31/3/16: Passport has closed down.
Before this year you need multiple memberships if you wish to attend more than one studio but recently there’s not one, but three multi studio membership companies in Singapore offering passes which allows you to access many studios with one membership.
These are the 2 companies offering such passes at the moment, in Singapore. Passport Asia was also in the competition but they have closed down.
These multi studio passes may appear to be perfect for most of us who doesn’t like committing to a single studio and prefer hopping around. I used to hold memberships at 3 different yoga studios at one point and it worked out to cost around $400 a month.
This is how it works (I assume): You pay a membership fee. You book the class. You attend the class KFit/ Guava will pay the studios.
It sounds pretty straightforward right? Not really. You should be aware of the fine print too.
And here’s a little comparison I did after trying all 3:
|Passport Asia||Kfit||Guava Pass|
|Price||$99/ month||$159 / month
$149 / month min 3 months
$139/ month min 6 months
|Partners in Singapore||1011||100|
|Late cancellation window||Depends. Some are 2359 days before class, some are few hours before class.||12 hours before class commences|
|Late cancellation charge||$20||$15|
|No show charge||$20||$20|
|Limitations||Majority allows 3 classes a month. A few offers 5 or 4 classes a month, while many places allowing only 1 class.||Majority allows 3 classes a month.
Some places allows more, but 1 class a month is rare.
|Booking deadline||> 24 hours- 1 hour before class commences, depends||1 hour before class commences|
|Example of popular yoga studios (number of classes allowed)||Strala Yoga (5)
Bikram Yoga Katong (3)
The Yoga Co. (3)
|Updog Studio (6)
Bikram Yoga Katong (3)
The Yoga Co. (3)
The monthly membership fees of these passes seem decent and inexpensive comparing to a single membership at yoga studios and I get to try out so many studios without breaking the bank. Unlimited access yoga membership is typically $200 – $300 a month while class cards will be around $20 a class on average for the best price. These multi studio passes cost much less.
For most yoga studios, you need to pay for 1 year or more in order to get the best price. We never know what’s going to happen within a year (you may migrate, your favourite teachers may leave or worse – the studio may shut down) so it’s a risk to take for the good price. These multi studio passes can be cancelled anytime and it’s still the same low rate.
Yoga is my preferred activity of course. Other than yoga, they have various partners too. You can do pilates, pole dancing, crossfit, spinning, wakeboarding, rock climbing, zumba, dance, martial arts, gym access, and even non fitness related things like escape room games, bowling or megazip just to name a few. The variety is endless and you definitely won’t have enough time to cover everything you want.
This point just occurred to me when I’m looking for fitness studios to try overseas. These passes can be used in other countries too! This not just saves your drop in fees at overseas studios; you also get to maximise your monthly membership fees. At a regular studio membership, you “waste” a few days by being abroad and not attending classes. There’s no wastage with these passes if it covers a city you’re going to.
Their real source of $$$ is your Cancellation/ No Show Charge
I guess this is how these passes earn– they hope you late cancel, so they can charge you extra. Suppose you do turn up, they’ll have to pay the studio a fee (not sure how much). If you don’t, they will change you extra $15-$20 to your credit card and this will mean extra income for them. (I don’t believe this charge goes to the studios because the studio has nothing to lose.)
Also, most studios themselves do not have such long cancellation windows. Some studios require only 6h or 2h even, so 12h or 24h is definitely a tricked played by these multi studio pass companies to make things “difficult” for customers – and we end up paying cancellation charge or simply attends fewer classes in attempt to avoid late cancellations.
If you don’t book until you’re dead sure (like 1 hour before class), you’ll risk having your coveted slots fully booked especially for peak hours.
If you book and cannot commit to it, you’ll need to pay the penalty. To avoid these extra charges you really need to be rigid with your time and this is not practical.
For KFit the cancellation window depends on the studio so it may be a bit tricky and you need to pay attention to the details when booking. For example I booked a class on Thursday morning and the cancellation window ends 23:59 on Tuesday! Some classes however allowed cancellation 5 hours before class starts. It would be easier if they standardised these things to avoid confusion.
You cannot attend classes spontaneously
This point has much to do with the point above about late cancellation. Many times there’ll be unforeseen circumstances and you’ll only know whether or not you want to go for your workout (since this is not well an urgent priority to most) on the day itself. Late cancellation is not a free option because it will incur penalty, so you may outsmart this by only booking your classes late.
Perhaps they should allow walk-in for classes (for studios who can usually accommodate that) so it’ll be fair for everyone. Also note that Passport disallows consecutive classes, meaning you can’t book a 7pm class when you’ve a 6pm -7pm class already. They say they want users to try different studios, but as a customer sometimes I want to make my trip more efficient by attending 2 classes at once. This restriction is unnecessary.
Popular studios are the main attraction for people to sign up for such passes in the first place, but the numbers of classes you can attend at these studios are often limited, sometimes only 1 class a month. You either end up at less ideal studios or simply not use your pass much.
Also, some studios (like Space and Light for instance) don’t make all their classes available to multi studio pass holders. Only their own members enjoy full freedom of access.
KFit has many listed partners but upon close inspection, not all of them are active and some have no classes displayed when you click on it. Studios may pull out anytime and you don’t get refunded for that if it happens to be the studio you’re aiming for, so that’s a risk you’re taking. You’ll never know…
So is this a gimmick?
Well, yes and no.
If you make exercise your priority and won’t have anything urgent cropping up, you definitely can stick to your booking and won’t incur cancellation or no show charges. I try my best to do this, so I can enjoy the benefits that come with the pass and avoid penalty.
It is also ideal if you travel often and would like to workout while abroad. You can transfer your membership to another country and not miss a day of your monthly fees. However, this is only beneficial if the country you’re going to is covered by the pass.
However, people with different priorities in their lives may end up with late cancellations or no shows because 12 or 24h is simply too long to be certain of their plans.
KFit used to only allow booking of classes a day ahead (i.e. no same day booking) but they have now changed this and certain classes can be booked same day few hours in ahead, but not all classes are available for that.
Even all 3 passes may allow booking up to an hour ahead, but that means walk in or really last minute booking is not possible. This doesn’t give users full entitlement of a regular customer where walk in is always an option.
It really depends on whether such pass fits your lifestyle and what your priorities are. Judge for yourself.
Which pass is better?
On the surface, KFit has the most partners and cost cheaper, but note that even though KFit has more partners, many of them are actually private instructors looking for more business, sometimes conducting outdoor classes, rather than actual physical gyms/ yoga studios. I feel the quality control at KFit is very poor. For Guavapass, all partners listed are legit studios.
So if I didn’t have an existing studio, personally I would recommend the Guavapass because the partners available are more relevant to me since I look for yoga and barre classes mainly. The booking and cancellation terms are fair enough which can reduce my chances of late cancel since I am able to book up to 1 hour ahead, minimizing unforeseen circumstances. I think it is pointless to have membership which I end up not using simply because I cannot attend classes should I want to book late even though class is not full. You do not want to purchase a pass and end up not using it.
If using it overseas is a concern, Guavapass would be most relevant to most Singaporeans because it covers cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong – where a lot of Singaporeans tend to go to. However this is just a rough gauge – if you perhaps go to Taipei or Perth more often then maybe Kfit is better. But do note that Kfit is a lot more inflexible when changing cities. Guavapass is way more convenient for this function and you can change it yourself as and when you like.
The downside is of course, the higher price of $159 and fewer partners. However, there’s only so many sessions you can attend with your free time and it’s quality over quantity. Personally I only look at yoga options and Guava’s selection of yoga studios are as good as the other two companies.
Here’s what I’ll do:
Updog Studio – Hot Flow x 3, Flow x 3
Bikram Yoga Katong – Bikram Yoga x 3
Webarre- Barre x 3
Wings to Wings – Barre x 3
BYCH – Yoga x 3
The Yoga Co – Yoga x 3
Strala – Yoga x 3
COMO Shambala – Yoga or Pilates x 3
Motionwerkz – Swing Yoga
So I’ll have at least 30 yoga classes which makes each class about $5 each with the $159 subscription fee. It’s definitely a good rate! And if time allows, I may try other activities like pole classes too. .
For first time customers, you can enjoy $40 off if you purchase your first month when you sign up with this link.
It’ll be $119 instead of $159 and you can terminate your membership after a month if you wish.
Of course, you need to go through the list of partners and work out for yourself which pass is most relevant to you. Also note that certain passes do not offer the full options of each studio. For example, I noticed KFit doesn’t offer the same classes for Wings to Wings as Guava Pass and the latter membership actually has access to more classes. I don’t know what is the reason behind this but users should be aware of the inconsistency, before choosing a pass to sign up for.
For people with no existing unlimited access studio membership: