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buying train tickets - read forums, but still having problems

I've registered, I've called my credit card company, read man in seat 61 - but still, can't seem to purchase. I re-key 5 passports and it's not working.
It will cost me $40-$50 extra dollars to book via Petrabrax. Before I do that, I thought I'd reach out one more time to ask those who finally got Renfe to work.
How did you book through Renfe?

Posted by
253 posts

Make sure you are trying to book only 60 days for your travel date.
Try booking in Spanish. Familiarize yourself with the site in English or use google chrome instant translate But you can't book from chrome.
Be patient. Try at different times of day.
Where are you getting stuck?
I can't see your post as I'm typing this but since you have 4 or 5 people traveling try and choose the 4p or 4m fares as the fares should be cheaper then buying individually.

Posted by
253 posts

Forgot to add use Visa or rather that's what worked for me.
If you want to post what route date you are trying to book and where you get stuck
You might get more help.

Posted by
1178 posts

Try one ticket at a time...five times to do it, but should work. I have no trouble when purchasing mu ticket each year....If there is only one of you, still do one section of the journey at a time. Hope it works Lori...

You can print your tickets at home. Each will have the car number and the seat number printed on them. The train travel is a very great experience....

Posted by
138 posts

I have just spent the last two hours doing everything stated above. It takes that long because I have to re-enter my family's passports, although mine is registered. I've talked to my bank twice.
One thing I noticed (although it didn't change anything) is that when I tried to use my debit card, a window came up to "register my visa" card. That did not occur with the other two cards I tried.
Also, for what it's worth, I've read the Trip Advisor notes several months ago, as well as with Man in seat 61, I've memorized the Spanish version so I was no longer choosing English (although since I'm registered while using the English version, it does give me part English words every time). I've tried to book 5 seats, 4, 3, 2, 1 - on multiple cards.
One of the error messages I receive is: The sale cannot be continued (U010-F024)
I cannot find the section in order to pay via paypal because I would surely do that. When I asked my good friend Irene where I could do that, she said I cannot. She offered that I can write to Renfe via customer service. I have not yet done so.
I would buy them via the RS site, but the cost is extremely high. Tomorrow I will try again and if no luck, will buy through Petrabrax. We leave next month for our trip.

Posted by
138 posts

I just tried now to go through as suggested in a different thread. It froze on me and now I am getting an error message from the site when I try to re-enter.
Perhaps they are maintaining it.
I can't help but wonder if SO MANY continue to have so many problems with getting their payment processed, if Rick will still continue to recommend this? I loved taking my family on great adventures in many other countries, but the Renfe site is worse than 3 kids in the back row of a cramped, hot, car for an hour.
As stated previously, tomorrow I will go through Petrabax so I can move on from this experience.

Posted by
15477 posts

Did you register your Visa card with Verified by Visa? Many merchants in Spain - not just Renfe - require this added layer of security. It only takes a minute to register. If you want to use Mastercard, then register with Mastercard Securecard. I don't know if any of the other credit cards have this.

Posted by
138 posts

Yes, I used a card that was "registered" and I tried to not reserve a seat. Actually, I tried 3 different cards.
I ended up booking through Petrabax yesterday. At least I still had P seats offered - it could have been a lot more, x 5.
Have a great day all... and thanks for your assistance!!

Posted by
4535 posts

Sorry for all your troubles. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I've gotten it to work but for one ticket it took me several tries over a couple different days.

You can avoid the hassles by paying the extra fees for the 3rd party sites. It's either you time and frustration or money.

Posted by
15120 posts

You did get the Promo fares so that is good.

I had multiple journeys to purchase when we went several years ago, so was determined to make it work. Following advice I read on Tripadvisor, I (a) registered with Verified by Visa and ( b) made one purchase through ( an agency like Petrabax). The purchase was very easy and after that Renfe " recognized" my card and I had no trouble buying on the website.

If you do encounter problems on Renfe it might help to clear your history and cookies. Or try a different computer.

Posted by
16893 posts

Rick has not recommended buying tickets from the Renfe site for years because so many people do have problems. Since our Rail Europe link can't process the advance discounts online at this time, do go with Petrabax.

Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode are extra levels of security and passwords that you set up with the credit card company, not with Renfe or other merchants. Renfe recently announced that they were taking PayPal payments, but if that hasn't come up in your options already, I would not go back looking for it.

If you buy one ticket at a time, it will take more effort or may not be possible to get seats assigned together.

Posted by
32 posts

I recently purchased all of our train tickets for our September trip to Spain via the RENFE site. It was slow going at first, but I didn't have any issues with transactions once I turned off the "auto translate" feature on Google Chrome. I registered on the RENFE site, used the Spanish site, used a 9-digit phone number, etc. I had a ton of problems (i.e., I called my credit card company to see what was going on but they told me no transactions had even gone through) until I turned the "auto translate" feature off.

Posted by
138 posts

Good extra advice - thank you all.
I will make sure all my credit cards are verified in some way (hubby's too). Then I will disable the translate feature on google. It will be interesting now that I do have tickets, and if I turn the translate off, if I can book a one day excursion. If not, I will try a different pc. I'm still determined to crack the code. ;)