Make rewards programmes work for you

By Athenkosi Sawutana

Many retailers and financial service providers have introduced rewards programmes, or loyalty programmes, to retain their customers and make them feel appreciated. These programmes can help you save money, but you have to know how to make them work for you.

JustMoney spoke to three financial service providers to find out how you can use these programs to save money.

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What is a rewards programme?

Nathea Nicolay, head of product development and management at Sanlam, explains that rewards programmes are schemes that use engagement to drive behaviour, reward customers, and ensure the brand stands out from its competitors. The rewards can range from points and cash back to coupons and vouchers, depending on the company.

Many retailers and financial service providers have introduced rewards programmes, or loyalty programmes, to retain their customers and make them feel appreciated. These programmes can help you save money, but you need to know how to make them work for you.

We spoke to three financial service providers to find out how you can use these programmes to save money.

What is a rewards programme?

Nathea Nicolay, head of product development and management at Sanlam, explains that rewards programmes are schemes that use engagement to drive behaviour, reward customers, and ensure the brand stands out from its competitors. The rewards can range from points and cash back, to coupons and vouchers, depending on the company.

Absa Rewards

“Real cash back”, as opposed to points or virtual currencies is the Absa Rewards point of difference, says Christine Wu, managing executive of customer value management at Absa.

To earn, you need to use your Absa card, and you will earn from the first rand you spend.

“Redeeming is as simple as logging on to your Absa banking app, and can be done in the comfort of your own home, 24/7,” says Wu.

Absa Rewards offers 30% cash back on the following:

  • Groceries purchases at Woolworths, Pick n Pay, and Food Lovers Market
  • Health and beauty products at Dis-Chem
  • Any purchase at Sasol
  • Bolt, and Bolt Food
  • Online shopping at Zulzi

Nu Metro movie tickets attract a 50% discount, and Absa Rewards customers also get access to exclusive offers from travel and lifestyle partners.

“The more engaged a customer is, the more they’ll get back in real cash. By such simple actions as giving us marketing consent or opting in for eStatements, customers can earn additional points, helping them to move quickly up the tiers and earn more cash back,” says Wu.

FNB eBucks

Johan Moolman, eBucks Rewards CEO, explains that in order to become an eBucks member, you need to hold a qualifying FNB or RMB Private Bank account and register for eBucks. 10 eBucks equal R1.

“You earn eBucks from your day-to-day activities, such as buying fuel, groceries and health and beauty products,” says Moolman.

The eBucks earned depends on your reward level and your banking behaviour of the previous month. The higher your reward level, the more eBucks you earn.

At top tiers, the following earnings can be had:

  • R8/l back in eBucks on fuel spend at Engen
  • 15% back in eBucks at Checkers and Shoprite
  • 15% back in eBucks at Clicks (Senior Clubcard members earn double eBucks, up to 30% on Wednesdays)
  • 40% back in eBucks on Netflix and Spotify monthly subscriptions when your family banks with FNB
  • 100% of your monthly FNB Fusion/Cheque account fee back in eBucks when you invest with FNB
  • 15% back in eBucks at KFC and Intercape (Gold customers only)

According to Moolman, eBucks members can book and pay for flights and get discounted rates of up to 40% on multiple local and international airlines when booking via eBucks Travel on the FNB app.

Members can also book car hire on the app and receive a discounted rate, and get one free additional driver over weekends.

“As an eBucks member you can enjoy a Kauai smoothie, organic coffee, or up to R100 to spend in-store if all your monthly spend is on your FNB/RMB Private Bank Credit Card or Fusion Account,” says Moolman.

Sanlam Reality

Nathea Nicolay gives the following tips to help you on your rewards journey with Sanlam:

  • Take time to write down what your habits, hobbies and needs are, and where you spend most of your money in the retail and financial services space.
  • Use the above information to decide whether your retailer or financial services company has a loyalty programme. Don’t just read about the well-known brands. You will be surprised as to the width and depth of loyalty available in South Africa.
  • Invest a small amount of time reading up about what the programmes offer. Ensure that you log in to the loyalty programme website and explore the rewards that are available to you.
  • Go onto the app store and search for a loyalty app linked to your loyalty programme. Sanlam Reality offers Nu Metro movie bookings, informs you of your tier status and current points, and offers the Hey Jude personal assistant service.
  • Remember to tell your family about the rewards you have. Children are the best at reminding parents to save on the price of a movie, popcorn, and soft drink.
  • Ask every time you spend your money whether there is a rewards programme attached. Sanlam Reality provides discounts on Mango flights and Emirates, for example.
  • Many rewards programmes offer you points for financial payments to them, whether these relate to insurance, investments or retail spend. The points can then be converted to cash or allow you to work towards a higher tier status to unlock extra discounts.
  • In addition to product expenditure points, you may be able to accumulate extra points for small activities like taking your vehicle for an annual inspection or doing a basic medical.
  • Sanlam Reality members can earn up to 50% discounts on flights and certain Uber trips.

You don’t need to be the healthiest and wealthiest person to enjoy rewards and discounts. You only need to find out what your rewards rights are and enjoy them.

“Real cash back”, as opposed to points or virtual currencies, is the Absa Rewards point of difference, says Christine Wu, managing executive of customer value management at Absa.

To earn you need to use your Absa card, and, Wu says, you will earn from the first rand that you spend.

“Redeeming is as simple as logging on to your Absa banking app and can be done in the comfort of your own home, 24/7,” says Wu.

Absa Rewards offers 30% cash back on the following:

  • Groceries purchases in Woolworths, Pick n Pay, and Food Lovers Market
  • Health and beauty products at Dis-Chem
  • Any purchase at Sasol
  • Bolt, and Bolt Food
  • Online shopping at Zulzi 

Nu Metro movie tickets attract a 50% discount, and Absa Rewards customers also get access to exclusive offers from travel and lifestyle partners.

“The more engaged a customer is, the more they’ll get back in real cash. By such simple actions as giving us marketing consent or opting in for eStatements, customers can earn additional points, helping them to move quickly up the tiers and earn more cash back,” says Wu.

FNB eBucks

Johan Moolman, eBucks Rewards CEO, explains that in order to become an eBucks member, you need to hold a qualifying FNB or RMB Private Bank account and register for eBucks. 10 eBucks equal R1.

“You earn eBucks from your day-to-day activities, such as buying fuel, groceries and health and beauty products,” says Moolman.

The eBucks earned depends on your reward level and your banking behaviour for the previous month. The higher your reward level, the more eBucks you earn.

At top tiers, the following earnings can be had:

  • R8/l back in eBucks on fuel spend at Engen
  • 15% back in eBucks at Checkers & Shoprite
  • 15% back in eBucks at Clicks (Senior Clubcard members earn double eBucks, up to 30% on Wednesdays)
  • 40% back in eBucks on Netflix & Spotify monthly subscriptions when your family banks with FNB
  • 100% of your monthly FNB Fusion/Cheque account fee back in eBucks when you invest with FNB
  • 15% back in eBucks at KFC and Intercape (Gold customers only)

According to Moolman, eBucks members can book and pay for flights and get discounted rates of up to 40% on multiple local and international airlines when booking via eBucks Travel on the FNB app.

Members can also book car hire on the app and receive a discounted rate, and get one free additional driver over weekends.

“As an eBucks member you can enjoy a  Kauai smoothie, organic coffee or up to R100 to spend in-store if all your monthly spend is on your FNB/RMB Private Bank Credit Card or Fusion Account,” says Moolman.

READ MORE: Nedbank Greenbacks not in favour of the consumer

Sanlam Reality

Nathea Nicolay gives the following tips to help you on your rewards journey with Sanlam.

  • Take time to write down what your habits, hobbies and needs are, and where you spend most of your money in the retail and financial services space.
  • Use the above information to decide whether your retailer or financial services company has a loyalty programme. Don’t just read about the well-known brands. You will be surprised as to the width and depth of loyalty available in South Africa.
  • Invest a small amount of time reading up about what the programmes offer. Ensure that you log in to the loyalty programme website and explore the rewards that are available to you.
  • Go onto the app store and search for a loyalty app linked to your loyalty program. Sanlam Reality offers Nu Metro movie bookings, informs you of your tier status and current points and offers the Hey Jude personal assistant service.
  • Remember to tell your family about the rewards you have. Children are the best at reminding parents to save on the price of a movie, popcorn, and soft drink.
  • Ask every time you spend your money whether there is a rewards programme attached. Sanlam Reality provides discounts on Mango flights and Emirates for example.
  • Many rewards programmes offer you points for financial payments to them, whether these relate to insurance, investments or retail spend. The points can then be converted to cash or allow you to work towards a higher tier status to unlock extra discounts.
  • In addition to product expenditure points you may also be able to accumulate extra points for small activities like taking your vehicle for an annual inspection or doing a basic medical.
  • Sanlam Reality members can earn up to 50% discounts on flights and certain Uber trips.

You don’t need to be the healthiest and wealthiest person to enjoy rewards and discounts. You only need to find out what your rewards rights are and enjoy them.

Knowing what you spend your money on is the first step to financial freedom. Use our budget calculator to plan your finances.

To see how you can financially survive the silly season, watch this video.

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