Yet again, Spanish train operator RENFE is holding their popular 25 EUR sale to celebrate 25th anniversary of country’s high-speed train network AVE. Don’t miss this chance to bag cheap tickets to high-speed and long-distance trains within Spain for only €25 one way! Depending on the destination, you can save up to 75%. Read my Ultimate Guide to November RENFE sale below.
This year Spaniards are spoiled: every month since April RENFE is holding amazing 25 EUR sales. There is one – potentially last one for this year – tomorrow!
What is AVE
AVE is an abbreviation for Alta Velocidad Española which translates to “Spanish High Speed”. But word ‘ave’ also means “bird”.
AVE started in 1992, connecting Seville, Cordova and Madrid. 25 years later the Spanish AVE system is the longest high-speed rail network in Europe with 3,240 km and the second longest in the world, after China’s, reaching speed up to 310 km/h.
What’s on offer
To celebrate AVE’s 25th anniversary, RENFE is holding monthly ticket sales on the 25th of each month, selling 25,000 one-way tickets for 25 euros each. The first sale took place in April. There is no clear info how many sales will be this year, so tomorrow sale might be the last one for this year.
Normally AVE tickets are quite expensive. For example, the most popular route – Madrid-Barcelona – takes from only 2h 30m, but return ticket can cost from 80 to 250+ euros, depending on when you buy and what class of journey you choose. So 50 euros return ticket to Madrid – which you can get tomorrow – is a very good deal, believe me!
Real gems are long-distance cross-country routes: to Sevilla, Malaga, Vigo, Barcelona, Figueras and other wonderful Spanish cities.
For example, during a similar sale a couple of months back I got a return ticket from Barcelona to Sevilla for 50 euros. Full price ticket for the same date and time is almost 200 euros! That’s 75% off!
Ultimate guide to November’s RENFE 25 sale
Info about these sales are scattered across various web pages which are not always in English, so I did some leg work and prepared an updated Q&A for you. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.
Q: When is the sale?
A: Sale starts in the early hours of the 25th of November 2017. Ideally, you should be ready by 23:55 on 24th of November, to book these prize tickets! 🙂 Based on the last few sales, tickets are sold out within 30 min, so by 00:30 on the 25th of November they are likely to be all gone.
Q: When can I travel?
A: Sale is covering a period from 25th of November 2017 till 26th of February 2018. So if you want to buy those 25 euro tickets, outbound or return should be within this date range.
Q: How many tickets will be on sale?
A: 25,000 tickets.
Q: Which trains are part of the sale?
A: 25 euro tickets are only for AVE (high-speed) and long-distance direct national trains. You can check AVE and other long-distance destinations here. I personally struggle to find a definition of long-distance train routes on Renfe websites. But I guess inter-city or cross-country trains are for sure long distance (for example Madrid-Barcelona, Barcelona-Sevilla, Madrid-Bilbao, Madrid-Figueras, etc). It’s important to know your destination in advance and to make sure it’s part of the sale. Otherwise you won’t find promo tickets, no matter how hard you look!
Q: Are train changes or stopovers allowed?
A: No, the sale is only for direct routes, without any changes. For example, if you want to go Barcelona – Cadiz, you need to buy 2 tickets: Barcelona – Sevilla and Sevilla – Cadiz, because there is no direct train from Barcelona to Cadiz. Don’t forget that with any AVE train you will get a free ticket to a local train (Cercanias). For exampe, when going Barcelona-Madrid with AVE, you can use free Cercanias option to go to the airport. It’s advisable to research destinations first.
Q: How many tickets can I buy?
A: You can buy up to 4 one way tickets per person. Don’t forget these tickets can be for yourself or for someone else – your friends, relatives, etc. Just put their names in. You can buy these tickets in one transaction or in separate transactions. But I recommend buying all in one transaction, because next time you get to the fare selection page you might not see the promo tickets. As I mentioned, they are selling fast!
Q: Where can I buy tickets?
A: You can only buy it via renfe.com website. Don’t try RENFE app or ticket office (all promo tickets will be gone by the morning anyway).
Q: Can I get a refund for this promo ticket or change the date, in case my plans change?
A: Unfortunately, not. These 25 euros tickets have the same conditions as other ‘Promo’ rates: no refunds, no changes, no VIP lounge (Sala VIP). Therefore, you need to decide and fix your dates before you book. You can see T&C for promo tickets here.
Q: Which class of travel can I choose?
A: These promo tickets are only offered for ‘Turista’ class or second class (which is perfectly fine and very comfortable, by the way!).
Q: Can I choose seats for myself and my companions?
A: No, with promo tickets you can’t choose a seat and system will assign them automatically. But based on my experience, when you buy a few tickets in one go, the system normally assigns them next to each other, so you won’t be sitting in different coaches.
Q: How will I know it’s a sale rate?
A: When you put your destination and dates, Renfe website will show you cheapest tickets. Sale rate is called ‘25AniversarioAVE’. The price is also giving it away – it will be exactly 25 euros. Based on my experience, if you don’t see the sale rate, just go back and search again. It should appear after all.
Q: What trains are like?
A: The trains are very nice, actually: new, air-conditioned, spacious, accessible, with bar cars and trolley service, toilets in each car, TVs, radio socket and even electricity socket at each seat, so your devices won’t run out of juice! 🙂 In these conditions even 5-6 hours journey will seem nice. And remember, you can bring your own food and drinks onboard! You can check images and specs of the trains here.
Q: Where can I read the official announcement regarding this sale?
Q: What if I missed the sale?
A: There might be another RENFE 25 sale next month – we will know closer to the date. But in any case, don’t worry. These sales proved to be extremely popular and I am sure marketeers from RENFE got really impressed with the surge in bookings. Let’s hope something else will pop up next year! 🙂
Tips and tricks
If you decide to book something tomorrow, here are a few tips and tricks from Renfe and from my own experience:
- Switch Renfe website into English – look for word ‘Welcome’ on top of the page.
- Create your Renfe profile: it will help to save your ticket reservations, to check them later. Also it’s useful to populate your info and info of your friends/relatives who will be travelling with you when buying a ticket. To streamline the process further, it would be great to have your card/PayPal details saved in your profile. But this is only possible during the last stage of a ticket purchase process. So you can’t just save it without buying a ticket first.
- Know the sale period: from 25th of November 2017 till 26th of February 2018. Any bookings outside of these dates will have normal prices. Decide on an alternative travel dates – you won’t have much time to think when the sale will start.
- Know your destination: check destinations of AVE and long-distance trains here, and pick a few options, in case some of them will be sold out.
- Do price check: compare regular price for your trip for the chosen dates beforehand – that will give you an idea of potential savings. In some cases, regular ‘Promo’ tickets can cost the same or even cheaper. That’s why I personally aim for long-distance, expensive routes.
- Be flexible. It’s easy to say, but it can save you a lot of money: if tickets for the dates you want are sold out, try another destination or date.
- If you can’t see the sale rate – just refresh the page or go to the main page and do the search from the beginning. Annoyingly, you will probably have to repeat this dozens of times before you will get to the booking page.
- If you can’t find the tickets/rates, official Renfe blog suggests clearing cash in your browser and searching again. Although when I bought these tickets during last month’s sale, I didn’t have to clear any cash. But it is good to know in case you are having any issues. It might be a good idea to clear the cash before the sale.
- If the payment didn’t go through and you didn’t get the ticket, but the charge is showing up on your card statement, don’t worry – normally the charge will disappear from your card/account in a couple of days. If it didn’t, call Renfe Online sales helpline +34 912 180 180 (they do speak English!) and they will be able to remove the charge for you over the phone. Just have the card which you used to pay for the ticket handy – they need to verify some info.
- Don’t panic! Remember: if the campaign runs out, there are other offers, as well as Promo and Promo+ tariffs which can give you up to 70% discount!
- Finally, official Renfe blog and Spanish newspapers are suggesting not to rush to buy tickets at midnight, but rather wait a few minutes and then try. My advice would be: don’t wait! Try booking as soon as the sale starts and you might be lucky! I was lucky during the past 2 sales, but during one I couldn’t buy anything. So there is no winning formula.
- Last thing. Train travel is an experience. Flying might be cheaper and faster, but train travel is much nicer in many ways. Consider it a luxury which cost money! 😉
Do you have any questions? Did you manage to get the tickets? Let me know in the comments! Good luck with the sale! 🙂