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Spain offers free rail journeys from September until the end of the year

July 22, 2022
4 min read
Spain
Spain offers free rail journeys from September until the end of the year
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If you have plans to travel around Spain on four wheels this fall, you might want to reconsider renting that car.

A cost-of-living crisis brought about by skyrocketing energy prices and inflation has led the Spanish government to promise 100% discounts on state-owned train services across commuter and medium-distance routes.

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That’s right: From September until the end of the year, rail users can travel on Renfe-operated services and pay nothing. It will be free to hop aboard a carriage and explore what a city and its surrounding countryside have to offer.

Naturally, the offer is geared toward helping Spanish nationals with season tickets since commuters, in particular, are feeling the crunch. However, travelers from other countries can take advantage of the discount if they purchase multi-journey tickets.

A girl on board the Renfe AVE fast train at the Toledo railway station in Spain. (Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Getty Images)

Multi-journey tickets include a minimum of 10 return trips. So, for example, you could save money while you, ah, Basque, in the glow of San Sebastian and Bilbao, exploring great cities at your leisure. Or, perhaps you’ll want to zip between the coast of Barcelona and the Catalan countryside when looking to maximize a short city break.

There are plenty of ways this deal could inspire your next adventure.

“This measure encourages to the maximum the use of this type of collective public transport to guarantee the needed daily commute with a safe, reliable, comfortable, economic and sustainable means of transportation, amid the extraordinary circumstances of the steady increase of energy and fuel prices," the Spanish Ministry of Transport said in a statement regarding the price drop.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona in Spain.

Governments of many countries around the world continue to sit on the fence about how to tackle rising energy bills, but Spanish officials have been wonderfully proactive. Just last month, the government announced a 30% discount on all public transportation, allowing people to ride trams, buses and metros for far lower prices than they’d normally pay. This was another boost for tourism, too.

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Related: Spain cracks down: New rules for rowdy vacationers

Climate change is (quite literally) a hot topic across the continent, and other European governments are using subsidized public transportation to not only save money for working people but also help save the world.

Both Germany as well as Austria have recently launched transportation deals to dissuade travelers from using their cars. The former’s deal is part of a statewide energy relief package, and the latter’s is in the form of a heavily discounted "climate ticket" on various modes of public transportation. Hopefully, other countries will follow suit.

People wait for a train at the Alexanderplatz railway station in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

“I’d like the people of Spain to know that I’m fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people have,” the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said last week. “I know salaries cover less and less and that it’s difficult to get to the end of the month.”

For people struggling with paying rising costs for food and energy, it might still be too expensive to take a vacation, but discounts like these will go a long way to help those who can swing it.

Temperatures have been dangerously high across the Mediterranean this summer, and wildfires are still raging (some captured by passengers on Spanish trains, incidentally). Come autumn, the weather in Spain should be cooler, and the majority of vacationers will have packed up and returned home.

So, if you plan to be in Spain, grab yourself a rail discount and you’ll be on track for a spectacular — and now, more affordable — vacation.

Featured image by Featured image by Ventura Carmona/Getty.
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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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees