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French train firm SNCF releases new railcards at €49

The price of railcards from French train company SNCF have been standardised at €49, with the new options offering ticket price reductions of up to 60%, depending on passenger age and train route.

From this week (Thursday May 9), the new “Avantage (Advantage)” cards - including young person, senior, weekend and family cards - are priced at a uniform €49 each, compared to the previous price variations of €50-75.

The new cards now guarantee reductions of 30% on eligible train travel services for adults and by 60% for three children aged 4-11 when accompanied by an adult with a family card.

This compares to the 25% reduction for adults offered before; although seniors previously had the right to a 40% reduction in First Class, which no longer applies.

Under the new terms, families are now required to spend one weekend night away to qualify for Return ticket reductions on the Avantage family card.

Although the cards are not applicable to Ouigo train tickets, they are applicable on many other trains in France - including some TGV Inoui - and some that go abroad, as well as some regional express services.

The cards also allow for a reduction on other services, such as on-board food and drink, baggage services, SNCF-Avis car hire, and the “Junior & Cie” child-accompaniment service.

The new card reductions also apply to what are known as “Prem’s tickets” (a limited number of lower, advance fares), which are now exchangeable and refundable, but for a fee.

Now, the cost of exchange is €5 per ticket in the month before travel, and €15 per ticket if refunded within 48 hours of the journey.

Prem’s tickets are often much cheaper and regular fares, and are usually available up to 92 days in advance for certain services - until they sell out, or up until 1-2 weeks before the date of travel (except for certain last-minute sales in some cases).

Anyone in possession of an old reduction card can continue to use it as normal until it expires, or can choose to exchange it for a new Avantage card, pro-rata depending on the time left until expiry.

The new cards can be bought online at the SNCF website (available in French and English).

The new SNCF cards are:

  • Avantage Jeune - for ages 12-27
  • Avantage Senior - for ages 60+
  • Avantage Week-end - for ages 27-59 on a return journey, including one weekend night away
  • Avantage Famille - three children with one adult aged 27-59, including one weekend night away

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