UPDATE: as of 2am on the 23rd of December, there are still plenty of €25 tickets left!
Lately, there were too many rail tickets sales, but this one is quite special: there will be more tickets and hence more chances for everyone to get them.
In this post:
- Why this sale is special
- What’s on offer
- Ultimate guide to the last RENFE 25 sale, on 22nd of December 2017
- Tips and tricks on how to get tickets during RENFE sale
Why this sale is special
Spanish national rail operator RENFE just announced its last special sale for this year. In 2017 RENFE’s high-speed rail network AVE is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Since April, on the 25th day of each month, RENFE was holding a sale, which offered 25,000 one-way tickets anywhere in Span for €25 each, for high-speed and long-distance trains. Tonight, on the 22nd of December, there will be the last €25 sale! Depending on the destination, you can save up to 75%! Although there were quite a few sales last month (November’s €25 sale, then Cyber Week sale, RENFE-SNCF sale…) this one is quite special and here is why:
- This is the last €25 sale of the year. We never know if next year will bring similar discounts and such amazing value. So if you want a weekend in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, or any other fantastic Spanish city, then take part.
- There will be twice as many promo tickets on sale. Unlike other similar sales, when RENFE was offering 25,000 tickets for €25 each, this time there will be 50,000 tickets for €25 each. This means more chances to get them!
- Many people already booked their tickets during recent sales in November, which were covering February 2018. This means less competition and more chances to get this fantastic deal! 🙂
What’s on offer
Normally AVE tickets are quite expensive. For example, the most popular route Madrid-Barcelona can take as little as 2h 30m but can cost from €60 to €250+, depending on when you buy and what class of travel you choose. But on average, tickets for AVE train between Madrid – Barcelona are around €60-€80 one way! That’s €120-€160 return! Therefore €50 return ticket to Madrid – which you can get tonight – is a very good deal! Every Spaniard will agree with that. (Of course, there are cheaper tickets on that route (€27-33 one way), but they are for slow trains which take 6-9+ hours.)
This sale deal gets even better if you take long-distance cross-country routes: Barcelona to Sevilla, Malaga, Vigo, Figueras and other wonderful Spanish cities.
I personally managed to get a few tickets to Madrid, and notably a return ticket from Barcelona to Sevilla for €50! Full price ticket for the same date and time is almost €200! That’s a 75% off! Read below the summary of this sale with answers to (hopefully most of) your questions about it and my tips and trick at the bottom of this page.
Ultimate guide to the last RENFE 25 sale, on 22nd of December 2017
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 23rd of December 2017. Ideally, you should be ready by 23:55 on 22nd of December, to book these prize tickets! 🙂 Based on the last few sales, tickets are sold out within 30 – 40 min.
Q: When can I travel?
A: Sale is covering a period from 23rd of December 2017 until 26th of February 2018. So if you want to buy those €25 tickets, your outbound and/or return dates should be within this range.
Q: How many tickets will be on sale?
A: 50,000 tickets.
Q: Which trains are part of the sale?
A: €25 euro tickets are only for direct national AVE (high-speed) and direct national long-distance trains. You can check AVE and other long-distance destinations here. I personally struggled to find a definition of long-distance train routes on Renfe website. 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 from Figueres to Cadiz, then you need to buy 2 tickets: Figueres – Sevilla and Sevilla – Cadiz, because there is no direct train from Figueres to Cadiz. But in that particular example, you need sale only for the longest journey, which Figueres – Sevilla. The train from Sevilla to Cadiz is only €16. 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 a free Cercanias option to go from Madrid-Atocha rail station to the airport. I strongly recommend to quickly research your destinations and prices first, by checking RENFE website.
Q: How many tickets can I buy?
A: You can buy up to 4 one way tickets per person. It means 2 return tickets. 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 tickets have the same conditions as other ‘Promo’ rates: no refunds, no changes, no posh waiting area (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 – that’s how RENFE calls second class. But ‘Turista’ is perfectly fine and very comfortable.
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. Based on my experience, when you buy a few tickets in one transaction, 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’ and has this icon next to it: . The price is also giving it away – it will be exactly €25. Based on my experience, if you don’t see the sale rate, just go back and search again. It should appear after all. Another trick is to see which rates are available. Once I was shown normal rate, but the drop down rate menu had the sale rate of €25, which I happily chose.
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: Well… there is always another time! 🙂 These sales proved to be extremely popular and I am sure marketeers from RENFE got really impressed with the surge in bookings. They say in November REMFE got 3,6m website inquiries! Let’s hope something similar will pop up next year! 🙂
Q: What is AVE
A: 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.
Tips and tricks on how to get tickets during RENFE sale
If you decide to book something tonight, 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 23rd of December 2017 till 26th of February 2018. Any bookings outside of these dates will have normal prices. Decide on an alternative travel dates in advance (and even better – write your plans down) – you won’t have much time to think when the sale will start. If you are travelling with relatives/friends – talk to them first and agree on various options.
- 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. It will give you an idea of potential savings. In some cases, regular or ‘Promo’ tickets can cost the same or even cheaper than€25. That’s why I personally aim for long-distance, expensive routes, to maximise the benefits of this offer.
- 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. But don’t give up!
- If you still can’t see the sale rates, official Renfe blog suggests clearing cash in your browser and searching again. It might be a good idea to clear your browser cash before the sale.
- If a payment went through but you didn’t get a ticket confirmation, and the charge is showing up on your card statement, don’t worry: normally in such cases, 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! 🙂