If you’re looking for a cheap gym membership, chances are you’ve come across Planet Fitness. They are popping up on every corner and have memberships starting at just $10 a month, and they are open 24/7.
What’s not to love?
Even though it sounds crazy cheap, $10 a month is $120 a year, so it’s not pocket change. Like any gym membership, there are pros and cons. I dive into the details of Planet Fitness memberships, what you get, and what you should consider below.
Planet Fitness Membership Overview
A gym membership for $10 a month seems too good to be true, especially when gyms down the street charge 3 – 5 times as much, but is it?
The $10 membership is Planet Fitness’s Classic Membership, aka basic membership. It may or may not have a 12-month commitment (most clubs do). The Classic Membership includes:
- Unlimited access to your home club (the club you signed up at)
- Free fitness training, which is one-on-one assistance from a certified personal trainer to help you learn the machines or answer fitness questions
- Free Wi-Fi while in the club
That’s it. If you want any of the other Planet Fitness features, it will cost you $21.99 a month at most clubs (a 12-month commitment may be required).
The PF Black Card Membership includes everything in the Classic Membership plus:
- Access to any Planet Fitness worldwide
- Guest access on each visit
- Access to the tanning bed
- Access to the hydro massage (if applicable)
- Access to massage chairs
- Access to the Total Body Enhancement Booth (if applicable)
- Discounts on drinks, travel deals and at Reebok.com
Now let’s talk about the ‘other fees’ you may not know about.
Planet Fitness branches are franchised. Each franchisee can charge a different sign-up fee. Some run specials for $1 sign up, while others charge the full $49 fee. That makes your first month either $59 or $70.99 in some gyms.
Then there’s the $39 annual fee. Everyone pays this no matter what special you signed up for. Use extra caution if you do sign up for a special too. For example, if you sign up on a $1 special, it doesn’t mean you get away with paying the $39 annual fee. You’ll be charged the fee usually within the first month of joining (check your agreement for the exact date).
When it’s all said and done, your Planet Fitness membership costs either:
- $208 for a Classic Membership for the year (assuming a $49 sign up fee)
- $351.88 for a PF Black Card Membership for the year (assuming a $49 sign up fee)
That sounds like a lot, but in reality, it’s $17.33 and $29.32 a month respectively, but is it worth it?
Are the Prices Worth It?
Now you need to think, is $208 or $351 a year worth it? While it’s not a lot, it’s a significant amount if you won’t use it.
Quite honestly, the Classic Membership is quite basic. While it’s only $10 a month, you only get access to your home gym and the occasional help from a personal trainer. If you only need a gym for cardio equipment (treadmills, stair machines, bikes, and ellipticals) or circuit resistance machines, then it may be worth it.
Planet Fitness enthusiasts love the 30-minute resistance training circuit. It’s great when you want to get a solid 30-minute workout in, but don’t have the energy to choose the workout yourself. You work in a clockwise motion, switching machines when the timer goes off. It doesn’t get much easier (but it can get boring).
Planet Fitness has the largest selection of cardio and resistance equipment around. But, if you’re into weightlifting you’ll want to look elsewhere. You may find some dumbbell stations, but they’re limited and you won’t find barbells or squat racks.
Now let’s look at the upgraded, PF Black Card membership.
If you upgrade to the Black Card, you get more perks, but the same equipment, so again, if you’re into cardio machines and resistance machines, it may be worth it, if you’ll use the other benefits.
- Will you bring a guest often? This seems like a silly perk to pay for unless you have a teenager who will join you. Planet Fitness allows teens as young as 13 to work out there, with a parent.
- Do you travel? If you travel for work often, you may like being able to use any Planet Fitness worldwide. That in itself could make the Black Card worth it.
- Do you tan? If you use tanning services AND gym equipment, then the Black Card pays for itself. You’d be hard-pressed to find tanning services for $20 a month with the ability to go as often as you want.
How Does Planet Fitness Compare to 24 Hour Fitness Clubs?
Planet Fitness’s largest rival is 24 Hour Fitness, another nationwide fitness club open 24 hours. If your area has both Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness, you may wonder which one is right for you.
Like Planet Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness offers two membership options, one for home club use only and another for multi-club use nationwide. Honestly, the home club use only membership isn’t worth it because they charge such high initiation fees that it makes it much more expensive than the Super-Sport Multi-Club Membership.
The Super-Sport Membership costs between $45 – $55 a month or $540 – $660 a year, quite a difference from Planet Fitness.
So what do they offer that Planet Fitness doesn’t?
- Studio classes
- Virtual group and personal training
- 24GO personal fitness app
- Various discounts at other health-related companies
- Basketball courts
- Lap pools
- Olympic training weights
- Free weights
- Turf zone for interval training
- Kids’ club
So who should choose 24 Hour Fitness over Planet Fitness?
Here’s my thoughts. If you just want a basic gym to get your cardio on or to run a resistance circuit, Planet Fitness is perfect at $10 a month.
If you’re into lifting weights, love variety with classes and weights, or want something that’s more comprehensive and don’t mind paying $50 a month, 24 Hour Fitness is your best bet.
Planet Fitness FAQs
Does Planet Fitness offer a free trial?
Yes, just complete this form and send it to your local Planet Fitness, and they’ll email you a free one-day pass to check the gym out to see if it’s right for you.
How do you change your Planet Fitness membership?
You can upgrade or downgrade your Planet Fitness membership easily. If you want to upgrade from the Classic Membership, log into your account online and make the switch. It takes a few seconds.
If you want to downgrade from the Black Card membership to the Classic membership, visit your local gym.
How much does it cost to cancel your Planet Fitness membership?
Your cancellation fees depend on your Membership agreement. If you don’t have a copy of it, ask your local gym for a copy. When you cancel, you must either visit the gym’s front desk or send a letter via certified mail requesting cancellation.
How long can you freeze your Planet Fitness membership?
Each Planet Fitness facility differs in their policies. Most allow you to freeze your membership for up to 3 months for illness or injury. Some let you freeze it if you want to temporarily stop it too. But it varies by location.
How do you transfer your Planet Fitness membership to another club?
You can transfer your Planet Fitness membership online, but you must meet the following requirements first:
You must have been a member at your home gym for at least 90 days
You must be on a monthly payment plan (not a prepaid annual plan)
All dues at your home gym must be paid up
When is the Planet Fitness annual membership fee due?
Your annual membership fee is due on the anniversary of your membership. Check your membership agreement to determine the date.
Is Planet Fitness Worth It?
Should you sign up for Planet Fitness?
It depends on what you’re looking for in a gym. If you’re an occasional gym user and want somewhere you can go when you feel like it, but not feel guilty if you skip a few weeks or months, then yes, Planet Fitness is just fine.
If you’re a gym enthusiast and want plenty of options and variety, you won’t find it at Planet Fitness and you’re better off spending your money at another gym with more amenities.
At $10 – $21.99 a month plus the $39 annual fee, Planet Fitness offers quite the deal. They are very responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they offer a few perks for next to nothing that would cost an arm at a leg at other gyms.
It all comes down to what you want out of your gym and if Planet Fitness will offer enough amenities for you.