Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Tom Wake2
How to save over £300 a year on Oyster card travel
Most of us know that the best deal you can get on your Oyster is to buy a yearly pass. Compared to buying 12 monthly passes or 52 weeklies, the savings are huge.
For example a Zone 1 – 4 travelcard costs the following over the course of a year:
– £1,800 if you buy the annual
– £2,102 if you buy a year’s worth of monthlies
– £2,356 if you buy weeklies
So it’s all well and good if you can get yourself an annual pass because you’ll save £302… or £556 right off the bat.
The problem is, most of us can’t afford to stump up £1,800 in one lump sum. And those of us who can, might be reluctant to make such a big upfront investment.
Tying yourself into such a lengthy contract severely limits your options. What if you decide to relocate… move job or there’s a big change in your life circumstances in 6 months time?
Once you’ve paid for an annual travelcard, that’s it. You can’t get a pro-rata refund if you don’t need it anymore.
Step forward Commuter Club
** UPDATE: Save an extra 10% on your first month using the above link – EXCLUSIVE OFFER for Insider’s Edge readers **
Commuter Club is brand new scheme that lets you pay for an annual travelcard in monthly instalments but without any of the commitments.
So that means you can cancel at any time and you won’t owe a penny.
It’s one of those magical, win-win ventures that comes about every once in a while. A way to get huge discounts on your Oyster card without being locked into long-term contracts and without ever having to queue up at the station to renew your pass.
And what’s really clever about this is that you can change which zones you have on your oyster card at no extra charge, giving you more flexibility should you move house or job in London.
You also get a raft of additional ‘annual member’ benefits including a ‘Gold Card’ which gives you 30% off rail travel in the South East
With monthlies or weeklies you don’t get any perks.
With Commuter Club you get:
– A Gold Card, which gives you 1/3 off all rail travel in the South East of England at off peak times
– A Network Railcard for £1 (you could give this to a partner). This is a bit like the Gold Card and gives the holder 1/3 off rail travel in the South East during off peak times
– The option to upgrade to First Class for £5 if you’re feeling a bit flash
– Discounts on gym membership, the Time Out card and Uber taxis
The only BUT and there’s always a but, is that the Commuter Club pass is slightly more expensive overall than a ‘lump sum’ annual Oyster card (around 5%).
However, for the flexibility and convenience they offer I think that’s fair. Unless you can afford to buy a yearly/annual Oyster card (and know that you’ll use it all year round) there’s no downside because you’ll save money and hassle right away.
It’s so good that I signed up to it myself immediately.
Very clever scheme this and it’s pretty much a no brainer as far as I’m concerned, which is why I’m raving about it.
Let’s finish up by running through the main pros and cons:
– Save up to £300 a year on your Oyster card travel
– You can cancel at any time
– You can change zones at any time
– You don’t have to queue up at stations anymore to renew your ticket
Commuter Club is not for everyone. While most people will save money using this, if you’re…
a) An infrequent Oyster card user (for instance if you only travel on London transport a couple of days a week) you’re probably be better off sticking with Pay as You Go
b) If you can afford the ‘lump sum’ cost of an annual card (and know that you’ll be staying put and using exactly the same zones for a full year) you’re better off going for the Annual card from TFL, because it’ll save you around 5%
I know that some employers offer an interest free season ticket loan for staff (so that they can buy an annual) but I personally would rather have the flexibility that Commuter Club afford. If you change jobs you still have to pay your employer back, which could be tricky.
Also if you’re applying for a mortgage/loan, lenders will count a travel card loan from your employer as a ‘debt’ and this will effect how much you can borrow – I know this from past experience!
This is a great idea and Commuter Club deserve to do extremely well. Here’s the link where you can find more info and apply.
Save 10% On Your First Month (exclusive offer for Insider’s Edge readers).