What is Active Advantage?
Active Advantage is Active’s subscription service. It can be found on their website along with the official details of the program. There are two main sections of the site: one for “endurance athletes” and one for “outdoor enthusiasts.” The only differences in the two sections are in the activity benefits which will be detailed below.
Active Advantage costs $1.99 for the first month trial and after that you’re billed at $64.99 annually. It seems like the cost has steadily increased over the years so don’t be too surprised if in a few years you see that it has risen. Thankfully Active Advantage has great customer service and if you ever decide to leave the program (which I’ve done once… then returned a few months later) they’ll refund a prorated amount to you.
The main benefits of an Active Advantage membership are discounts on activities, gear, and travel. In addition they also provide free training plans for running, cycling, strength training, and triathlons.
The activity benefit section is the only one that is split out into two distinct sections. The “endurance athlete” section provides discounts on races while the “outdoor enthusiast” section provides discounts on camping and similar activities.
The main savings from this membership comes from the activity benefits. If you do not participate in races then there’s a good chance you will not get the full value of your paid membership.
No Processing Fees
First off Active will take up to $10 off their processing fees when signing up for races through their website. In the past two years this has saved me about $40 total or $20 per year ($3 – $4 per race depending on cost.) It’s nice to have this because when you sign up for a race through Active you know what the cost will be from the start because they waive their processing fee.
This is where you make your return on investment. In the past two years I’ve gotten free entries into 4 races. The prices for the races ranged from $35 (local 5k) to $100 (large half-marathon) and were all events I had fun at. Like I said before… if races are your thing then you can make your money back fairly easily through this subscription. The deal with the free races is that generally there are between five and ten available entries which become available at a certain time during the day. There’s a countdown timer on them so you know when you need to be online. Once they “go live” you just need to quickly click the “claim entry” button and the entry is yours! This can be difficult for people who are not near a computer or their phone during work hours.
In addition to the free entries Active offers event coupons (generally for the same races they had free entries for) which take generally between $5 and $20 off of your registration. This value stacks with the discount on Active Fees which means you actually get a bit of savings.
This section provides discounts on camping and state parks. If you don’t camp or visit state parks then you won’t get much benefit from viewing this area.
When signing up you’ll receive two $10 off rebates for camping reservations made through ReserveAmerica. If you don’t use ReserveAmerica or your favorite camp ground doesn’t then it seems like you’re out of luck.
No Reservation Fees
This only pertains to camping in California but if that’s what you’re doing then you’ll receive $10 off of every reservation you make. It seems like California campers get the best end of the deal in this section of the site.
After making three campground reservations you will get your fourth free! Again, this seems like a great deal for the campers out there.
The gear benefits amount to 15% off of their Active GearUp store. The prices in their store aren’t the greatest but with the additional 15% off it’s possible to find some deals here and there. I really miss the days when they were called Schwaggle and sold discounted race entries.
The travel benefits are probably the least used ones around. They amount to saving up to 20% on rental cars and hotels. Using the power of Google you can generally find deals that are just as good as (if not better than) these ones.
This is the big question… is Active Advantage worth it? I’d say it is if you run a good deal of races. The entry free savings coupled with the free entries will allow you to make your money back in savings. I’d treat the gear and travel discounts as a bonus because they get used a lot less than you’d think. If you don’t run many races then Active Advantage will most likely be a waste of money for you and I would stay clear of it.
I had a very similar experience, except I was not given a refund and am still battling to cancel my membership. This company has evading website ‘help’ pages and crappy customer service. I wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole.
I apparently accidentally signed up for this service when I signed up for a camping trip and a month later I was charged some $64 charge. I called and asked that it be cancelled and requested a refund. The cancellation was carried out but I hadn’t received the refund within 7-10 business days so I called back. The customer service was the worst. The representative was rude and combative. I asked to speak with a supervisor and the rep told me she was a supervisor and refused to let me speak with anyone else. I called back thinking that the rep was just bad and was again refused a supervisor. Apparently the supervisors are to busy to address customer concerns. I ended up getting the refund, but not before becoming very upset by the awful customer support.