Renfe, buy now for 84 euros or wait til I arrive to buy for 84 euro

I have been watching the fares on renfe for some time and when my date of travel became available to buy for a cheap fare (50 something euros), I could not buy because my credit card bank did not like the foreign transaction. Well I have since spoken with my bank and they have granted me permission to buy from Renfe. The problem is, is that the fares are gone and are available for 84 euros; from my research, this is also the step up to the counter and buy the same day of travel fare. So I am flying into Madrid, going to El Prado, and then I am off to Sevilla, where I have to meet up with an apartment manager to get keys to my apartment by 8pm. So my question is do I buy the ticket online now for the desired time I want to leave (5p AVE train) or wait til the day I travel and maybe even get to leave earlier (4p) if time permits. I know in the summer, tickets sell out fast. I arrive Madrid Dec 26th, not summer but after a major holiday.
Kelly

Posted by Neil
Whittington
583 posts

If you want peace of mind, you purchase in advance. I have had a fright when my wife and I had to sit apart on an AVE journey when 'walking up'. The couple behind could not get 'turista' and had to pay for 'preferente'.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Kelly, there are still Estrella fares left on the 15:00 train, but that would shorten your time at the Prado.

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

Well, the cheap fares showed up, again. I got real excted to not have to pay 85 euros. I try to book again and the website says transaction failed again so call the bank. Called bank a second time, they do not see why I can not buy. They tell me to verify my card with visa. I was declined. Credit card lady did not know why. I tried to book on petrabax, was denied. Tried booking on Rumbo, transaction failed. went on the infamous Raileurope where everyone tells you to not buy the tickets because they are so much cheaper elsewhere.....tickets were just as cheap as the estrella fares on renfe. And my transaction was accepted. Man, what a night. I researched on the RS forum search site and read all the posts about how it is so difficult to buy off the renfe site. Renfe is almost as bad as buying tickets off the italian train site, trenitalia.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Kelly, Renfe tickets are an exception to the general rule about RailEurope prices. I started a thread some time back to make that point, and just about got laughed off the board by a couple of diehard anti-Re people. But it is true often the Re prices are with a dollar of Renfe's and they offer the discount fares too. You do have to add a handling fee, but it is small compared to the cost of paying full fare. However, buying direct from Renfe is still the cheapest, as there are no handling fees. I was able to do that with no problem after I registered my card with Verified by Visa. This is what the bank meant when they said to " verify the card with Visa.". Did you try that and get rejected?

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

I verified with visa with my bank lady on the phone. She said she has never heard of a card being rejected by verify with visa.
I ended up paying about $15 extra to buy my tickets on raileurope. On top of being able to put it on any credit card, not my stupid rejected visa. Thanks everyone for their input about my questions about Renfe.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Just to clarify, "Verified by Visa" does not involve a phone call to your bank. It is an additional layer of security that you can sign up for, online on their website. You get a username and password for your card, to be entered when asked. This is what Renfe is looking for when the site says it is connecting to your bank. If you are not registered with VbV, that is the end and your card is rejected. If you Are registered with Verified by Visa, a screen will pop up where you enter your password. Then the transaction is processed and you have your Renfe tickets.

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

Hey Lola, I was on the phone with capital one when I was trying to sign up for Verified with Visa online. Got a username, password, information entered and when it came time to type in my cc digits, it would not accept them. I tried it twice. Weird, right?