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  1. #1
    Thought I'd make this a separate thread -- just a quick note about my first experience using the Renfe website last night to buy train tickets. I couldn't have managed it without the advice on here, including the links to the Seat 61 and TripAdvisor sites, so am hoping I might add a little to the collective wisdom:

    At first after putting in the credit card info for the card we wanted to use we got the G001 error message that I'd read was likely. Somewhere (I don't remember if here or not), I'd read that someone had had success with their Bank of America debit card, so instead of calling the bank and all that, decided to try my ATM card, and it worked! When it was in the validating part of the process got a pop-up window from Bank of America to sign up for "Verified by Visa." Once done, the train ticket purchase went right on through.

    Just for what it's worth...

    {{edited at mselectra's request}}

  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting your experience!

  3. #3

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    The website has inproved dramtiacally in the last month - there is now even an obvious set of click on tabs for changing the language - "welcome" for English at the top of the page instead of being hidden at the botton and in Spanish "selecione idioma" - "choose language".

    The biggest leap forward is that the previously very hard to find "cercanias" routes - local trains, are now much more apparent and joy of joys - they are now even coming up with routes with connecting trains!!!!

    The trick for U.S. users booking with their credit cards has always been to click on "debit card" tab (even if using a credit card) and this has always seemed to work - we have been advising this for the past couple of years and it has always seemed to solve the problem.

    All in all, the website is finally going in the right direction (thank goodness - it has only taken four years!!) Things do move very slowly in Spain, except the trains (ironically!!!!!).

    Michael

  4. #4
    Thanks for the post, I was just preparing to book train tickets from Barcelona to the Freixinet winery!
    [size="1"]Him:"That polka dot suitcase makes you look like a tourist." Her:"Doesn't the fact that I'm dragging it thru the streets already say that?" Him:"No, a black suitcase says you're a traveler. A polka dot one screams that you've never left

  5. #5

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    I am still not able to purchase tickets. I have registered as a user. I have read the Trip Advisor and Seat 61 directions and followed them. I have tried booking tickets on Safari, Mozilla and Internet Explorer with both a credit card and a debit card. I always get the G001 error message.

    One thing I have noticed is that for the date I am trying to purchase tickets (October 10), whenever the website asks for seat selection the entire car is still available.

    This makes me think that maybe the web tickets are not really available yet. Are there times when Renfe shows tickets available when they really are not yet for sale?

  6. #6

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    Hi Amica,

    It might be that you are just today on the 60 day limit - try again tomorrow.

    You can also call.

    Are you using a Visa or Mastercard as opposed to Amex or Diners? We have continually found that the system is not keen on the latter two. I may not have explained myself clearly above - if using a Visa or Mastercard Credit Card from the US. still click on the debit card tab (even though it is a credit card) this seems to over-ride their system for some obscure reason. No promise that it will work but it has in numerous cases - it seems to depend on the card company too.

    I hope this helps,

    Michael

  7. #7

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    I have just spoken to Renfe and they say that if you are using Amex, you will need to put a zero in front of the 15 digit card number in order to fill the 16th space.

    They also say that many US credit cards do not work owing to a continuing dispute with many of the US card companies settling transactions late. (Not very helpful to anyone booking tickets I know). Their advice is, if anyone from the US is having problems, call them on 0034 902 109 420 where they assure me the calls can be taken in English.

    Good Luck!!

    Michael

  8. #8

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    Thanks so much. I think I will call them. I was using a VISA credit card and a VISA debit card. Neither worked after numerous tries.

    I will also check with my banks to see if there is a problem. I suspect there is a hold of some kind with the credit card, but the debit card usually is not a problem anywhere. I have used a lot of foreign websites and made purchases with it in the past with no issues.

    I'll let you know what happens.

  9. #9


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    In April, I bought tickets on the Renfe site (60 days before my trip) following the direction in TripAdvisor (under FAQ). Just as it had forewarned, I couldn't finish the transaction after entering my CapitalOne credit card #. After experiencing this a few times, I finally called CapitalOne, which unblocked the transaction after my explaining that it was a legitimate purchase. After that call, it worked and I was able to print my tickets. Three years ago, I made a small purchase using the same credit card on a French website without problems. Who knows, maybe it depends on the amount of transaction, the country where the purchase is made, or that CapitalOne became more stringent. Calling the credit card company could help.

  10. #10

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    I said that I would report back on my continuing attempts at buying tickets on the RENFE website.

    I continued to get an error message no matter what I tried. I contacted Capital One about my VISA card problem. They told me that no attempts to charge from the RENFE website showed on their records and they were not blocking the purchase. There must be some disconnect between the credit card, RENFE and my computer and other computers I tried. I became convinced that neither of my VISA cards was going to work.

    I happened to look at the Trip Advisor and someone had recommended a travel agency in the US that had low fees for booking RENFE tickets.

    I contacted PETRABAX by e-mail Friday evening and they contacted me today. They can book the web fare for me between Madrid and Granada for October 10 for a total charge of $46 US. Since the web fare is 29.95 euro, they are charging me a transaction fee of between $7 and $8 US based on today's exchange rate. They will also contact me when the web fares are available for the October 20 leg of my trip between Seville and Madrid.

    For those who are tired of attempting to purchase a ticket on the website with repeated failures, this seems like a good option.

    It is certainly worth $7 to me to not become further frustrated with trying to purchase from the RENFE website.

  11. #11


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    Amica,

    Did you check the RailEurope website? The website is very user-friendly and you can buy Spanish train tickets there. It says it charges $18 handling fee for each order, which is cheaper than your travel agency. I was going to buy my tickets there until someone on TripAdvisor suggested that I buy from Renfe directly without a fee by following this direction. I see that this direction was updated in June. I admit, it's not the easiest way to buy tickets. If it didn't work for me, I would have bought them from RailEurope, and it would have been worth $18.

  12. #12

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    My earlier post indicated that I had read both Trip Advisor and Seat 61 directions and tried everything to book on the RENFE website and nothing worked for me.

    I looked at Rail Europe and the best fare I can get on an AVE train from Madrid to Granada on October 10 is $92. It doesn't seem that they offer the web discount fares that RENFE and my travel agent both offer.

    I am pleased with the purchase I made. I thought it was a very good option that other people might want to try.

  13. #13
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    I've bookmarked Petrabax for the future. Thanks Amica.

  14. #14

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    I think those in the USA (and even others) who get exasperated by the RENFE booking process should contact one of the RENFE agents in their country for tickets. In USA they are as mentioned above and in the link on RENFE's web site below:

    http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajer...es_puntos_venta.html

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