Short Answer: No major gym will knowingly allow you to use someone else’s gym membership. If you try, you risk membership revocation or (in some cases) police involvement. Instead, you can visit the gym using a day pass; virtually all major gyms offer free or discounted one-day, and short-term guest passes. See below for details of the guest policies at major U.S. gyms.
Can I Use Someone Else’s Gym Membership?
We reached out to seven major U.S. gym chains, and none of them would allow for a non-member to use a member’s credentials to gain access to a gym. Although several gyms use membership cards and key fobs that don’t bear any outward identification marks, virtually all of them have other, more robust security features. These can range from 24-hour video monitoring to member pictures appearing on employees’ computers after scanning the membership cards. Consequences for sneaking a guest into a gym may include anything from cancellation of a membership to police involvement.
As an alternative to using someone else’s membership, all of the gyms we contacted offered guest passes for one-time or short-term visits. We detail each gym’s membership card and guest policies below. Some gyms also offer family or household memberships (as previously reported).
- Membership policy: Only the cardholder is officially allowed to use a Planet Fitness gym.
- Verification method: A Planet Fitness smartphone app or keycard, which bears the name of the specific franchised gym location
- Guest policy: PF Black Card members can bring a guest any time they like for free. However, it costs $20 per day to work out at Planet Fitness as a guest without an accompanying member.
- Source: Planet Fitness FAQ and conversation with a local representative
Want to find out more about the amenities at Planet Fitness before visiting? See our article about whether or not Planet Fitness has towels and showers.
- Membership policy: Only the cardholder is allowed to use an LA Fitness gym.
- Verification method: An LA Fitness smartphone app or keycard, which displays the picture of the account owner
- Guest policy: Virtually all LA Fitness locations provide free five-day passes for a non-member and a friend. The passes are valid for five consecutive days and will expire within 30 days of issuance. To get a guest pass, search for a location, and click on the “Guest Pass” button in the Find a Club section on the LA Fitness website.
- Source: LA Fitness website, LA Fitness Guest Pass Disclosure, LA Fitness Mobile App page, and conversation with a local representative
24 Hour Fitness
- Membership policy: Only the account holder can use 24 Hour Fitness facilities.
- Verification method: Fingerprint scan or government-issued ID; 24 Hour Fitness does not use keycards or key fobs.
- Guest policy: 24 Hour Fitness members can bring guests, but each location may set a limit on the number of guests and number of times the account holder can bring guests. Additionally, non-members can sign up online for a free three-day gym pass.
- Membership policy: Only the named cardholder is allowed to use a Life Time facility.
- Verification method: Scan a Life Time membership card or use the smartphone app — both of which bear the member’s name. Additionally, a representative told us, “Every time we swipe the card, the person’s picture comes up on our computer.”
- Guest policy: Members receive a specific number of guest passes that they can use to invite others. Guests accompanied by a member may accrue fees ranging from $20 to $40 if using higher club level amenities. Guests not accompanied by a member will pay daily fees ranging from $10 to $50; the cost varies depending on the age of the guest, the type of club services used, and the location.
- Source: Life Time Club Policies and conversation with a local representative
- Membership policy: Only the account holder is allowed access to gyms in the Anytime Fitness Network.
- Verification method: A club-issued key fob grants the holder access to all Anytime Fitness locations 24 hours per day, seven days per week. While the fob doesn’t have a member’s name or picture on it, an owner/manager explained, “The gyms are monitored live 24/7. If you use another person’s fob, police could show up.”
- Guest policy: Anytime Fitness allows members to bring guests, but the member must coordinate the visit with the gym’s staff, and guests must visit during staffed hours. Pricing for guest passes varies by location, as does the cost for daily and week-long passes for visitors who are not accompanied by a member.
- Source: Anytime Fitness FAQ and conversation with a franchise owner/manager
- Membership policy: Only the cardholder is allowed to use a Gold’s Gym facility.
- Verification method: A Gold’s Gym keycard, which bears the name of the specific franchise location and pulls up a member’s picture upon scanning, or The Gold’s Gym Member App, which displays a digital barcode and the member’s name
- Guest policy: Since Gold’s Gym properties are franchises, the policy varies by location. All Gold’s Gym properties seem to offer one free gym trial every six months, and some locations extend 7-Day VIP Pass Memberships. Additionally, Gold’s Gym has run “Bring a Friend For Free” promotions in the past, but these have been limited-time offers.
- Source: Gold’s Gym Free Pass Form, Gold’s Gym/SoCal 7-Day VIP Pass Membership, Gold’s Gym “Bring a Friend For Free” Promotion, and conversations with local representatives
- Membership policy: Only the cardholder is officially allowed to visit a specific YMCA property.
- Verification method: YMCA membership cards vary from location to location. Some are the same size as a credit card and show the name and picture of the member. Others are smaller keychain cards with only the location printed on them.
- Guest policy: Policies vary by location. Many YMCA locations allow for complimentary guest visits, but some require that guests be accompanied by paying members. Most locations charge daily guest fees ranging from $10 to $15. Some YMCA locations state that they will revoke a member’s privileges if he or she sneaks in a guest.
- Source: YMCA of Greater Richmond Guest Pass & Policy, First Coast YMCA Guest Policy, YMCA of the Triangle Policies, YMCA of Western North Carolina Guest Policy, YMCA of Greater Charlotte Guest Passes, and Tri-Cities Family YMCA Guest Pass Policy
Interested in getting your own gym membership rather than visiting as a guest? See our list of month-to-month gym memberships.