Is The New York Sightseeing Flex Pass Worth It?

This post provides information about how to use the New York Sightseeing Pass, a tourist attraction discount pass.

We cover prices, how it works, and advice about whether or not this service is right for you.

 

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Disclosure: We think you should consider our free tours, but we have also provided other options. While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text


Overview

The flex version of the New York Sightseeing Pass is a service that allows you to pay one flat price (so 1 ticket) for a set number of activities and attractions in NYC. 

 

 

There are over 100 attractions and activities to choose from and you don’t need to choose at the time of purchase. You also have up to 30 days to use it.

Several options also offer skip-the-line privileges, which can save you time, particularly in tourist high season.

Overall, the Flex Pass offers good savings if you are smart about your choices, as some options are actually cheaper to pay full price for.

 

The Sightseeing Flex Pass

 

In our estimation, flex passes like this one are the best choice for most visitors to NYC who are looking for a discount pass. 

If you’re interested in a flex pass, make sure to compare the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass with the New York Explorer Pass, which is a very similar service.

For many, this pass offers the best balance of options, flexibility, and savings.

We’ll go into more detail about the ins and outs of this service in the following sections. 


Listen to tour guides Lori and Katherine discuss these passes on an episode of our NYC Travel Tips podcast.

This podcast offers bite-sized audio clips with tips on how to plan your trip to NYC. You can get our podcasts on Apple, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.


How Much Does it Cost?

The New York Sightseeing Flex Pass charges per number of attractions rather than per day, and the prices for each level of the pass are as follows:

  • 2 Attractions: $74/Adults | $51/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $37/Adults | $25.50/Children
  • 3 Attractions: $99/Adults | $70/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $33/Adults | €23.30/Children
  • 4 Attractions: $124/Adults | $89/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $31/Adults | $22.25/Children
  • 5 Attractions: $144/Adults | $107/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $28.80/Adults | $21.40/Children
  • 6 Attractions: $164/Adults | $124/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $27.33/Adults | $20.66/Children
  • 7 Attractions: $184/Adults | $139/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $26.29/Adults | $19.86/Children
  • 10 Attractions: $234/Adults | $179/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $23.40/Adults | $17.90/Children
  • 12 Attractions: $264/Adults | $209/Children
    • Price per Attraction: $22/Adults | $17.42/Children

As you can see, the price per attraction is between $22 – $37 for adults and $17.42 – $25.50 for children, depending on the size of the pass. 

While that’s a really low price for many of the services included, there are at least a few activities that are even cheaper than that at full price.

For example, a ticket to the Statue of Liberty costs only $19.25 and is a bad choice for this (or any pass).

Also, be sure to confirm the above prices on the Sightseeing Pass’s website as there are often flash deals that make the pass even cheaper.


How Does it Work?

The New York Sightseeing Flex Pass comes in the form of either a mobile app or a paper pass.

Once you have the pass activated (either printed out or on your phone), you just present it at each attraction/activity you wish to visit for entry.

 

The NYC Sightseeing Flex Pass App

 

You do not need to choose your attractions and activities at the time of purchase. 

This is actually a nice benefit, as you can be flexible with your time in NYC.

Some activities (such as tours) will require you to reserve your ticket ahead of time, but most services will be available immediately after showing your pass at each attraction.

There are also some locations that offer skip-the-line privileges, which means you won’t even have to wait in the ticket line!


How long is it valid?

Once activated, this tourist pass is valid for a total of 30 days, which also adds flexibility to your scheduling.

And as long as you don’t activate it, your pass is refundable (with the purchase of insurance) for any reason for up to 24 full months.

Insurance can be purchased for just 4% of the total order value, which means that at most it’ll cost about $10.


Are there any limitations?

Multiple entries to attractions/activities are not allowed. 

For example, if you get the 7 attraction pass, you’ll have to use it for 7 separate included attractions/activities.

 


Top Attractions

There are well over 100 popular tours, museums, historic sites, and other things to see and do included with the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass. 

 

 

IMPORTANT: Prices are as of April 2020. Discounts or recent price increases can affect savings.

Here are some of the top options.

  • Top of the Rock
    • Normal Price: $41/Adults | $35/Children
  • City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
    • Normal Price: $59/Adults | $49/Children
  • One World Observatory
    • Normal Price: $38/Adults | $31/Children
  • Luna Park 24 Ride Pass
    • Normal Price: $69/Adults | $42/Children
  • Madame Tussauds
    • Normal Price: $37/Adults | $30/Children
  • Empire State Building
    • Normal Price: $42/Adults | $36/Children
  • NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour
    • Normal Price: $51/Adults | $35/Children
  • Clipper City Sailing Cruise
    • Normal Price: $45/Adults | $25/Children
  • Spyscape
    • Normal Price: $42/Adults | $35/Children

As a reminder,  the price per attraction is between $22 – $37 for adults and $17.42 – $25.50 for children, depending on the size of the pass.

This pass also includes a lot of activities that aren’t offered by any other competitor. 

Here are just a few examples:

  • Escape Game New York
    • Normal Price: $42 per person
    • With Pass: $22/Adults | $17.42/Children
  • Hornblower Cruises: Alive After Five
    • Normal Price: $37/Adults | $30/Children
    • With Pass: $22/Adults | $17.42/Children
  • Clipper City Jazz Cruise
    • Normal Price: $55/Adults | $25/Children
    • With Pass: $22/Adults | $17.42/Children
  • LOL Times Square Comedy Club
    • Normal Price: $30 per person
    • With Pass: $22/Adults | NA for Children
  • NY Aquarium
    • Normal Price: $27/Adults | $22/Children
    • With Pass: $22/Adults | $17.42/Children

In addition to these exclusive services, they also offer a $40 credit on anything offered by CitySightsNY.com if you choose a 10 attraction pass or higher.

The CitySightsNY voucher is pretty nice because you can use it for things like Broadway shows, helicopter tours, and more.

 


Is the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass Worth It?

The answer to this question really depends on how you intend to use the pass. 

This flex pass requires you to pay between $22 – $37 for adults and $17.42 – $25.50 for children per attraction/activity, depending on the quantity pass you purchase.

IMPORTANT: Prices are as of April 2020. Discounts or recent price increases can affect savings.

So, it’s really easy to calculate how much you could be saving (or paying extra). 

To illustrate the savings, the average cost of each activity we have listed in our top attractions section is $44.

If you purchased the 12 attraction pass ($22 per attraction for adults), you’d be saving roughly 50% off general admission prices! 

Even just a 5 attraction pass would save you at least $8-$10 off each ticket (roughly 25-30% savings).

Lastly, consider our pay-what-you-wish walking and food tours instead of choosing one in a tourist pass. We offer over a dozen each day that cover much of the city.

You will save more with us than using one of your choices on an included paid tour.



Compared to the Explorer Pass

This pass is very similar to the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass, as it also allows you to choose a certain number of attractions (3, 4, 5, 7, or 10).

They do offer a few different services that you might not find on the Flex Pass, so it’s worth taking a look to see if they are offering any attractions not included with this service.

 

 

The lowest price per attraction is $27/adults and $20/children, which isn’t quite as good of a deal as the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass, but the subtle differences in attractions offered could be worth the additional cost.

For more details, please read our post covering the New York Explorer Pass.


Compared to the Build Your Own Passes

The Build Your Own Pass allows you to save 10% on 2 choices, 15% on 3 choices, and 20% on 4 or more choices (which have to be made at the time of purchase). 

The NY Sightseeing Flex Pass is more flexible and likely to beat these savings no matter which version you get, but this depends on the cost of each ticket. 

The Build Your Own Pass is a good base to go by to determine whether or not the Flex Pass is right for you.


Compared to the All-Inclusive Passes

There are 2 all-inclusive passes available on the market, the NY Pass and the Sightseeing All-Inclusive Pass.

Both offer a similar array of tours and attractions as the Flex Pass but operate on a set # of days.

There are no caps on the # of options each day, only time limits how much you can see and experience.

Both also offer the same flexibility as choices don’t need to be made at the time of purchase.

You can save even more money with an all-inclusive pass, but you will need to stay very busy to realize these savings.

There is also a risk that you will underestimate both your stamina and the time it takes to travel from attraction to attraction as well as the time you will want to spend at each location.


Compared to the CityPass

The New York CityPASS is somewhat similar to the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass in some ways, but it’s also much more limited.

This service includes 6 attractions for one low price, saving you approximately 32% off general admission prices.

 

New York City Pass

 

Although you can choose between 2 different attractions for your last 3 choices, the first 3 activities included with the CityPASS cannot be altered, so if you’re not interested in them, it may not be a good alternative.

Prices for this pass fall between the 4-5 attraction passes from New York Sightseeing Flex Pass, so it is nice that you can enjoy 6 attractions for less than the 6 attraction pass, but the lack of choice could be a big problem for some travelers.

It should also be noted that the CityPASS does not include a hop-on hop-off bus tour and some of the attractions are actually free depending on when you choose to visit.

If you’d rather have more control over which activities are on your itinerary, the flex pass is unquestionably the better option.

However, if you’re interested in each of the attractions included with the New York CityPASS, you may want to consider this as an alternative.

We created a post that reviews the NYC CityPass.

 


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