Centrelink Q&A: Are you entitled to concessions overseas?

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Glenda is travelling to the UK and wants to know if her concession card is valid.

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Q. Glenda
My husband and I plan on travelling to the UK later this year. As a pensioner in Australia, how can we get senior/pensioner concessions for travel and entry into tourist attractions? How can we apply for this?

A. The Senior Railcard entitles anyone over 60 to about one-third off most rail fares around Britain. It costs $A43 for a year.

Once you have the card, you are also entitled to a range of discounts on things such as concert tickets and hotel bookings, so it’s worth the investment even if you’re just visiting.

Bus travel discounts apply sporadically to international seniors, depending on which council area you are visiting, so don’t be afraid to ask but be ready to pay the full rate where applicable.

The National Express coach service, conversely, offers up to 50 per cent off its tickets to anyone over 60. Similarly, most ferry companies will give international seniors a discount with proof of age. 

Australians also receive great seniors travel discounts on Britrail and the Eurostar at Rail Europe Australia   You need to book and pay for these passes before you leave Australia. They are only available to international tourists.

Almost all museums and art galleries, for example, have free entry these days but you may have to pay to see special exhibitions within the museum etc.

The most important thing to note is to always ask if there is a discount for seniors. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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Written by Ben

11 Comments

Total Comments: 11
  1. 0
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    Still getting used to be a Senior(over 60). I need to remember to ask about discounts.

  2. 0
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    Oh and this article didn’t mention the Medicare agreement we have with the UK.

  3. 0
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    When travelling to the UK in 2014 I joined the National Trust in Victoria (not very expensive) and this gave me reciprocal discounts in the UK. Worth every penny if you want to go to National Trust properties.

  4. 0
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    Yes, we were surprised at what discounts we could get when last in the UK,
    all of the ones mentioned and often one or two more. The only disappointment was that we were not told by Centrelink that we could get our full British Pension whilst in the UK if away for 3 months or more.
    Only came to light when I had to ring British Pensions about a medical bill I had paid, they sent me back the monies I had paid out as my National Insurance Card apparently was still relevant and they had a reciprocal arrangement with Australia – they then mentioned that i should have had my full British Pension whilst in the UK for just over 3 months – she tried to get it back dated but to no avail. She was very ind and did her best.

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      This is the first I have heard about getting the full British pension when visiting the UK, I get a small state pension which is frozen at the rate it was when I first applied for it about 9 years ago, the only way I understand that it would ever increase is if I went to the UK and told them I was returning permanently, you would also have to report the income to Centrelink who would reduce your Australian pension, at least that is my understanding, could be wrong.

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      Not really Centrelink job to advise you of that I wouldn’t have thought. I agree with Jim, extra UK pension reduces Oz Pension??

  5. 0
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    Madam Tussauds much cheaper

  6. 0
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    Madam Tussauds much cheaper

  7. 0
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    Interestingly the reciprocal benefits work far better in the UK (England at least) than closer to home in NZ where getting a seniors discount is like blood out of a stone. We were charged $180 to see a GP and four times the Australian price for medication on a script. There seem to be few ‘to do’ things where discounts are available. The Scottish gene dies hard!

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      We Aussies get to see a doctor free of charge in the UK, but we have to pay full price for any scripts he/she gives us, at least that was my experience some years ago. Doctor will also send a letter to your GP back home if you ask.

      Also went to hospital on one trip with chest pain. Had ECG, blood tests etc, and they showed no problems, so I was sent home. No charge at all. They gave me a report for my GP when I returned to Oz.

  8. 0
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    Most times you just need proof that you are over 60, a Seniors Card works just as well. If you look old enough, sometimes they don’t bother asking for proof! Just ask if there is a senior’s concession. Windsor Castle and Kew Gardens have concessions for over 60’s and lots of other places as well.

    You can also get a some concessions in Singapore, like the National Orchid Garden, but some are for residents only.

    I have a UK Seniors Rail card. I use my cousin’s address as they won’t post it to Oz. Even though I have a tiny UK pension, I am not entitled to a Bus Pass. You have to be a UK resident to get that, and it is issued by the Council of the area you live. So I couldn’t even cheat and use my cousin’s address! Similarly, there is no concession on London Transport for overseas visitors. You have to reside in London to get that. However, if you have a Senior Rail Card (30 pounds a year, 70 pounds for 3 years) you can go to an underground station and get London Transport to load the concession on to your Oyster Card , and you get one third off for Off Peak fares. It has to be a standard Oyster Card, not a Visitor’s one. I’ve had my Oyster Card for over 10 years now. Never seems to expire unlike the rubbish we have here in Oz. I also have a Singapore MRT Card which I renew every 7 years.


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