Earlier this year, I wrote that my husband and I joined Gold’s Gym and what a good deal it was. Emphasis on “was.” Well, they increased the price six months ago and it would now cost us $20 to add me as a guest (used to be free.) About the same time, my father-in-law got bad news about his heart, so we decided to pay for his gym membership as well.
He is too cheap to cough up cash to save his own life, and it was the only way we could convince him to join. Honestly, he does so much for us, it’s only fair that we pick up the tab now and again. Anyway, out gym-related bills really started adding up, so I decided to just let them go without me and save $20 per month. Of course, I would still exercise. Right.
I think I maybe walked 4 times in the last six months. Not surprisingly, I gained some weight and felt my body wasn’t as toned as I would like it to be. Here is a conversation I just had with my husband two days ago:
Me: I think I’m a bit out of shape due to not going to the gym.
Him: Which parts of you exactly?
Me: Which parts are you thinking about?
Him: Why don’t you tell me and I will tell you if you are right.
Me: So, you DO think I’m out of shape?
Him: Oh, no! I think you look magnificent.
Me: I thought so.
Note to all the clueless men: When your woman asks you if she looks fat/out-of-shape, your automatic response should be NO. Period. You don’t look, you don’t hesitate, you don’t ask additional questions. An emphatic NO will suffice.
Anyway, I joined the gym… again. The bill was being automatically charged to my US Bank Club Carlson Signature Visa. I set it up back when BOGO benefit was still alive and Club Carlson points were far more valuable, and just never bothered to change it. It was time to reevaluate, so I started looking at my cards. Since it’s a bill we will have monthly for the foreseeable future, I don’t want to charge it to a card that will eventually be cancelled. And I don’t have a 2% cash back product.
Hey, but I do have US Bank Cash Plus! It has rotating 5% categories, and gym appears to be one of them, at least for this quarter. Perfect.
I wrote about this card several times and consider it one of the best long-term products for a regular family (see my list of all “keeper” cards). What’s nice is that you have control over what categories will earn 2% and 5% cash back. And there are usually quite a few choices: Furniture stores, charities, restaurants etc. Since our gym bill is currently close to $90 per month, this will be easy “pajama” money, assuming this obscure category sticks around.
US Bank Cash Plus card doesn’t pay me commission (used to in the past), and you can read more about it by clicking on this direct link Be aware, the language on the offer states that you might be approved for a version that earns 1% on everything. Since it currently doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, the best way to get US Bank Cash Plus is by converting it from another card. That’s exactly what I did a few years ago.
I definitely think it’s a solid choice for those who prefer cash back and don’t switch cards very often. Most people are familiar with Chase Freedom but in many ways, US Bank Cash Plus is superior. If you are more interested in travel rewards, you might want to look into one of FlexPerks-earning cards, another solid product issued by US Bank. I wrote about FlexPerks Visa before and Will at DoC has a good post on the subject which dissects the program and its quirks. You might want to hold off applying for now because the bonus will most likely be increased around the time of the Olympics.
FlexPerks is probably the most underrated program when it comes to “average family” travel. You don’t have to worry about award availability, and if you are willing to buy Visa gift cards in grocery stores and spend them on everything, you can certainly extract decent value out of your points.
Of course, when it comes to ROI, nothing will ever come close to churning aka switching credits cards in order to collect the sign-up bonus. Sure, it takes some work, but the rewards are worth it. Kind of like going to a gym, right?
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