It’s the perfect time to book Christmas train tickets and grab a cashback card, plus £10 extra worth of Boots points and more. These are Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
Book Christmas trains now
Rail operators launch advance tickets from 12 weeks before the journey, meaning cheap tickets for Christmas have now been launched. Tickets for New Year are also due out any day now. Yet it’s a tricky wicket, as they come out in dribs and drabs over the next couple of weeks - check today if none are available for your journey back as Christmas travel tickets go quickly.
The saving from booking now can be staggering, for example, I’ve checked and seen London to Manchester singles for £12.50 (would be £76 walk-on) and York to Edinburgh £15 (walk-on is £81) on Christmas Eve. And for these peak travel times the advances tend to sell out more than normal.
The perfect time to grab a cashback card
Cashback credit cards pay you when you spend on them. So provided you set up a direct debit to repay them IN FULL (let me repeat that for emphasis – in full, every month) you don’t pay interest so you’re quids in. And now is the perfect time, as the top payer the Amex Platinum Everyday card gives accepted new customers (with a decent credit score and minimum family income of £20,000) a huge 5% cashback for the first three months.
That means apply right now and you get the maximum cashback during most people’s highest spend times of the year – Christmas and the January sales. After the 5% ends, the rate's up to 1.25%, depending on how much you spend. Once you’ve got it use it for all your usual spending.
If you’ve poor credit history, the Capital One Classic Extra, which pays 0.5% cashback, plus a £10 yearly bonus if you manage it well. It's designed as a credit rebuild card, so even some with past CCJs/defaults can get it. But it’s crucial you repay in full each month, or it's a scary 34.9% APR.
Always obey the cashback card golden rules: a) Always use a monthly direct debit to repay IN FULL so it's interest-free b) Don’t see it as an excuse to overspend c) Ensure you've cash to cover your monthly spending d) Don’t do cash withdrawal or balance transfers on the card – they don’t earn you cashback and can result in you paying interest even if you clear in full.
Martin’s quick deals
- £12 Boots points. Today only, (Thursday 10 October) get 1,000 extra Advantage Card points (worth £10) when you spend £50 at some Boots stores (plus the 200 normal points). See the full list here. (You can do the same online but then you have to spend £75 to get 1,200 points.) There are some exclusions, so check the full terms and conditions.
- Totally free £2 MP3 code. Grab a code from Amazon Local by Saturday 19 October to get £2 totally free credit to spend on Amazon MP3s until Saturday 26 October, so that’s a few single tracks or it has some albums on sale.
- £50 October half-term activity week for 16/17yr olds. A Government-backed scheme called the National Citizen Service has thousands of places for 16-17-year-olds across England to go on a week's residential course for £50 - for some it may be less or even free with a bursary scheme. It’s only available to those who haven’t done it before and includes activities like canoeing and hiking, plus accommodation, food and transport. It's then followed by a 30 hour team project back at home to help their community.