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Rail cards and train reservations in France

Rail cards and train reservations in France

Jun 19th, 2019, 09:04 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Rail cards and train reservations in France

Hi, it's me again--suffering from train ticketing aversion. How you all manage to battle your way through all the options amazes me and I find I must throw myself on your mercy once again with a heap of questions.

First my situation. DH and I (both seniors) will be in France in September and doing all of our travel by train. 4 long trips (CDG to Bordeaux, Bordeaux to La Rochelle, La Rochelle to Nantes and Nantes back to CDG) and several short day trips from these three cities. I think I understand correctly that my best bet is to get PREMS tickets now for the long trips and that I would probably benefit from the purchase of Avantage Rail Cards for both of us. My problem is that I don't know how to go about doing this. Here are my ditzy questions with apologies if I should have figured this out from my own reading--which I have done--and great thanks for any light you can shed on this baffling (to me at least) system.

Do I first purchase an Avantage Card so that it's in my record to apply to the actual purchase of tickets?
Can I purchase an Avantage Card on line? If so how do I handle the picture aspect of it?

We arrive into CDG at 6 a.m. and I plan to purchase a PREMS ticket for the CDG to Bordeaux trip now with a departure at 9:19 a.m. that same day. If I purchase on line and the flight is delayed such that we can't make the 9:19 can I cancel on line (if we're not in the air when it becomes apparent that we won't make the 9:19 departure) and get reticketed for a later train--if there is still available space? . Is there anything else I should consider about the somewhat peril fraught aspects of planning an immediate departure on a train upon getting off an international flight?

Is there anything else I'm missing about all of this?

JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jun 19th, 2019, 09:29 AM
  #2  
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Also, can I use an advantage card if I book my trains on the Trainline site? or must I do it via SNCF?
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jun 19th, 2019, 10:07 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have a Carte Voyageur and a Carte Senior. To obtain both of these I had to have a permanent address in France. I would imagine (but I don't know for sure) that the same applies for the Carte Avantage. You can, however, always get the Senior discount on any ticket, whether you have a French address or not. For people who do have various cartes, yes, you can always use them on Trainline.

PREM fares are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable, so there's no point in canceling a PREM ticket. If you can't show up, you'll just forfeit the fare and will need to buy a new ticket (at full fare, with the Senior discount, if that applies).
StCirq is offline  
Jun 19th, 2019, 11:08 AM
  #4  
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Thanks St. Cirq Not exactly the way I hoped things work but at least now I know. We'll pay our money and take our chances.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jun 19th, 2019, 11:12 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think you're fine with a 3-hour window; that's what I always build in and usually have time for a coffee and croissant and trip to the Relay to pick up a magazine for the train. Another option is to choose Loisir tickets instead of PREMs, which will enable you to get a refund within certain parameters.
StCirq is offline  
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