One of the great ways to save money on train trips within Germany is to get the BahnCard. The BahnCard comes in many flavors. But as a tourist visiting Germany for three months or less, there is a special type of BahnCard available which not only saves you money on the BanhCard purchase but also gives you 25% to 50% discount on train tickets for travel within Germany, and countries bordering Germany on a train operated by Deutsche Bahn.
Note about bahn.com Website
Please note the banh.com has limited information about the BahnCard, to get the detailed information about BahnCard you need to go bahn.de the German website using Chrom browser and use the google translate to translate the information available in the website to English.
What is a BahnCard
BahnCard is a special discount card you can purchase from the Deutsche Bahn website for a fixed amount. When you have a BahnCard, you will get 25% discount on German Train including the superfast InterCity Express (ICE) trains.
Purchasing the card pays you even if you are planning to take just a one, one-way trip on a train within Germany.
Types of BahnCard
BahnCard comes in various forms with different price structures. This blog article will assume you need BahnCard only for three months or less. The price shown in the table below is good as of January 2018.
|Sample BahnCard25||€19 (II Class) &
€39 (I Class)
|3 months||25% discount on all type of trains.|
|Sample BahnCard50||€79 (II Class) &
€159 (I Class)
|3 months||25% discount on highspeed trains and 50% discount on other trains.|
|Youth BanhCard25||€10 (I & II Class)||5 Years||Age 5-18, Valid for five years with 25% discount on all type of trains.|
There are other types of BahnCard available but if you are a tourist and staying for three months are less you are not going to get discount better than the BahnCard shown in the above table.
How to Get the BahnCard
You can purchase the BahnCard only through the Deutsche Bahn website when you buy the BahnCard through the website, and the site will allow you to print a paper BahnCard which is valid for three weeks. After the purchase, a permanent BahnCard will be mailed to you to your home address. So it is advisable to purchase the BahnCard at least four weeks in advance, of your planned trip, to give some time for your card to arrive.
How Much you can Save on a Ticket
Using Bahncard 25, you can save 25% on all long-distance and regional train ticket including the Intercity Express superfast train tickets. Bahncard 50 you can save 50% on all long distance and regional tickets including the Intercity Express superfast train ticket. But you will get a discount of only 25% on the ICE train first class ticket using Bancard 50.
A Sample Ticket Price on InterCity Express
If you purchase a one-way ticket on Intercity Express, traveling on second class from Munich to Berlin for a family of 4, the ticket price will cost €347.70 without the BahnCard 25. Note the Child ticket is free as long as the child is less than 14 years of age and traveling with a fare-paying adult.
The same ticket will cost you only €260.70 if you purchase the ticket using the BahnCard 25, a saving of €87.
The sample BahnCard 25 for three-person will cost €57 only, and you will save around €30 even if you are going to travel just once on the long-distance train.
If you are planning to take multiple trips in Germany and the countries bordering Germany like Austria, France, etc., you will even save more on train tickets.
Other Benefits of BahnCard
- Your long-distance ticket (routes of more than 100 km) purchased with a BahnCard discount entitles you to use bus, rapid transit, underground or tram free of charge in the city tickets area of validity within the city boundaries of 124 German cities in order to reach the station for the start of your journey and to reach your final destination after arriving at the destination station using public transport. Holders of a BahnCard 100 can use all local public transport free of charge in towns and cities covered by the City-Ticket.
- Additional discount on IC Buses.
- Discount on the flex price of the international route for cross-border journeys
- With the BahnCard insurance from 17 euros, you can insure your luggage for luggage loss.
- Discounted daily rates for car parking at the vending machine available at many parking garages at the station.
- 25% discount on ticket purchase with many transport associations.
- And many other benefits, check out the following link to get the full list of benefits.
Cancel the BahnCard
You must cancel the Sample BahnCard if you are not planning to stay beyond three months. The BahnCard automatically renews for one year assuming you have purchased the SampleBahn Card. You do not have to cancel the Youth BahnCard as they are valid for five years and automatically get canceled at the after five years from the purchase date.
Is it Worth Buying BahnCard
I would say yes if you are planning to take multiple train trips in Germany as well as from Germany to other countries like Austria that borders Germany. But getting the BahnCard is a hassle if you are traveling with your family you need to fill out separate BahnCard for each member of the family as well as to upload individual passport size pictures when you apply for the BahnCard. The photo is required as the permanent card will feature your photo in the BahnCard.
Also, the permanent card will be mailed out to your permanent mailing address. If your mailing address is outside of Germany give at least four weeks for the card to arrive and you need to carry the card with you to Germany and present the card during your travel.
If you do not adequately plan, the card will arrive after departure, and you have to ask someone to mail you the card to you in Germany.
If you think the small hassle of obtaining the card is no issue, then it is worth buying the BahnCard and receive a good discount on German highspeed as well as other long-distance trains.
With BahnCard, you save at least 25% of train fare, the cost of the single train fare is less even if you include the purchase cost of the BahnCard. BahnCard also comes with various other benefits with free local transport either from your hotel to the train station or from the train station to the hotel.