Please note that I no longer recommend Red Spotted Hanky – see this updated post for more details.
This entry serves as something of an addendum to my buying rail tickets blog entry from last year, and mostly concerns Red Spotted Hanky.com, a relatively new site offering train tickets for sale. While it’s not the first site to sell tickets that isn’t attached to a train operating company, it is the first to not charge a booking or credit card fee, meaning that the prices should be the same as those offered by the train companies themselves.
That in itself isn’t particularly interesting, but a few things set Red Spotted Hanky apart from the competition:
- If you have a Tesco Clubcard, you can convert £10 of your Clubcard vouchers into £30 of credit to use on the site – essentially tripling their value. Unfortunately this is only valid until the end of this month; from December, the vouchers will only be worth £20 of credit, so if you’re planning to travel within the next 6 months, claim them now. Full details here.
- Each time you buy tickets on the site, you earn loyalty points – 1 point is earned for every £1 spent, and each point is worth 1p towards subsequent purchases. To take an example listed in the screenshot, a £47 Edinburgh to London return ticket would get you 47 points, which would get you 47p off any future purchases. Realistically only regular users will benefit significantly from this but in time you may be able to earn enough points to get free tickets
- It’s well worth following @redspottedhanky on Twitter, as each week several followers will be chosen to receive a 5000 loyalty points bonus – equivalent to £50 of free travel. I was one of the winners last month, and it’s paid for two return trips to Manchester for Christine and I, with a bit left over. Furthermore, on Fridays, if you tweet a rail travel tip with the
#RSHtips hashtag, you are entered into a draw to win 1000 bonus loyalty points.
Note that Red Spotted Hanky isn’t always cheapest – East Coast often knock 5% off the price of advance purchase tickets when bought directly from them, and as far as I am aware RSH doesn’t sell Megatrain or Megabusplus tickets which may offer cheaper options. Plus, if you’re a student with an NUS Extra card, CrossCountry offer a 10% discount, so these sites are worth looking at as well.