Does your medical scheme keep you moving?

2016-09-08 15:03

Discovery Vitality was the pioneer in the field of loyalty programmes and is undoubtedly the most well known one on the market. However, Momentum Multiply has made inroads over the past eight years, and the newly relaunched Sanlam Reality is getting ready to offer serious competition.

Note that, with all three rewards programmes, you qualify for a higher percentage discount on your monthly gym fees depending on how often you go to gym. You should also note that, typically, the amount you pay in subscription fees a year usually outweighs the value of the actual benefits you end up earning or claiming back from the rewards programme.

Discovery Vitality and Momentum Multiply offer you additional benefits for getting active outside of the gym. For example, Vitality gives you weekly rewards for being active and points can be accumulated by going to gym and by registering all your physical activity, including park runs and marathons. If you meet your weekly fitness goals, you can use your points towards the cost of an Apple watch. The catch is that if you don’t meet the weekly fitness goals, you end up paying for the watch.

Vitality members were upset recently when the points accumulation system was revised, making it harder to accumulate the required points to “pay” for the Apple watch over 24 months. However, to give it credit, Vitality reviewed the feedback, went back to the drawing board and made changes to make the point- accumulation system more feasible. If you are not able to meet your weekly fitness goals, you will be charged R300 for the Apple watch for that month.

Momentum Multiply offers you the opportunity to accumulate rewards by going to gym, logging an event (such as a marathon) or using a device or app to track your calories burnt or steps taken.


  • Offered as a value-add when you join Discovery Health medical scheme
  • Subscription fee: R199 a month

Gym partners on this loyalty programme include Virgin Active, Planet Fitness and Curves. You can get a discount of up to 75% on monthly fees at Virgin Active and Planet Fitness, and save up to 100% on the joining fee of R600 for Curves, which is a female-only gym. If you join Virgin Active via Vitality, you have to pay the one-off joining fee of R1 450 and a card access fee of R140, and you must visit the gym at least 36 times in a 12-month rolling period, which works out to roughly three gym visits a month.


  • Offered as a value-add when you join Momentum Health
  • Subscription fee: R179 a month

Gym partners on this programme are Virgin Active and Planet Fitness. You can get a maximum discount of 80% on your monthly gym fees, capped at a discount of R450.

One of the nicer benefits on this rewards programme is that you have the option to earn up to R5 400 in HealthReturns, and this money can be paid directly into your HealthSaver account – which is your medical savings account on your medical scheme.


  • Offered as a value-add when you join either Fedhealth or Bonitas medical schemes
  • Subscription fee: R160 a month

Your monthly Virgin Active rewards are calculated according to a discount percentage and the number of times you visit the gym. The amount of money you earn in rewards is paid directly into your bank account the following month. You can earn a maximum of R450 in cash rewards. A one-off activation fee of R810 and an access card fee of R140 will apply when you join the gym.

If you train between six and 11 times a month, you receive a discount of 40% on your gym subscription, and if you train more than 12 times a month (more than three times each week), you qualify for the maximum 80% discount, which is capped at R450 per person per month. You can also join Planet Fitness or Planet Fitness JustGym at a reduced rate.

The one-off activation fee for these gyms is R850 with a tag fee of R100, which means the initial activation fee balances out to the same amount of R950 for all three gyms. However, if you train up to five times a month at Planet Fitness or Planet Fitness JustGym, you qualify for a 25% discount on your gym fees. If you choose to belong to Virgin Active, you only start getting rewarded with a discount on your gym fees if you train more than six times a month. That is, if you only train once a week, you will not receive any discount on your gym fees.


In addition to the health benefits, some of the more popular benefits of the loyalty programmes include discounted movie tickets and discounted flights.

  • Discovery Vitality offers you movies at R41 per person at Ster-Kinekor. Children older than two and younger than 18 watch any movie for free at Ster-Kinekor, provided the show is before 7pm. You can also receive up to 35% off local and international flights, based on a tier system. So the higher your rewards level, the bigger your discount. Partners include Kulula, British Airways, Emirates and Qantas.
  • Momentum Multiply offers you a tiered reward system. You start on the lowest level with movie tickets at R40 at Nu Metro, and the discount gets bigger if you move to a higher rewards package. You also receive discounted flights starting at a 
    discount of 7.5% off Mango flights and moving up to as much 
    as 50%.
  • Sanlam Reality offers you movie tickets for as little as R15 at Nu Metro and R30 to watch a 3-D movie. You can also buy a medium popcorn and medium beverage combo for just R20. In terms of discounted flights, you can receive up to 35% off Mango flights, depending on your membership option and your tier status.

Do you take advantage of the fitness benefits offered by your medical aid?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword MEDICAL and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

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