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European startup aims to make overnight train travel a luxury experience

June 17, 2021
3 min read
European startup aims to make overnight train travel a luxury experience
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Will the end of the pandemic see a revival in train travel?

One new company believes so, and it's betting big that customers will want a luxurious and environmentally-conscious alternative to traveling by plane.

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Midnight Trains is a Paris-based startup that's looking to reinvent nighttime rail passenger service by creating a "hotel on rails."

The trains will take their aesthetic cues from boutique hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants. The private sleeper suites will have their own dedicated bathrooms and room service availability. The dining cars will have seasonal menus and cocktail bars, all in an attempt to revisit the glamorous train travel experience of the past, with modernized amenities such as luxury bedding and on-demand entertainment.

Related: 6 epic train trips to take this summer

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(Photo courtesy of Midnight Trains)

The sleeper suites will not be shared compartments. Midnight Trains says the suites can be booked as a solo or a group for family and friends.

The company has an ambitious plan to create a network of high-end luxury trains that emanates from its hub in Paris and will operate between some of the biggest cities in Europe, including Berlin, Rome, Venice, Copenhagen, Madrid and Brussels. On its website, Midnight Trains has 2024 as the launch date for its train service.

The company is banking on a resurgence in rail travel as the threat of coronavirus dissipates with the rollout of vaccines across the continent. It's also highlighting the inconvenience of commercial air travel, as well as its harmful environmental impact. Midnight Trains says its service will be "more comfortable, seamless and sustainable alternative."

According to some industry experts, demand is building for luxury train service, particularly for routes between major cities such as Paris, Venice and Barcelona. Aiding matters is that the French government is eager to revive sleeper trains as a more eco-aware travel option, having recently relaunched overnight train service from Paris to Nice.

Related: Why you may want to travel Europe by train, not plane

The plan to revive the Trans-Europe Express Network, the 2.0 initiative, is also a key factor. Experts view it as a way to kickstart nighttime rail travel across the continent once the pandemic is fully in the rearview, in a manner that is also climate-friendly. That plan would allow travelers to journey across multiple national borders without changing trains.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more