Best credit cards for wellness

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Promises to eat healthier or finally hit the gym are perennially found at the top of many Americans’ list of New Year’s resolutions.

In fact, according to a December 2020 survey by YouGov, 46 percent of respondents said their goals for 2021 included exercising more, while 45 percent said they wanted to improve their diet and 44 percent said they intended to lose weight. But 41 percent of people planned to save money.

If you’ve found your resolve weakening as we get further into the year, you may be looking for some renewed inspiration.

Well, what about credit card rewards?

Whether you’re starting a new gym routine, revamping your eating habits or looking to practice better self-care, here are some cards that can help you achieve your goals without sacrificing your wallet.

Rewards for purchasing gear

If you’re just getting started on your fitness journey or it’s time to refresh your old gear, use cards with retail rewards to save on purchases.

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is a great long-term option. Each quarter, you can select two categories from a list of 12 in which you’ll earn 5 percent cash back on each purchase you make (up to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter). These categories include sporting goods stores, department stores and select clothing stores, which can help you stock up on gym clothes and equipment.

For another multipurpose option, consider the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, which offers 5 percent cash back at both Amazon.com and Whole Foods (with your Prime membership). You can set up your home gym or buy your workout gear on Amazon now, then continue making healthy choices at the grocery store year-round.

A general cash back card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can help you save, too. You’ll earn a flat 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, which you can also pair and redeem with your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve for a bigger boost in value through the Chase portal.

If you want to go right to the top, the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve also have some benefits—though only with Peloton. You can earn 5X points or 10X points on Peleton bike purchases over $1,800 with the Preferred and Reserve cards, respectively, for a total of up to 25,000 points on the Preferred and 50,000 points on the Reserve. (Offer ends March 31, 2022.) Even with the earning cap, those rewards are nothing to balk at. With the Sapphire Reserve, 50,000 points can be worth $750 in travel if you book through Ultimate Rewards.

Rewards for memberships

Make sure you’re equipped to sustain your resolutions with savings on memberships throughout the year.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card, for example, offers 2 points per dollar spent on fitness clubs and gym memberships. If you already frequent Hyatt hotel locations throughout the year, this can be a win-win.

Though it doesn’t earn bonus points on gym purchases, The Platinum Card® from American Express might also be a good option for gym buffs who also like to travel. In addition to the card’s plentiful travel benefits, it offers up to $300 in Equinox fitness membership credits per year ($25 per month). You can apply credits to either an in-club or digital membership.

As a cash back alternative, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card offers a 5 percent cash back category option for gyms and fitness centers, so you can stock up on the workout gear you need early in the year and then continue to earn on your memberships each month.

Similarly, the newly debuted Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers up to 5 percent cash back, and can be a flexible long-term choice. The card awards 5 percent cash back on up to $500 each billing cycle (1 percent thereafter) in your top spending category. Like the U.S. Bank card, fitness clubs are an eligible category for the bonus. And if you pay your yearly membership in full one month and spend differently the next, you can earn rewards in other categories like restaurants or grocery stores in your next billing cycle.

Gym memberships can get notoriously pricey, so if you’re serious about a focus on fitness, collecting a few dollars back each month quickly adds up over time, making your commitment a bit more affordable.

Rewards for self-care

Wellness isn’t all about healthy eating and fitness tracking. Sometimes, you need a refresh for your spirit, too.

Consider using a card that earns Membership Rewards with American Express (like the Amex Platinum or the American Express® Gold Card) or one that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve) to save on spa treatments and other benefits at hotels around the world.

Gold and Platinum American Express cardholders, for example, have access to The Hotel Collection and can receive up to $100 in credit to spend on eligible dining, spa and resort activities during each hotel stay. If you’re already planning a vacation this year, this is a great way to recharge and make the most of your relaxation.

Zero percent cards for large purchases

If you’re committing to your resolution with a large, one-time purchase like a treadmill, free weights or stationary bike, a card with a 0 percent introductory interest rate on new purchases can help you start using your equipment now while paying it off over time.

A card like the BankAmericard® credit card, which offers a 0 percent introductory interest rate on purchases for your first 18 billing cycles (12.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR thereafter), can be a great tool to help you pay for expensive health-related purchases.

Similarly, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a 0 percent introductory interest rate on purchases for 15 months after account opening (15.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable APR thereafter). But you can also gain value aside from the introductory period: The Quicksilver earns 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. That means you can earn $30 in cash back just on your $2,000 treadmill, then continue earning on every purchase you make throughout the year.

The bottom line

If you’re on a mission to improve wellness this year, credit cards can be a helpful way to kick-start your journey without hurting your wallet. Like any search for a new credit card, take time to find a card with benefits and rewards that work best for your long-term goals and your regular purchases.

The information about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and the World of Hyatt Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Kendall Little
Reporter
Kendall Little is a personal finance writer covering credit card news and advice at Bankrate. She is originally from metro Atlanta and holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Georgia in both journalism and film studies. Before joining Bankrate in August 2018, Kendall worked in digital communications throughout various industries, including education, health care and television.
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News