Six Flags Season Pass Purchase Tip

Interestingly, Six Flags did not do their annual Labor Day sale with big discounts on Gold Passes and Memberships along with nice Deluxe dining discounts/upgrades.
We all know they've been trying to push people towards memberships and that's really evident this year. My home park is Magic Mountain, 3 years ago I paid $82 for a gold pass and $82 for a deluxe dining pass ($164), including soda bottle.

This year the only season pass option gets admission to Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor LA ONLY. In addition, passholders no longer get bring-a-friend free tickets. Previous years had already stripped passholders of early entry privileges.

This year I can pay $100 for a 2022 non-gold season pass and $110 for premium dining ($210), which is a significant bump in price. I always imagined I would visit other parks more than I ever actually did so maybe not a big loss. But I did use several bring-a-friend frees per year so that IS a loss.

Or I can pay $10/mo for a Platinum pass, retain my multi-park privileges, get bring-a-friend free offers, plus $7.30/mo for premium dining, which puts me at $207 for 12 months. I had previously switched to a membership before letting it lapse due to the 'rona, primarily so I could retain early entry benefits which was well worth the extra few dollars.

Now that I've made you read all that, here's the tip- They are experimenting with different price points for the season pass. If I try the purchase page in an incognito window or a 'private' browser on my phone, SOMETIMES it takes $20 off the price of the season pass. YMMV depending on your park.

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED
Jeff's avatar

Those prices still feel too low, but it seems like it's going in the right direction. I don't understand why they want to mess with monthly if someone is willing to give them the cash up front.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

I think it's all about stock price. Monthly payments levels out the income across quarters. Wall Street prefers consistent revenue. At Dreamworks one of our problems with being an independent publicly traded company was that we could go three quarters without a new release and Wall Street hated that, no matter how big the release was. Thus a deal with Netflix in 2013 that was (and I think still is) the largest single order of television content in history, and the push to start making 2 movies every year which frankly is one of the things that almost killed us.

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED

I suspect the monthly option is intended to help spur impulse purchases/upgrades.

Jeff's avatar

If it's about accounting, I'm not sure they need to recognize revenue when they receive the cash. It was my understanding that they wouldn't recognize presale season passes until the season started.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

ApolloAndy's avatar

That's weird. Up here in SFDK land, they offered a pass renewal for $40. Yep. $40. I don't know if it's because of the longer than normal closure (though it seems comparable to SFMM's) or the need to drum up demand or something, but I have had an SF pass for 20 years and have never paid that little.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I don't think monthly payments are about accounting or stock prices. Revenue from passes is recognized over time based on historical usage. Per 2020 SF Annual Report (under Revenue Recognition):

For season passes, memberships in the initial twelve-month term and other multi-use admissions, we estimate a redemption rate based on historical experience and other factors and assumptions we believe to be customary and reasonable and recognize a pro-rata portion of the revenue as the guest attends our parks. Due to COVID-19, we extended the expiration date by one year on our 2020 season pass product, allowed the pause of membership payments and granted additional months to membership contracts post-cancellation equal to the number of closed months at the park where the membership was purchased. For any bundled products with multiple performance obligations, revenue is allocated using the retail price of each distinct performance obligation and products that are not sold on a stand-alone basis are treated as residual. In contrast to our season pass and other multi-use offerings (such as our all season dining pass program, which enables season pass holders and members to eat meals and snacks any day they visit the park for one upfront payment) that expire at the end of each operating season, the membership program continues on a month-to-month basis after the initial twelve-month membership term and can be canceled any time after the initial term pursuant to the terms of the membership program. Guests enrolled in the membership program can visit our parks an unlimited number of times anytime the parks are open as long as the guest remains enrolled in the membership program. We review the estimated redemption rate on an ongoing basis and revise it as necessary throughout the year, including impact of changes to our season pass and memberships described above. Amounts owed or received for multi-use admissions in excess of redemptions are recognized in deferred revenue. For active memberships after the initial twelve-month term, we recognize revenue monthly as payments are received.

Its more about the same reason as you see offers for something being $x or $y in 4 easy payments. A lot of people are bad at math and will think its costing the monthly amount rather than the annual amount and may be more inclined to keep the membership. And if it works that your membership continues until you cancel it, you likely will have people who either forget to cancel or just don't care to do so because its only a few dollars per month. Not sure if parks offer auto renewing annual passes with lump sum payment (rather than membership).

Buying a Six Flags memberships is a HUGE mistake. Unless they have changed their policy. But I doubt they have given their poor customer service

When I had one, in order to cancel, I had to provide the original number on my original receipt. It took forever to get a hold of a customer service rep because I could not locate the receipt. And then they tried to charge a 45 day cancellation. It was about as sleazy as it gets

that’s why they are pushing memberships because they good way to cheat their customers out of money if they aren’t using it.

At least with Busch Gardens all it took was a simple phone call and they canceled it immediately

Last edited by super7*,

Yikes. That's almost as bad as a gym membership.

Fun's avatar

Another reason to do cheap monthly installments: lower delinquency rates.

hambone's avatar

Was at SFGAdv today. I have a membership; my friends bought tickets for $30. The park was advertising offers to "upgrade" to a season pass, good through 2022, for another $20.

(I am definitely in the "eh, it's a few bucks a month category." Although 2 visits + 2 x free parking + various other discounts made it roughly a wash.)

Benjamin Polson's avatar

It gets crazy if you do the math for all the options… a diamond plus with dining and platinum flash pass is $40/month - the same with Gold plus is $42.58 a month!

It's not just Six Flags. I bought a SeaWorld pass a few weeks ago as I was doing four parks as part of a trip and it was less than individual park tickets. On looking at the fine print, I've apparently signed up for Auto Renew and I can't for the life of me figure out how to cancel this online; the instructions provided don't work. I suspect I'll have to phone them to do it.

La Ronde stopped offering memberships and is the only Six Flags property to still offer access to every park with a season pass. My renewal was 39$ canadian during their flash sale for the basic no parking pass.

Next time I go, I'll pay 40$ more and get parking with their "ultimate pass".

Yeah, but you’ll have to endure La Ronde…

And the reason they still offer chain-wide admission is an attempt to convince their customers that there’s actual fun to be had at a Six Flags somewhere.

ApolloAndy's avatar

Oh interesting. I didn't realize that season passes didn't give access to other Six Flags Parks, but memberships did. Now the question is "What is the likelihood that I visit a non-home Six Flags park before the end of 2022?"

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

hambone's avatar

For the past three years I've been telling myself I'd visit one of the three Six Flags parks (other than GAdv) within a few hours drives, and yet here I am still not having visited any of them, and still paying $9 a month....

ApolloAndy said:

Oh interesting. I didn't realize that season passes didn't give access to other Six Flags Parks, but memberships did. Now the question is "What is the likelihood that I visit a non-home Six Flags park before the end of 2022?"

It's a change for 2022.

I bought a pass at Great America at the start of August and used it at several other chain parks during my recent trip.

Schwarzkopf76's avatar

I'm ready to cancel my SF membership, any advice on the quickest way? I tried to cancel it last year; they had some flub where they kept charging me, then gave me some sort of bonus in park money - not that I would ever wait in a food/drink line at a SF park again. I stopped that around 8 years ago after a 57 minute wait for cold fries and a drink - they were out of coke and ice, not a first time.

I went to Magic Mountain for 4 hours this year and Great America a few times, nothing over 4 hours. I'll probably go again in the next few weeks, gotta get my rides in on Whizzer and Demon (Maxx Force is suprisingly awesome, if you have the patience) and meet up with friends.

I'd rather spend the money and time towards other parks next year. It would take me a while to muster up the energy to try to get on the phone with a SF customer service person. Is it a thing to just call the credit card company and put a stop on it?

I was able to log in and cancel mine online during COVID. The larger payment stopped a month or so later and I had one payment for a $5 a month upgrade that continued coming out. I was using Paypal so I just stopped that through them. I got one nasty phone call about stopping the payment and I told them that they were welcome to come after me for the 10 or 20 buck I owed.

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