Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Analysis of RWS Invites Attraction Pass

Since September, Resorts World Sentosa replaced its annual pass with a new RWS Invites Attractions pass to its 3 main attractions - SEA Aquarium, Universal Studios Singapore and Adventure Cove Waterpark. RWS Invites Attractions basically seeks to combine the existing annual passes and RWS Invites into a single package. Because of this change, RWS no longer offers standard annual passes to all 3 attractions, though standard 6 month Season Passes are still offered.

Introduction to RWS Invites Attractions

RWS Invites Attractions combines 2 distinctly different programs: The Attractions Annual Pass and the RWS Invites. The formal basically entitles the passholder for unlimited admission to the specified attraction while providing some discounts, while the latter allows guests to accumulate points (Invite$) to offset later purchases. RWS Invites also offers a few other perks like $1.50 all day parking (which is a BIG discount) and Invites exclusive discounts.

As you can see, the RWS Invites Attractions Pass actually combines the 2 existing packages and turns it into an all inclusive one. In addition, the free Ice-Cream for kids is a very welcome add on, though I hope that RWS will extend this benefit to non-driver adults as well (we don't get the parking rebate). For this post, I think there are 3 distinct target groups so I shall analyse for each group in turn. 

1) Existing RWS Annual Pass holder looking to convert to RWS Invites Attractions
2) Existing RWS Invites Member looking to convert
3) Non passholder considering purchase of an RWS Invites Attractions pass

Please note that the price of the RWS Invites Attractions pass is the same as the standard annual pass it replaces.

Existing RWS Annual Pass holder

If you are in this category, you probably are midway through the 1 year term of your previous annual pass. RWS is likely to have sent you an email asking you to convert. This conversion is absolutely free.

The biggest difference between RWS Invites Attractions and the standard annual pass is the way in-park discounts are provided. There are 3 main differences:
1) RWS Invites Discounts are offered in the form of Invites$ to offset the next purchase, while standard annual pass provides immediate discount upon purchase
2) RWS Invites Discounts is 20% for in-park purchases compared to 10% of the former
3) RWS Invites Discounts are offered in other parts of the resort as well (eg. If I am a USS Invites Attraction passholder I can also get 20% Invites$ rebate for purchasing Adventure Cove Waterpark tickets and 3% Invites$ rebate once I enter the waterpark)

As such, converting will be a very good deal if you wish to dine or make purchases frequently at the park. This is because the points you accumulated on past purchases will not be wasted and you will in overall get a bigger discount.However, if you do not purchase much from the park, there is no real difference whether you convert or not.

There are 2 reasons why you will want to convert, though:
1) You are a car driver - the Invite$1.50 all day parking is really a steal. Note that 1 passholder is only entitled to 1 car (if you can afford 2 cars, you probably won't be looking at this post)
2) You have a kid - Trust me, nothing makes kids happy more than Ice Cream. Having this ice cream on every trip will really make your child look forward to visiting the park. However, please take note you need to convert your child pass (not your one) for the free ice-cream benefit.

Finally, even if you choose not to convert, when you come back to renew your annual pass at the end of 1 year, you will be required to purchase the new Invites Attractions Pass as there will be no more standard annual passes. So it may be wise if you convert early and start accumulating the Invites$ first.

Existing RWS Invites Member

For RWS Invites Members, you are caught between the choice of whether to stay put (and pay $120 to renew with welcome packages) or to convert to an RWS Invites Attractions passholder. A new welcome package will set you back $120 and you cannot use Invite$ to offset the price. 

Let us use USS as an example:
USS Welcome Package: $120, 2 USS Tickets and 2 SEA Aquarium Tickets (worth $184)
USS RWS Invites Attraction Pass: $188, Unlimited admission into USS only

From this comparison, you can see that the welcome package offers you the option to visit 2 separate attractions while RWS Invites Attractions only allow you to visit one. Also, giving 2 separate tickets gives you the option to visit the attractions twice yourself or to bring a friend along. Since an RWS Invites member can get USS tickets for $59.20 (20% Invite$ discount), you will need to visit the park more than 5 times in the year to make up for the extra $68 you are paying and the 2 USS tickets you already get in the welcome package.

A similar case is observed for Adventure Cove Waterpark and SEA Aquarium. Here, the difference is smaller as the price of Waterpark and Aquarium annual pass is $128, which is close to standard RWS Invites renewal price. So the deal is actually better if you want to get Water Park/ Aquarium Invites Attractions Pass

Before you convert, please do take note that the membership is non-transferable, which means that all your Invite$ you gained in your existing RWS Invites Card will remain with the old card when you convert. It also means that your new RWS Invites Attraction Membership will expire 1 year from the day you convert, not 1 year from the date of expiry of your existing RWS Invites membership


If you currently do not have any of the above passes, you can consider purchasing the RWS Invites Attractions Pass. However, the real question for you will be whether the annual pass is worth if you for in the first place.

For USS, with a price of $188 and single day admission at $74, you need to visit the park 3 times over the year to break even. However, don't forget that you are entitled to purchase additional tickets at a 20% Invite$ rebate. So assuming that you have a family of 4 adults, you will need to pay a total $582 if you visit twice. However, if one family member is an Invites Attractions member, you pay a total of only $543.20 for 2 visits, including the annual pass. All this is excluding any additional discounts you get for your meals in the park or to purchase tickets to other attractions.

A similar case is in order for SEA Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark. Using the water park as an example, the $128 annual pass and $36 standard ticket means you need 4 visits to break even. However, with the rebates on additional tickets you only need 3 visits to break even.

From the perspective of a non-passholder, I will say the USS is a much better deal than the other 2 for the following reasons:
  1. You don't need to change your clothes every time you visit
  2. You need fewer visits to break even on your purchase price
  3. USS Rides are really more repeatable than the other 2 attractions (you wont get bored so quickly)
  4. As Adventure Cove and Aquarium Tickets are much cheaper than USS ones, you will not feel the pinch so much when you are a USS Invites Attractions holder and intend to purchase 1 day tickets for the other attractions.
If you drive a car, the Invite$1.50 all day parking can potentially save you $10 of parking per visit, so adding an extra reason for you to go for the pass.

I know there is a lot to consider when making this decision
However, all this car be summarised into a handful of key questions.

So that is all for the new RWS Invites Attraction Pass. If you have any questions please post them in the comments. Also for international viewers, please take note that RWS Invites is for Singapore Citizens and PRs only. This restriction does not apply to the new RWS Invites Attractions pass.