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TripKey and Rick Steves

TripKey has identified the source of their on going TripKey problems as the endorsement in Rick Steves guidebook. 😁

As one of the many trying to use the process which I did learn about via RS info, I found the following email from TripKey ironic.

When success becomes a challenge....
The recommendation we received in Rick Steves's Europe, the top-selling guidebook about the Netherlands sold in North America, got us a sudden wave of customers. The demand for TripKey increased faster than we had expected. Some customers were unable to get a card. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.

Also, I had registered for TripKey before they stopped accepting registration and I was able to pick up the card in Amsterdam on May 1st. I haven't used it yet because when arriving at Schiphol and not knowing if I could actually get the card, I bought 3 day transit pass. I will use TripKey starting Friday.

We too had registered on line for a Tripkey, and I confirmed via email a week or so ago. Yet when we arrived at Schipol Airport the people at Hertz told us they discontinued the Tripkey because Tripkey could not keep up and it was reflecting badly on Hertz. The lady at the counter said that she called the other pickup location in Amsterdam and that they were down to their last two cards. The Hertz lady reported to me that she had already sent a half dozen other people over to the other Amsterdam location today. I followed up with a woman at Tripkey to be sure we are not charged and to express my disappointment, especially after I had just recently communicated with her. She said they are working on a new system but indicated no implementation date.

So...if you are planning to come to Amsterdam during the fist few weeks of May 2018, at least, I would be certain to double chk availability somewhere in Amsterdam (1 location at present) or in their other pick-up locations in other towns.

Posted by
12 posts

We picked up a TripKey on April 28th and it worked great. We had preordered them. It was hard finding the sole shop in Amsterdam where we could pick it up. We came from Paris and arrived via train, so we did not want to go to the airport to get them.

Posted by
1 posts

DO NOT go with TripKey! Idea behind it is fantastic, as it enables you to travel like a local BUT BUT BUT they are totally unorganized. INEPT business!! Here is what happened . . . I ordered our cards in advance, received the codes, and planned to pick up the cards in Amsterdam. One location was at the Hertz rental car counter . . . since we flew into Schiphol, how easy should that have been. BUT BUT BUT we get to the counter and find out they have NO CARDS. We call the TripKey Help Desk, and she tells me they have cards at the Amsterdam Ticket Shop. Well, after spending how much extra time and money to find that location . . . you guessed it: NO CARDS there either. We ended up finding them in Haarlem . . . . what a joke. What a joke!! DO NOT BUY TRIPKEY CARDS! When I contacted them again, upon returning from the Netherlands, they replied, "Please note that registering at the TripKey website is free, it is not a guaranteed reservation. We are always doing our utmost to have cards available, but we can't promise this." JOKE JOKE JOKE DO NOT BUY!

Posted by
46 posts

Simplify your life and just purchase the anonymous OV Chipkaart. There is no registering on a website or use of a credit card. It is available for use on on all forms of public transport. It is valid for five years. Even if you visit the Netherlands just once, you can always give the card to a friend who plans to visit the Netherlands. I bought mine in May 2014 and it will still be valid this year and the entire year of 2019. So far, I have done three trips to the Netherlands. It is nice to just stop at the train counter when I arrive at the airport and just give them cash to add value to my card. Thats all I have to do and then I am set for the whole trip.

Rick Steves is a good source for overviews of countries so that people can choose a destination that is a good fit for them. But I never take all of his specific recommendations as gospel.

Posted by
10 posts

We had registered for the TripKey for our trip to Amsterdam in early June. Got email from TripKey about their demand & lack of supply. And the closure of the Schiphol office. Very disappointed.

Posted by
799 posts

I am sorry to hear that Tripkey is having supply problems. On our trip to Amsterdam last March, I had the anonymous OV chip card that needs to be topped up and my husband had a Tripkey. The anonymous card was fine, but I thought the Tripkey was much easier, since we never had to worry about how much money was on the card or find a human being to top it up. However, if Tripkeys are not available when my sister and brother-in-law go to Amsterdam in late June, I will certainly recommend the OV chip card.

Posted by
4307 posts

We had the same problem as Beth at the AMS Hertz counter, on April 27. The guy there told them TripKey hadn't supplied them with cards in awhile, and they were ending their vendor relationship the following week. He referred us to the airport Sheraton, where we were told they provide the cards but none were available then. We took the bus to Haarlem and bought three-day cards for unlimited travel in the Amsterdam area. We probably didn't get their full value but they were very convenient to use.

TripKey seems not ready for prime time. One problem with e-commerce is the ease of hyping your product or service to potential customers worldwide, compared with the difficulty of actually providing the product or service. This disconnect can produce disappointed customers, like us. I'm especially steamed that these people took my credit card information and then left me hanging.

Posted by
306 posts

We received an e-mail from TripKey suspending all new registrations. Their web site addresses this issue.
When we used TripKey in April, it worked great - no problems or hassles. At that time, each registration can pick up to 12 cards and when we registered on-line they did not ask how many cards we needed. Perhaps working this small kink out will improve their business model.

Until they resolve their issues, just use the chipkaart or buy each ticket individually.

Posted by
8906 posts

Also keep in mind that Dutch Rail sells a one-day transit pass that can save money and hassle if you're going to be using public transit a lot. It covers all forms of transport: Trams, buses, metro, rail.
More details here:
https://tinyurl.com/y8ox7jw9

Posted by
142 posts

An anonymous and even a personal ov-chipkaart has some disadvantages (mainly for tourists). First there is no cap when using "pay as you go". That means that if you travel a longer distance or several times a day (in a specific area or using the same operator) buying a (multi) day pass can be cheaper. All depends on how often and where you want to travel. Second: both cards have an initial cost of 7.50 euros. Third: for train travel you need a minimum balance of around 15 euros at every check in. That leads to the final disadvantage, getting your money (the left over balance) back at the end of the trip: https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/applying-for-a-credit-refund/not-yet-expired-card.htm

And if you didnt buy your card from NS, you need to activate the card for train travel before you can use it. (https://www.ns.nl/en/travel-information/traveling-with-the-ov-chipkaart)

The big advantage is that travel by bus, tram or metro is in most cases cheaper using an anonymous or a personal ov-chipkaart than using single tickets.

For train travel the difference between a ticket bought from the ticket machine and using an anonymous or a personal ov-chipkaart is one euro. However when you buy an online ticket (printed on paper or downloaded into the NS app) via ns.nl/en the fares are exactly the same as for the anonymous/personal ov-chipkaart.

As mentioned day passes, like the Holland Travel Ticket (see post Michael Scheider), can be cheaper. But there are several other passes.

Depending on where you want to travel, you can also find deals on https://www.discoverholland.com (a website of NS/Dutch Railways)

Posted by
4307 posts

For your entertainment I quote from the Orwellian e-mail I just received from Ms. de Haan of TripKey in response to my complaint:

"We totally understand your disappointment regarding the availability of TripKey cards. Due to the big success of TripKey, we are not able to provide all our current TripKey members with a card. It is because of this issue that we decided to temporarily close our registration page. Please note that registering at the TripKey website is free, it is not a guaranteed reservation."

Or, to paraphrase, "Due to our big success we have failed some of our customers. Please note that our free registration promises you nothing." But, to be fair, I did get a useless code to show the Hertz guy, and TripKey did get my credit card information. :-(

Posted by
126 posts

A real shame. I had used TripKey a few times and really liked it....but the last time at Schipol, they had to go through 5 bad cards before they got one that worked. I also received that email. Kind of silly to discontinue them at the airport (although I never understood the Hertz counter thing). I also never understood the requirement to return it.

I'm heading back for two weeks in mid-June, and I guess it's OV-card time....

I suspect TripKey will vanish.

Posted by
10 posts

That's a shame about the TripKey card. Husband and I were in Amsterdam the first part of April 2018 for his business trip and used the TripKey. Registered online for it and picked it up at Hertz in the airport. We were there for 10 days staying in Breda (an hour south of Amsterdam). All of my sightseeing was in Amsterdam, so I had to travel daily back and forth on the train. It was nice that the card was linked to my credit card so I did not have to worry about loading it up when it got low -- just scan the card to check in/out and go! Hope they get the kinks worked out before we go again.

Posted by
635 posts

We loved the TripKey Card for our recent trip in April. We spent over 2 weeks zooming all over The Netherlands without any problems and for a very reasonable cost. It was just such a good deal that I suspect they didn't plan on it becoming so successful. They ran out of card stock and Hertz probably got tired of dealing with irate, jet lagged Americans. I hope that they can get their act together and reboot the pass.

Posted by
126 posts

Just came back from a two week biz trip to Amsterdam. I had used TripKey twice before, but with no way to get one at Schipol, I just grabbed the OV-chipkaart. It worked just fine, and you can buy it and top it off via machine instead of standing in line at the ticket counter. It's a bit embarrassing when your funds go too low, the gate refuses to open, you crash into the gate, and the Dutch dude behind you crashes into you. Other than that (only needs to happen to you once), it worked just fine.

Posted by
190 posts

Jack: Perfect description of the bump. Thanks for making me smile.

Posted by
1005 posts

The OV-chipkaart is a good alternative. When I tried one about four years ago, you could only top it up at a train station ticket office and an American credit card with a chip--it wouldn't work in machines. Now that US cards have chips and the Dutch have loosened their restrictions on foreign credit cards, topping up works much better. If you are going to use it on trains, you need to "enable" it to work on the train system and have at least 20 euros plus the price of your train fare on the card.