During the coronavirus pandemic, people have been working out at home more than ever. Gym membership cancellations have spiked 563% year over year, according to TD Ameritrade. Now, American Express and the fitness company Equinox have partnered to make exercising at home more affordable. The credit card issuer is offering credits to eligible cardholders who sign up for Equinox's new workout app, Variis. 

Key Takeaways

  • Earlier this year, Equinox launched the workout app Variis as consumers shifted to exercising at home. Memberships normally cost $39.99 a month.
  • American Express is offering eligible cardholders up to $25 in statement credits each month toward a Variis app membership.
  • Credit amounts vary based on the type of credit card you have.
  • Variis members can participate in a variety of on-demand and live classes and also sync the app with a SoulCycle exercise bike.

American Express’ Other Pandemic-Related Perks

Like several other major credit card issuers, American Express has provided some additional benefits to cardholders during the pandemic. Through May 2020, for example, it gave new customers three additional months to meet the requirements to earn welcome offers. Select cards are also providing monthly credits through the end of the year for purchases at certain streaming services, telephone wireless providers, or both.

In the wellness space, Amex has offered a complimentary one-year subscription to the Calm meditation app, a benefit that expires on Oct. 31, 2020. 

This latest perk addresses a major pain point created by the pandemic. While many gyms continue to operate, consumers have been wary of returning.

Equinox’s Variis app offers access to on-demand and live classes in cycling, yoga, running, strength training, and more. It normally costs $39.99 a month, but if you have an American Express credit card, you may be eligible for a discount in the form of a monthly statement credit of up to $10 or $25. 

Who Qualifies for the Variis Credit?

Starting Oct. 9, eligible Amex cardholders can get the monthly statement credit when they sign up for a Variis membership through a dedicated Amex page on the service’s website. Here’s what various types of cards qualify for:

Card Monthly Credit
The Platinum Card from American Express Up to $25
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Up to $10
Other eligible American Express cards $10 for the first three months

If you’re not sure whether your card is eligible for the benefit, contact Amex directly and speak with a customer service representative.

Should You Take Advantage of This New Benefit?

The Variis app can be a convenient way for people who have been avoiding the gym to maintain an exercise regiment until the pandemic passes. It could be especially beneficial for those who own a SoulCycle exercise bike. 

However, Variis is far from the only workout app you can use for guided exercises, and there are many that cost less, even after accounting for the monthly American Express credit. 

That said, the service offers a seven-day free trial, which you can use to test it out and decide if it’s a good fit for you.