Bad news for SNCF Advantage card holders. On January 31, the railway company changed the method of calculating the price ceilings for tickets purchased with these reduction cards, increasing the cost of travel on certain lines, according to information from L'Informé, confirmed by the SNCF to Le Figaro. These ceilings, introduced in 2021, guarantee a price of 49 euros for a second journey by TGV or Intercités of less than 1h30, 69 euros for less than 3 hours and 89 euros beyond.
But since February 1, the SNCF has taken into account the “average travel time observed on a journey without connections” to choose the ceiling to be retained. Five lines whose journey time revolved around a level, which until now benefited from the most advantageous ceiling, find themselves, with this new calculation method, at the higher level.
Among the destinations particularly concerned, the Paris-Rennes, which takes 1h28 with several TGVs during the day but sometimes in 1h54 or even 2h18 depending on the intermediate stops: a holder of a reduction card never paid more than 49 euros, even when he started it late. From now on, the average journey time exceeds 1h30, so a ceiling of 69 euros is applied. Paris-Poitiers, Paris-Lorient, Lille-Lyon and Lille-Strasbourg are also affected, indicates SNCF.
The “majority of travelers” pay a more advantageous rate than this ceiling, underlines the SNCF, which recalls that Avantage cards also offer a guaranteed 30% reduction on the price of the full price ticket. But the ceiling is regularly reached for tickets at the most popular times such as Friday evenings, and the original promise was precisely to protect travelers carrying reduction cards from price spikes on these trains.
The ceilings had also all increased by 10 euros at the end of August. Between this increase and the change in calculation method, a regular on the Paris-Rennes TGV, who only paid a maximum of 39 euros for their ticket before the summer thanks to their Avantage card, can now pay up to 69 euros.