SPANISH national operator Renfe has announced a new dynamic and in some ways more flexible pricing structure for high-speed and long-distance services, which will be introduced this summer. 

Under the plans, Renfe will abolish existing pricing structures and classes in favour of a three-tier menu of options. Dynamic pricing similar to the system used by low-cost airlines will be introduced with passengers in some instances able to purchase add-on services as they would for a low-cost flight.  

The new pricing structure applies to all of Renfe’s high-speed and long-distance trains comprising the Ave, Alvia, Euromed and Intercity brands. The new low-cost Avlo service, which will launch in June, is exempt. The revision comes as French National Railways (SNCF) prepares to launch its Ouigo low-cost service in Spain on May 10. Renfe’s other competitor, Ilsa, is set to enter the market in the second half of 2022. 

Two types of onboard space will be on offer: Standard, which will replace Turista or second class, and Comfort, which will replace Preferente or first class. Both include the option of quiet coaches. Three types of ticket are available under the new fares structure with passengers able to select the level of service they want: 

  • Basic - the cheapest offer with options such as seat selection and flexible cancellation available as an add-on 
  • Select/Choose - more options including choice of onboard space (Standard or Comfort) and in some cases catering. This ticket type will allow passengers to buy a ticket for accompanied pets, and
  • Premium - flexible tickets in the Comfort part of the train including catering if offered. Pets can be taken for free. 

Pricing will start using current flexible fares as a reference but with discounts of up to 75% offered, especially on less busy off-peak trains. A much wider range of discounts will be available for certain groups - such as children, students, and over 60s. At present these discounts are only available from the full flexible fare whereas in future they will be available on all fares, leading in some cases to large price reductions.  

All tickets will become personal with the travellers’ name on them and Renfe say they will conduct random checks to ensure only the named passengers are using them.