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Eurail pass cheaper in Euros

With the recent decline, the Eurail passes are cheaper in Euros than in Dollars. To explain, the advertised prices of the passes have not changed (in either currency), but the exchange rates have. So, if you pay in Dollars, you're paying the same price as you always would. But if there is a way to pay in Euros, then you can take advantage of the improved exchange rate.

1 Month Saver Pass is $985, but 698€ (which at today's exchange rate of $1.24 equals $865). So, if I could pay in Euro's I could save $240 on the two saver passes I need to buy. Is there a way to pay in Euros since the exchange rates are not reflected dynamically in the Dollars prices.

Is there a way to pay in Euros?

Posted by
12040 posts

"The currency conversion surcharge is usually a 1% fee (by the credit card), over the existing exchange rate, as I understand it."

Depends on your credit card. Some are that low, some are as high as 3-5 %.

Posted by
839 posts

Tom is right - different cards have different rates. My credit union-issued CC charges 1%, while my Citibank CC charges 3%.

A 3% charge would lessen your "savings" by about $50. A 5% charge - about $85. I guess if you want to go through all the trouble of trying to buy in € and it does work, you'll still save at least $150. Might be worth it.

As for why the price in dollars doesn't get adjusted to the fluctuating conversion rate -- well, one, what Tom said. It would be way too much work to constantly update the price. Secondly, just look at it as another "service fee".

Posted by
18056 posts

According to the German Rail website, "In Germany the above listed Eurail Select Passes are available through selected major train stations." You'll have to show proof of residency outside Europe.

You can also purchase German Rail passes online on Bahn.de, but the final purchasing process is in German. Also, you will probably pay a 3% credit card foreign currency charge.

Posted by
263 posts

I know I have to be a non-European resident to buy. [edited for clarity] I'm just trying to take advantage of the dropping exchange rate, as it is NOT reflected in the fixed US pricing on the various websites (Eurail, RailEurope, etc.). I would like to pay the Euro price that's listed on the Eurail website and then have the currency conversion by done by my credit card company.

I'm sort of confused as to why the prices in US dollars haven't been adjusted to reflect the lowered conversion rate. We're paying a premium otherwise, that's not warranted based on economies.

Posted by
18056 posts

"I know I have to be outside the US" Outside the US?? Don't you mean outside Europe?

You don't have to BE outside Europe to buy them, you can buy them in Europe, you only have to show that your residence is outside of Europe. You can buy them in Germany, and, I suspect, major rail stations in other countries as well.

Posted by
263 posts

But, I would like to buy them in advance and have them in my possession when I fly across the pond, as my itinerary will be fairly fixed and I'd like to secure the reservations early. Plus, the Euro could be way higher come August when I go (or it could go lower - but I like the price differential right now).

So, aside from buying in Euros in Europe as a US citizen, is there a way to buy my passes online and get the Euro price.

Posted by
18056 posts

I can't find anything on the Eurail website about paying in Euro, and, although the DB site will sell German Rail passes from the site, they don't seem to offer the Eurail passes.

Punt.

I don't know if Euraide (www.euraide.com) would (could) do that for you. You might call them. If they do, they'll charge you $50-$60 for the service.

Posted by
263 posts

Eurail will will you select a Currency to see advertised prices and I got all the way to the checkout with the Euro prices shown, but I didn't go through with the transaction as I was afraid it would still convert to Dollars upon actual checkout.

It seems to good to be true that it would let me buy at the Euro price, when it doesn't automatically adjust the Dollars price to reflect the exchange rate. That's what has me worried it will just convert back to the Dollars price without me knowing it.

I'm making this a little confusing. Bottom line is the advertised US Dollar price is too high, based on the current exchange rate.

Posted by
18056 posts

You can ask questions on the website. There is also an email address.

Posted by
12040 posts

"I'm sort of confused as to why the prices in US dollars haven't been adjusted to reflect the lowered conversion rate. We're paying a premium otherwise, that's not warranted based on economies." Exchange rates change everyday and it would be prohibitively expensive for an importer of any good or service to change the price they offered to customers everytime the exchange rate adjusted.

But the other issue, even if you could buy the railpass using the euro, unless you already have a bank account denominated in the euro (which I'm guessing the answer to is "no"), you would likely still need to pay a currecny conversion surcharge. This would likely wipe out any savings, or at least, make them minimal.

Posted by
263 posts

i sent an inquiry to their customer service at the same time as i posted here initially. trying to cover all bases. thanks again

Posted by
263 posts

The currency conversion surcharge is usually a 1% fee (by the credit card), over the existing exchange rate, as I understand it.

The fee will be nowhere near the $240 I could save by paying the Euro price with cc exchange conversion.

Posted by
1 posts

Thanks for this tip. I just bought a pass in Euros and used PayPal. The confirmation indicated that the conversion rate was $1.23. Not sure whether Pay Pal charges the 1% fee like credit cards do.

Posted by
263 posts

Consistent with the poster who said she bought a ticket successfully in Euros, I finally got an official email response from Eurail.com's customer service confirming that I can choose Euros as the currency and pay that lower price, and may be subject to any conversion exchange charges by my credit card.

So, buy in Euros right now and save big money. They adjust the Euro price every few months, so there's no guarantee how long the chance to save will remain.

Posted by
13 posts

Where are you purchasing your passes from? I need some too.

Posted by
263 posts

Eurail.com - to take advantage of the Euro exchange rate. I'm saving about $150 on a pair of Adult Saver 1 month Global passes, even considering the credit card company's fees for currency exchange. The Dollar/Euro exchange rate is your friend right now.

Posted by
18056 posts

Heather, he is using Eurail.com. When you go to purchase, they give you the option of paying in Euro, which is less than dollars now because Eurail has not adjusted the conversion.

The Eurail webstite did not explicitly say that he could get the Euro price, and he was afraid that Eurail would automatically convert it to the dollar price because he was in the U.S. That's what the email was all about, confirming that the could choose to pay in Euro.

Posted by
263 posts

Just to confirm - I did actually BUY my tickets from Eurail.com to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.

Two "One Month Adult Saver Passes" if purchased in "dollars" would be $1970 ($985 x 2).

But, by paying in Euros, my transaction will look like this:

698 Euros x 2 (two adult travlers) = 1396 Euros

1396 Euros x 1.25 (rough exchange rate) = $1745

$1745 * 1.027 (American Express's 2.7% currency exchange rate) = $1792

$1970 - $1792 = $178 SAVINGS!

Posted by
263 posts

^ What Lee wrote. Initially I was worried that even though I was going to select Euros that my IP address might cause the system to default to dollars in the end. The email from Eurail.com's customer service confirmed that if you select Euros, then the transaction is processed in Euros. AmEx will convert it to dollars.

I could have save more if I had a better credit card that charges lower exchange fees, but I think I still got a good deal. I get about 2% cash back on my AmEx transactions anyway (Blue Cash), so I feel good about it.

Posted by
123 posts

Has anyone tried this recently? Would this also work for a capital one card? I heard they do not charge foreign exchange fees is that true?

Posted by
263 posts

I thought about it more the foreign purchases on the AmEx card probably do not qualify for cash back. There's lots of fine print with that program.

I believe Rick Steves mentioned recently that the rates for passes were adjusted to reflect the changing exchange rate. I stopped looking once I bought mine in euros so I am not positive about it.

Check Eurail.com and change the currency to see the latest. B

Posted by
344 posts

This worked for my wife and I. We did the same thing Marshall did and even with our exchange rate charge, we saved money. It seems silly that it works out how it does.