The biggest change for me since graduating, besides having the time to fly more than I thought humanly possible, is that I’ve gotten a bit chubby. So I joined a gym recently. The 24Hour Fitness near my apartment is surprisingly nice, and it’s convenient enough that I can pick up Megan after work so we go together.
This decision was motivated by a new offer from United Airlines, providing 2,000 miles if you sign up through their affiliate, the GlobalFit Gym Network. Yeah, that sounds shady, doesn’t it? Take an airline known for finding new ways to up-sell its customers, combine it with an affilate program, and pitch a product that may have an even lower reputation.
2,000 points is not enough to sway my decision-making process. At best, it’s worth $40, but I was thinking of joining a gym anyway and decided to take a look. (Hat Tip to Kathy at Will Run for Points for bringing this to my attention.)
There are three major problems with this program, but if they don’t bother you, it might make sense.
- Not all gyms are included. Even some major chains are left out.
- Within chains, not all locations are included.
- The discount seems to require a full-year prepayment, at least for the locations I checked.
There are a lot of jazzercize locations to sort through. I think almost half of the search results in Seattle were for jazzercise. I don’t know how to get rid of those, but you can remove Curves from your results by checking the box to “remove women’s only gyms.” But for me, location matters most, so I just used the map view.
Nothing within three miles of my house, even though I know there’s a 24Hour Fitness just a mile away. In my area, at least, 24 Hour Fitness and the Seattle Athletic Club were among the best options. But 24Hour Fitness will only give you a discount on mid-tier Sport locations and the one near me is a SuperSport. If Sport is good enough for you, similar discounts can usually be found at Costco without going through this affiliate program, perhaps even at a better price.
But what kind of discount are you getting, assuming those 2,000 miles are important? GlobalFit wants to charge $240 for a year plus a $30 activation fee. The direct price from 24Hour Fitness is currently on sale for $25 a month and a $100 initiation fee. So that would be $400 assuming you spent a year, but at least this way you don’t have any long-term commitment. (24Hour Fitness does charge first and last month’s dues up front.) I think a savings of 43% is pretty good, and you get some miles on top!
Yet no dice for me. I was not going to go downtown just to go to the gym every day. I ended up buying the SuperSport membership for my location gym, at around $35 a month with a $50 initiation fee. Fortunately they were having a sale that ended Sunday, and I showed up soon enough to take advantage. It’ll be $470 over the course of the year, and its crowded in the evenings, but the customer service is leagues beyond the surly staff at the old campus gym. I had my radar going through the whole pitch, and I’m pretty sure I won’t have any grief should I choose to cancel.
But let me tell you, I never realized how unhealthy it was to be on the road all the time until I did it for real. Maybe United should just pay for half of it if I promise they’ll have 10 pounds less to fly across the country.
One reason I’m looking to add SPG Platinum status to my dossier this year is because of the WestinWORKOUT program, which offers free workout clothes and shoes to borrow. Hyatt has nice gyms, though I would love it if I didn’t have to bring my stuff with me when I travel and then cart the smelly clothes back home. But I do love my free Diamond breakfasts, too, perhaps a little too much…