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Discovery opens Vitality to all

And overhauls Active Rewards (again)…

Insurer Discovery has opened up its weekly Vitality Active Rewards and Vitality Drive programmes until December, in what it’s calling the Vitality Open, to incentivise anyone to get active and drive well. This is part of a broader overhaul to Vitality Rewards 2.0.

Non-members need to download the Discovery app and complete “at least three fitness days in a goal week” (which runs from Saturday morning to Friday midnight) to be rewarded. To complete a fitness day, they can either track over 10 000 steps a day (using their smart device), complete a gym workout if they’re existing members of Planet Fitness or Virgin Active, or complete a parkrun or myrun.

Engaged Vitality members are already rewarded with free smoothies and coffees for reaching their weekly fitness goal. Discovery Insure customers earn similar rewards (and parking vouchers) for 100 km of consecutive, event-free driving each week.

The overhaul sees the mechanics changing slightly and completing either of these goals will net you one play on the gameboard. Choosing tiles on the board reveals Vitality reward points, diamonds or instant rewards. Previously, members would choose weekly rewards from a defined list and three-week streaks would earn them a surprise reward (which could be a core rewards or some bigger-ticket items).

Now, the points and diamonds can be ‘spent’ on various rewards each week, including coffees, smoothies, snacks, grocery and meal vouchers and shopping vouchers. There is now a far more diverse list of rewards and reward partners.

Because you’re able to save up points, you can choose bigger rewards than the weekly coffee or smoothie. Diamonds can be spent on rewards but also put you into a draw to win prizes “for life”, including “flights, fuel, gym, movies, concert tickets, smoothies, coffees, tyres, Uber, Nando’s, running shoes, HealthyFood and the latest iPhone”.

At the upper end, ‘diamonds’ can be ‘spent’ on R2 000 shopping vouchers at iStore, Sunglass Hut or Incredible Connection, or flights and holidays to local and international destinations. There are overseas flights up for grabs to London (on British Airways), Dubai (Emirates) and Australia or New Zealand (Qantas).

There are four types of “rare” instant rewards, which are revealed by specific icons on the game board. These include Apple Watches, R1 000 grocery vouchers, R10 000 in Discovery Investments, and international holidays.

Vitality members score in that the number of points they need to spend on the rewards is significantly lower than for non-members (for example, 100 points for a R100 shopping/meal/grocery voucher, versus 250 points for a non-Vitality member). Reward points and diamonds expire 12 weeks after being revealed on the gameboard, and for non-Vitality members, all points expire on December 15.

Source: Discovery

A full Vitality Open benefit, rewards and rules guide is available here.

Why is Discovery doing this?

The group hasn’t said much about it (electronic communication was sent to members on Monday). But Discovery has embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign to launch Vitality Open. This will obviously help drive awareness of Vitality, as well as Discovery Insure, which is almost entirely premised on good driving.

It is surely banking on being able to demonstrate the value of Vitality and in so doing convert some non-Discovery clients to the group. This is not likely to be a significant number but, by driving participation in the Vitality Open, it’ll have a large, engaged group of people to market to.

Importantly, it will have a far broader sample base to measure engagement and how it is able to get people more active (especially through evidence-based activities tracked via smart devices) by using rewards.

Principally, it is surely using Open to drive the so-called attachment rate of Active Rewards among Vitality members. By design, Active Rewards makes members more active (duh!). Increasing participation in Active Rewards aligns perfectly with the insurer’s stated objective for 2018: “to reduce inactivity among Vitality members by 30%”.

In South Africa, Discovery had 1.9 million Vitality members as at the end of June, an increase from 1.8 million a year prior. It previously stated that “more than 53% of members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme were on Vitality”.

The group has not yet disclosed the latest number of Vitality Active Rewards members (it typically does so in its annual report), but as at June 30, 2017, it had 350 000 (an increase from 234 000 in mid-2016). It described that number as “ahead of targets”, but one gets the sense that a campaign like the Vitality Open will dramatically increase usage of Active Rewards among existing Vitality members.

The impact of (healthy) ‘pressure’ from friends and family who are active and engaged in the Vitality programme ought not to be underestimated. Opening the programme up, albeit for a limited time, magnifies the effect.

By the middle of last year, one in five Vitality members had used Active Rewards. One imagines that by June this year, that number is almost certainly closer to one in four. Might the Vitality Open steer it even higher – to, say, nearly one in three?

The fitness/health side of Active Rewards is not the only angle, however. There exists a real opportunity for Discovery to convert already engaged Vitality members to Discovery Insure customers. As at end-June, Discovery Insure covered 200 000 vehicles. Assuming multiple vehicles per policyholder, this likely translates to around 130 000 or perhaps even 150 000 people. Using a (possible!) base of 450 000 Active Rewards members, there is easily scope for Discovery to cross-sell its vehicle insurance product to an engaged base double the size of the existing one.

While it’s easy to understand the premise of the Discovery Insure model – get rewarded for driving well – the nuances are more complex. However, the weekly nature of Vitality Open, with the linked drive goals, makes it simple to understand what you need to do, and what kinds of rewards this driving behaviour translates into.

(Where Discovery is probably missing a trick is not drawing a more obvious correlation to the fuel rewards you can earn if you are an engaged customer who drives well.)

* Hilton Tarrant works at YFM. He can still be contacted at

And he is a Vitality Active Rewards member.

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I recently joined Vitality and really enjoyed Vitality’s Active Rewards. However, this change puts a whole different spin on things, and from where I stand, it’s not great at all.

Previously, I got specific goals that I had to reach to get rewarded. I love smoothies, so that was a perfect reward every week. I also loved that I was able to get even more when I reach my goal 3 consecutive weeks in a row – this really kept me going.

Now, I get specific goals to play a game. And the game is weighted in such a way that I probably won’t get a smoothie, only a coffee or popcorn. Neither of which is worth the effort, it’s something I can easily make at home.

So while this may be fun for outsiders, I don’t like this as a Vitality member.

How much does Vitality Open cost? I’m asking because Vitality for Discovery members was never free

Open is free for non-members.

So why should we , the paying members, pay? Are we subsiding the lot!

So if Open is free for non-members, are paying members also going to get Vitality for free?

You can only have so many smoothies before you get gatvol so I like the change – as long as you don’t get the minimum points each time you play (i.e. board is rigged)

The difference here is that you were always able to choose something other than a smoothie as well, like coffee or popcorn. Now you don’t have that option anymore, you’re likely stuck with coffee. Oh, and I’ll never get gatvol of a smoothie every week.

What I don’t like about the game is that it’s not a clear-cut goal and reward system anymore, it’s now a goal and gamble system.

UZ, from what i understand the rewards can now accumulate. So the “25” reward can build up to R500 which can be spent online or at a store. For me this is way more appealing as I don’t utilize the smoothie option enough.


Yes, you can accumulate. But it will now take me TWO weeks to earn the same reward I received in ONE week before, and I’ve also lost my consecutive goals reward. The devil is in the detail.

PS: I have no problem with improving the Active Rewards to appeal to a wider audience. My issue is that they’re taking away as well, and in my case, something I really enjoyed.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Some decades ago people in the Western Cape ran up and down for the dop-system. Now people run around for the smoothie-system. The perceptions about “free gifts” make it so easy to incentivize people to enslave themselves.

“Enslave” is a strong term. Maybe they just fully understand behavioral economics – read Nudge if you have not done so already.

Thank you for the advice. Discovery is an innovator and market leader for sure.

Love it! So true, chuckle (I’d prefer wine though ..)

What’s interesting is how the outcome of the tile flip is actually pre-determined. It may appear that the user is in control of their destiny, and that they have a 1-in-25 chance of revealing a diamond, but the truth is that Discovery pre-assigns the results weekly. This is hardly ethical. The same happened with the ‘wheel spin’ for the surprise reward.

By my calculation, Discovery have reduced the expected cost of the weekly rewards by 25% – 35%. This seems like classic bait and switch to me.

“Why is Discovery doing this?”

Simple.. real world testing & to quickly figure out abuse too. This is their annual gimpage of the system and when there is a major rework of the sub-systems (rewards, point allocations, etc) they have always opened it up somewhat to test and figure out how people may abuse it and whether the actuaries were correct in their assessment of how the changes influence the user base behaviour. Also new members will have ridiculously easy goals to attain thus the system seems easy albeit, in this iteration without guaranteed rewards.

In this iteration the the concept of longer term goals is used to reduce their “cost’ of generating vouchers which the user base did not always use i speculate. Additionally by adding a randomness to the reward system there is no guaranteed cost and basically by statistical analysis u likely can work out the reduced cost of the reward system as not all members will qualify for smoothies even if they made their goals for the week.

Question I have to ask is.. Does Discovery have a gambling licence? If not, how they are getting away with this as technically this is gambling and the Gaming Commission may want to investigate here. Remember the slot machine in the last iteration.. well that was too but with full embrace of random rewards based on ‘luck’.

I am not surprised but the degradation of rewards as this is an annual event and why i moved off most of theirs.

PS. As Discovery Vitality is getting close to losing a lot of value vs rewards.. you have to wonder how the reward partner business numbers will be changing 😛 Wouldn’t be supprised if Kuaui’s numbers look bad next yr 😉

I cant wait till the Discovery Bank opens!!!

Been on level 5 of Ebucks for a while but after the changes, options are getting limited!!

Be so nice to say good bye FNB and ebucks!!

Hello Discovery bank and true innovation!

They’ve actually done away with the parking vouchers (Ka ching and Admyt) which left me furious as this was the only reward I preferred claiming for driving well. Not interested on a free wash as they tend to leave one’s car with swirl marks and smoothies not for me.

So I have been donating all my rewards on weekly basis

It never fails to amuse me that so many people complain so bitterly about free-bees. Not too long ago Discovery Health members were quite happy to pay for Vitality simply to get a discount on their gym membership. As time went by, Discovery introduced new additions and innovations that were, and still are, intended to encourage members to become healthier. Let’s face it – this would be a win-win situation because the fitter and healthier its members are, the less Discovery would spend on funding claims. From a personal point of view, I exercise entirely for my health – and my health has improved almost unbelievably since focussing on this began in earnest in 2015. I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the various Vitality rewards that helped me get an Apple watch costing R6,000 for R1,350 upfront + 3 payments of around R145 each over the next 24 months – I’ve enjoyed numerous coffees, breakfasts and smoothies compliments of Vitality and also R700 in lucky vouchers – these are BONUSES folks – you owe it to YOURSELVES to get and stay healthy. Discovery merely gives you a friendly slap on the back with these freebees. Stop complaining and enjoy them folks. . . 🙂

In fairness, I joined Vitality because of Activity Rewards. Many of us have gyms at our complexes. And since in that case the do not count gym visits, many of us had to fork out more money for fitness devices as well. So while we appreciate the freebies, Vitality must trad carefully, as tinkering with this may actually result in losing members. I realise we’re not necessarily the bulk of people, but I have no issie leaving, that’s why I always make sure I do not get too locked in.

It is a pity Discovery did not put out a step by step process to be able to utilise the program. Especially for the technically challenged among us.

Lol,you gotta love Discovery…the ease in which they bring the sheeple to slaughter.

Sucking up everyone’s data, then creating psycho/health/financial/physical/digital profiles on clients.

“Big Brother is watching you.”
-George Orwell, 1984

I need a full time PA to use Vitality. Don’t have the time to manage this. So no thanks.

Non Discovery members (that sign up for the 10 week option) that load the app, give Discovery access to all your info (contacts etc). Clever way of them gathering data on as many people in the country as possible. Good timing to market the bank launch etc. Soon these companies will know everything about you, if you sneeze etc

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