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New Year’s Day was just on Tuesday, and that means everyone is probably starting in on their New Year’s resolutions…which usually includes an effort to exercise more.
To help with that, one of the little-known perks of the American Express Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card is a partnership with Equinox Fitness that gives cardholders several value-added benefits for signing up for an Equinox membership and using your card to pay for it.
However, like some other benefits of the personal Amex Platinum card which are being discontinued – including bumping the value of pay-with-points for travel from 1.25 cents per point to just 1 cent per point (Business Platinum cardholders will still get that rate, though) – this one is also changing and eventually going away next year.
When you signed up for a new membership and paid with your Platinum Card, the gym benefit used to include four free training sessions and a free 50-minute signature massage or facial in the first year. The training sessions start at about $75 each, and a 50-minute massage is $115, so that means you get a combined value of $415, almost making up for the $450 annual fee for the card.That changed last year, though, and now all you get is one free training session.
The other change is about the yearly benefits package Platinum cardholders get, and which will be going away after 2013. Right now they include:
-2 Guest Passes
-1 Complimentary Pilates Session
-3 One-Day Traveler’s Passes
-1 Equifit Fitness Evaluation
The yearly anniversary perks also used to include a discount on a personal training package – 2 extra sessions when you buy 6 or more, 4 extras with the purchase of 12 or more, etc. That is no longer available for 2013, which will also be the last year any of these perks are awarded to Platinum cardholders, so you might as well get in on them while you still can.
Although Amex justifies cutting back on perks like this as refocusing on what cardholders are actually using their cards for and the benefits they’re actually taking advantage of, I’m still disappointed to see yet another perk disappear from the Platinum Card. I don’t have any trouble justifying the pricey $450 annual fee thanks to continued benefits like the yearly $200 airline rebate and access to airline club lounges as well as reimbursement for the $100 Global Entry fee, but in a credit card market that’s becoming more competitive every day, I hope Amex is planning to launch some new replacement benefits to hold consumers’ interest.
Meanwhile, if you don’t have the Platinum Card, or don’t feel like shelling out the cash for an (admittedly expensive) Equinox membership, United has the MileagePlus Fitness program, which is offering members 2,000 bonus miles when they join a gym including Bally’s, 24 Hour Fitness, NYSC, Curves and more – they’re advertising over 10,000 gyms nationwide – you can search for one near you by using the Zip Code search box on the landing page.
So if one of your new year’s resolutions was a kickstart at the gym, make it a dual resolution by making sure you earn some bonus miles or other perks with your membership. But as always- do the math and make sure that you aren’t paying an inflated price for your miles. The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.
The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.