Rewards programmes revisited

Sughendree Reddy. (Supplied)

Sughendree Reddy. (Supplied)

Retailers are feeling the cringe too, but spending while saving, which is usually difficult, at the least, is possible if you take advantage of loyalty programmes. Momentum Multiply chief executive Jaco Oosthuizen says: “Loyalty and reward programmes that incentivise a particular behaviour — be it financial wellbeing, healthy living or responsible spending — by offering measurable and tangible ways for consumers to ‘get something back’ are playing an increasingly important role in the South African economy because they provide a much-needed lifeline in a sea of rising costs.”

Sugendhree Reddy, head of personal banking at Standard Bank, says: “Loyalty and rewards programmes are designed to reward customers for the number of products and services they hold or use with the particular organisation. The consolidation and usage of products and services translate into bigger rewards and savings for customers.”

And those rewards can be used to take the edge off debit order day, and make up for some of the cash that’s flowing merrily out of pocket and into petrol tank or tummy.

Pick n Pay Smart Shopper’s seven million members get an immediate 10% discount on instant savings products, and earn points on purchases that they can use at the store to get groceries (or clothes) either by printing a voucher or by moving points onto the card to be used against their next shop (this can all be done on your mobile with the Smart Shopper app too, with no printing required).

Link a Discovery card to the Smart Shopper card and you boost your points by up to 10 times.

Add Vitality’s HealthyFood reward and you get up to 25% back on foods that qualify. If you bank with Absa you get an extra 15% value if you convert Absa Cash Rewards into Smart Shopper points.

Standard Bank customers stand to earn 10% back in reward points when shopping at Checkers, CheckersHyper, Makro, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar and Woolworths.

Get me there

“Top of mind for most is fuel spend,” says Absa’s head of retail banking, Arrie Rautenbach.

“As rising fuel costs continue to impact upon the high levels of consumer distress, South African motorists are increasingly relying on offerings such as Absa Rewards to curb the effects of fuel price hikes.

“Bloomberg’s ‘Pain at the Pump’ survey shows that, although the price per litre of fuel in South Africa is not the highest in the world, the amount that a South African spends on fuel in proportion to their annual income — 4.25% — is the second highest globally.”

If you’re a Standard Bank customer you can get up to R1 alitre on your petrol if you use Caltex. If you prefer BP you can get 50% of up to R750 back a month through Discovery Insure’s fuel rewards system.

FNB customers can earn 15% back on their fuel or airtime rewards if they use their FNB cheque card for purchases. Absa customers stand to earn 5% cash back every time they fill up at Sasol (to a maximum spend of R3 000 a month for those of you with fleets/tanks who were just getting excited).

Of course you could walk or cycle, but where’s the fun in that?

Especially if you can earn rewards by going to gym. Discovery Vitality’s deal with Virgin Active is possibly the best known. It has changed since the “sign up for R600 and never pay again” days; currently if you sign up with Virgin Active you pay a once-off activation fee and then get up to 80% off your gym fees every month.

If you are a Momentum Multiply member and you sign up at Virgin Active or Planet Fitness you will get savings on your monthly fees the more you train.

You can also earn or spend rewards on those little niceties that keep you able to train. Clicks Club card members earn points that they can spend at Clicks, including at the pharmacy.

Absa Cash rewards members can convert rewards into Dis-Chem points and get 15% additional value. Multiply members can save up to 25% on products bought at Dis-Chem pharmacies as well as earn Multiply points for doing Health Assessments at a Dis-Chem clinic.

Once you’re fed, fit, healthy and vaguely able to get to work you can spend your points on spoiling your- self or others by going shopping.

FNB eBucks members can buy luxury goods, electronics, flowers, chocolates and most other things from airtime to gift vouchers.

You can also use them for airline tickets, car hire or hotel bookings. Discovery Miles can be spent in similar fashion, and you can earn eBucks and miles by spending at a variety of places, so it becomes a virtuous cycle after a while, particularly because the more you spend the higher up the reward programme tiers you go and the better benefits you get.

The key here is to understand the programmes you are on, and how you are rewarded, particularly if you have multiple cards.

For example, do I earn more by putting my Pick n Pay groceries on my Discovery credit card or FNB cheque card? And is double-dipping allowed? For example, if you’re a Dis-Chem loyalty card holder and an eBucks member you can earn 

points on both every time you shop at Dis-Chem, but that’s not always going to work in your favour.

If you’re a Clicks Club card holder and a Discovery member with the MedSaver option activated you get cash back and points based on your Vitality tier, but only on very specific items, which means you only really benefit if your Vitality tier is Gold or Diamond.

If not, your point earning potential is better without the MedSaver option (with thanks to my friend Louise who has actually worked all that out). It really pays to do your homework and work out exactly how to work the system. Of course you can be lazy and just accrue points and spend as you go, and you will be rewarded, but not quite as much. 

Get the most out of your rewards programme 

Get the most out of your rewards programme by following these tips from Standard Bank’s Sugendhree Reddy: 

  • Remember to activate your rewards card for you to redeem your rewards or points at the relevant partners.
  • Research your options – understand what is on offer and know what your goals are, to maximise your rewards or points.
  • Select the redemption channels best suited to you – online or within a partner network as defined by the programme.
  • Know your balance – this will assist you in understanding your options and far you are in reaching your saving goals.
  • Know the value of your rewards currency and what you can get for it
  • If you do not have sufficient rewards points, consider part payment options
  • If you can convert your points to a saving plan, consider this option because you earn interest.

This supplement has been made possi- ble by the Mail & Guardian’s advertisers. Contents was sourced independently by the M&G supplements editorial team