A new way of predicting when British train tickets will jump in price has been launched. (This applies to longer journeys where you pre-book a specific train).http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/travel/2017/09/new-tool-predicts-when-cheap-train-tickets-will-jump-in-price
As pointed out at the bottom of the article, one way you can be sure they will jump in price is to buy them from Trainline who will hit you with a selection of fees that you don't pay at other sites!!
In reality the App is a device that attempts to make life look complicated in order to trick people into clinging to Trainline and paying their fees. Whereas RS readers will follow the guidance published here many times in the past: If you want the cheapest ticket at "Advance" terms and conditions, don't buy more than 12-11 week early and then buy ASAP because they will get dearer. And buy from a train company.
If you need more flexibilty than "Advance" offers or the journey is too short to have "Advance" the prices are fixed and don't go up at all (except first weekend in January, but that's a different problem). So you don't even need to buy early unless you really need a reservation or are starting from Heathrow where there is a scandalous lack of ticket sales.
SteveB, I just tested the Train Line website with Southeastern Rail's website for a day trip on Saturday, 7 October between London St Pancras (STP) and Canterbury West (CBW) which I can choose any train on the way back to give me flexibility.
Southeastern Rail website's cheapest fare for that trip in which I can choose which train to return to London on the same day is £36.50. No other charges added like you said.
The Trainline.com sells the same ticket for £33.20 including their £0.75 booking fee and £0.65 Visa credit card fee. So even with these added fees totaling £1.40, the Trainline.com is still cheaper. Am I missing something from Southeastern Rail's website?
I've just tried that on both sites and got the same answer from both: £31.80 for a flexible day ticket on a Saturday. Plus fees at Trainline. Valid any train either direction. Same also applies for a Sunday day trip. Monday-Friday is possible but not valid on certain peak hour trains.
£36.50 is for a flexible return ticket valid for one month (outward travel on day 1, return travel within a month, not valid certain peak hour trains Monday-Friday). Trainline are showing this lower down as an alternative fare, Southeastern aren't because you don't need it for a Saturday day trip. All I can guess is that you selected a different date for the return journey in the Southeastern query so they offered it instead of the one day fare, which would be correct. Did you use the web pages or an App?
And none of these need early booking, they are "turn up & go" fares which can be bought at any time before departure (ie. not on the train after departure)
Can you show me which links on Southeastern Rail's website to click so I can get the £31.80 ticket price on Sat 7 October in which I take the 09:09 STP fast train to CBW and then can catch any train I want that day back to London. I can't see how to do it. Thank you so much.
I'm on a laptop.
there should be a ticket purchase panel at the right overlaid on the tourist photos.
enter start STP and destination CBW, select return, select outward date from calendar, change time (although that doesn't really matter at weekends), the return date should automatically alter to match outward so just set the return time (again doesn't really matter). Click the get tickets button.
displays options, may have fixed reservation Advance single tickets at top of list. Next it has Off Peak at £31.80, pick an outward train, it offers return trains at £0.00, select one and it confirms the ticket at the right. Click "add to basket", it offers ticketing options, presumably Collect from Station would be best - will need the same credit/debit card as ID at collection.
But you don't need any of this because you can just go to a ticket machine at St Pancras and buy it before you travel.
You don't even have to use a machine. Right near the machines are actual people behind ticket windows who sell the same ticket, and make sure you get all the parts, and even answer questions in a (relatively) understandable voice. This is downstairs on the ground floor, between the escalators down to Thameslink and the escalators up to Southeastern High Speed.