Discovery Vitality rolls out new Miles reward system

Healthcare and financial solutions provider, Discovery, is set to begin the process of giving its clients the Discovery Miles reward system through Discovery Vitality.

After successfully securing R1bn in deposits on the Discovery Bank platform, Saturday will be Discovery Vitality’s turn to introduce the Discovery Miles option to clients.

According to Discovery, Discovery Miles seeks to benefit all clients in the long term with perks and financial resources.

It will be available to Discovery Health clients for exercising and healthy eating, to Discovery Insure clients for driving responsibly, and to Discovery Bank clients for spending responsibly.

For every Vitality Reward point, clients will receive six Discovery Miles, which can be used at various outlets.

The system will not only offer rewards from selected outlets to clients, but will allow them to convert miles to currency on their Discovery Bank account. Partners brought in on Discovery Miles include e-commerce giant and global television streaming behemoth, Netflix.

CEO Dinesh Govender told Fin24 on Friday that while Vitality members will be offered to those who have amassed Vitality points over the years, clients who are on other Discovery platforms will have the choice of opting into the Discovery Miles system.

"Discovery Bank members can convert Discovery Miles into other currency [...] and convert it into cash into the Discovery Bank account. They can convert it into cash. We have gone from a weekly rewards system that expired to a reward currency that lasts up to five years.

"We have 1.8 million Vitality members. Of these 500 000 of them are on Vitality Active Rewards already. Those 500 000 are earning points but from 11 January, the next time they reach a goal, they will get Discovery Miles instead of the Vitality Active Rewards," said Govender.

Govender said after Discovery successfully introduced Vitality Active rewards years ago – allowing clients to redeem points for shopping vouchers – these Vitality points would remain for clients who continue to lifestyle habits such as exercise and having a healthy diet.

"The main thing from a Discovery perspective is about introducing the Discovery Miles as a currency. People who have had our cards for 15 years know about these and they love the system and the benefits," said Govender.

He said along with the introduction of Discovery Miles, Discovery’s reward system brought in new partners, where Miles could be used for rewards or can be converted into currency on the Discovery Bank platform.

"There will be a single balance that you will be able to spend in many ways. We have added new partners to use Miles for Netflix and Cotton On vouchers. Because it is a currency, you can spend it at some of our partners, including Pick n Pay, Yuppie Chef and so on," he said.

Weathering economic storms

Asked if South Africa's tepid economic outlook had an impact on customer appetite for Discovery’s products, Govender said boldness in difficult times was part of the company’s ethos since Adrian Gore built it in 1992. He said in difficult times clients cut costs, but still held onto value.

"A lot of what happens in the economy depends on Eskom. But we are also in a space where sentiment affects a lot. People are looking for value. At a simplistic level, they might look to reduce costs, but they will always want value," said Govender.

Emerging trends

Govender told Fin24 that Discovery Vitality was watching fitness, healthy and lifestyle trends to develop valuable solutions for clients.

"A trend we are pushing a lot is the response to fast food. We want people to be more deliberate about cooking. We have launched the cooking studios where people can learn how to cook to eat well," said Govender.

Govender said while food technology innovations such as Beyond Meat in the United States would take time to gain traction in South Africa, the local market was already conscious about the financial and health benefits of home-cooked meals over takeaways and eating out.

"Plant-based proteins are really growing. People are cooking for economic reason and because they know it’s healthier than eating out. It’s huge in the states and as the costs come down, we may see more of that here," he said.

He said 2019 was the first year where more members got rewards for heart rate targets than for going to the gym, showing that wearable fitness tech was on the cusp of a strong rise.

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