Paris to Amsterdam or Frankfurt, why are reservations for travel with my Eurail Global Pass more expensive than the regular tickets? Passholder rates vs. discounted point-to-point ticket costs.

Why is it more expensive to book a reservation using a Eurail Global Pass to get from Paris to Frankfurt or Amsterdam on June 16th then it is to just buy a ticket outright? I would think having a Eurail pass would give you an advantage and make it cheaper. Is there something I missing here??
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 22, 2012 19:39
    Hi Chad,

    A railpass covers the ticket costs on trains (day trains and night trains) between different cities in the country or countries included on the pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a railpass, just as they would be embedded into the cost of individual point-to-point tickets. Therefore, a railpass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe that cover more substantial distances.

    I do not show it to be the case that the reservations are more expensive than the point-to-point tickets for all trains comprising of these routes. It may potentially be the case with some of the Thalys trains for a connection from Paris to Amsterdam, as these trains offer a tiered system of point-to-point fares, including greatly discounted rates for booking well in advance (once the 90 booking window arrives). If you see that to be the case for such a train, then I would just recommending booking it as a point-to-point ticket, and you would not use your rail pass on that portion.

    You would check point-to-point ticket costs by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage and entering the route.

    For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with when you're prompted. To ensure that you are seeing the lowest possible reservation fee for travel with a rail pass, you would take the following steps:

    1.) Click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, enter the route, and indicate the type of pass you'll be traveling with when you're prompted (i.e. 'Eurail Global Pass').

    2.) Locate one of the direct Thalys trains and click the 'View' button for the fare listed under your preferred class of service (for this route, that would be 'Premier' for 1st class and 'Economy' for 2nd class).

    3.) After you've clicked 'View', you would refer to where it says 'Ticket Flexibility' in the box that expands out underneath and click 'Read More' next to the option(s) listed there until you see fare named 'Thalys Passholder 2' or something similar. Generally, the Passholder 2 rate for these trains would be found under the 'Semi Flexible' option.

    4.) Be sure the Passholder 2 option is checked and click 'Select' to and add it to your 'Itinerary' (shopping cart) if you wish to book the reservation.

    If you find the Passholder 1 rate to be more expensive than one of the discounted rates for regular point-to-point tickets from a search for the same train under 'Find Fares & Schedules', then I would just recommend booking it as a point-to-point ticket and not using the rail pass on that segment.

    The discounted point-to-point ticket rates and the Passholder rates can all sell out very quickly, so it is recommended that you place the order as soon as possible.

    If you wish to verify specific prices shown on our website, then you would call us at 1-800-622-8600.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 22, 2012 19:43
    Please note that it is a very rare occurrence that a point-to-point ticket price would be offered at a rate that is lower than a Passholder rate. On most reservable trains in Europe, the Passholder rates range between $11 per person and about $25 per person, but are usually $11 or $12 per person. The Passholder rates on the Thalys trains (the trains from Paris to Amsterdam) happen to be higher than the standard reservation fees on reservable trains throughout the rest of Europe, but the rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe that cover significant distances.

    There just happens to be greatly discounted 'Book Early' or 'Leisure' fares offered at a limited availability on trains from Paris to Amsterdam, which can be lower than the Passholder rates. Therefore, for this particular train, you can just purchase the ticket at one of these fares, and you would not have to use a day on your rail pass to take that train.
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  • I understand and that makes sense that there would be a huge discount to book in advance on the point-to-point tickets. I just have a hard time understanding why the reservation prices for pass-holders are not altered and discounted as well. It only seems fair to have reservation prices be cheaper then normal point-to-to point tickets, no matter how far in advance.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 23, 2012 18:53
    Hi Chad,

    Any possible discounts would already be applied to the rail pass or ticket. Therefore, the reservation fees (to go along with a rail pass or separate ticket) are generally a set fee for each train, usually $11 or $12 per person on most trains throughout Europe. The Passholder 1 fare for the Thalys just happens to be higher than the reservation fees or Passholder 1 fares on other trains in Europe.

    In any case, I understand your reaction, as it is generally expected that reservation fees will be that which they are on trains throughout the rest of Europe.
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