Renfe or Rail Europe Pass?

Feb 10th, 2010, 08:57 AM
  #1  
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Renfe or Rail Europe Pass?

Hello All,

Instead of booking the tickets through Renfe for our upcoming trip to Spain, we are considering buying the Spain pass for 3 days unlimited travel ($232 per person) through the Rail Europe website http://www.raileurope.com/index.html and then reserving the train seats on the same website by paying an additional $15 per person per journey ($45 dollars for 3 days). I find this website to have better prices as compared to Renfe website if you have to make multiple train journeys eg: Barcelona-Madrid, then Madrid-Cordoba, Cordoba-Seville, Seville-Madrid during the trip.

Has anybody else tried doing the same? Any thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks.
catchgee is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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Well for one thing it is hard it seems to actually be able to book via the renfe.es web site anyway and the Spanish Railpass for such long train rides as you plan would seem to be a good deal - as for RailEurope.com i always advise using their agent www.budgeteuropetravel.com simply because they have IME lower booking fees - i think RE ads on an $18 fee on top of the individual seat fees (not sure have not checked lately and these things change)- but anyway you can talk to someone by phone who IME is an expert and can help select window seats,etc.that is hard to do with RE.
Palenque is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 09:30 AM
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If you think you can beat the web fare (60% discount) or Estrella fare (40% discount) using Rail Europe, then go for it. I just don't see the advantage of paying a fee and not being able to buy the best tickets available.

The typical web fare, Barcelona-Madrid tourist class, is about $63 one-way. The Sevilla-Madrid AVE tourist class Estrella fare is as low as $60 one-way. Sevilla-Cordoba is as low as $12 one-way. Cordoba-Madrid is as low as $40 one-way on the ALTARIA. A savings of about $100 over Rail Europe.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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But Robert - are there or are there not huge problems using the Renfe site for such tickets? Seems many people here have said so and others say not- what's the deal? And many thanks.
Palenque is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Purchasing Renfe Train Ticket HELP???? Posted by: johnb on Feb 10, 10 at 12:32pm

Ironically a current thread expresses exasperation with Renfe ticketing.

G001-ET02 This is the error message I keep getting. I tried 4 different credit cards...I tried calling several numbers but none seem to go through from the US...Can anyone help...The ticket prices on line are a significant savings but only if you can figure out how to buy them...

Any any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Palenque is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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Maybe the dates of travel are too far in advance.
Read through this.
http://www.seat61.com/Europe-train-t...ways%20website
ribeirasacra is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 10:07 AM
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I recently had no problem purchasing several tickets around Semana Santa from renfe - once my dates were available and posted AND once I contacted my credit card to let them know the purchases coming from renfe were OK to approve.

I've never found the rail passes to be a good deal for Spain compared to the individual prices from renfe, particularly with web and estrella fares.
CathyM is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Thanks all for the replies. In Rail Europe, they had an offer that if the total amount exceeds appx $300 or something, there will NOT be any booking fees. Since we had to buy the pass for both myself and my husband, we are able to get the benefit of waiver of the fees.
catchgee is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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I think what the RE site says is that for orders of over $299 there will be no mailing fees - but there could be a booking fee? I will have to go to the site and see - they have typically had a $18 booking fee for any reservations -from one to 100. But these things change and i may be wrong.

but i do know that you can easily book those trains, with a pass, once in Spain as i have done many times at a bit lesser rate perhaps- if you want flexibility, etc.
Palenque is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Another thread current with a plea for help with the Renfe site

Pleeeeeeeeeese Helpppppp with Renfe! Think I'm going insane! Posted by: emalekween on Oct 17, 09 at 8:30am
Posted in: Europe

Tagged: Spain
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We leave for Spain in about three weeks. I have been attempting to purchase Renfe tickets online- Madrid to Ronda- round trip for the last four days. I had copied the instructions on Tripadvisor and followed them to the letter (So helpful Benny Malaga-Thank you for the time spent spelling it all out). When I tried using my Visa, it didn't work so I called my bank to make sure there wasn't a problem with my card being blocked for some reason. There wasn't. I borrowed a friend's AmEx card and have been trying to use it since, but no luck either.

It's not the end of the world, but I would like to save some money (well over a 100 dollars) getting the web price.

Is there hope for me???? Lissa
Palenque is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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And incredibly the 4th exasperated person posting a current thread about Renfe booking:


I have tried opening the Atch - did not work, then I e-mailed Renfe - they sent me a page of info what to do and how to print using a different access . Did no work.
Then, I tried printing with different browsers and on a different computer ( we have a Mac)
Nothing worked , I am getting "server error" whatever I do.

Any ideas?
Palenque is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 12:38 PM
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Renfe does have problems with the new system (now over 1 year old), but you have to be persistent and patient, especially when you are near the time of year when they make the seasonal schedule changes: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. We've had to wait until we were down to the last few days before being able to book early spring and early summer travel dates. It can drive you crazy, but hey, it's Renfe.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 12:47 PM
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Pal,
I got some suggestions, but i can always get the tickets in Madrid. The important thing is : I got Madrid-Barcelona ticket for 45 euros!
danon is online now  
Feb 10th, 2010, 04:36 PM
  #14  
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I saw some tips on the Tripadvisor posting
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...s.Online..html

Lets see if this one works.
catchgee is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 04:38 PM
  #15  
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Robert2533,

You were correct. I went back and did the math too, seems like booking tickets from Renfe will be better than booking tickets from Rail Europe. Thanks for saving my hard earned $$.
catchgee is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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Yes the pass would be primarily for folks who want flexibility on when they want to travel once there -compared to full price tickets the OP's itinerary would make the pass a good deal -but if you can get the Renfe.es online discounts to work then that is often the best bet - and if you want to lock yourself into that specific train,of course.
Palenque is offline  
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