Gym Loyalty Rewards Programs: How to Create a Rewards Program for Gym Members | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Gym Loyalty Rewards Programs: How to Create a Rewards Program for Gym Members

If you want to create a loyalty rewards program for gym members, then use the tips below to learn about what a gym rewards program entails and how to design a rewards program for gym members so that you can increase gym membership. Creating customer rewards programs for gyms doesn't have to be hard, but it is important for gym customer retention. If you're looking for loyalty program software for gyms, the platform offers many ways to attract and retain gym members.

Melissa Morris has a BS and MS in exercise science and a doctorate in educational leadership. She is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist. She teaches nutrition and applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa.  She has been featured on Yahoo, HuffPost, Eat This, Bulletproof, Vitacost, LIVESTRONG, Toast Fried, The Trusty Spotter, Best Company, Hea...

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UPDATED: May 8, 2021

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  • Gym rewards programs and gym customer loyalty programs are great ways to keep gym members engaged and motivated.
  • Creating a fitness center customer loyalty program can be a great option to grow and manage your fitness business by rewarding and retaining gym members, but also by adding new members.
  • Planning a rewards program for gym members takes time, but is an investment into your business.

A rewards program for gym members is a great option to increase motivation and engage with gym members. A good fitness studio rewards program can help reward current gym members for their loyalty, retain gym members longer, and bring new gym members into your membership base.

Many businesses offer rewards programs for spending money with their business or using their services. Customers and members enjoy being recognized or rewarded for their loyalty or participation. It can be easy for fitness businesses to jump on board with this trend and offer similar programs for gym members.

In this post, we’ll explain why rewards programs for gym members are important, explain how to set up a gym rewards program for members, and provide tips and suggestions if you are new to the rewards program game.

The gym management software platform offers a variety of ways to grow and manage your fitness business. To find out more about these opportunities, request a demo of our fitness business management software.

What Is a Gym Loyalty Rewards Program?

A gym rewards program, also known as a gym customer loyalty program, is a structured initiative that incentives gym members. This type of program can reward members for attendance, participation, meeting certain goals, spending, or other factors.

Credit card companies have been offering reward programs for many years. These programs offer rewards for spending in the form of cashback or points that can be redeemed for various incentives. Some also offer bonus points for specific purchases or hitting certain thresholds. Structuring a loyalty rewards program for a fitness gym is a great way to learn from this model.

Other businesses, like grocery stores, retail businesses, and airlines also offer customer loyalty or rewards programs. They may offer rewards or incentives for purchases, meeting certain spending limits, or for other habits like writing online reviews.

Rewards programs and customer loyalty programs for gym members are similar to the ones offered by other businesses. The focus for fitness businesses is on rewarding certain health habits, exercise or fitness participation, or meeting health goals. A great reason to set up a gym loyalty program – healthier members!

Customer retention statistics show that it costs five times less to retain a current gym member than to find a new gym member. Loyal members are one of the biggest assets for your fitness business. Offering a customer loyalty or gym rewards program may take time to plan and prepare, but it is well worth the effort.

Fitness Customer Loyalty Software

If you’re looking for loyalty program software for gyms, the platform offers many ways to attract and retain gym members. Any fitness gym customer loyalty reward software platform should include a holistic management of gym members throughout the customer lifecycle. What is the best gym customer loyalty software? Finding the best loyalty software platform for fitness, gyms, and sports facilities is easy. Get a demo of the all-in-one fitness business management software platform today so you can attract, engage, and retain more gym members.

Options to Track Gym Member Rewards


A points system is an easy way to track participation, interaction, purchases, or habits. When implementing a points system, it is helpful to have an automated system to track and manage points. For example, members scan their membership card when entering your facility, and points are automatically added to their account.

The good news is that a point system is easy to understand and redemption can be foolproof. Members should have easy access to view the point totals at any time, either from an online dashboard or mobile app. The last thing you want is for staff to spend time manually entering points or looking up point totals for members on request because this wastes administrative time.

For example, gym members may receive a certain number of points for attending a group fitness class, attending a personal training session, purchasing retail items, writing an online review for your gym, interacting with your social media accounts, or meeting health and fitness goals. These points can be redeemed for prizes, retail items, certificates, or other rewards.

Punch Cards

A punch card or stamp card can be used to track visits or attendance. Once a member earns a certain amount of punches or stamps (usually 10-20) they receive an incentive. For example, if a member attends 20 group exercise classes, they can receive a water bottle, free t-shirt, or a free group exercise class.

Renewal Rewards

Renewal rewards are offered when members renew their gym memberships or class packages. This is a great way to retain and reward loyal customers when they renew an annual membership or a personal training package.

Workout Challenges

Workout challenges are a way to tap into your gym members’ competitive spirits. These challenges can help keep motivation high and engage with members so they remain loyal to your fitness business. There are a variety of different types of workout challenges that can range from beginner challenges to advanced challenges.

How to Design a Gym Member Loyalty Program

Customers of any business love to be recognized, rewarded, or offered something for free. The first thing to consider is if a rewards or loyalty program makes sense for your fitness business. A rewards program can be time-consuming and costly if it is not structured appropriately.

It is vital to ensure you are setting up a rewards program that benefits both your fitness business and your gym members. You don’t want to offer a rewards program that will be too expensive for you to run, but you also want to avoid offering a program that makes it too difficult for members to earn rewards so they become unmotivated.

One important consideration to consider for your rewards program is whether you should charge for the rewards program and the loyalty program pricing. You have to know the economics and membership of your gym while deciding this. For example, you may charge members $25 to participate in a three-month rewards program, but offer a t-shirt to all members who complete the program.

A gym rewards program is one of many ideas to market your gym or fitness business. The following is a list of tips and strategies to help make the most of your rewards or customer loyalty program for your gym members.

Do Your Research

It is important to understand the customer loyalty and gym member rewards programs that your competitors are offering. It’s good to know your competition to see what you need to offer to stay competitive or to outdo your competition.

You should also research how long it would take for members to reach certain rewards or incentives. One option would be to offer a trial or short-term rewards program to see how it goes before offering a long-term rewards program.

Have you offered rewards programs in the past? Were they successful or did they flop and why? Use any and all existing data to help inform your rewards program for gym members.

Gold’s Gym Rewards Program

The Gold’s Gym Loyalty Rewards Program is a great model for other gym owners and fitness professionals to learn from. Research what other notable gyms and fitness studios are doing to attract and retain their gym members. Use what you like, and ignore the rest.

Survey Your Members

It is important to understand what rewards or incentives that your members will appreciate and enjoy. You may choose to survey members by using a questionnaire sent out via email or by casually engaging members in a conversation about the rewards they would like.

KISS (Keep it Simple, Silly)

As mentioned above, choose rewards that your members will enjoy. The easier to understand how to earn and redeem points or punches, the better.

Starbucks, for example, offers a simple rewards program where customers earn points for any Starbucks purchases. There are bonus point opportunities and customers earn more points when using a Starbucks reloadable card vs. a debit card or cash. The program is easy to understand and redemption of points can be used for Starbucks food or beverages.

Points can be redeemed for a variety of items that you purchase or already have on hand. If you have retail items, one option is to offer a 50% off coupon or a free item up to a certain dollar amount.

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Use Rewards That Benefit Your Business

Offer rewards like a free group exercise class, a free personal training session, or a certificate to use on your business’s retail items. When members are exposed to new opportunities in your business, they may be more likely to purchase additional sessions and put money back into your business. Retail items are a great marketing and advertising tool for your fitness business.

For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods offers a physical activity program in coordination with their customer loyalty program. Members sync their technology wearables like FitBit or Apple watch and receive points for each day they walk or run a certain distance. This is easily tracked and viewed within the mobile app and participants receive points toward a $10 certificate to use on a purchase at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Consider a Timeline to Earn Rewards

If you are using a point system or punch card, a timeline of three to six months for members to earn a reward or incentive is a good start. If too many members are earning rewards monthly, this can get costly. If it takes more than six months to earn an incentive, gym members may give up.

Use Multiple Methods of Communication

Getting the word out about your rewards program is important. Advertise in numerous places including your facility, social media, email, or mobile app notifications. You might choose to set up a table by the door to showcase your rewards program and share the information on your Instagram page.

Rules for the rewards program should be detailed, specific, and shared with all staff and members. This communication is important to get the word out about your rewards program or customer loyalty program.

Educate Your Staff

Fitness staff usually interact with gym members the most. Ensure that staff and professionals are trained properly in the details and rules of your rewards program. Make sure staff can answer common questions that members may have about your rewards program.

Gym staff can share the details of your gym rewards program or customer loyalty program with new members during the onboarding process. If new members already feel part of the gym community from the beginning, that can help keep them motivated and engaged.

Offer Referral Rewards

Referral rewards are an opportunity to sell more gym memberships and grow your membership base. If one of your most critical goals is to grow your membership base, this type of rewards program may be your main focus.

Referral rewards can benefit both the current member who made the referral and the new member that was referred to your gym. For example, you could offer a free personal training session to both the current member and new member. Or you could offer a reduced monthly membership rate for both members.

Partnerships Can Pay Off

Partnerships with local businesses or community organizations to offer incentives or rewards are excellent opportunities. You can partner with a local massage therapist, spa, or running apparel store to offer incentives and rewards that relate to health or fitness. Hopefully, these businesses will return the favor and refer new members or partner with you in the future.

Track Rewards and Incentives

Generate weekly or monthly reports to view how many members are redeeming rewards, how much this is costing, and if there is any return on investment. For example, are you spending $1,000 monthly on rewards but your membership base has increased by 2% over the previous month? Generating reports and tracking rewards are the keys to determining how well your program is working.

The Bottom Line: Setting Up a Great Rewards Program for Gym Members

Typically, rewards programs and customer loyalty programs are a win-win for everyone. Research, planning, and preparation are the keys to offering an enticing reward or customer loyalty program at your gym. Ask for input from members and staff, and evaluate what your competitors are offering.

It can be acceptable to make small changes to your rewards program for gym members as you need to. Use reporting and tracking to evaluate your rewards program for gym members.

Rewarding, retaining, and attracting gym members are beneficial for your business. Members feel important and these programs can help improve your bottom line. For even more ways to retain gym members, read this article on gym culture and retention.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important thing about starting a rewards program for gym members?

Do your research before beginning a gym rewards program. It’s important to understand the costs and what members will enjoy and appreciate. Planning your program is a key component to offering a successful reward or customer loyalty program.

What are the benefits of a customer loyalty program for gym members?

A solid customer loyalty program can help reward and recognize current gym members. This provides an opportunity to keep motivation high and allow fitness staff and professionals to engage with members. A good program can also bring new members into your gym to increase your membership base.

What are the best incentives for a rewards or customer loyalty program?

This is where it’s important to know your gym membership base. If you have a great retail apparel selection, you could offer retail bucks or 50% off one retail item. Other options can include water bottles, massage certificates, free personal training sessions, or fitness apparel coupons or certificates.

Rewards programs for gym members are a great way to grow and manage your fitness business, and good fitness business management software can help you track your rewards program easily and efficiently. If you are ready to take your fitness business to the next level by giving our gym management software a try, get your free demo today!

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