Swiss Saver Flexi Pass

Old Oct 5th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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Swiss Saver Flexi Pass

Can this pass be purchased after arriving in Zurich? Can it be purchased at the Zurich airport?

Thanks
rubidium is offline  
Old Oct 5th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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Yup you can and at any Swiss train station. That said the exact same pass sold in Switzerland is about 15-20% higher than the exact same pass sold in the U.S. before leaving. Why? beats me but has been for some years now. One Fodor couple recently said they'd say about $60-80 buy buying before leaving. For lots on Swiss trains and passes i always point to - www.swisstravelsystem.com (you can get prices for passes sold in Switzerland here in Swiss francs (CHF) - about 1 to the dollar now with charges figured in); http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/ and www.ricksteves.com. Some agents will charge $18 shipping fee for the typical Swiss Pass (RailEurope.com is part owned by the Swiss Railways and charges $18 shipping fee for all orders un $449 i believe, as most Swiss Saver pass orders would be - other agents do not - such as budget europe travel mentioned above. So unless you are leaving tomorrow or today you can save a lot by buying in advance.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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The Half-Fare Card can be bought at any Swiss station and in fact is not sold abroad - and in a few cases it can be better - more economic than any Swiss Pass. It costs about $100 (CHF 99) and gives you 50% off anything that moves in Switzerland - you need to calculate your trips and costs however to be sure. For the typical tourist the Swiss Pass will be often the best bet.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 11:19 PM
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Hi all,

Palenque, one can buy the Half Fare Card abroad; I have done it many times. I've bought it from the USA and from Germany as well. You can pay for it by cc and pick it up at the airport, or have it mailed to you.

You can buy it at the site you note above,

www.swisstravelsystem.com

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Oct 6th, 2009, 01:17 PM
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Swandav - thanks for the comment - i meant that it was not marketed abroad like Swiss Passes, Swiss Cards and Swiss Transfer Tickets (this one cannot be bought in Switzerland i think) are - and currently are cheaper than in Switzerland.

I understand you can order it thru Swiss sites but i really don't see why one would bother since you have to pick the card up anyway so why not just buy it at the same price as easily as picking it up? Maybe the price is cheaper online - or why would one want to pre-order? curious as to your reason.

Cheers
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 09:00 PM
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Hi again!

Sometimes a traveller may be coming from Paris and staying in Montreux or the Oberland, and the connection in Geneva and/or Bern isn't long enough to get out and purchase the HFC (having bought a half-fare online ticket for the onward travel). There are lots of other hypotheticals I could think of for having one in hand.

In my own case, I have to admit I was getting my one-year HFC renewed, and I had to do it in advance because it takes some time to make up a new card.

My main point, though, was just to correct the comment that it "is not sold abroad." For whatever reason someone may have, s/he should know that it is, in fact, sold abroad.

s
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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I am interested in this because we had exactly this experience last year when we were travelling from France to Switzerland with only 10 minutes in Geneva to change trains.

I contacted SBB to ask if I could purchase a monthly half fare card from Australia and they told me that I should buy it in Paris. However, my attempts to buy it in Paris failed and we had to catch a later train in Geneva - no big deal really.

I'm curious to know how to purchase in advance because we plan go again next year. Does purchase at the website above provide for the monthly as well as the annual card? Are there any 'tricks' to know?

The other thing I found was that the family cards for the kids are advertised as free but apparently cost 20euro each if purchased in Switzerland.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 12:48 AM
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Hi dreamon,

Yes, just go to www.swisstravelsystem.com and you'll see the one-month version of the HFC to buy. I actually had to log into the SBB and e-mail them back and forth for my one-year version.

The Family Cards are free if you purchase a pass, as I understand it (don't have children so don't know for sure). I believe it's also free if you buy the HFC. See if there's a note at the sts site.

Have fun!

s
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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swandav - Is there a mailing fee or any fees for mailing it to you? curious, thanks for the info and yes coming from say France and wanting to make the quickest connections is certainly reason to buy it in advance. I can still quibble with what being sold abroad means if it comes from Switzerland but the effective point is that you can get your hands on one before arriving and may well want to.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 07:36 AM
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Sorry, I don't know what the mailing fees are. I never looked at my cc receipts, etc. after the purchase.

Sorry!

s
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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I believe it's also free if you buy the HFC. See if there's a note at the sts site.>

to my knowledge that is true but i will have to investigate sbb.ch to see - they once charged CHF 20 for a Family Card but that was a few years back.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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swandav2000 - i just noticed on sbb.ch that there is a new 2-year Half-Fare Card! And i was also reminded that Half-Fare cards also get 25% off any Germany portion of any direct train originating in Switzerland - i think only direct but perhaps any journey originating in Suisse regardless of whether you change or not.

and i suppose if say landing in Frankfurt you'd get 25% off on train to Basel SBB station - another reason i guess to have the card in hand as i doubt you could buy it in Frankfurt Airport station (though not sure of that)

cheers
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 08:21 PM
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Hi Pal, there has been a 2-year HFC for many years, and there is even a 3-year HFC. The Swiss I know always have a long-term one like that.

Just wish I could use mine more often <<grin>>

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Oct 9th, 2009, 01:08 AM
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Yes, the multi-year HFC cards have been around a while. This year, when our annual HFC card expires, we're thinking of going for the full-blown GAO instead of the multi-year HFC. A first class annual GAO for two costs over 7000 Sfr, so we have to see if our travel plans for the year will add up to something close to that. However, cost aside, the great thing about the GAO is that you can travel to wherever (almost) you want in Switzerland and hop on the train without standing in line to buy tickets at the machine or ticket office. If you hate waiting in lines like we do, that's a big benefit. The GAO also is good for local public transportation in Switzerland (Basel trams, for example) and you also get the 25% discount for Germany/Austria trains that you get with the HFC.

As noted above, HFC gives you discounts on train fares to Germany and Austria. But you have to buy the ticket in Switzerland.
However, they're not always cheapest. I'm meeting someone at Frankfurt airport later this month (to use Pal's example). I checked the best price I could get with my HFC--it's higher than the best online ticket price I found on the DB site. So I bought our tickets that way. As with so many things, you have to comparison shop.
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Old Oct 9th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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the great thing about the GAO is that you can travel to wherever (almost) you want in Switzerland and hop on the train without standing in line to buy tickets at the machine or ticket office. If you hate waiting in lines like we do, that's a big benefit>

And that is also what i enjoy about having a Swiss Pass as well - just hop on the train, bus, boat, etc. No bothering with tickets - priceless to me.
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Old Oct 9th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Back to OP's Q

Just checked to see if price differential between buying here or there was still in dollar price favor:

Took 15-day Saverpass (consecutive)

sbb.ch for two adults in 2nd cl- CHF 774 or say about $700

prices in dollars for same pass - $732

so about a $40 savings if you don't pay shipping like some agents will charge but others will not. RailEurope.com originates the Swiss Pass in the U.S. as it is part owned by Swiss Railways and they charge $18 mailing fee on orders under $450 - OK in this case but for many Swiss Passes that will be less than $450 total would mean an extra $18
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