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The new compensation rules for train delays and cancellations with Spain's Renfe

The Local Spain
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The new compensation rules for train delays and cancellations with Spain's Renfe
A traveler opens the door of a RENFE (National Network of Spanish Railways) train. (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

Renfe, Spain’s national rail company, has changed the way in which you can get compensation for delays, as well as the amount of refund you are entitled to.

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This changes will apply to Ave, Avlo, Alvia, Euromed and Intercity trains on journeys from July 1st.

This decision comes after a meeting of the company's Board of Directors who wanted to introduce a similar commitment to punctuality as other competing companies such as Ouigo and Iryo.

But this is not necessarily good news, because now customers will only receive compensation when the delay times are greater and the amounts will be less. 

For example, up until now if an AVE train was delayed 30 minutes you would receive a 100 percent refund, now it’s only if the delay exceeds 90 minutes, a whole hour and a half delay.

What are the new refund amounts and how long do the delays have to be?

Here’s a full breakdown of the new amounts:

Until now, 50 percent was refunded for delays of more than 15 minutes and 100 percent if they were more than 30 minutes.

Now the refunds will be 50 percent for delays of more than 60 minutes and 100 percent for those that exceed 90 minutes.

This means for example that if your train is now delayed up to 45 minutes, you won’t receive any compensation from Renfe at all.

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How will the new refund system work?

You will still be able to get your refund in cash or on your card, as always, but there are now other options too including greater refund amounts, depending on what you choose. These are:

  • A refund of 200 percent of the amount depending on the delay time via a new points system managed through the Más Renfe card 'Renfecitos'. 

  • Compensation as a voucher to buy another ticket. In this case, the refund will be 150 percent of the amount for both delays of 60 minutes and those greater than 90 minutes.

If you choose the refund of the amount on your bank card, you can request it at renfe.com or at the station ticket offices and travel agencies.

If you choose the refund voucher, you can only get it online. In this case you have a maximum of three months from the date of travel to request compensation and a maximum of six months from when you have obtained the discount code to purchase the new ticket.

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If you choose to be refunded with Renfe Points, you must also do this online. This option is only available for tickets purchased with a credit/debit card or cash. The points will be credited directly to your account and you have a maximum of three months from the date of travel to request compensation and a maximum of three years to use the points.

To claim delays on Avlo trains, you can do this through the automatic compensation system at www.avlorenfe.com or www.renfe.com. Compensation is paid through the same payment method as you used to purchase your ticket. You will have a maximum period of three months from the date of the trip to request it.

For compensation for delays on integrated tickets, you can apply for compensation at points of sale and customer service at the stations.

In 2023 Renfe paid out €42 million to its customers in compensation for delays. An amount that could have risen to almost €70 million if all affected users had requested compensation.

With this change, Renfe seeks to reduce the amount.

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Comments (1)

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Leona Bogle 2024/07/02 22:10
These new changes sound a little unfair.how can you have a delay of under one hour without compensation? I was hoping to use the train service more, but if the compensation scheme for delay is like that, then I won't bother. Theyay have been a little over generous before but now they have gone to the extreme other end.

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