Why it seems like it’s not so easy to get a free smoothie with Discovery’s new rewards system

 ·16 Jan 2020

Discovery Vitality members have complained about getting fewer rewards from the group’s move to doling out Discovery Miles instead of the previous Rewards Points.

The main complaint with the new Discovery Miles rewards is how it is linked to the game board tied to the scheme, which enables members to score Discovery Miles after achieving their goals.

Previously, a single play on the board would have scored enough points for a member to get a free coffee as a reward for meeting their goal – or two plays for a smoothie. Now, however, users report not being able to meet the same requirement after meeting three goals.

According to Discovery, the rewards scheme is sticking to the same level of reward as previously, but a technical error that saw members not being allocated their Discovery Miles for hitting a goal, has led to the confusion.

Technical issues aside, however, it’s still no-longer as easy for members to score a free smoothie as it was last year.

Game board

Discovery’s Active Rewards benefit grants members who hit a goal – be it health, driving or banking – an immediate award of 100 Discovery Miles (limited to 300 per week), and a chance to flip a tile on the Discovery game board (limited to 4 plays per week).

The tiles on the grid carry a minimum value of 50 Discovery Miles, though the layout is randomised.

This means that the minimum number of Discovery Miles rewards a member can earn from hitting a goal is 150 miles.

The group noted in response to complaints that some users were not being allocated the instant reward of 100 Discovery Miles for completing the goal.

Under the previous system, after achieving a goal, members could also flip a tile on the game board to score Vitality Reward points, which could then be spent on rewards.

Here, a tile carried the minimum value of 25 points.

The points earned for completing the goal (100 points for 10,000 steps, for example) did not count as Reward Points to be spent, Discovery said.

According to Discovery, the previous baseline for a category 1 reward – like a cup of coffee – was equal to the minimum a member could earn on the grid (25 points).

This has not changed, it said, with the baseline for a category 1 reward at 150 Discovery Miles, which is also the minimum a member can earn.

What has changed, however, is how many miles are needed to get certain rewards – such as smoothies.

Not as rewarding?

Vitality members have argued that the rewards still aren’t adding up to the same value they enjoyed before.

Under the previous scheme, meeting a couple of goals in a day would easily have earned enough points to score a free smoothie or coffee.

With the new system, however, a free coffee (150 Discovery Miles) and a free Smoothie (250 Discovery Miles) are not on the same tier.

The smoothie reward requirement has increased 6.25 times (40 Reward Points to 250 Discovery Miles), while the coffee reward requirement has increased 6 times.

The reward point to Discovery Mile conversion is in line with the coffee requirement (6 times) – meaning members will need to work harder, or have slightly better luck on the grid to get the smoothie reward.

Others members have also taken exception to this conversion rate, saying their earned points have effectively lost 40% of their value in the new scheme because of this increase in reward costs.

Ahead of the scheme launching on 11 January 2020, Discovery noted in its terms and conditions that the exact Discovery Mile costs for rewards would only be known once the plan launched.

These are the current reward costs under the new scheme:

  • Free coffee or popcorn – D150
  • Free smoothie – D250
  • Car wash – D350
  • BoxOffice Movie – D350
  • Nando’s salad – D350
  • R100 voucher for partners – D1000
  • Various vouchers and gift cards – D2500+

Benefits of the new scheme

Vitality chief executive officer Dinesh Govender said that the new Discovery Miles scheme is ultimately far more rewarding for Vitality members, as the miles carry actual monetary value (where Vitality Rewards points did not) and can be used to pay for things outside of the rewards offered through the app.

Govender said that Discovery Miles will also give consumers more spending power than before because they can be accumulated across the various Discovery products.

“If you are a Discovery Bank client, you can spend them at a larger network of Discovery Miles-accepting partners.

“Unlike Vitality Reward Points which expire after a few weeks, Discovery Miles are valid for up to five years, so members can spend them at their own convenience,” he said.

“In addition, if you’re a Vitality Health or Discovery Insure client and have a Discovery Bank account, all the Discovery Miles you earn across these products will go into a single account – so you can accumulate them and use them on significant rewards.”

Govender said that Discovery Bank clients can also exchange their Discovery Miles and even convert them to cash.

Discovery Miles also remain valid for a period of five years, the group noted, and thus will not reset annually.

Read: Here’s how Discovery’s new rewards system will work in 2020

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