Trendspotting: Free Peloton digital subscription for UnitedHealth members

UnitedHealth members have an interesting new benefit.

The Motely Fool reports in its “The Five” podcast that the insurance giant is now offering free Peloton subscriptions for its members.

As the Fool points out this is a big win for both companies.

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) gets a potential differentiator from the competition, and is able to offer something that might help the overall health of its customers.

Peloton (NASDAQ: PTON) gets to tap into a massive, new customer base that could potentially upgrade the subscription or expand its footprint by buying a Peloton Bike or Tread, or other products.

Note that this is for the digital subscription ($13/mo. USD) that is used with the Peloton app on tablets and phones, not the more expensive subscription ($40/mo.) that is required for an actual physical bike or treadmill.

You can watch The Motley Fool Sept. 1 episode where they talk about the UnitedHealth benefit in the YouTube video below:

Watch: Peloton Just Made a Killer Deal With UnitedHealth

Excerpt from the transcript:

“Guys, as I was telling you on the Slack, I got an email from UnitedHealthcare today. It’s our insurance company, health insurance, and they told me I had a new insurance benefit. It’s kind of exciting, and I think I might sign up for it. I get the Peloton App, the $13-a-month version. Not the version with the live stuff for your bike, since I don’t have a Peloton bike. I get it for free. They’re going to pay for it for me. I think that’s pretty cool. For owners of a Peloton who are UnitedHealthcare insurance customers, they can take that $13 a month and they can apply it as a credit toward their All Access memberships. That’s pretty neat.”

Meantime, Apple continues to add new features to its Apple Watch-based Fitness+ subscription app which seeks to convince would-be buyers with a cheaper solution — albeit one that requires you to bring your own hardware.

Stark Insider Take

We are way early in the at-home fitness battle. Peloton is the obvious, early leader. But Apple brings a lot to the table. By making deals with insurance companies, Peloton can extend its footprint with a compelling offer. It’s similar in the way that its placing Peloton hardware in hotels and various public locations. The hope: exposure to the brand in chance situations will motivate someone to stick with the brand, and ecosystem.

Peloton has an interesting advantage in that it has a dual-prong subscription approach. You can opt for the basic digital subscription (as UnitedHealth is offering its customers) and do simple at-home workouts with or without hardware. Or you can buy a Peloton Bike and/or Tread and go whole hog with a home gym setup and pay for the more expensive subscription.

By comparison Apple is keeping it simple. $9.99/mo. gets you everything you need, and if you want you can buy basically any third party spin bike and be up-and-running for far less than a comparable Peloton.

Some gyms have been re-opening, if only partially.

That had many wondering what impact they’d have on the burgeoning at-home model. Will it sustain the draw of the social connectedness that comes with the classic gym membership?

My guess is the result will be a mix. A hybrid. Some will go back to the gym. Some will stay at home.

I’m in the latter camp. Cutting my gym membership here in pricey Silicon Valley more than offset the cost of a Peloton Bike and subscription. Add into the balance that I no longer need to drive to the gym, park, change and then drive home, and the time savings are not insignificant. Being able to hope on for a spin any time of day or day of week is a really nice perk.

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