Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lifetime Fitness recieves a kidney punch

The Minneapolis StarTribune printed an article about Lifetime Fitness' (my health club) membership fees. It was an odd front page "hit piece' on Lifetime Fitness' odd membership structure. I was ready to go on a rant myself ... about the unfairness of the article, but after talking to my fellow members, I decided to do a rethink.
I choose to pay membership fees at the "Advantage rate" of 80 bucks per month.I use the Crosstown club regularly. The "Advantage rate" allows me to go to my club and a variety of others with varying features. I am not allowed to go to the NEW Lifetime club 2 miles from my house, however. It is part of their elite plan (I do not know the plans name, but I do know it costs 119.00 per month) and has exclusive features that are too exclusve and fanciful for my wallet. There is a cheaper plan called the "Sports Plan" for 60 bucks a month.

This article describes the tribulations of a member who is unhappy with the "Advantage" membership amenities at her club as compared with other clubs with the less expensive "Sports" membership. There are no "water parks', round-the-clock hours, and upgraded spas like the less expensive. That is true I guess, but there are some things the artcile does not state. Each club is unique. The enormous Crosstown Club has an indoor, 8 lane pool and in the Summer it has an outdoor pool and wading pool. It has indoor Tennis courts. It has, in my opinion, a decent and useable running track. The smaller clubs do not have these features, or they have smaller versions.
The article also mistates the cost difference between a Sport membership and an Advantage membership - $80 minus $60 equals $20, not $30 as the article mentions twice.
Finally, why did I do a rethink? I agree, for different reasons, that Lifetime Fitness has membership fee problems. I am irritated that I would have to bump up 39 bucks a month more to use a nearby Lifetime Club - just because it has flatscreen TV above the whirlpool and a 2 story water fountain.

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