The Trenitalia Mini-Fare Discounted Ticket

trenitalia2 The Trenitalia Mini Fare Discounted Ticket Special thanks to GAC who wrote our article on the differences between 1st and 2nd class trains. In recent postings on travel boards, GAC updated everyone on the most recent changes to the the Trenitalia Promotional Fares. Gone are the old Meno 15 and Meno 30 fares – which required you to purchase your tickets well in advance. The savings were great but because the Trenitalia website rejected multiple country credit cards (especially USA credit cards), these promotions were often unavailable to US visitors.


UPDATE: Effective June 10, 2012, the MINI fare is no longer being sold by Trenitalia. For information on the “current Trenitalia discounted ticket” promotion, see THIS POSTING!


It was the ultimate CATCH-22; Great fares but not attainable for the average visitor. Now there’s a new promo version that is similar, in some ways, to the old AMICA fare of years ago. Interesting, the old adage – the more things change the more they stay the same – certainly applies in this case. But what is MORE exciting is that with changes made to the Trenitalia system, NOW, you can use most foreign credits cards on the Trenitalia website… which makes these discounted fares available to more visitors.


Riding Trains in Italy
How to buy Train Tickets Online at the Trenitalia Website
How to buy Train Tickets at a Kiosk in Italy
The Different Train tickets Available in Italy
Should you Purchase 1st or 2nd Class Tickets?


Here are GAC’s comments on this promo ticket, called the MINI Fare discounted ticket: The Trenitalia website has just announced a significant revamping of its promotional fares effective January 24, 2011.

1tren The Trenitalia Mini Fare Discounted Ticket

• The PROMO AUTUNNO, MENO 15, and the MENO 30 fares are abolished.

• A new “MINI” fare will be offered, for both first and second class, on a capacity-controlled basis, which will reportedly be the most advantageous fare for the particular train selected. The discounted fare will not be combinable with any other discount (including the discount for children between 4 and 12, unless this fare happens to be lower, in which case it controls).

• The “MINI” fare will be offered on ALL trains EXCEPT the “regionale” trains. These are the open-seating, local and commuter-style trains.

• The “MINI” fare must be purchased no later than MIDNIGHT, TWO DAYS PRIOR to your travel day. This is a change from the originally issued time-frame.

• The “MINI” fare will allow only one reservation change, no later than midnight (23:59) PRIOR to the scheduled departure of the original scheduled train. The new reservation must be for the SAME city pairs, on the SAME category of train, with a departure date or time AFTER (not before) the originally scheduled departure. The traveler must pay the difference between the regular fare and the discounted fare. Changes are processed ONLY at manned ticket windows or at the authorized travel agency in Italy which issued the ticket. NO CHANGES ALLOWED VIA THE WEBSITE

• The “MINI” fare can be refunded, with a 50% forfeiture, no later than midnight (23:59) PRIOR to the scheduled departure of the scheduled train. Refunds are processed ONLY at manned ticket windows or at the authorized travel agency in Italy which sold the ticket -Note – There are NO no refunds FOR MINI tickets with a value under 10 Euro

• No “hop on” privileges allowed to other trains without a properly issued reservation change (as described above).

• The MINI fares give a discount between 10% and 70% off the “base” fare. Discounts tend to get SMALLER the closer the travel date approaches. There is usually no advantage to wait to purchase the MINI fare (as long as one’s travel fares are fixed).

• MINI fares are often lower for trains departing at less popular hours (outside of peak commuter times), or trains arriving at or departing from secondary stations such as Venice Mestre, Florence Rifredi/Campo di Marte or Rome Tiburtina as opposed to Roma Termini or Venezia San Lucia.

• MINI fares are available in both first and second class. Sometimes, the percentage discount in first class is greater than for the same train in second class (because MINI fares are all-capacity controlled).

• MINI fares are available in both first and second class. Sometimes, the percentage discount in first class is greater than for the same train in second class (because MINI fares are all-capacity controlled).

• MINI fares vary according to travel date, specific train, and class of service.

• Once schedules and fares have been uploaded to the Trenitalia website, MINI fares can usually be purchased up to FOUR MONTHS in advance (although this is not a “hard” rule).

• As contrasted to the MINI fares, regular “Base” fares do NOT increase as the travel date approaches (UNLESS there is a system-wide tariff change).

• Everything you’ve read or memorized about the previous promotional fares and their tricky and byzantine “rules” are relegated to the “garbage heap of history”!!!

• As contrasted to the FAST trains, it’s usually a very bad idea to purchase an electronic ticket for the unreserved regionale trains. Electronic tickets have significant restrictions which traditional paper tickets (purchased in Italy) don’t have, and advanced purchases for the regionale trains don’t generate any real benefits (aside for the convenience of not having to buy them in Italy).

  • The following “other” fares will remain:
  • “Base”
  • “Flessibile”
  • “A/R in Giornata”
  • “Familia”

Real all about this new fare: Trenitalia Mini Fare – In Italian


Saving Money…

As noted, this “new” promo system came into play after January 24, 2011. The good news is the fares are INCREDIBLE and you can get them the two days before you need a ticket. Zerlina, another esteemed poster, pointed out these examples in a travel board contribution. For trains the day of January 25:

Route Base Fare Mini Fare You SAVE
Rome – Venice 73€ 29€ 60%
Rome – Florence 44€ 19€ 57%
Rome – Naples 44€ 19€ 57%

Zerlina also points out the bad news. These fares, unfortunately, are subject to availability – which will be determined by Trenitalia. For example, the early morning trains on January 25, 2011 – the first day of the sale – DO NOT have the 19€ fare available… already! If you go in the early AM, the MINI Fare is listed as 35€.

So you may head to a station to purchase tickets for the two days hence and the limited “promo fares” tickets – with the GREAT prices above – will be “sold out.” The MINI fares may be reduced, but not as deeply as the FULL 57-60% discount that you see on the popular routes available. You’ll still get a MINI Fare….but only Trenitalia knows the discounted amount at point of sale. Thus, Trenitalia will determine the distribution, pricing, and availability of the promo tickets – and as Zerlina aptly points out, can thus control the ticket pricing (much like airlines do).

Yet, this is STILL a better system than is currently available to many visitors. The Meno 15 and Meno 30 tickets, although discounted – were not as deep as these full MINI discounts… nor where they available to many American visitors because of the frustrating Credit Card policies on the Trenitalia website. On Holidays, I’d imagine that MINI ticket discounts would be probably unavailable, or only slightly discounted, as the trains will full or even sold out. Yet what a great option – and wonderful surprise – to get a 19€ fare to Florence or Naples from Rome!


Booking.com banner 728x90 en The Trenitalia Mini Fare Discounted Ticket

 

 

Availability?

The “MINI” routes are not always obvious… you may have to do some searching – especially if you have a route with multiple, connecting trains. In Italy, train routes “stand alone,” so you may have to do your “MINI” search route-by-route.

Unfortunately the MINI fares may be scarce – After all, Trenitalia does control which routes and times get the discounted fare. As you would guess, the less traveled – say mid-afternoon routes – have far more availability of the MINI fares. So supply and demand will definitely come into play… and again, control is all in the hands of the folks at Trenitalia!

Trenitalia will manage the fares and can change the rates quite quickly – so we may see a far more fluid ‘fare system;” Again, much like the airline industry. So Trenitalia will offer, in essence, MULTIPLE discounts. This gives them far more flexibility than the limiting MENO 15 or MENO 30 they had in place before.

One important point, the MINI fare may NOT be the choice if you have to make a reservation less than two days prior to your scheduled time. Before the MINI fare – you were allowed with other discounted fares – to get on a later departing train and pay an administrative fee (€8). With the MINI ticket, if you miss your train – for any reason not contributed to by Trenitalia – the ticket you are holding in your hand MAY BE worthless. You may then be required to buy a separate, full price fare to continue to your journey. As GAC points out in a board posting, “Bottom Line: if there is a reasonable chance of missing your reserved train, DON’T select the “MINI” promotional fare, but instead stick with the “Base” fare.” So pre-booking a MINI ticket on a day you’re arriving by plane is not recommended.

The amount of the discount fares you get with the MINI will depend on your route, the time of day, type of train, number of tickets sold, etc… but mostly they will be determined by Trenitalia! Your MINI discounts could range from 20% to 67% off the base fare. On some routes, NO MINI fares may be offered. So the MINI fares could be deeper than the MENO 15 and MENO 30… or they could be as little as 20%… or they may not even be available. The good news is, if available, you can purchase these tickets without having to buy 7 or more days in advance.


queue 468x60 The Trenitalia Mini Fare Discounted Ticket

 

 

Summary

A reminder from GAC… REMEMBER always to inquire about the availability of the “MINI” promotional fares when purchasing a ticket for any fast Trenitalia train (i.e. AV, ES, ES-City, IC), even as late as the two days prior to travel! They might still be available, you just never know. (Personal note – we did just this for a route to Naples from Rome two weeks ago, and got MINI tickets BOTH ways – saving us 30% the day before traveling – so do check!).

REMEMBER also that there are no “MINI” fares or other promotional fares for ANY of the unreserved “regionale” trains (apart from 50% discounts for children between the ages of 4 and 12, and FREE travel for toddlers under the age of 4 year and one day, who don’t occupy a seat).

This is the current Trenitalia Promo… but certainly not the last. But I certainly like these options better than the Meno 15 and Meno 30 for visitors. Again, they provide a better option to purchase your tickets upon arrival rather than buying in advance through a middleman like RailEurope. They also will make single-trip, point-to-point, ticket purchasing more viable (again) than the rail pass options.

Thanks to GAC and Zerlina for their insight into these Trenitalia ticket price changes! Good Luck in your search!

Header photo is from the Trenitalia website

 


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23 Responses to The Trenitalia Mini-Fare Discounted Ticket

  1. lesley says:

    Even though the trenitalia webiwte has something about not taking us American eospress cards, I seemingly had no problem using my American express card to buy my tickets (the charge went through, I was emailed my receipt with pnr code)

  2. Ron in Rome says:

    Ryan – head to this post to see examples for purchasing a MINI ticket online: Booking Online Using the Trenitalia Website

  3. Ryan Glendy says:

    Hello Ron,

    I am traveling to Italy for the first time. I have everything booked and reserved EXCEPT for my train from Florence to Venice, and Venice to Rome. I am a bit confused as to how I come across the Mini discount for these trips.

    I will be in Italy at the end of April of this year.

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Ryan

  4. Ron in Rome says:

    Yes, and often a MINI Adult ticket may be less expensive than using the Family Offer tickets.

  5. Amit says:

    Can you buy an Adult Mini ticket for use by a child?

  6. Ron in Rome says:

    Raist, you only need “one name” when purchasing tickets online – it’s to reference your tickets if you want to make changes or pull them up at a kiosk. Just have your PNR number for the conductor and you’ll be fine.

  7. raist says:

    Hi Ron,
    I just bought 4 tickets with MINI %, but forgot to put in the ticket holders name.
    So now all the tickets are in my name. Do you think I’ll have a problem, or is this ok?
    thanks v.much!

  8. Ron in Rome says:

    You’re correct – Jan 2012 schedules are not yet loaded into the system. They load, usually, no later than mid-December….

  9. Jeev says:

    Hi Ron,

    I am trying to book MINI ticket from Rom to Pisa C, but their is an error saying No solutions .. I am trying to book In Jan 2012 2nd week.. Is this because of calendar year schedule and price change are not yet updated in the website…

  10. Ron in Rome says:

    According to the Trenitalia website, you can book tickets – including MINI discounted tickets when available, up to 120 days in advance. The earliest I’ve been able to book in advance has been about 92 days.

  11. Kelli Flanagan says:

    Hi. I wanted to book our train tickets well in advance. How far out can you book train tickets for for the Mini special?

  12. Patricia says:

    Just to let you know that I managed to book all three of our train trips this evening. It appears that when needing to book train tickets in Italy, one must just keep on trying everyday.

  13. Patricia says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thank you for all the advice that you have provided.

    I am from South Africa & have a Visa Credit Card issued from here. I set up my password authentication telephonically with my bank this evening & when I tried to book tickets for three seperate trips everything went fine until at the last part of the process. I was prompted to enter my authentication password which I entered correctly & after waiting about a minute a message popped up indicating that the transaction was refused. I tried again five times with the same result. I then emailed my bank & they indicated that there should be no reason for the transaction not being processed.

    Is it possible that South African issued visa credit cards are not accepted by Trenitalia ?

  14. Ron in Rome says:

    JC… WOW, incredible savings. Glad the blog helped you. Enjoy your trip!

  15. JC says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thank you very much for your info. I was able to book on the Trenitalia website using my Canadian-issued Mastercard. Before I booked, I followed your tip to call the credit card company first. I had no problems at all!

    I saved around 40% off the base price. That’s almost US$300!

    Thanks!

  16. Ron in Rome says:

    Ted,
    Trenitalia controls the MINI fare pricing and distribution… Yes, you can get one – if available – up until midinght before you travel…
    If they are available, a MINI ticket will ALWAYS be less cost than a BASE ticket (the standard price). So yes, a MINI always beats a standard ticket, yet there are restrictions (like changes) that impact you more on a MINI than the BASE ticket.

  17. Ted Carey says:

    So… will the mini price always be better than the day of price for the same itinerary?

    Thanks
    Ted

  18. admin says:

    There is a schedule change slated for June 12th I believe. (They make changes twice a year – in December and June). Sometime in early May the “new” schedules will come out (with NEW prices). Once they come out, you will be able to pre-book!

  19. Dana says:

    Hi Ron, thank you for the useful information. Do you know why I can not purchase a ticket from the MINI after 11th of June?

  20. Stewart says:

    Hi Ron, thanks a lot for the great info. I’m planning on traveling to Italy, and this info and your website is really informative for my planning.

  21. Danielle says:

    Thanks Ron, for sharing this info! I’m so glad I found your website through my endless Googling of how the heck to navigate the Trenitalia website. You have no idea how much your advice, experience and insight is appreciated by first-time Italy vacationers like myself!

    My husband and I are going on our honeymoon late March to early April and we were able to buy MINI fare tickets from Como to Venice for 17EU (normally 55,50 for 1st class) and from Rome to Naples for about 14 – 17EU (normally 57EU for 1st class). I’ve been keeping up on ticket availability almost every day for the past 2 weeks, so maybe this played a part in our ability to get them. We also purchased them on a Target Visa credit card (I’ve heard lots of U.S. folks are having problems buying with their American cards).

    Just wanted to share the success and say thanks for making it possible!

  22. jasonbush says:

    can you please clarify, does a MINI require an extra booking fee? im understanding it to be simply the best price booking on that leg and once they are sold out you resort to full fare. kind of like a red hot internet or e deal the airlines do?

    ****REPLY *****
    Yes, the MINI is a discount fare whose availability is controlled by Trenitalia. So it is like an airline special. Most of the midday runs – that no one travels on – have the most MINI opportunity. Rush hour MINI’s are few because they can sell these tickets at full price. When they have sold the allotment of MINI’s for that route, the price will revert to full price…. and thus the prices will be ever changing, determined by Trenitalia and how full the train is.

  23. купить работу по тмм says:

    недурно то что искал
    (Translation: Pretty much what I was searching for).

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