Positive Experiences with Renfe

Oct 11th, 2012, 09:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 28
Positive Experiences with Renfe

I know some people have great difficulty with renfe.com but thought I would share my positive experiences having just returned from a month in Spain with all our travels by train.

I followed the instructions given on seat61.com for Spain and after initial frustrations purchased 10 tickets and, where possible, they were all webfares.
The initial frustration was caused when someone at a bank told me they used Verified by Visa when they don't. I moved on to a different bank and credit card which I was able to sign up with Verified by Visa. From then on everything was straight forward. I also registered with Renfe. This is very worthwhile.

I had reason to cancel one journey and decided to phone Renfe direct. When someone answered I said "English please". Within seconds a man who spoke very good English came on. I gave him the "localizador" number from my ticket and as it was a web fare I lost 50% of the fare but the 50% refund was paid promptly into my account. It was a very short phone call.

While we were away I went online and changed one departure time to later in the day. No problems and the hotel printed the new ticket for me.

Another day our train was cancelled due to a strike. I went to Customer Service at the station and we were allocated seats on the next train. These were also web fare tickets - I expected to lose our money, but no, just new seat numbers and departure time were written on our tickets.

The trains were all clean, comfortable, punctual and fast. The people at Customer Service were very helpful. Another big plus was being able to turn up at the station a short time before the departure time - unlike catching a plane.

To those trying to buy tickets one way or another, I know you will forget the frustrations once you are sitting back in a train enjoying the scenery of Spain. Good luck with it all.
BFGF is offline  
Oct 11th, 2012, 10:50 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,283
Thanks for this, I am just about to book some tickets for a number of trips when we return to Andalucia next month. Had already printed the seat61 instructions in preparation but you info is really useful.
crellston is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Are we to assume that you are not banking in North America, where all of the problems with booking a ticket on Renfe seems to happen?
Robert2533 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 08:44 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 11,806
I found an explanation on Tripadvisor of how to book tickets on RENFE. I still had a couple of glitches, but I was able to book the tickets with no problem.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 236

This should probably read "USA" instead of "North America". No issues here with most Canadian banks and associated credit cards. I have never had any problems whatsoever with the RENFE website purchase process and have used it several times over the last few years.
kanadajin is online now  
Oct 12th, 2012, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,426
what kanadajin said.
danon is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 03:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 28
I am in Australia. Using a card that was Verified by Visa seemed to make a difference for me. Also I booked successfully using Safari on a Mac - I read that some people had difficulty using Safari. Maybe that was with an earlier version.
BFGF is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,278
Once you have successfully bought your ticket online with Renfe you will find it so easy the next time!
chapla is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,414
I could not get tickets on line. I registered etc. but it would not work. We bought our tickets when we got to Madrid. All went well, but we did not get the good deal that early on line booking afords you. the train to Barcelona was wonderful. we did Get a senior discount. If I ever return I will try the verify visa.
yipper is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,426
Master Card ( Canadian) works for me...used Firefox on Mac and Dell.
Honestly, it takes minutes.
During the booking a security window from my bank pops up,
I supply the password...done.
Print the tickets.
No need to informs the bank ahead of time or verify anything elese.
I don't understand why there seems to be a problem with American CCs.
danon is offline  
Oct 12th, 2012, 10:43 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,283
I think the issue may be that the majority of US banks are using old technology rather than the chip and pin technology used elsewhere in the world which has much greater embedded security. The Verified by Visa system is increasingly used by online suppliers here in Europe, many of whom simply will not accept transactions without it as it is the only way they can reasonably ensure that the person making the purchase is the owner of the card.
crellston is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,094
I just successfully bought tickets on Renfe. I am in the US - yesterday I was unable to buy them after several tries using my Mastercard which was successful purchasing on Renfe in July. I was unable to apply for the Mastercard Secure but evidently my bank was able to enroll me as when it was time to pay a Mastercard Secure screen came up briefly but I did not have to do anything...after that it went through. I did have to call the bank several times before they did whatever they had to do to enroll me.....
I also tried to enroll in Verified by Visa for more than one Visa card but my card number was not recognized and I couldn't figure out how to enroll....
I just needed tickets from Madrid to Toledo so I don't believe I save anything but I have read it is a lot easier to buy them online then to go to the station and possibly have a long wait or have the train you want sold out....
Mara is offline  
Oct 14th, 2012, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
The Renfe system has been questionable ever since they dropped the German booking system they had used for years and adopted their own system.

One major problem for American who bank with Bank of America is that the bank does not use the Verified by VISA system in Spain for their credit cards, yet their VISA debit cards usually work, without being verified. It must be a banker thing.

My Barclay's MasterCard works some of the time (registered with Renfe), but not always. Barclay's is UK based, but I don't know if that makes any difference.
Robert2533 is offline  

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