I want to get a railcard, but I am unsure whether to get a network railcard (which covers the South East England and London regions) or to get a 16-25 railcard. My confusion stems from the fact that they are both the same price and cover the same area, but I struggle to see the difference between the two cards, unless I've missed something. Please can someone clarify if it would be better to get a 16-25 railcard or a network railcard for someone under 25?
They do not cover the same area. The Network Railcard only covers journeys entirely within London and the Southeast, whereas the 16-25 Railcard covers the whole of the UK. The benefit the Network Railcard has which the 16-25 Railcard lacks is that it also gives 1/3 off fares for up to 3 adults accompanying the holder, and 60% off fares for up to 4 children accompanying the holder.
On the other hand, the 16-25 Railcard also gives you a 1/3 discount when using a linked Oyster card for off peak travel, and applies to Advance and First Class fares, which the Network Railcard does not. In almost every case, the 16-25 Railcard will be a better choice for anyone who is eligible for it.
The 26-30 Railcard offers almost identical benefits to the 16-25 Railcard.