Planet Fitness offers two different membership options, touting a base-level and apremium option that comes with bells and whistles. Even if you find yourself always opting for the basic choice to keep things as cheap as possible, sometimes pricier perks can result in a better overall value. Here's how the differences in membership options stack up at PF.
What Does Planet Fitness' Classic Membership Offer?
- Unlimited access to your home club (the gym location you sign up at)
- The Planet Fitness mobile app
- Free in-club fitness training
What Perks Come With the Black Card Membership?
Planet Fitness' Black Card Membership comes with the three basic features outlined above, plus:
- Virtual fitness training
- Bring a guest with you anytime
- Use of any Planet Fitness gym worldwide
- Use of HydroMassage
- Use of massage chairs
- Use of Total Body Enhancement
- Use of tanning
- 50% off select drinks
Keep reading for some extra details on many of these options.
The Black Card Lounge
There's a reason why "access to the black card lounge" isn't on the list of what you get with the premium membership — it's not some elite, fancy space with plenty of seating and ambiance. Still, if you have to take a phone call or you're waiting for your workout buddy to finish their HydroMassage session, the chairs in the lounge do just fine.
If you're after bronzed skin and aren't afraid of a little UV light exposure, there are a few different tanning options at Planet Fitness. There are two different types of beds (according to a worker at my local gym, one is ideal for tanning the base layer of your skin and the other achieves a deeper tan) and stand-up tanners.
Members can sign up for tanning spots using a sheet at the front desk and must show eye protection before heading to the tanning bed. Maximum time limits for the beds are 12 minutes, while the stand-up tanner's maximum is 9 minutes. Members are responsible for cleaning the bed after using it with the provided spray and paper towel in the room, but it's also recommended to wipe things down beforehand, too.
What better way to end a workout than with a massage? Planet Fitness offers regular massage chairs along with HydroMassage loungers and beds. The HydroMassage options use pressurized water beneath the cushions to soothe aches and pains. To sign up for a massage, head to the front desk and put sign your name on a sheet to snag a spot, subject to availability.
Total Body Enhancement Red Light Therapy
The Total Body Enhancement machine contains 30 non-UV red light lamps and platform-based vibration technology to stimulate the body, supposedly supporting rejuvenation and muscle toning. It's also supposed to reduce signs of skin aging and increase circulation. According to the worker I spoke with at my local Planet Fitness, you can use it before or after a workout, and they recommend using it three times per week for best results.
What Is the Price Difference Between Membership Options?
For the basic membership, Planet Fitness members pay a one-time enrollment fee of $49, along with an additional $49 annual fee assessed once each year and a $10 monthly membership fee.
Black card members must pay a $10 one-time enrollment fee along with the $49 annual fee and a $25 monthly membership fee. Looking at membership expenses annually, the classic membership costs $218 per year while black card members pay $359. (Note: Prices are subject to change.)
What Do Members Say?
Redditors point out that no matter which membership you opt for, you're still paying the same $49 annual fee. Other Redditors noted that if you like the idea of bringing someone with you, the black card is the way to go, and if you travel a lot and want to continue hitting the gym during your travels, it's a must.
Is the Black Card Membership Worth It?
Ultimately, the black card membership costs around $150 more a year than the classic membership, but if you take advantage of the perks, you'll definitely get your money's worth.
If you plan to get a Planet Fitness membership, go to the same gym location every time, never bring a friend along, and you're not into massages or other perks, just stick with the classic. Otherwise, the HydroMassage alone is worth the extra money. Trust us.
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