European rail travel tips

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by guinnessxyz, Feb 24, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20130220-top-sites-for-booking-european-rail-tickets

    This spring, rail travel will become even more convenient as the Spanish and French rail networks integrate, allowing passengers in one country to travel by high-speed rail to a major city in the other. In mid-April, France’s state-owned rail company SNCF plans to start running high-speed service between Paris and Barcelona, while Spain’s national train operator RENFE has already debuted high-speed service between Barcelona and Madrid. Final details have yet to be announced, but it seems reasonable to predict a travel time between Paris and Madrid of nine hours; driving a similar route would take about 15.
    Europe’s other recent high-speed rail revolutions include the April 2012 debut of Italo, a privately-run service that connects Milan, Rome and Naples, and the December 2011 launch of Westbahn, a privately-run train service between Vienna and Salzburg.
     
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  2. Does anyone know if any FF program allows purchase of rail tickets under their program.
    I can always do it with CC points of course.
     
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  3. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    In some cases, european trains can earn miles with a frequent flyer program. For instance, Lufthansa gives miles for certain trains to and from FRA, and you can redeem miles through Miles and More for tickets on those trains. I believe AAdvantage also does so (but not, I think, to Frankfurt).

    Trouble is that you have to purchase the train ticket as a flight, which can cost more than if you buy it as a train trip.
     
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  4. Counsellor
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    I probably should add that Deutsche Bahn (the German rail company) has its own frequent traveler loyalty and rewards program called "bahn.bonus". If you're going to be doing much travel in Germany, it and the discount card, "BahnCard" (25% or 50% discounts on fares) are worth looking into.

    http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/prices/germany/bahncard.shtml
    or
    www.bahn.de
     
  5. newbluesea
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    [quote="Counsellor, post: 1873883, member: 858
    Trouble is that you have to purchase the train ticket as a flight, which can cost more than if you buy it as a train trip.[/quote]

    This is not entirely true in the case of AA.
    a) The train ticket has be purchased in conjunction as part of a AA itinerary ( not sure if its OW now)
    Miles used to be awarded for SNCF, Thalys and DB legs not sure if thats so currently
    b) I have seen instances where the addition of the train leg has actually reduced the cost of the entire itin.
    c) In the past the procedure was a bit tedious since many AA agentswere not aware of this

    With regard to the article Renfe high speed between Madrid and Barcelona has been in place what? four or five years now??
    I took the AVE on that route in 2010, speeds of up to 320 km/hr were reached on that train..
     
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  6. Counsellor
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    I didn't know that, thanks!

    Do you happen to have an example of how that worked?
     
  7. newbluesea
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    Not sure exactly but I do recall pricing a fare MIA/CDG/( train to) Brussels ( I cannot remember the train station code for Bussels) and it came out to less than MIA/CDG. Perhaps it priced out as as a cheaper MIA/BRU fare.

    Unfortunately I had already purchased MIA/CDG so they could not add the train trip without redoing the whole ticket which I did not want to do.
     
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  8. Counsellor
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    Thanks! I'll have to keep it in mind. Do you know where I can find a listing of the various (rail) routes AAdvantage gives miles for?
     
  9. newbluesea
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    If memory serves there is not a listing as per se. but if you go to aa.com and in the Find flights tab insert for example Brussels in the city or airport box, along with BRU you will see ZYR for Brussels Midi train station.

    I tried to make a dummy booking using that code if I am not mistaken it used to work and even gave a number of train options but I guess you have call them now.
     
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