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How to maximize points and miles on fitness and wellness spending

Oct. 09, 2020
8 min read
Japanese man taking online fitness lessons during lockdown in isolation
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Since the pandemic, many gyms have implemented strict health standards and cleaning procedures. Even as they've reopened, fitness looks different in the coronavirus era. At-home workouts and outdoor group fitness classes are the new ways to exercise in a safe and socially distant manner.

Wellness has become more important than ever. Since I'm traveling less and spending more time at home, I’ve prioritized health and fitness. Gyms aren’t open where I live, so I’ve invested a fair amount in setting up the perfect home gym.

If you're spending on fitness and wellness too, here are ways to maximize points and miles on these purchases.

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Fitness gear and apparel

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Workout clothes (or athleisure) are my go-to not only for exercising but for working from home. Whether you’re shopping for new sweatpants or running shoes, you’ll want to maximize each purchase.

By using CashBack Monitor, you can search your favorite stores to see which shopping portal to use. I searched for Lululemon and got these results.

Screenshot courtesy of

Even better, Alaska, American, Southwest and United’s shopping portals are currently offering bonus miles based on spending. These offers end throughout August, so be sure to check them out if you’re planning to shop online:

Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping Portal
  • Spend $150, earn 300 bonus miles
  • Spend $300, earn 750 bonus miles
  • Spend $500, earn 1,500 bonus miles
Offer ends Aug. 9, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
American AAdvantage eShopping Portal
  • Spend $150, earn 500 bonus miles
  • Spend $300, earn 1,000 bonus miles
  • Spend $500, earn 2,000 bonus miles
Offer ends Aug. 17, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
  • Spend $125, earn 250 bonus points
  • Spend $300, earn 900 bonus points
  • Spend $550, earn 2,000 bonus points
Offer ends Aug. 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
United MileagePlus Shopping Portal
  • Spend $150, earn 500 bonus miles
  • Spend $350, earn 1,500 bonus miles
  • Spend $600, earn 2,500 bonus miles
Offer ends Aug. 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET

Here’s an example of how many points you can score. On a $150 Lululemon purchase, I would use the American Airlines shopping portal and pay with a Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants). This would result in 600 AAdvantage miles (valued at $8.40) and 600 Chase Freedom cash back/points (worth $6). With the current American AAdvantage shopping portal bonus, I would earn 500 bonus miles (a $7 value). I would earn about $21 in rewards off the bat or a 14% return on spending.

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And if you have an Ultimate Rewards-earning Chase card, you can convert your Freedom cash back/points into Ultimate Rewards. This doubles the value of your points. With a return ranging from 14-18%, the points stack up quickly the more you spend.

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Gym memberships

The average gym membership costs $58 per month or about $700 per year. With recurring purchases, you’ll want to charge them to the right credit card. By using a card best for everyday spending, you’ll earn a solid amount of points and miles or cash back.

There are even cards that offer bonus points on gym membership, meaning you’ll earn even more rewards in this category

Chase Freedom

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Keep an eye out for cards that have rotating bonuses, like the Chase Freedom. This year, it offered a second-quarter bonus, including fitness clubs and gym memberships. Cardholders earned 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent each quarter they activate. It’s always good to keep an eye out for promotions like this one. With a current sign-up bonus of $200 after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, this is a great cash back card to consider.

Review: Chase Freedom card review

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Every quarter, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card also earns 5% cash back in two rotating categories of your choice. These categories include gym/fitness purchases. Once you choose your two categories, you'll earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases per quarter. Since gyms and fitness centers are included, you’ll want to make sure to select that as one of your bonus earning categories. This card also has an introductory bonus offer of $150 after spending $500 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

One of the best hotel credit cards rewards you for health and fitness purchases, too. You’ll earn 2 Hyatt points per dollar spent on fitness club and gym memberships, among other bonus categories targeted for everyday spending.

With the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening. So, if your goal is to earn free hotel nights, this card is worth signing up for.

Review: World of Hyatt Credit Card review

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

If you’re looking for a general travel rewards card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. You can then transfer your Capital One Miles to 15+ airline and hotel partners. You’ll get a fixed 2.8% return (based on TPG valuations and not provided by the issuer) when using this card and transfer your points.

The card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Related: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card

Meditation apps

Living a healthy lifestyle goes beyond exercise. While juggling a work-life balance, meditation and mindfulness are just as important.

If you’re an American Express cardholder, you’re in luck. Through Sept. 30, 2020, you can sign up for a year-long subscription of Calm, the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Available in your Amex offers, it’s easy to sign up. If you renew for the following year, the membership is half off.

If you’re a World of Hyatt member, you can access Headspace, a guided meditation app. You'll find free mindfulness and sleep content on the World of Hyatt app. Members can also try Headspace Plus for 30 days free, valid until Oct. 31, 2020.

Related: The best apps for keeping calm during turbulent moments

Bottom line

Health and fitness are important parts of daily life, so why not earn rewards while you're at it? Especially during a pandemic, staying healthy is a top priority. Everyday purchases, like fitness and wellness, can lead to travel rewards to use down the road.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.