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Interesting experience booking train tickets in Germany

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Apr 25th, 2018, 04:17 AM
  #1
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Interesting experience booking train tickets in Germany

I'm working on a 3 week trip to Germany/Austria in July. I had researched the routes/schedules for several train trips and this weekend was ready to buy. The first one went through OK but (as often happens when you buy something in Europe from the US using Capital One) it triggered the 'fraud' department and they sent me an email asking if I recognized the transaction. I clicked yes, and they said "you're good to go".

So I attempted to buy the second ticket and 'payment failed'. I had been using bahn.de but could also use the Austrian site, oebb.at so I tried that. Also failed. I figured perhaps it took Capital One a while to remove the fraud hold so I waited a few hours and tried both sites again and both failed. So I called Cap One and was told everything was fine, maybe the train sites were using cookies and they were rejecting it. So I deleted all history and tried again. Still failed. Tried a different browser, still failed. Got frustrated and went out for a while. Then Capital one calls me. Transferred me to two different managers, in the end they said that both those sites were on their 'high fraud' list and there was nothing they could do, if I kept trying to use my Capital one card on those sites it would trigger a cancellation of my card.

I discovered (on the Rick Steves forum) that you can use the trainline.eu site (a UK train site) to book trains in most of Europe so I switched to that (and used a different card) and had no more problems. For the very last trip I needed to book I used the trainline.eu site but the Capital One card and it worked.

Also discovered that those 'saver' fares disappear quickly, sometimes within hours so I guess it really does pay to book as far in advance as possible (my trip is in about 60 days). Another weird thing - my longest trip is Melk to Nurnberg, about 4 and a half hours. The city of Passau is halfway and looked interesting so we considered stopping for a few hours there. Turns out we SAVED 50 euro (for two) by splitting up that trip and giving ourselves four hours in Passau over booking it as one trip from Melk to Nurnberg.
isabel is offline  
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Apr 25th, 2018, 05:33 AM
  #2
 
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There is no way the OFFICIAL German & Austrian Railways websites can or should be 'high fraud'.

It's like (for an American) saying the United Airlines or Amtrak websites are 'high fraud'. No, they are the normal sites normal people use to book those tickets!
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Apr 25th, 2018, 05:39 AM
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"Turns out we SAVED 50 euro (for two) by splitting up that trip and giving ourselves four hours in Passau over booking it as one trip from Melk to Nurnberg."

Passau is a lovely place.

There is a "stopover" feature at the DB itinerary page which accomplishes the same objective (and you only have to buy one ticket.) Perhaps that's what you refer to. Sometimes this will save you money over a journey without stops, other times it costs you more. All depends on booking levels for the individual trains you use.
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Apr 25th, 2018, 07:54 AM
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I was really surprised too, that's why I started this thread - to see if this has happened to anyone else. But I was at the bahn.de and the oebb.at sites. And capital one is usually an excellent company to do business with, I've used them for years for all my internatinal bookings and travel. So something was wrong. Doesn't matter to me anymore as I managed to book all the trains I needed to but I'm just curious.
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Apr 25th, 2018, 08:43 AM
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Check Man in Seat 61's commercial site for great tips on booking your own tickets online - general train info BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. Try first to book at national rail sites rather than a middleman but if that fails of course...
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Apr 25th, 2018, 04:02 PM
  #6
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hey pal - do you actually read posts or just cut and paste your answer. Serious question.

And man in seat 61- (by the way, over many trips planning train travel I've spent lots of time on your site, which is incredibly useful) - I would love to know if you have any insight into what was going on with those sites and capital one. As I said, I've frequently had capital one question charges but never ultimately refuse to let me use them. I just booked train tickets through the Portuguese train site in March, and almost annually I've booked on trenitala, renfe, sncf, etc. and never had this problem.
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