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Best credit cards for all your fitness expenses in 2020
CNBC Select reviews credit cards that offer bonus rewards on all your exercise needs, from gym memberships to retailers selling fitness equipment.

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Whether you go to a gym or do at-home workouts, there's often some cost associated with getting fit, whether it's a gym membership, buying equipment or signing up for subscription to an online fitness program.

You can save money on these expenses by using the right credit card. There are cards that offer bonus rewards on gym memberships and at retailers that sell fitness equipment.

Let's say you spend the average $58 a month on a gym membership, for a total of $696 a year. If you charge it to a cash-back credit card offering up to 5% back, you can earn roughly $35 cash back annually. And if you live in major metro areas where the cost of a gym membership can be upwards of $100 a month, you'll see the savings add up.

Below, CNBC Select reviews the best credit cards for gym memberships and fitness.

Best credit cards for gym memberships and fitness

See how they all compare

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature®

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on two categories you choose quarterly (on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter, then 1%); 2% cash back on one everyday category; 1% cash back on everything else

  • Welcome bonus

    $150 after you spend $500 within the first 90 days of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    15.49% to 25.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2% to 3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • High 5% cash back on select entertainment purchases, when you activate bonus categories
  • Low spending required to earn a good welcome bonus

Cons

  • 5% cash back is limited to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • Activation is required to earn 5% cash back
  • 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $514
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,972

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus and assume you spend $58 a month on gym memberships

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On U.S. Bank's secure site

Who's this for? If paying for a gym membership is what gets you motivated to work out, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® card is the only card we could find that offers bonus rewards (more than 2%) on eligible gyms. Cardholders can benefit from 5% cash back on two bonus categories each quarter, on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases, then 1%.

Gyms and fitness clubs are considered one category, and popular merchants include:

  • SoulCycle
  • LA Fitness
  • Planet Fitness
  • Weight Watchers
  • Equinox

Check out the full list of eligible gyms and fitness centers.

There are some exclusions, which include: purchases at recreational facilities that do not require membership, such as golf driving ranges, baseball batting cages and ski slopes. In addition, purchases made at fitness centers outside of your membership fee, like personal training or fitness classes, may not qualify.

Other bonus categories include sporting good stores (which pairs nicely with gyms/fitness centers), home utilities, department stores and more.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval, with no spending requirements
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Prime membership is required
  • The 5% back on groceries only applies to groceries bought on Amazon.com or at Whole Foods Market
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $510
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,272

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

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Information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? If you rather opt for an at-home workout than forking over a monthly membership fee, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card can earn you 5% cash back on purchases from Amazon. You can purchase fitness equipment, such as weights, yoga mats, bikes and more to build your home gym.

To get you started, when you sign up for the card, you receive a $70 Amazon.com gift card automatically after account approval. This welcome bonus is a great way to help fund your future home gym.

And if you want to grab some healthy food after your workout, take advantage of 5% cash back Whole Foods Market.

While there is no annual fee, Prime membership is required, which currently costs $119 annually or $12.99 a month.

Target REDcard

  • Rewards

    5% discount at checkout on most purchases in-store and at Target.com

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    24.40% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    N/A

  • Credit needed

    N/A

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Instant 5% discount at checkout
  • Free two-day shipping on most items
  • Extra 30 days for returns

Cons

  • Card can only be used in-store at Target or at Target.com
  • High 24.40% variable APR

CNBC Select didn't calculate estimated rewards for store cards.

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Information about the Target REDcard has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? Another option for financing your home gym is the Target REDCard. This is a store card, which means it can only be used in-store at Target or online at Target.com. If you frequently do Target runs, this card is a great payment option.

Cardholders receive a 5% discount on most purchases, which includes various items for fitness activities, such as clothing, equipment or even a bigger ticket item, like a smart TV so you can stream your subscription-plan workouts.

This card has no annual fee and offers a bunch of additional perks, such as free two-day shipping on most items with no minimum purchase and an additional 30 days for returns.

Learn more: 5 things to know about the Target RedCard

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

  • Rewards

    1.5% cash back on every purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.49% to 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a $5 minimum. After, 5% ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Long intro 0% APR period for purchases and balance transfers
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Below average 1.5% cash back
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $482
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,809

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

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On Chase's secure site

Who's this for? If you want to purchase a luxury fitness product, such as a Peloton bike or an interactive Mirror, it's a good idea to put it on a rewards card that also offers special financing, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Cardholders can benefit from a 0% APR for the first 15 months on new purchases (after 16.49% to 25.24% variable APR).

Plus all purchases earn 1.5% cash back. So if you purchase a Peloton for $2,245 (not including taxes and fees), you could earn roughly $34 cash back. And if you want to pay for it over time, you have over a year to do so without incurring interest charges.

If you already purchased an expensive piece of equipment, but you're struggling to pay it off, you can complete a balance transfer to the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card and take advantage of no interest for the first 15 months on balance transfers (after 16.49% to 25.24% variable APR). There's a 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open ($5 minimum, then 5%). This fee is likely cheaper than the interest you pay if you don't consolidate your debt on a card that offers 0% APR on balance transfers.

Check out the best 0% APR credit cards.

Best credit cards for gym memberships and fitness

Best for Credit card Rewards
Gym and fitness membershipsU.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® CardUp to 5% cash back at gyms and fitness centers
Online shopping for home workoutsAmazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card5% cash back on Amazon purchases
In-store shopping for home workoutsTarget REDCard5% discount on most Target purchases
Luxury fitness equipmentChase Freedom Unlimited®1.5% cash back on every purchase

Our methodology

To determine which cards will put the most money back in your pocket, CNBC Select evaluated over 234 credit cards offered by the biggest banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join. We compared each card on a range of features, including cash-back rewards, annual fee, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming cash back for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.