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Four big Discovery Vitality changes in 2021

The programme remains largely the same, but there’s been a big adjustment to the gym benefit …
Virgin Active has started trialling members’ swipes when exiting at certain clubs to monitor the time they spend at the gym. Image: Shutterstock

A number of changes to the Discovery Vitality programme come into effect this month. The overall structure of the programme, designed to incentivise healthy behaviour, remains the same. In recent years, the group has rolled out the Vitality programme to both Drive (insurance) and Money (banking) in an effort to shift behaviour here too.

Much remains the same as last year. Various assessments (whether in-person or online) will net members points towards their Vitality Health status. Being active through the year earns additional points (generally up to 300 points per day for a workout). The tiers (Blue to Diamond) remain the same as last year. Rewards at partners for fitness gear and devices, healthy food and dining, as well as personal care items depend on your Vitality status.

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A big push since the launch of Discovery Bank is the integration between Vitality Money and Vitality Health. This means that a Diamond member who would normally get 50% back on their HealthyFood purchases at Woolworths or Pick n Pay, could get up to 100% back, depending on their Vitality Money status and qualifying monthly credit card spend.

There are also travel rewards, with flight, hotel and car hire discounts depending on your Vitality status. Admittedly, these were not exactly useful in most of 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic ensured a global travel lockdown for much of the year.

Read: Discovery reports 94% drop in full-year profit (Sep 2020)

Vitality Active Rewards – which uses weekly goals to encourage members for being active, driving better and spending responsibility – also remains the same as in 2020. Achieving these goals still nets members a play (for each goal) on the gameboard, which earns Discovery Miles (10 miles = R1). These can be used to buy vouchers in-app at various partners. Banking customers can spend miles at partners.

Gym benefit

The single biggest change to Vitality Health this year is the removal of the gym booster benefit which allowed Vitality members to get up to 100% back on their gym membership.

Technically, no new activations of this benefit were possible last year, but now the maximum saving is 75%. For members who joined either Virgin Active or Planet Fitness after 2010, the maximum saving for a main member or spouse at a local/single club membership at either fitness chain is 75%.

For Premier or Collection members at Virgin Active, or National or Planet Platinum members at Planet Fitness, the maximum saving is 50%.

To achieve this saving, you need to complete at least 36 gym workouts in a rolling 12-month period.

Virgin Active has also begun trialling swipes when exiting gym at certain clubs to monitor the time spent at gym.

Discovery Bank customers can get an additional 25% of their gym fee paid back in Discovery Miles for Local or Club memberships. There are additional criteria, including achieving weekly Vitality Active Rewards exercise goals, holding specific Discovery Bank accounts on the bundled fee option, as well as maintaining a level of qualifying spend monthly.

Vitality Active Gear

This replaces the previously available Device Booster, Shoe Booster, Bike Booster and HealthyGear benefit.

On the first three of these, members were able to earn up to 100% cashback on certain purchases across a year.

Now, members get up to 25% cashback upfront on specific items at Sportsmans Warehouse and Totalsports (much like the previous, standard HealthyGear benefit). The discount is dependent on completing annual assessments and applies to the first R2 000 of gear bought in a month.

However, in the next few months, you will be able to earn cashback of up to an additional 50% (therefore a total of up to 75%) on certain fitness devices as well as Nike shoes or sportswear at partners.

Every five Vitality Active Rewards exercise goals achieved equals 5% additional discount (cashback).

Importantly, these goals no longer need to be achieved in a row.

Source: Discovery Vitality

New partners

Nike stores will be added as partners for Vitality Active Gear for the up to 75% saving on Nike gear.

For HealthyDining, you can now earn up to 25% cashback when choosing healthier convenience and ready-made meal options from the likes of Frozen for You (By Word of Mouth), Daily Dish, Ucook and We Are Food.

Discovery Bank

The launch of Discovery Bank, with its dynamic discount structure in Vitality Money, has seen Discovery seek to integrate it deeply across its Vitality offering.

Read: Is Discovery Bank the fastest growing bank in SA?

For one, Discovery Miles have become the de facto rewards currency. But certain discounts that were previously available in just Vitality Health now require members to also engage fully with Vitality Money (through a qualifying Discovery Bank account) in order to boost their rewards. Examples of this include the gym benefit and Vitality Active Gear benefits (described above). Travel rewards, too, can be boosted, with savings of up to 75%.

Expect this ‘integration’, which incentivises customers to switch to Discovery Bank, to get tighter.


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Is this meant to incentivise good healthcare via exercise ? If so, why can’t you include Strava and other software ?

Strava workouts are included from this year and there’s some discount (50% I think) for Team Vitality members for Strava Pro.

Strava workouts are limited to 100 points. You are better off using your fitness device (Garmin, Polar, etc.)

If you are healthy you wont go to the hospital

”He is old enough to know worse”

Oscar Wilde

My Discovery Vitality experience – what a waste of time with the goalposts that are move around all the time!

I have been a Discovery Member for ”donkey’s years”. I cycled at least 100 km over weekends in social races- I did 9 Argus and a plethora of other races all over the country.

Despite all of this, I just seem to ”fall short” of their criteria all the time and never upgraded, etc. I didn’t even get a small bottle of cough mixture for my vitality efforts!

You’d probably make the highest levels easily, just need to focus the efforts to maximise points. It’s a game really…

A mug’s game. Surely no one has time to keep up with the admin and to research the ongoing changes to rules.

I have tried for years but actually gave up.

I actually also forgot to mention that I attended (the old shop!)Andrew Macleans spinning studio (at least three times a weak) – for at least 5 years….

@Analyst001 a few things give 90% of the points, they don’t require any behaviour besides knowing what to set up or click on and having the right product combos.

There’s some admin, but if someone shows you, it’s really a simple process to get around a thousand bucks a month.

Lots of resources around to get the full points, but probably someone needs to do a 1pg summary so people can get the majority points.

Yes true and it should show benefits but what I “discovered” with the insurance and driving score stuff, was that the monthly premium was way less at Outsurance even if I got the max discount back from Discovery, so I just switched to Outsurance instead.

So the benefits don’t always outweigh the very expensive monthly premium. Always worth shopping around especially on short term insurance.

@jblack. I am on Diamond. I achieved my active goals every single week for the last year. I get a lot of money back. BUT I am planning on ditching Vitality, because the above did not happen by itself. I have an unresolved issue where I lost nearly 50% of my gym visits (I visited every day). I have an outstanding query of 14 months on Healthy Dining, which no one is able to resolve, even after escalation. My Healthy Food purchases does not add up to my totals, and this has been an ongoing and unresolved issue for 3 months. My vitality age is different on the website than on my app. My shoe booster would not activate when I got my shoes, only 2 months later and then it was a schlep to refund and repurchase through shoe booster. Sorry, the amount of admin, effort and phone calls to make sure things are done as they are advertised is simply not worth the money I get back, even if I naturally follow a healthy lifestyle and diet, and am super fit.

Who’s got time to manage this nonsense? I’m looking for a medical aid, not a life coach.

Just reading about this corporate manipulation of behaviour sends a shiver up my spine. No thank you very much, I choose life.

I recommend that everyone watch the “Social Dilemma” on Netflix. This gives some insight of how behavior is modified via social media. Discovery uses the same techniques.

The prices for Samsung Smartwatches at Sportsmans Warehouse is 20% more expensive than competitors like Incredible Connection. This new reduced Gear Benefit Booster incentive is a con.

Discovery Bank does not support rooted phones at all so the app does not even run on my phone. That’s not really a problem for me, but the big issue I have is not all the banking functionality is available on the website eg. virtual cards. Cannot see why the website does not provide the same functions as the app.

If you’re simply a twice a week gym card swiper just to hang onto your Vitality discount, then this program is not for you.

By having a healthy lifestyle then the so called goal posts should be easy to achieve.

I have been on diamond for years by simply sticking to regular workouts (30 minutes daily), buying healthy food and going for the assessments (paid by DHMS).

Well, it didn’t work for me, despite my complaints – directly to them – I always had to add ”something” etc – most of my cycling exercises counted for zip!

Look, I understand the Business Value (Profit) for integrating all your services.

But, the problem with Discovery is, is that
1 – There own systems cannot handle the product integration
2 – Some legal requriements require “silos” in the background.

So, whenever something does not sync – good luck resolving it. I am still waiting for my Cellphone rebate from August because the drive status did not sync with the bank.

Personally, Insure has value for me, Vitality Health has value for me, but the bank – that is a $hitshow. Out household experiment with the bank will be over as soon as the cellphone benefit is done. No Internet banking after almost 2 years. Buyer Be Ware!!!

You can have healthy lifestyle without discovery monitoring you!

I personally dont have time for games.
And I am not in the mood for some external party monitoring my moves and health.

There are certainly better ways to spend your time and effort than monitory an APP

Like I said in my comment above, I’m just living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying quite the benefits with minimal effort. If you’re simply monitoring an app, you’re doing it wrong.

And if for some means i dont qualify, will my premiums go up?

End of comments.





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