Credit Cards

Counting Steps? Earn Cash Back for Exercising With the Paceline Credit Card

Get reimbursed for an Apple Watch and earn double the cash back just for working out.

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What if you could earn cash-back rewards on your credit card purchases simply for doing your daily exercise routine? The brand-new Paceline Card is designed to help users get more from their regular activity, and it's the first of its kind to reward you for keeping fit.

"A huge part of our mission is to really show people you don't really need a super intense workout to get results and earn rewards," says Jess Bieligk, chief commercial officer of Paceline. "It can just be just general movement and slight adjustments and what you're already doing, but that really generates that return for your longer term health."

You'll earn 2.5% cash back on health and wellness categories, and 1.5% on all other purchases. But here's the real draw: The reward rates double if you hit a weekly streak of 150 minutes of elevated heart rate. That means you can earn 5% back on health and wellness purchases and 3% on all other purchases -- and this expanded 3% cash-back rate on all purchases is unrivaled in the market. Plus, the annual fee is only $60.

This card requires an iPhone to run the Paceline app and an integrated smart watch, either Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitibit. And here's where another unique offer comes into play. With the Paceline credit card, you can earn up to a $429 reimbursement (over the course of a year) for an Apple Watch Series 7 by hitting your weekly streaks.

Read on for more information about the rewards program, weekly streak requirements and Apple Watch reimbursement in more depth, as well as some other highlights.

In this article

Paceline Credit Card

Card Highlights
Intro OfferGet a head start and receive weekly statement credits, up to $429 in total value, when you purchase an Apple Watch with the Paceline Card.
APR15.99% to 29.99%
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit
Reward Rates
  • Up to 5% cash back on Health & Wellness.
  • Up to 3% cash back on everything else.
Annual Fee$60
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Late Payment Fee Up to $25
Foreign Transaction Fees 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency
Penalty APR 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Up to 5% cash back on Health & Wellness.
  • Up to 3% cash back on everything else.

Earn boosted rewards through exercise

The basic rewards rate for all purchases with the Paceline Card is 1.5% cash back, which is a pretty solid flat cash-back rate compared to others in the market. 

The rewards rate is 2.5% for purchases in the health and wellness category, which incorporates gyms, athletic apparel, fitness equipment, groceries, pharmacies and more. There are more than 20 brands currently included in the health and wellness category (see some in the chart below). When you log 150 minutes of elevated heart rate in any given week, you'll get double the basic rewards: 5% for health and wellness transactions and 3% for everything else. 

Health and wellness brands

Gyms Grocery Pharmacy Apparel and goods Equipment
Planet Fitness Whole Foods CVS Adidas Peloton
SoulCycle Trader Joe's Walgreens Nike Tonal
Equinox Instacart Rite Aid North Face Mirror

If you already exercise regularly, it's hard to match this value with another card. Or Paceline could easily argue that the most value goes to the cardholder who wants more movement and activity, and a push to develop new habits. Comparing airline travel rewards with exercise rewards, Bieligk joked, "Our miles are better than their miles."

You'll need an Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit to track your movement, and you'll run the Paceline app through iOS (that means only iPhone and iPad users only at this time). When you reach your 150 minutes, your rate increase will be displayed in the app. The week starts every Monday 12:00 a.m. and lasts through Sunday 11:59 p.m. local time.

Once you earn your streak for the week, all the charges you made during that period will be retroactively given a boost in rewards. As another perk, the cash back you earn will be posted to your account on a daily basis, unlike most credit cards that post rewards monthly.

Apple Watch offer

You can be reimbursed up to $429 for an Apple Watch Series 7. To receive the offer, you need to first purchase an Apple Watch Series 7 with your Paceline Credit Card. You can then earn a weekly credit of up to $8.25 toward this purchase for twelve consecutive months. But you only earn the weekly credit in the weeks that you hit your streak -- a further incentive to keep up with your movement. And of course, make sure to keep your account in good standing to remain eligible for this offer.

How to apply for this card

You'll need Good to Excellent credit for this card (typically a credit score of 670 higher), though Paceline expects to expand the offering more broadly soon.

Because this new product is being built as a supplement to the current Paceline app, applications must go through the app rather than a web browser. The interface is sleek and intuitive compared to that of other credit card startups.

You'll get an instant decision upon approval and immediate access to a virtual credit card number through the app, so you can start making purchases and working toward your streak immediately. Paceline will then mail you a physical card.


How do cash-back credit cards work?

Cash-back credit cards offer cardholders rewards on their spending in the form of statement credits or cash. A statement credit is a reduction in the amount due to the credit card company on your monthly bill. Note that rewards are not always available the month you earn them -- they are usually applied to your balance by credit card issuers after one or two billing cycles.

The redemption process for cash-back credit cards is automatic or otherwise simple. Some cards automatically apply cash rewards to your statement balance each month. Others require you to log in and redeem available rewards points for statement credits. Most points don't expire, but you will lose them if you close the account before redeeming them. 

What types of cash-back credit cards are there?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall into four primary categories: flat rate, tiered, rotating or choose your own. 

Flat-rate cards offer the same rate for every purchase. Tiered cards offer a different rewards rate for different categories of spending. Rotating category cards offer different rewards each quarter, determined by the card issuer. Choose-your-own category cards allow you to choose your rewards category.

How do I qualify for a credit card?

The better the benefits, the more hoops you'll need to jump through to be eligible for certain credit cards. Credit cards with attractive rewards programs or cash-back rewards require better credit than more basic credit card varieties.

If you have poor or fair credit, you might only qualify for credit builder or secured credit cards. If you have good to excellent credit, you may easily qualify for any credit card you want. But if you don't have the right score, you can always work to improve your credit for better odds of approval.

Our approach

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*All information about the Paceline Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.