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Which SNCF Subscription Should You Choose?

To the point Having trouble finding your way through the jungle of SNCF mainline cards and fares? Milesopedia is here to simplify the process. Helping you find the subscription that not only optimizes your travels but also suits your budget.

At a time when SNCF mainline cards and fare options are multiplying, it’s becoming crucial to ask yourself: “Which SNCF subscription should I choose?” With so many different classes, routes, means of transportation, and special offers, making the right choice can seem complicated. This article will guide you through the intricacies of SNCF’s mainline cards and fares, helping you to make an informed decision and find the season pass that will optimize your travel experience while staying within your budget.

SNCF Mainline Cards and Fares

The SNCF offers 7 different discount cards, each aimed at a different group of customers. As each subscription is offered at a different rate, it’s a good idea to study the various offers carefully to select the one that best suits your travel needs.

Subscriptions Rates Validity Benefits Target customers
Jeune Advantage Card | Adult Advantage Card | Senior Advantage Card €49 1 year
  • 30% discount for you and a companion
  • 60% on tickets for 3 accompanying children
  • 15% on SNCF services
Youth, Adults and Seniors
Liberté Card €399, or €379 with a Contrat Pro 1 year
  • Business travel: fixed prices and 100% flexible tickets
  • Personal travel: 30% discount and capped prices
MAX Jeune Pass | MAX Senior Pass €79 1 month
Youth and Seniors
MAX Actif Pass Between €250 and €550 1 month
Professionals who travel 2 to 3 times a week
MAX Actif+ Pass Between €450 and €990* 1 month
Professionals who travel 4 to 5 times a week
National weekly package 1st | National weekly package 2nd Between €150 and €240 1 week
  • Tickets up to €1.50
  • Tickets bookable up to 2 months in advance
Frequent short-haul travellers
National monthly package 1st | National monthly package 2nd Between €550 and €1,340 1 month
  • Tickets up to €1.50
  • Tickets bookable up to 2 months in advance
Frequent short-haul travellers
Interrail Pass From €212 Between 4 days and 3 months
  • For all age groups
  • Validities ranging from 4 days to 3 months
Travelers within Europe

The cost is calculated according to a number of criteria, including the class chosen, the distance travelled, and seniority (for packages taken out before April 1, 2009). In accordance with the Passenger Tariffs, degressive pricing is applied in the following cases: if the pass was obtained before 01/01/2013 for a specific route on a high-speed line, or if the pass was obtained before 01/04/2009 for a specific route without using a high-speed line. Please note that prices are indicative and subject to change.

Advantage Card

The SNCF currently offers three types of Advantage Cards, each tailored to a specific age group: young people aged 12 to 27, adults aged 27 to 59, and seniors aged 60 and over. For an annual fee of 49 euros, these cards offer a number of interesting perks. They offer a 30% discount on standard fares, and also include a cap on the price of second-class travel, depending on the length of the journey.

For journeys of less than 1 h 30, the cost is capped at 49 euros. For journeys lasting between 1 h 30 and 3 h, the cost is capped at 69 euros. And finally, for journeys of over 3 hours, the cost is capped at 89 euros.

However, you should pay close attention to the fine print in the “terms and conditions”. Advantage cards for 12-27 year olds and 60+ year olds have no special restrictions and can be used without restriction. The card for 27-59 year-olds, on the other hand, has its limitations. It does not apply to weekday one-way trips, unless accompanied by a child. And, discounts are only valid for round trips that include a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. SNCF justifies these restrictions by explaining that passengers aged 27 to 59, who travel alone during the week, are often professionals who already have other specific seasonal memberships.

Liberté Card

The Liberté card is designed for regular travellers, especially business travellers. It offers savings not only on business trips, but also on family getaways in the evenings and on weekends. Holders of this card can benefit from a 60% discount on their train tickets and those of their family and friends. In addition, the card allows you to cancel a trip free of charge up to 30 minutes after departure. It also offers discounted international travel benefits, and discounts with various partners, including car rental companies Avis and Budget.

The biggest advantage, however, remains the fixed prices for all business trips. While train tickets are usually much more expensive when bought at the last minute, Liberté cardholders are entitled to fixed prices, by destination and class. A trip from Paris to Lyon, for example, will never cost more than 59 euros.

Carte Liberte SNCF

MAX Passes

If you’re looking for a flexible solution that doesn’t require you to plan your travels in advance, the Max subscription could well be the perfect choice for you, allowing you to manage your budget wisely while traveling for just 79 euros a month.

The Max passes are aimed at young people and senior citizens. For young people, it gives access to free tickets, six advance reservations and free cancellations right up to departure. For senior citizens, the benefits are the same. However, journeys must be made on weekdays from Monday to Friday, with the exception of busy periods such as Friday afternoons and evenings, Monday mornings and the days preceding major holidays, and long week-ends.

Contractually, you can cancel your subscription after three months for a fee of 15 euros, or free of charge after 12 months.

MAX Actif Pass

If you find yourself making multiple trips every week on the same route, all year round, the Max Actif Pass could be the ideal solution for you. Designed specifically for remote work professionals who travel two or three times a week, this subscription offers a range of essential benefits. You’ll have the freedom to travel free of charge from Monday to Thursday, and the possibility of changing or exchanging your reservations at no extra charge. And with 12 monthly payments, you’ll have total control over your travel budget.

In addition to these benefits, the Max Actif subscription offers a range of other benefits, including the opportunity to create a customized subscription to fit your travel schedule. You can book, cancel and exchange your tickets free of charge, giving you maximum flexibility. You’ll also be able to plan your trips easily, scheduling reservations up to two months in advance via a dedicated interface.


MAX Actif+ Pass

The MAX Actif+ Pass offers the same benefits as the MAX Actif Pass, but is aimed at travelers who travel four to five times a week. It offers 450 free trips, unlike the MAX Actif pass, which offers 250. Up to four trips per day are possible, but these must be at least two hours apart on departure or arrival for stations in the same trip zone.


National Weekly or Monthly Package

If you travel frequently over a short period, Forfait National weekly or monthly passes are the right choice. Depending on the type of journey you choose, options vary, but in all cases, tickets can be purchased up to two months in advance at a per-journey rate of less than 1.50 euros.

For journeys on the Classique line, these season tickets give you access to all TER and INTERCITES trains, excluding the INOUI TGV and OUIGO . If you prefer high-speed travel, INOUI TGVs (excluding OUIGO) will be available, along with TERs and INTERCITES, subject to approval by the region concerned. For extended coverage throughout France via high-speed lines, INOUI TGVs (except OUIGO, TER and INTERCITES) serving French stations are included. Please note that the “Toute la France” subscription is only available in a monthly version.


Interrail Pass

The Interrail Pass is the key to travelling the rails of Europe. It is suitable for all age groups, offering flexible dates ranging from four days to three months, with the option of starting to travel immediately or within eleven months.

Two Passes are offered: the Interrail Global Pass, which lets you explore up to 33 countries with travel flexibility for up to eleven months after purchase, and the One Country Pass, which lets you explore a country of your choice by train with an unlimited number of journeys each day.

In either case, there’s no age limit, and you can take up to two children with you. Conveniently, pass activation is flexible; you don’t need to choose a specific departure date.


Which SNCF Season Ticket to Choose - Conclusion

In answer to the question “Which SNCF Card or Fare should I choose?”, it’s important to consider a number of factors, as the best SNCF subscription depends on how often you travel, your age, and your preferences for travel flexibility and savings.

If you travel occasionally, the Avantage card could be a wise choice, offering significant discounts on your tickets. For regular travelers, the Liberté card could be an interesting option, with fixed prices for business trips. For total flexibility, MAX passes are suitable for young people and senior citizens, while MAX Actif and MAX Actif+ are ideal for professionals who travel frequently. If you’re looking for an international pass, the Interrail Pass is an excellent choice, suitable for all age groups and offering a wide variety of validity options.

Whatever subscription you choose, the SNCF offers solutions to meet a variety of travel needs, allowing you to take advantage of discounts, flexibility and additional benefits to make your journeys more enjoyable. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your needs and travel habits.

Which SNCF Subscription Should You Choose - Frequently Asked Questions

Which SNCF card is best for TGV travel?

The best train pass for you depends on your age and how much you travel. If you travel a lot for work, the SNCF‘s Liberté Card is a great way to avoid the sometimes exorbitant cost of last-minute bookings. If you’re travelling with your family for personal reasons, you may be better off with the Advantage Card, which is more affordable.

How to choose and find your train pass?

To choose your train pass, it’s important to consider how often you take the train, and to which destinations you ususally travel to. Once you have a good idea of these two key elements, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best SNCF subscription.

Which SNCF pass to choose for young people and students?

Students who travel frequently should opt for the MAX pass, while students who travel only two or three times a month should opt for the Advantage card.

Which SNCF season ticket should I choose if I take the train every day?

The choice of subscription depends on several factors, but the MAX Actif+ subscription is an interesting option, especially if you regularly travel for business. If you use the same train line every day, the MAX Actif+ subscription could be for you. It offers reduced-fare travel 4 to 5 times a week, with 450 free trips.

Is the SNCF Avantage card worth it?

The SNCF Avantage card may be worth your while, depending on your age group and travel habits. The SNCF offers three types of Avantage card for different age groups: young people, adults and seniors. For an annual fee of €49, these cards offer attractive benefits, including a 30% discount on standard fares and a price cap for second-class travel, depending on the length of the journey.

However, it is important to pay close attention to the legal terms and conditions. Advantage cards for 12-27 year olds and 60+ year olds offer unrestricted benefits. On the other hand, the card for 27-59 year olds does have some limitations: it does not apply to weekday one-way tickets, unless you are traveling with a child, and discounts are only valid for round trips that include a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night.

Is the SNCF Carte Liberté worthwhile for professionals?

We believe the SNCF Carte Liberté is an invaluable ally for discerning travellers looking for exclusive benefits. With its attractive discounts and unrivalled flexibility, this card is the ideal solution for passengers who travel frequently by train, whether on business or on family trips.

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