With These Two Cards We Can Save Money on Short Train Journeys
Shortly after we arrived in Spain we discovered the Tarjeta Dorada, or Gold Card, that provides reduced fares on Spanish trains for those over 60 or the disabled. We purchased the annual discount card for €6.00 each at the train station. Then, when we bought train tickets online, all we had to do was add our unique card number to receive the discount.
The Discounts Are Great
With our discount cards in hand we can save a good amount:
- up to 40% for most the trains,
- up to 50% on the Feve (narrow gauge) trains of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia.
There was only one problem. When we wanted to travel on the Cercania (local commuter) trains, we always bought our tickets at the station kiosk. And try as we might, we could never figure out how to get the Tarjeta Dorada discount applied.
Finally, because we needed to renew our annual cards, and because we understand a little more Spanish than we did a year ago, we went back to the same window at the station and came away with an answer.
We now know how to use the kiosk AND get the Tarjeta Dorada discount!
All It Took Was Renfe & Tú
We paid €1 for two Renfe & Tú rechargeable cards. Our Tarjeta Dorada numbers were programmed onto the card. Renfe refers to this card as a “Personal Card” because it carries our personal identification.
Now, when we use the Kiosk, instead of printing a new ticket each time, we hold the card up to the scanner and the card is re-filled with the proper fare -- after we pay, of course. These reusable cards even fit our goal to reduce waste.
We are still required to carry our Tarjeta Dorada with us on each reduced fare trip, just in case the ticket checker mistakes us for kids using our grandparents' discount cards. We were also instructed not to laminate the cards.
For more information on discounts for young people, large families, and visiting guests, visit the Renfe website.
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Susan Carey retired in 2017 after a long business career most recently in animal welfare leadership. She writes about her experiences as a recent retiree living in Spain. Susan lives in Valencia, Spain with her husband, Jamie, and the senior pets they brought with them from the United States.