Trends in rewards programme use turn industry on its head

29 August 2019 Agility Rewards and Health Squared Medical Scheme

Enough ‘smoke and mirrors’, consumers look for value and simplicity

The proliferation of loyalty and rewards programmes in the South African market has consumers spoilt for choice, leading to higher expectations of value and hassle-free instant gratification.

“The average economically active South African is active on eight to ten rewards programmes or loyalty products. Many of us carry a number of loyalty cards in our wallets, and increasingly we are being offered the convenience of mobile applications to keep track of our rewards and keep us motivated on such programmes,” said loyalty marketing expert Deon Olivier at an industry think-tank recently hosted by the Agility Holdings Group.

“As South Africans, it is in our nature to innovate and compete, and this is reflected in the products available in our local rewards market. As more and more of these programmes are competing for our attention, the result has been greater consumer sophistication with the public becoming far more discerning when it comes to rewards structures, as well as the perceived value of the rewards on offer.

“South Africans have had enough of complicated rewards programmes that obscure any true value through ‘smoke and mirrors’, which has consumers jumping through hoops for months and years to accumulate points. Instead, we are now seeing a move towards simple rewards structures, where the value of the rewards proposition speaks for itself,” Olivier explains.

Agility Channel’s Marketing, Communications and Rewards Director, Debbie Valentini, suggests that many of those making use of points-based rewards programmes should ask themselves when last they tried to pay for something with redeemed loyalty points.

“Often, if one invests the time and effort – and frequently there are indirect costs involved too – in diligently accumulating points and working through the tiers of a traditional rewards programme, the so-called rewards one eventually earns can then only be spent at a handful of partner organisations. At the end of the day, this doesn’t feel particularly rewarding,” Valentini notes.

“This is why Agility Rewards, formerly known as Zurreal Rewards, has turned the rewards industry on its head to deliver rewards in the true sense of the word and make it as simple as possible to realise substantial value.”

Agility Rewards guarantees that members are rewarded from day one, and the simplicity of the programme means, “What you see is what you get”. The standard programme is free to all members of Health Squared Medical Scheme, and those who invest in Agility financial services products such as Gap cover, Primary Care health cover, Group Risk and Retirement Funding, while the Agility Rewards Platinum programme is available to Health Squared Medical Scheme members that are willing to pay a marginal contribution towards obtaining enormous cash-back rewards.

The free programme provides straightforward discounts and deals on more than 6 000 products and services, accessible either through the Agility Rewards web-portal or via a USSD code service.

“In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with most loyalty programmes is that their benefits are only relevant to people residing in major cities or paying for their rewards and this effectively excludes the rest of the country and less affluent customers. Agility Rewards is further differentiated by the fact that benefits are available throughout the country, so whether you run a bed and breakfast in Paternoster, or are a farmer in a remote area of the Eastern Cape, you can benefit from the rewards on offer,” Valentini adds.

In the current tough financial environment, cash-back rewards are particularly welcome and members on the Agility Rewards Platinum programme can earn up to R37 900 per year in rewards. These include:
• A R12 000 Gym Benefit for regularly exercising at any gym, not just large franchise gyms. Members also receive half-price membership at Planet Fitness.
• A R7 000 Get Moving Benefit where members can earn rewards for the number of steps they take and burning calories even if they do not belong to a gym.
• The R2 500 Sport Fit benefit for participating in any outdoor sporting event, such as Park Runs or Warrior Races for example.
• Our R4 500 Golf Benefit, which can be combined with the Get Moving Benefit to earn as much as R11 500.
• R4 150 on the Health Benefit for undergoing routine health checks and up to R8 000 Chronic Medicine Benefit for taking chronic medication as prescribed.
• A R5 000 Education Bursary for every year successfully completed at any tertiary institution or the School Fee Benefit, where parents earn up to R6 500 simply for paying their child’s school fees for either primary or high school.

Customers have a choice: whether they would like their cash-back rewards to be paid into the Agility Healthcard, which is a debit card that can only be used at healthcare service providers, thereby ensuring additional healthcare savings; or cash-back rewards paid into their Agility Retirement Fund to allow for additional investments into retirement. Additionally, members can choose to have their Agility Healthcard rewards paid out in cash at the end of the year.

“Members who earn the maximum cash-back rewards could even get creative by using this money to fund their medical scheme membership for the next year. For example, it could pay for membership on Health Squared’s Rise option for an entire year.

“Another option would be to invest cash-back rewards in the Agility Retirement Fund. For an annual investment of R18 000 cash-backs in our provident fund, you could have a return on investment of some R275 500 in nine years, reaching R695 500 after eighteen years, and over thirty years this would amount to R4 164 100 – all through cash-back rewards,” Valentini says.

“This clearly demonstrates that meaningful value is achievable where rewards programmes are structured with members’ needs in mind. This is why Agility Rewards has been developed to deliver tangible benefits for individuals and families, no matter where they are located within South Africa,” she concludes.

Quick Polls


No developing economy has ever built a single-payer complementary NHI equivalent covering the entire population. NHI promises comprehensive care but it is also 100% free at the point-of-service. Is this practical?


It is doable but collaboration is key
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