Friday, December 28, 2012

Active Advantage…is it really an advantage?

Earlier this year, well about 6 weeks ago I signed up for the much advertised Active Advantage. There were two driving factors, an additional 25% discount on and the waiving of the “processing fee” that you are charged when registering for races on

In the last 12 months my race sign ups have obviously shifted from ultras to triathlons and with that the shift to using race registration instead of more localized sites such as and Added to which that a triathlon registration is expensive; a “small” Sprint race can cost $100, an IM branded 70.3 is around $275 and a full IM is around $675 so any opportunity to save $10 or $20 here or there soon adds up especially when you are signing up for 5-6 races in a year, it almost become a case of buy 5 get one free.

The initial cost was $1.99 for the first month and another $59.95 for the rest of the year after 30 days “trial”. My trail ended and my Visa was charged. Since paying my $59.95 and signing up to was retired and is now powered by Left Lane Sports under the banner of Left Lane is an online broker of discounted gear. Both outlets had been around for a while and I have actually purchased several things through schwaggle in the last year whereas I have never purchased anything from Left Lane, I even have their app on my iPhone and receive a daily email from them but their selection is too broad for me they cover a lot of outdoor sports including; climbing, skating and surfing and these things are not any interest to me.

The really only left one compelling reason for the membership which was the waived processing fees. With that in mind I signed up for IMSG and had $10 waived. This week I went to sign up for the Desert Tri in March, it’s a work up race for IMSG. It was my first triathlon ever earlier this year…if you remember I had a disastrous swim. I had toyed with doing both the Sprint and International (Olympic) distances, the former as some form of redemption and the latter as training, but given the combined cost of nearly $200 plus travel and accommodation and the fact that 2013 is not a cheap race year already I decided that redemption can wait.

So to I went in search of the race and registration, it was easy to find and it was advertised as “Save on this event”, great I thought another $10 saved. If you click on this link it takes you to the Active Advantage sign up page!


I went through the sign process but the waived processing fee would not show when I went to check out, I tried it several times and I couldn’t get it to work?!!?


The open window is what pops up when you click on the “?” by Processing Fee

I opened a help ticket with them and got an email back asking me to call them, which I did. After some discussion I was advised that the race did not participate in the processing fee waiver and I had to pay it. I questioned that they were advertising it as such? The Customer Service Rep told me that nearly all events are advertised with it but not every event participates! It wasn’t her fault but I was upset as this is really a case of double dipping, I pay for the “Advantage” but I don’t get it.

It was at that point that I cancelled my membership and today I was refunded my $59.99…the whole experience has been rather tasteless and in the end I saved $8.00 which I probably spent in time writing to them and being on the phone!

Don’t get me wrong, I get it that these companies are in business to make money…what I disagree with is their methods; falsely representing the discount is just plain wrong.

I’ll save any more rants and raves on this issue and leave you with own wordsIn 2011, 205 million people attended 1.8 million meetings at a total cost of $263 billion in direct spending in the United States alone” all I can say is that’s a lot of $10 processing fees!

As for the Desert Tri, my processing fee was the price of a quick look at the race website and a stamp!



  1. I download the paper applications, and mail them in. Problem is, now some apps are adding the $3 themselves!

  2. Active, Ticketmaster they are all the same. A transactional processing business is a great idea until they are really pressured to scale. And then things get "creative".

  3. I had Active Advantage last year - actually got it discounted through Schwaggle. I think I got my money back through a couple schwaggle deals and a couple registrations, but it was a struggle. And once I learned that a fair number of races - big ones - had opted out, there was no way I would renew for a second year! Good choice!

  4. Hi Stuart,

    I’m sorry to hear about your challenges with your ACTIVE Advantage processing fee discount. Unfortunately we are unable to automatically apply the discount when an event opts out of the program. That being said, I’ll be happy to refund your fee. Please email me at and I will get you taken care of.

    Best of luck in your 2013 race season!

    - Levi

  5. Active advantage web page has gotten bad. I would advise not signing up for this site. They offer a chance to enter free races but will send emails a couple of hours after the offer expires.

    Signing on to active advantage can be difficult.. Most of the time you can not login on first try as I can other web site. If you decide to search for a free event to enter good luck with the buttons sometimes they work. I'm successful in entering information with all other web sites just not active advantage.

    Contact active advantage about the issues and they cancel my account sending a generic email that I had signed up for a free trail. Is how I became a member. Never ask them how I became a Memeber . Never once does it mention my issues.


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