Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   changes to SNCF train fares starting May 9, 2019 (

kerouac May 8th, 2019 10:54 AM

changes to SNCF train fares starting May 9, 2019
Unless the SNCF computers melt down, there will be big differences in fares as of tomorrow on all TGV and Intercités trains..
There will basically be 3 types of fares: 2nd, 1st and Business First. Supposedly, there will only be one fare for each service, unlike all of the variable fares that existed in the past. However, "Prem's" fares will continue to exist for tickets bought long in advance.
One big change: all tickets will be exchangeable and refundable. Free if you do it more than 30 days in advance, 5 euros up to 3 days in advance and 15 euros up to last minute changes.
"Business First" fares will be totally flexible and can be changed or cancelled up to 30 minutes before the departure of the train. However, you cannot take a different train unless you have changed your plans at the station or through the app. (In the past, you could do it without any formalities.)
All of the discount cards will use the name "Avantage." Youth, senior, weekend or family. All of the cards cost 49 euros and give you a 30% discount on all fares for the cardholder and someone accompanying them, and 60% for children (ages 4 to 11), limited to 3 children.
The Avantage cards are not valid for Ouigo trains but will be generally valid on TER trains (but it is each region that decides that) and also for Prem's fares.
Those are all of the details that might concern regular and also some casual visitors.
There are other discounts for long distance commuters (carte Liberté), but anybody in need of such discounts will certainly already have been informed directly by the SNCF.


StCirq May 8th, 2019 11:17 AM

Oh jeez, it's going to take me some time to absorb all this.

MarnieWDC May 8th, 2019 11:35 AM

Thank you, Kerouac. I'm glad that I followed earlier posts recommending early purchase on line...'one & done'!

MaineGG May 8th, 2019 11:57 AM

Thanks, Kerouac. I really appreciate your taking the time to keep us informed. Just one question... What's the difference between 1st and Business First? Just the flexibility with changes? I do like that all tickets will be exchangeable and refundable.

Dee_Dee May 8th, 2019 12:16 PM

Thank you Kerouac! Do the summer fares and schedule come out tomorrow as well? I'm not seeing any Prem fares for June 21st.

geetika May 8th, 2019 12:26 PM

It’s good tickets can henceforth be changed but I suppose the fares also will increase correspondingly. What about the Prem fares which opened 90 days before travel, have they also gone up? Last June/July I bought cheap tickets on all our several train journeys and was lucky not to be affected by the SNCF strikes which were on at the time.

Thanks a lot for putting us wise to these changes kerouac, very kind of you.

kerouac May 8th, 2019 12:56 PM

I only know the things that I wrote. We'll find out all of the rest soon enough.

JulieVikmanis May 10th, 2019 06:17 AM

Thanks Kerouac. I found info on the SNCF website and figured you'd know what this all means, so checked back here and sure enough, you are on top of it. As usual my questions are pretty basic. I seem to have a built in aversion to train info.

What I saw on-line from Connexion France was info about the new Avantage railcards. Is this the same as what you are writing about or is this a part of the same thing? The avantage cards are 49 euros each and "guaranatee reductions of 30% on eligble train travel services for adults" I'm not even sure of what they replace.

Here's the website from which I gained my info.

Can you relieve my confusion? Thanks.

kerouac May 10th, 2019 06:32 AM

The Avantage cards replace all previous cards. For example, I have a Senior card that used to cost 60 euros, so when I get a new one it will cost 49 euros.

StuDudley May 10th, 2019 07:09 AM

Can I purchase the new senior card at any manned train station or SNCF boutique - or only online? Who checks the card for proof of age - the train attendants who validated my ticket on the train?

Stu Dudley

kerouac May 10th, 2019 08:54 AM

I suppose they can if you look too juvenile. I have always purchased my card online. Any physical SNCF boutique or ticket office should be able to issue the card in person. After all, it is just the same cardboard rectangle as a train ticket. And then you must attach your photo to it.

JulieVikmanis May 10th, 2019 09:12 AM

So I guess my question really deals more with Senior cards(or their successor) than with the change in fares. If I purchase a Senior card how long is it good for and how do I experience its benefits? Can it only be used when you purchase a ticket directly at a station or would I get an identifying number or somesuch to insert when purchasing a ticket on line so that I can get my senior card discount? Sorry to be so ignorant on all of this but I believe I really have some kind of train ticket aversion--call it " train brain." Thanks for your help.

kerouac May 10th, 2019 09:17 AM

The cards are valid for a year. If mine has expired, I only renew it when I am about to make a trip, which often gives me a month or two more for the next time.

When I buy tickets, I just sign into my account online, and it knows everything about me.

JulieVikmanis May 10th, 2019 09:25 AM

P.S. I would look this up myself but with the change in nomenclature I presume if I looked up Senior Card it would not be there anymore.

StuDudley May 10th, 2019 09:41 AM

>> it is just the same cardboard rectangle as a train ticket <<

Cardboard? How do I print on cardboard my my HP printer at home??? Or is it really paper? Or do they sent the pass to you in the mail?

Stu Dudley

kerouac May 10th, 2019 10:23 AM

No, you just enter the code on any SNCF ticket machine and the card comes out. Apparently they have just started a test in various places with tabacs as being SNCF ticket agents as well.

StuDudley May 10th, 2019 10:53 AM

Thanks Kerouac. Do you happen to know what size picture I will need??

Stu Dudley

tomboy May 10th, 2019 10:55 AM

Kerouac-can citizens of outside France/EU buy these senior cards?

kerouac May 10th, 2019 11:07 AM

Anybody over the age of 60 can buy one.

As for the size of the picture, it doesn't matter -- there is a little frame area on the card, but you can staple or glue a bigger or smaller photo in the area (or you can trim it if you prefer) -- there are no size rules as long as it looks like you. Frankly, the ticket checkers rarely ask to see my card even when it is one of the conditions for having purchased the ticket. I guess I must look both old and honest.

StuDudley May 10th, 2019 01:04 PM

I'll get a picture - but why won't a passport do the same??

Stu Dudley

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:40 PM.