-board. If you need tickets for a whole family that price difference for the exact same seat can be massive before you ever arrive at your final destination. When talking about families, do keep in mind the very family friendly policy that children aged 15 years and under travel free on the Heathrow Express Train.

How to Save Money on the Heathrow Express Train to London

As is common with train travel around the world, the number one key to saving money on the Heathrow Express Train is to plan in advance. Prices are generally lowest if you purchase your tickets at least 90 days out, or as soon as your plans are firm. Generally speaking, the further in advance you purchase your tickets (up to 90 days), the less you will pay.

The price for the Heathrow Express Train jumps at the 90, 30, and 14 day windows. Again we aren’t talking about a dollar or two increase, but almost a 5x price increase from the least to most expensive ticket for the same 15 minute ride, so really keep this on your radar if you plan to get into London via the express train.

Another great option this summer to save on the Heathrow Express Train, if you are in need of round trip transportation to and from Heathrow, is via their summer sale where round trip tickets are just £25 from July 18 – August 31, 2016. This sale does not require the 14/30/90 day advance purchase windows the way the normal fares work. You can purchase the tickets online even for same day travel at the £25 round trip price, though keep in mind that tickets purchased through Heathrow Express staff and ticket machines are not valid for travel between 7am-10am Monday to Friday (tickets bought online are valid on any service at any time of day).

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If you do book the Heathrow Express Train (or any similar transportation in Europe), remember to use a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and preferably one that pays out a bonus on transportation or travel charges such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Citi ThankYou Premier Cards!

What’s your preferred method of getting into London from Heathrow? Do you use these or other methods to save money on the Heathrow Express Train?

 

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Don’t take the Heathrow Express. It will only get you to Paddington Station, you’ll need to buy another ticket for the Tube to finish your journey into London. The 1st time we went to London we took the Heathrow Express, I think it was something around $35 USD for a roundtrip. The 2nd time we found out you can take the Tube all the way into central London. It something like 3 GBP or 6 GBP for a 1 way into central London. The price difference depends on if you’re paying with a regular credit card or load your money onto an Oyster card then use the Oyster card to pay your fare. And the difference between Heathrow Express and Tube vs Tube all the way is only 15 minutes.

  2. IMHO everyone will be different on this and I’ve done both. I think it really boils down to where you’re staying, how much luggage etc. and whether you want a potentially cramped experience with several stops before you even get into town proper.

    • Absolutely correct – says this Londoner. It’s a good 45 minutes on the tube to Piccadilly Circus – ask yourself if you really want to do this at rush hour with luggage and children.

  3. AFAIK, if you buy a full day metro ticket that’s good all the way from Heathrow to your hotel, you can then continue to use that metro/bus ticket for the rest of the day.

    Whereas a Heathrow Express ticket is only good to Paddington, after which you once again have to buy either a one use ticket to your hotel, or a full day ticket if you are getting in early enough to go to dinner etc. later that same day.

    If your flight gets in late evening, and your hotel is right across the street from Paddington, then the Express might be the way to go. For a mid-morning arrival, and a hotel location that requires transferring from Paddington, not so much. 😉

  4. I prefer just getting a driver. for about $75USD, the whole family and luggage can get picked up from baggage claim and get dropped of at the hotel door. Starting out the vacation in a non stress free manner is worth the added cost. not fun cramming luggage onto the heathrow express and then trying to do a tube stop to get to your final destination.

  5. Since we are just 2 adults with only carry-ons, on our last trip 2 trips we took the tube in. First time we took the tube (pretty empty when we boarded) to Victoria Station to buy 1 week National Rail Travelcards so we could use the 2-for-1 vouchers for various attractions, then took a local bus to our hotel. Luckily this worked OK for us.

    Second time, we took a daytime flight from EWR, so arrived in Heathrow sometime around 8pm. We bought Oyster cards, hopped on a virtually empty Picadilly line train and only encountered a crowd when we exited at Leicester Square. That was a bit tough lugging our carry-ons up the stairs as people were streaming down. But we got a great night’s sleep and had no jet lag. (Made even better when Club Carlson somehow put the free night cert used to book that hotel back into our account…..)

    If you are planning to do a lot of sightseeing in London, check out the National Rail Travelcards and 2-for-1 vouchers – TripAdvisor London forum has lots of info. Saved us a serious chunk of money.

    • Hi Marilyn, Thank you for this info. Web states 7day travelcards need passport photos. Is this still true.

  6. Was looking into this (and whether LCY is worth a look over LHR) and the consensus for kids and gear is to book the car service.

  7. I don’t think there is any one best way to get into London. I think it depends on number of travelers, number of bags, final destination, and also time of day and traffic. Of course budget also factors in, but even outside of budget I don’t think there is always a clear winner. However, if you decide to take the Heathrow Express as we sometimes have, then these tips will help you pay as little as possible!

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