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Jun 9th, 2013, 06:08 AM
  #1
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? German rail discount with Swiss half fare card?

We will be taking a train one way from Frankfurt airport into Switzerland, and not re-entering Germany for the remainder of the trip. Thus we will likely be purchasing one-way train tickets for the travel in Germany. We will likely have Swiss half-fare cards for our travels in Switzerland.

Does the Swiss half-fare card offer us a discount on the cost of the one-way tickets in Germany?

If so, is it possible to either obtain a Swiss half-fare card prior to leaving the United States, or upon our arrival in the train station at the Frankfurt airport?

Thanks!
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Jun 9th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Get the Swiss Half Fare Card prior to leaving and you get a 25% discount for the German leg of the rail trip (plus 50% on the Swiss portion, but you know that.)
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Jun 9th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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However, from what SBB has told me, you only get the discount if a) you buy the German leg of the train trip in Switzerland or b) you buy the tickets online and indicate you have the card (be prepared to show it to the conductors on both Swiss and German trains). IOW, you won't get the discount if you buy your Frankfurt to Switzerland tickets at a DB office in Germany.

IMO, if you know exactly where and which train you plan to take from Germany to Switzerland, you may get better prices with the advanced purchase specials than with the card (we've had our Swiss half fare card for five years now and have almost always gotten better fares with advance online purchases).
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Jun 9th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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www.bahn.de/en yes may have cheapoer tickets overall into Switzerland then you'd get with the Half-Fare Card - since the discounts are often much more than 50% - but you lose flexibility that you would have with open full fare tickets.

www.sbb.ch sells Half-Fare Cards which are good for folks going to one location and not then traveling around much - if going around Switzerland the Swiss Pass or Swiss Card may be better deals - for lots of great info on Swiss trains check out these superb IMO sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.ricksteves.com and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html - if ordering from Switzerland you ,may have rather hefty mailing fees to calculate in as well (not sure of actual fee but past posts said they were about $20).
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Jun 9th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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When I had a Swiss Half Fare Card a couple of years ago I bought the train ticket to Switzerland in Germany and got the discount. Maybe the policy has changed?

I doubt it. You can go through the booking routine on www.bahn.de and there is an option for discount "CH - Halbtax Abo", which means the Swiss Half Fare Card. Reduces the standard fare drastically.

However, pal is correct that often the special offers are cheaper. Caution - these are for fix trains and not changeable.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Ingo, please read my post again. I DID say that you can buy them online with the Halb Taxe abo ("you buy the tickets online and indicate you have the card"). However, we were not able to get the discount buying the ticket at, for example, the railway station in Baden-Baden. AND it's what they told us at the travel department in Basel SBB.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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Discounts - not clear to me whether you are expecting a 25% discount off the discounted www.bahn.de rates or as it seems full-fare tickets. I can see why there is no 25% discount off full fares but not the discounted ones.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 10:01 PM
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Okay, I'll ask at the train station in Dresden today. Will report back.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 02:55 AM
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There's no need to go to the train station. You can simply check the SBB site for the conditions:

25% cheaper to Germany and Austria. If you have a Half-Fare travelcard and BUY YOUR TICKET IN SWITZERLAND (caps mine), you receive a 25% reduction on the international section of the journey. If you book the journey at least three days before departure to include a weekend, with "Plan + Spar" you receive an additional 25% reduction on the international section of your journey to Austria.

http://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and.../benefits.html
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Jun 10th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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Now, maybe some stations will give you the discount anyway (nice of them). But that's not how it's "officially" supposed to work.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 02:58 AM
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There is also the Rail Plus card to go with the half-fare card:

25% reduction with Rail Plus. If you ALSO have a Rail Plus card (CHF 25 per year) besides the Half-Fare travelcard, other European rail companies give you a reduction of 25% on the international section of the journey. The Rail Plus card is only available in conjunction with the GA travelcard or Half-Fare travelcard. For children up to 15 years the Rail Plus card is available without an additional travelcard, and it is free of charge for young people up to 26 years. The Rail Plus card is valid for the same period as your Half-Fare travelcard, but only up to a maximum of one year.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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> There is also the Rail Plus card to go with the half-fare card:

From Swiss Railway (SBB) site :
Rail Plus lets you travel around Europe for 25% less.With Rail Plus you can travel for 25% less in these European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In Norway, Sweden, France and Portugal, Rail Plus is available for young people and senior citizens.

Offer
Rail Plus is a supplementary card for the Half-Fare and GA travelcards that gives you a 25% discount on standard fares for cross-border journeys in 1st and 2nd class. In other words, you pay 25% less in countries where Rail Plus is valid, as long as your journey starts in Switzerland. A Rail Plus card is valid for a year (or until your Half-Fare/GA travelcard runs out), and it costs CHF 25 a year.

Important
You don’t need Rail Plus in Germany or Austria because your Half-Fare or GA travelcard already lets you travel for 25% less in these countries.

In the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, you only need a Rail Plus card for standard price tickets. For "Plan + Spar" offers, your Half-Fare or GA travelcard already gets you a 25% reduction.
In Norway, Sweden, France and Portugal, Rail Plus is only valid for young people under 26 and senior citizens aged 60 or over.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 09:21 AM
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ttt
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Jun 10th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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I went to the main train station in Dresden and when I asked she (the clerk) looked at me, puzzled face expression, and asked: "Why not?" She also gave me a flyer which said (in German) that Germany, Switzerland and Austria have a "TEE Rail Alliance", which means that the three national customer rail cards (BahnCard in Germany, VORTEILScard and ÖSTERREICHCard in Austria, General-Abo und Halbtax-Abo in Switzerland) are mutually accepted on border-crossing rail journeys. There is no "opt out". Officially it must work, and if they didn't give you the discount, Weisser Tee, I highly recommend you file a complaint to Deutsche Bahn.
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Jun 13th, 2013, 05:18 AM
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Thank you all for your responses. As we will be flying into Frankfurt and have no idea which specific train we will be able to take (due to potential delays with the flight, customs, baggage retrieval, etc, or possibly even arriving early thus don't want to sit around in the airport needlessly), we will be forced into purchasing the full price ticket upon arrival in Frankfurt. Thus we will need to have the Swiss half-fare card 'in-hand' when we purchase our tickets at the counter in the Frankfurt airport train station (it appears that it is possible for them to apply the Swiss half-fare card 25% discount).

Can someone recommend a good vendor (reliable and least expensive) to purchase the Swiss half fare cards from that will ship to the United States. We would also need them to include the free Swiss Family card (so our children will travel for free throughout Switzerland).

Thanks.
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Jun 13th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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Have you compared the Swiss Card to the Half-Fare Card? Same exact benefits but gives you two train trips - one from any border point to any place in Switzerland and one from that place to any border town or airport.
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Jun 13th, 2013, 10:37 AM
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A good vendor? I'd say this is best source:

http://www.swisstravelsystem.ch/
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Jun 13th, 2013, 11:28 AM
  #18
 
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Again you'll have mailing fees if ordering from Switzerland and again compare the cost of this added on cost with the Swiss Card which you could have sent free of charge from RailEurope or its vendors - but it depends on how much each of the two included train trips cost - the Swiss Card and yes you get a free family pass with it can be used on any train just show up at ticket window and ask for the ticket or can be used for 25% off the German portion of the train.
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