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Purchasing French Rail tickets on the Voyages-snfc site-How to pay in US ?

Purchasing French Rail tickets on the Voyages-snfc site-How to pay in US ?

Old May 30th, 2014, 03:53 PM
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Purchasing French Rail tickets on the Voyages-snfc site-How to pay in US ?

I need help purchasing a French rail ticket from Lyon to Geneva for June 22 -this year.
First of all, it seems we don't have "Chip and Pin" credit cards here in the US, so I heard that you need to go ahead and check the "Delivery
Free by Post Option" and then you are able to pay with Paypal or POSSIBLY Verified by Visa. Are you then able to print it at home ? I really do not want to have to print it at the French station, and then not have the proper means to print it out-I purchased tickets through Rail Europe last year, and we did fine... but I am not able to get the trains I want through them right now because they won't book this connection I want specifically. Has anyone done this recently, used Paypal and then printed ? I am not understanding the steps. Thank you very much !
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Old May 30th, 2014, 04:27 PM
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Use capitainetrain.com instead. It'll easily accept your credit card. We've recently had problems with the sncf web site, but this web site works well.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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I've purchased tickets from the SNCF website ( http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ ) twice now, from the US, without needing a chip-and-PIN card. I bought the tickets and printed them out before leaving the US.

Two tricks:

1. When you choose a country for delivery, choose "France."
2. You need a credit card that will be accepted for payment.

(And of course, choose to be able to print your tickets, and you'll need a working printer.)

In 2013, I used my American Express card to make the purchase. But that incurred a currency conversion fee (2.7% I think), but the card was accepted the first time I tried to make the purchase.

This year, I first tried a Chase Visa card that had no currency conversion fees but the card was rejected. Then I tried another Visa card and that one worked fine. I could have used the Amex card again, but I was trying to avoid paying the service fee. (It's possible I would have gotten most of the currency conversion fee back in rewards anyway - I think I get 2% back for travel-related purchases.)
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Old May 30th, 2014, 05:58 PM
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Another recommendation for www.captainetrain.com.. Just so much easier.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 11:04 PM
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Yes, www.capitainetrain.com

TER (regional) train tickets will be collect-at-station (absolutely no problem, go to staffed counter if you haven't a chip n PIN card to work the machines), but the reservation-compulsory TGVs may be self-print.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 12:59 AM
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Pin and chip credit cards have nothing to do with on line purchases.

However, you will not be able to use a magnetic strip credit cards to pickup tickets at a kiosk. If the tickets you purchase on line are not e tickets or printable at home, you simply pick them up at any rail station or SNCF boutique. I might suggest that this be done well in advance of actual travel. If you attempt to have tickets sent to you and you submit a US address, your purchase will be redirected to Raileurope, something you want to avoid.

I purchase tickets regularly with a US credit card (Visa) and either print them at home or pick them up at the station and I use www.voyages-sncf.com. There might be advantages to using this site over Capitainetrain, i.e. purchasing/using discount cards such as the Carte Enfant+, Carte Senior+, Fidélité Voyageur, calendrier des prix, among other features but the site is only available in French.

What is important to remember when picking up tickets is that at the service window, you must present, for the agents inspection, the exact same credit card as was used for the original ticket purchase. The agent checks the numbers on your card against the numbers of the original transaction. If your card is reissued for any reason, and any of the account numbers are altered or changed, the agent will not be able to verify authenticity and may refuse to give you your tickets.

While it is true that using a French website means that some purchasers will incur foreign transaction fees, up to 3%, this cost is minor in contrast to the savings over using Raileurope. Further, savvy travelers know where to bank to avoid all foreign transaction fees.

If you are having problems with, but want to use, www.voyages-sncf.com sign up for the ¨Verified by Visa¨ program (I assume MC has a similar program). Simply go to this website and register your Visa card:
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Old May 31st, 2014, 11:20 AM
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I agree that www.capitainetrain.com is a convenient site -- when it is working. The link offered above has not opened, at least for me, in more than two weeks. To be clear, I am in Canada, but that hasn't been an issue in the past. The voyages-sncf link opens; so do many other European pages which I have been using to obtain flights, hotel and restaurant reservations, etc. for a forthcoming European trip.
Any suggestions about what could be wrong?
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Old May 31st, 2014, 12:59 PM
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You heard a lot of really bad advice, why would it even make sense you need a chip and pin card online? And why would you click on free delivery by post in order to get print at home options?

I just use a regular US credit card, I've done it numerous times (Amex and Cap One Mastercard, mostly). I don't remember the steps as being anything complicated. I always say I intend to pick up the tickets in France towwards the beginning, because I do. Most tickets I buy can be printed at home, but that's an option you are given when you get towards the end. It's pretty obvious, it doesn't have anything to do with delivery by post, those are two different options. And you certainly cannot get delivery by post to the US, anyway.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 01:08 PM
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both ways work
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Old May 31st, 2014, 04:49 PM
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I hope you bought your ticket early to take advanced of their discounted "Prems" tkts. I actually have purchased mine through www.voyages-sncf.com and used Antarctica as my Country of origin (as was suggested on TA to avoid routing through Rail Europe).
I purchased my ticket with a USAA Visa which uses a 1% charge fee. I then chose Email ticket and printed it. It says your "E Ticket confirmation" and has a bar code one it.
Having said that. I surely hope that is all I need to suffice for my ticket and do not need to pick up anything when I get to the TGV Station????
Would appreciate comments on that question from anyone out there that can verify or not that is all I need.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Yeah, it's slick; as I recall, I showed the paper to the railroad guy standing at the stairs going into the traincar; and then mid-journey a conductor-guy came thru and scanned the barcode on the paper and went on.
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Old May 31st, 2014, 05:23 PM
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Print the ticket like you would a boarding pass for a flight. That's all you need. Nothing else to pick up at the train station. You'll probably need to show your printed ticket only once (for each train, anyway), to the conductor who will scan the bar code when coming through the train after it has departed. (You probably don't need to show it when you get on but if your car/seat is listed, someone from the train can make sure you are getting on the right car.)

You might also keep a PDF/Adobe Reader file version of the ticket (should be easy to "print" it as PDF nowadays, built into Google Chrome and most other browsers can do it) and keep it on your phone/tablet/laptop on your trip, in case you lose your printed ticket; then you can print it out again before departure without even needing to get on the internet and logging in somewhere.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 07:09 AM
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How early are the "prems" tickets on discount? I'm looking at Paris-Munich on CityNightLine in early October but these schedules don't show yet - too far in advance.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 07:33 AM
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PREMs are discounted tickets. They generally are available 3 months (not 90 days and there can be a difference) before any given travel date. PREMs are generally first available at 25€ and the price increases as they are sold. PREMs are limited and may not be available for all trains.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 07:39 AM
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According to this, tickets for CityNightLine trains are normally available 120 days out from your travel date and should be purchased from Bahn.de

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