Swiss Pass - Buy in US or Switzerland?

Aug 25th, 2007, 06:05 PM
  #1  
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Swiss Pass - Buy in US or Switzerland?

Hello all
We will be leaving for Europe next Saturday and wanted to purchase the 4-day Swiss Pass...

For 2 persons:
Rail Europe quotes - $330 + $36 = $366 for overnight FedEx

How much does it cost if we were to purchase it at a train station in Switzerland...

Should we buy from Rail Europe or wait till we get there?

Thanks in advance
AB321 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 08:54 PM
  #2  
 
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Hi AB321,

First or second class?

If you buy in Switzerland, the Swiss Saver Pass (two persons travelling together get a 15% discount) costs 255 chf in 2d class and 383 chf in first class.

You can convert the chf to dollars at either oanda.com or xe.

Good luck!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 26th, 2007, 02:12 AM
  #3  
 
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The prices of passes are SET by the railroads (don't forget RE is owned by the SNCF and SBB) but I would avoid RE's S+H, etc., by simply buting the pass once I got to Switzerland.
Dukey is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:12 AM
  #4  
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Thank you swandav2000 & Dukey

255CHF is for two persons total?

If so, then for 2 persons buying in Switzerland is $215

Buying through RE is $366

Big Difference! Am I missing something...
AB321 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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I'm no train expert, but Rail Europe is a middle-man know for significantly marking up the price of tickets for their services.
suze is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Hi again,

No, that's 255 chf per person.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:47 AM
  #7  
 
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The Saver price is per person, not for both. I believe the price is actually 217 CHF for the Saverpass, not 255 (which is full price). Still, that is more than the $165 charged by RailEurope.

You can also buy them for that price at www.ricksteves.com for $15 shipping (plus a 20% discount on travel gear), but it may be too late now--they need 5 business days for shipment.
enzian is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:48 AM
  #8  
JN
 
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If I were in your shoes, I'd contact http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/. You can call them for free M-F, 9-5 EDT at 800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387
and you'll get helpful, friendly advice, on anything from buying the best pass at the best price with no fee standard shippig. The staff are fun, polite, knowledgeable people.
JN is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:51 AM
  #9  
 
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To clarify---the RailEurope price ($165) is the same as the price wshown on the SBB website, IF you ask for it in dollars. In CHF, it is 217. If you buy in Switzeland, you pay the CHF price, even if your nationality is US.

217 CHF converts to around $180.
enzian is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 08:55 AM
  #10  
 
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Maybe it's different if you will be traveling alot, but buying individual tickets at the train station has worked for me.
suze is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 09:01 AM
  #11  
 
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We bought ours through the budget europe travel site listed above, one more thing to have done and out of the way. Don't remember the price, I think it was the least expensive, or close.

They are also extremely helpful. We have called them several times with different questions. Nice people and knowledgeable.

Ours was shipped free, but your departure date is so close, I'm pretty sure they would charge for overnight or some type of fast shipping.
wrenwood is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 09:15 AM
  #12  
 
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Swiss passes are actually cheaper in the US thru RailEurope than at stations in Switzerland - why don't ask - even though Swiss Rail owns part of RE they charge more for the same pass in the Switzerland - who is gouging this time?

RE would charge $36 shipping - i choe the recommendation of BETS (www.budgeteuropetravel.com) for their uncannily good customer service and expertise - they also have no mailing fee except for rush orders i think, then a nominal FedEx fee. Plus you'll get their excellent free European Planning & Rail guide that has a good chapter on Switzerland (can get it even if don't buy free thru website).

For prices in Switzerland you must add foreign currency exchange fees - at least 3% with most credit cards so the $360 charged there for your pass would cost an additional $10 or so.

Buy here and save $30-40 it seems - for the exact same pass.

Who is gouging now - RailEurope or Swiss Railways?

If you went thru RailEurope itself the savings would be less because of the $36 fees OP points out.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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Note that those savings are on the very cheapest pass available - longer and first class plasses are correspondingly significantly cheaper so savings can be much more by buying outside Switzerland. So any advice to wait to buy there could mean spending $40-50 more per person per pass!
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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For example a month-long first class pass:

CHF 849 = .83 x 849 = $705

U.S. dollars = $651

2nd class 1 month

CHF CHF 566 = $463

U.S. $434

these are single passes but Saverpass reflect similar savings

so for first class one month saver savings for two would be about $90; 2nd class $50

well worth buying before you go plus i did not factor in the 3% credit card/foreign exchange fee in the CHF prices.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 28th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Oops - i used .83 but see in NYTimes today that the official rate is nearly .84 which means about .86 would be the effective rate for the Swiss franc - even more savings by buying outisde Switzerland!
PalenqueBob is offline  

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