Nov 24, 2012 - 12:28 PM
The only way you can know most cost-effective pass is to "do the maths" yourself, by pricing all of your planned trips then comparing the costs and features of the various passes. This site does a very good job of describing the confusing array of passes.
If you would rather not give yourself this big headache (and who would?), just buy Half Fare Cards and be done with it. Each adult member of your party will need one, children 15 and under travel with parent for free with the free upon request Swiss Family Card (when an adult buys a HFC). HFCs are very simple, you get 50% off of everything (bus, boat, train, lift, gondola, etc) in whatever class you choose to purchase a ticket. Good everywhere (except for a couple of obscure privately owned little lifts that you won't encounter on the journeys you have described), no mental gymnastics around which days you get a discount, which transports are only 25% off, and so on. Easy breezy.
You can buy HFCs at the Geneva airport when you arrive. They are good for one month.
I've been to Switzerland 17 times, have burdened myself with doing the maths twice, and both times HFC came out either most cost-effective or within a couple of dollars/francs. IMO, not worth the headache to price it all out to the penny!