Paceline App Review: This fitness app pays YOU, but is it worth it?

Medically reviewed by:
Ryan Ernsbarger, CPT, SNS

About Ryan Ernsbarger, CPT, SNS

Sports Nutrition Specialist

Ryan Ernsbarger, CPT, SNS is a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist who is passionate about bringing a data-driven approach to fitness. With a background in both Accounting and Finance, he obsesses over how data translates over to optimizes his training and recovery. He applies this mindset both to his powerlifting and marathon training regimen.

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I lowkey hate having to download yet another app to my iPhone, only to use it once and then forget about it for months.

Especially when it asks for a bunch of permissions. Big privacy guy. But in the four months or so that I’ve been using the Paceline app, it hasn’t fallen into this bucket. 

In fact, I now have Paceline front-and-center on my home screen. Why? Because it’s an app that I use, like, five days out of the week. I’ve been liking it so much that I decided to put this blog post together to share why I’m so excited about Paceline. I’ll also walk through how much money you can expect to make, some of the things I don’t like, and some things you should be aware of before getting started with Paceline. 

Table of Contents

How does Paceline work?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Paceline, it’s basically an app that rewards you for working out. And all it requires is an iPhone and a compatible wearable: an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or Garmin device.

It doesn’t matter if you a runner, swimmer, weight lifter, or anything in between: if you log 150 minutes of activity per week, you unlock the ability to choose from a bunch of different perks.

Paceline partners with some pretty cool brands – generally in the health and fitness niche – to offer gift cards, freebies, and some pretty serious discounts to Paceline users.

Oh and it’s free to use.

How to use Paceline
Paceline app screenshots
Don't mind my 0 Week Streak -- I'm injured rn.

📲 What do I need to use the Paceline app?

To use Paceline, you need three things:

1. An iPhone. (Sorry, Android users — as of July 2021, they haven’t yet added support for you. This app is not it.)

2. A supported wearable. As of today, you’ve got three options:

  • Any Apple Watch
  • Any Fitbit that tracks heart rate and active minutes
  • Any Garmin device that can track heart rate and intensity minutes

3. A credit or debit card. I know, I know. Weird / scary at first, right? But don’t worry – Paceline will NEVER charge you for anything. Paceline requires you to tie a credit card to your account for two reasons: 

  • Paceline uses a debit/credit card as a sort of “unique identifier” to verify that you’re a real person. This prevents bot networks from downloading the app on fake devices and racking up free rewards. 
  • Paceline supposedly monitors your spending habits (confidentially and not tied to YOU) to improve their product. This enables them to better inform their Rewards in the app. This also gave them the info they needed to put together the rewards system for the credit card they just recently launched. 

Getting started with Paceline

Download the Paceline app from the App Store (tap here).

(Optional) Enter my referral code ZENMASTER_1. If you do, I’ll get a little kickback from Paceline. It costs you nothing!

Go to the Settings page, and then connect your wearable.

Connect your credit card. Don’t worry, they’ll never charge you a dime — but they do require this to verify that you’re a real human. Otherwise, someone could run a bunch of virtual simulations of the app and rack up rewards to cheat the system.

Work out, as you normally would (or should).

Note: It’s super easy to set things up on the Paceline app, but if you have any trouble, here are some links to the Support articles. (Apple Watch , Fitbit , Garmin)

🤔 Is the Paceline app worth it?

I suppose everyone values their time differently, but IMO, it is absolutely worth using. Since I already own an Apple Watch, it takes roughly zero additional effort for me to rack up free rewards on Paceline. I’ve worked out 3-4 times per week for over a decade, which also gives me a leg up.

Most of the time, it’s one of those “I may as well” circumstances. And for times when I really don’t feel like working out on a certain day (because believe me, I have plenty of those), Paceline has been the sole motivator to get my butt up and to the gym. 

Quick hypothetical: say I never spent a dime on those deals they have in the app. Assume that I decide to just redeem that $1 Amazon gift card each week, and $5 gift card every 4th week.

If I get my activity goals, that's $39 + $65 = $104 per year, or almost $9 a month. Literally free money for working out and bettering yourself.

I’ve heard tales of a mythical $10 reward for every 3 months you hit, which would take things to $124. But I haven’t personally hit that yet (I cracked a rib recently).

The Good

  • I’ve actually gotten some pretty nice deals
  • I’ve discovered new brands that I wish I’d known about earlier
  • If none of the weekly perks stand out to you, you can always opt to get a $1 Amazon gift card instead. I do this whenever I’m feeling indecisive or don’t want to spend money on something I don’t need.
  • On MULTIPLE occasions, meeting my weekly Paceline goal has been the determining factor between working out on a certain day or chickening out.
  • Each streak of 4 weeks that you hit your weekly activity goal scores you even better rewards. For example, you’ll often see $5 gift cards to Starbucks or Target.
  • It automatically detects your workout and credits you for it. Other apps, like Vizer, require you to remember to manually open the app and tally the workout. It really is the small things like this that I love.

The Bad

  • In the early days, I had an experience where I redeemed a reward for a free container of protein powder, only to find out that I not only had to pay shipping, but it was basically a sample-sized container. Since then, though, Paceline seems to have cracked down on the legitimacy and value of their deals.

⭐️ Paceline App Reviews: What are others on the internet saying?

Paceline has a 4.9 star rating (of 6,817 reviews) on the App Store

I’ll be honest: I expected Paceline to have a perfect 5 star rating on the App Store. Although 4.9 is still pretty solid … 😉 Overall, Paceline users seem to love the app, the rewards, and the motivation so much that we’re approaching cult-like-territory. Paceline is legitimately just delivering on their promises for cool rewards and gift cards, in exchange for you working out. It’s a business model that I’m sure many of us have thought of before, but no one had delivered on it until now. 

Added Motivation
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I've really been loving this app because it adds an extra incentive to working out. The rewards may not be huge but small things add up! I would recommend this app.
Tangible rewards!
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I love that this app keeps me consistent with my workouts with a treat at the end of each week. It sounds too good to be true, but it's really just that easy. Such a cool concept! Thanks Paceline!
Becky G
Great motivator, great rewards, and outstanding customer service!
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I've been using this app for 9 weeks now and it has been such a great motivator to stay moving during times of social distancing! It pairs seamlessly with my Apple Watch, is very user friendly, and I love the rewards options. I also wanted to mention how great their customer service team is - I was having trouble redeeming a Starbucks reward and they really went above and beyond to help troubleshoot the issue and find a resolution. Highly recommend!!
Amazing App!
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This app really keeps you motivated. It's amazing that they provide free rewards for working out! Fantastic app! Very streamlined and simple to use and a great idea!

Here’s a negative review of Paceline that I saw on the App Store. It actually does a great job of summarizing the most common complaint among respondents: the fact that Paceline requires you to tie a credit or debit card to your account.

Take a look at Paceline’s response, which explains why they do things this way. 

Honestly, as far as bad reviews go, the fact that this whole credit card thing was the only recurring complaint is a real testament to the awesome company that Paceline is building. 

🔒 Is the Paceline app safe?

Yup. As mentioned before, the only concern that people (initially) have around Paceline is around tying your credit or debit card to your account. But as mentioned before, that’s purely for identity verification and reward improvements. They’ll never charge you. 

🎬 tldr: Is the Paceline app a legit addition to your workout routine?

In my opinion (and the thousands of others who took the time to rate Paceline on the App Store), yes – it’s an awesome little app. The promises seem too good to be true, sure, but I think what we’ve got here is the diamond-in-the-rough app developer who’s managed to build something that just works. Paceline partners with awesome health brands (some established, some up-and-coming) and are therefore able to not only offer exclusive discounts to Paceline users, but also generate a bit of revenue so that they can pay out on all those gift cards. 

The whole “attaching your credit/debit card” thing will always be scary to some people, but hopefully now you understand why it’s a thing. It really poses no danger to you or your finances. They just need some way of attaching a unique identifier to their users, to that people don’t try and game the system to ruin their business. 

If you’ve got an iPhone, a wearable, and you’re looking to continue staying active (or get more active), there’s really no reason to not use Paceline. And if you do, remember to use my referral code ZENMASTER_1 🙂