The price system at Deutsche Bahn is not always considered to be cheap. Nevertheless, it is easy to get cheap train tickets. Assuming a few tips are followed.
1. Saver price finder: Over 80% savings potential
The Sparpreisfinder (Saver-fare) is the first point of contact for cheap train tickets. Customers who are willing to commit to a train connection have significant savings. A regular ticket from Berlin to Hamburg costs €73.20 (as of July 2020).
The super saver price is available with a lead time of a few months from €23.90 for this route. BahnCard holders save another €6 and can book the route for €17.90. For just €1 more, you can even get tickets for travelling to other European cities, i.e. Berlin to Vienna or Frankfurt to Brussels.
That is a savings potential of 74% in comparison to the flexible ticket. This is really impressive. But be careful: Cancellation and reimbursement are not possible with these cheap tickets.
2. Railway bonus program
If the envisaged train journey is not a one-off opportunity, but at least occasionally the Deutsche Bahn is used, it is worth registering for the bonus program on bahn.de.
As a registered customer, you will also book much faster in the future because your data is stored. Once you have registered for the BahnBonus, you can start collecting points. There is exactly 1 bonus point for every €1 spent. The points collected can then be redeemed for rewards. The in-house rail premiums for train tickets and upgrades are particularly worthwhile
1,000 bonus points are required for free travel within Germany in 2nd class on the ICE. An upgrade from 2nd to 1st class requires 500 bonus points.
Collect continuously & use targeted actions
What does not sound tempting at first glance adds up over time.
Participation in the DB bonus program is also free of charge. And in between there are always easy ways to quickly collect a few points.
For example, in the past 250 points for signing up for the newsletter. The equivalent of 1/4 free travel.
Overnight stays in the InterCity Hotels of Deutsche Bahn are also eligible for bonuses.
Frequent drivers benefit from status points, which are available in addition to the rail bonus points.
From 2,000 status points, you become a BahnComfort customer and receive numerous advantages, such as free access to the DB lounges with free drinks etc.
3. BahnCard 25: Worth 3-4 trips a year
For the purchase of a BahnCard 25 there are also bonus points that improve the account. But the discounts that are available on flexible tickets as well as on saver prices are much more valuable.
The normal price for people aged 27-59 years is €54.60 a year. Seniors aged 60 and over and spouses of a BahnCard holder only pay €36.20 a year.
A BahnCard sample is available from €17.90 for 3 months. These are always available during campaign periods.
When purchasing a ticket spontaneously, it is essential to check whether there is a special offer for a BahnCard 25 sample.
A regular ticket from Hamburg to Munich costs €153. With return 306 €.
With a BahnCard 25 you save €76.50 directly with this booking. So you saved more than the entire annual price of the card by purchasing a return trip.
A BahnCard 25 can be bought at short notice. The map can be printed out directly or saved in the DB Navigator app.
However, it is advisable for occasional drivers to send notice of termination immediately after the purchase, so that no unwanted extension occurs and the entire period of validity is always used.
4. Check special offers:
The DB offers cheap marketing campaigns at different intervals to make train travel attractive with cheap tickets.
A quick Google search is often worthwhile. For example, special offers can often be found at mytrain.de, which combines the conclusion of a subscription to maxdome with train tickets.
This can be worthwhile, especially on expensive routes. And you get an extensive film offer including the cheap tickets.
But also here it should be considered that a direct termination should take place if the additional offer is not interesting in the long term.
Other examples are Lidl tickets, which are often offered in December. Or Nutella’s Bahnsinn campaign, where voucher codes are located in the lid of the glass.
5. Book IC / EC instead of ICE
In addition to the ICE, IC and EuroCity (EC) are also common on many long-distance routes.
The latter two train types are usually significantly cheaper and allow savings of 20-30% on short-term bookings. However, you often have to do without Wi-Fi here and have to accept a somewhat longer travel time due to several stopovers.
To compensate, e.g. the Czech EC from Hamburg via Berlin and Dresden to Prague has a nostalgic flair and a nice on-board restaurant.
6. Saver fares for groups:
Groups of at least 6 people have immense savings potential in IC / ICE long-distance transport by purchasing an economy ticket for groups.
Just as with the purchase of a savings ticket for individuals, a connection must be made in advance.
A seat reservation is included in the saver price. This also ensures that all participants sit together.
However, the reliability of the participants is required here. A single cancellation of a ticket is not possible.
Only an entire cancellation can be made for a cancellation fee.
With the even cheaper super saver price group tickets, no cancellation is possible. Wobbly candidates should be aware of this before buying the ticket.
Is the planned train journey also possible and wanted with a regional express train instead of a fast train?
If so, there are a number of tickets that make traveling as a group unbeatable cheap.
Here you find example solutions for groups:
Across the country ticket: For a day with all regional trains through Germany. The first person pays €44 and can take one person for €8 each. A maximum of 5 people can use the ticket and thus for €15.20 p.p. drive through Germany
Country tickets: For many federal states, e.g. Baden-Württemberg, there are specific tickets, the conditions of which vary depending on the state.
The price of these tickets starts at around €25 and usually Up to 5 people can travel with all regional trains in the respective federal state for one day.
Fast trains cannot be used with these tickets. But only trains from local transport.
Please note: Fast trains cannot be used with these tickets. But only trains from local transport.
7. Flixtrain: Cheap alternative to the DB
Flixtrain is a cheap alternative to Deutsche Bahn on selected routes.
The trainline operates on the routes Berlin-Stuttgart, Hamburg-Cologne, Düsseldorf-Hamburg routes. More routes are planned.
Tickets are available from €9.99, depending on the booking date and the desired route.
Each booking includes a seat without an additional reservation fee. Wi-Fi is included.
The trains stop at the regular train stations. The comfort is roughly comparable to the older regional trains.
There is no on-board restaurant. There is usually but an employee with a mobile kiosk cart that runs through the train and offers snacks.
The provider is currently investing heavily in the modernization of the vehicle fleet.
8. On-board restaurant instead of reservation
I often save a reservation on shorter routes where the load is low.
Usually, a seat is available free of charge. There is also a contingent for Bahn-Comfort customers, which is rarely used.
This is shown on the reservation display above the seat. If a Bahn-Comfort customer really takes up this space, it must of course be released. However, this happens very rarely.
If a regular seat is really no longer available, the on-board restaurant offers a good alternative.
Here the €4.50 saved for a reservation can be invested in a coffee for €2.80. So, you get a seat including a hot drink.
Find the right ticket at bahn.de:
Looking for the right ticket? Now check the desired train connection and buy the ticket in advance at the best price.