At Discovery Bank’s financial advisor update that took place at its Sandton HQ on Monday, 20 June, the company’s CEO Hylton Kallner made a bunch of announcements.

It included reaching 1 million milestone accounts since launch in 2020; Vitality Pay As You Gym; Health Pay; an update to Vitality Travel with discounts for all local airlines, and a joint partnership with SAA to bring access to The Lounge. The lifestyle benefits are continuously expanding, and are a direct competition to FNB’s eBucks platform and lifestyle benefits.

You may recall, I mentioned in my March post that Discovery was going to launch a free “Discovery Pay” bank account for existing Vitality members to access the Vitality Travel Platform. I queried why it was called “Discovery Pay” if it was a free account, and subsequently, I see the account has been launched as the “Discovery Account”. Less confusion!

The Discovery Account – free for all Vitality members
Previously, the Vitality Travel platform was exclusive to Discovery Bank customers but now anyone on Vitality can open up a free Discovery Account. It has no monthly fees, so it’s a free digital bank account, including discounted travel tied to Vitality.

Since the Discovery Account is digital only, you get a virtual debit card, and you can access your full Discovery portfolio including other products. You will be eligible to earn and spend Discovery Miles, get between 10-35% off flights on Vitality Travel, use Pay as you Gym, and pay for visits to your doctor and other specialists with Health Pay.

Earn and spend partners with Miles include the iStore, Takealot, Yuppiechef, DisChem, Loot and Sportsman Warehouse. More about airline and travel partners below.

The Discovery Bank app will provide access to your accounts across the platform, Vitality status, Rewards, etc.

Vitality Travel
The updated platform now offers discounts for all domestic airlines, including Airlink, Safair, Lift and two new additions: CemAir and SAA. On the international front, it hasn’t been updated, it’s still British Airways, Emirates, and Qantas. The bank also announced a partnership with SAA to bring customers access to The Lounge, available at CT, Joburg and Durban. This expands on the Fast Track queues at the airport, but should be noted that:

  • Purple and Black accounts qualify for Fast Track (domestic)
  • Purple, Black and Platinum qualify for access to The Lounge
  • Purple account holders only qualify for Fast Track at OR Tambo international arrivals

Other partners include Europcar, Tempest Car Hire, Protea Hotels, Sun International, and Southern Sun.

The regional destinations in total within Southern Africa is up to 45 destinations.

Pay with Miles on Vitality Travel, powered by Booking.com 
I mentioned on my Vitality Travel launch post that accommodation is discounted by 25%. But today’s new announcement was that non-discounted local and international stays, powered by Booking.com directly on Vitality Travel, can be paid for using Discovery Miles.

You can read my initial post here:

Vitality Travel by Discovery Bank

Access to The Lounge
The Lounge and Fast Track is available for local departures in Durban, CT and Joburg, but only OR Tambo in Joburg has Fast Track and The Lounge for international departures. Entry is tied to your Discovery Bank app, and Black and Purple accounts get access to SAA’s Platinum Lounge. Up to 4 additional guests are allowed per account holder, and the allocation is applicable to secondary card holders.

EDIT: Fast Track is available at OR Tambo International arrivals for Purple Accounts only.

Annual allocation for The Lounge is as follows:

SAA Domestic SAA International
Platinum Account Up to 12 Up to 4
Black Account Up to 24 Up to 8
Purple Account Up to 36 Up to 12

An introductory offer for clients on the Platinum, Black or Purple Discovery accounts is unlimited use of The Lounge until the end of 2022, at OR Tambo (domestic and international departures), Cape Town and King Shaka airports.

Vitality Pay As You Gym
The new service lets users access the gym without having a gym contract, as the name suggests. It will bring access to more than 170 Virgin Active and Planet Fitness clubs nationwide. A QR Code needs to be scanned, and payment can be made on the Discovery Bank app using a transaction account, credit card or Miles, for anything between R75 and R100 (depending on the gym).

An introductory offer for Discovery clients is free unlimited use of Pay as you Gym from 20 June to 31 July, and a free smoothie after your first visit.

Health Pay
As part of Discovery Pay, a new service called Health Pay will let customers on Discovery Health Medical Scheme integrate payments for out-of-pocket medical expenses. According to the company, it can be used for hospitals, radiology, pathology, pharmacies, GPs, dental, optometrists and specialists.