From 20 July 2020, AIA will be introducing some major changes to the Vitality program, and boy have they nuked it.
AIA Vitality members will now need to earn more points for which they’ll receive fewer vouchers, and on top of that, their Emirates flight benefit will be nerfed in a big way.
This is all laid out in a rambling email that desperately needs some proofreading. I’m going to let these two paragraphs of pure corporate word salad speak for themselves:
As with all programmes, we are constantly reviewing it to keep pace with members’ evolving lifestyle and health needs. We need to ensure that every member on AIA Vitality genuinely benefits from the programme, not just on the monetary rewards, but physically on their health as well. In fact, there is never a better time to re-prioritise our health after the last few months of health and safe distancing measures to know the importance of staying healthy for ourselves and our loved ones.
It is this commitment to empowering you to lead healthier, longer and better lives, that spurs us to introduce a new spin on health to AIA Vitality from 20 July 2020, enabling you to go the extra mile and enjoy the real reward of AIA Vitality, and that is – a healthier you!
A new spin on health indeed.
|Update (12/7): AIA is offering a pro-rated refund of Vitality memberships to disgruntled members, and has offered more reasons for why these changes were made. Read my analysis here.|
Team Fitness Challenge gone, Individual Fitness Challenge nerfed
The Individual Fitness Challenge currently gives you a S$5 voucher when you earn 250 points a week. Completing 10,000 steps a day earns you 50 points, and you can also earn a further 100 points a day from clocking runs or other activities that increase the heart rate.
The Team Fitness Challenge (only open to Gold and Platinum members) lets you earn an additional S$5 voucher when each member of your eight person team completes their Individual Fitness Challenge for that particular week.
From 20 July, AIA is removing the Team Fitness Challenge, and making it much harder to earn vouchers via the Individual Fitness Challenge.
Higher points target
|Current||From 20 July|
|Weekly Points Target||250||200-400|
Each Vitality member will now receive a personalised fitness challenge goal, with the target ranging anywhere from 200 to 400 points.
This means you may no longer be able to meet the weekly challenge by steps alone (7 days @ 50 points per day is only 350 points). You’ll need to buy a fitness tracker that supports heart rate monitoring, or visit a Fitness First/Virgin Active gym to clock points.
Lower expected rewards
|Current||From 20 July|
|Reward for Hitting Weekly Points Target||S$5 voucher||40-200 “Vitality Coins”
(S$2-10 voucher value)
Even if you do hit your goal, your payoff is going to change, and probably not in a good way.
AIA will no longer offer a guaranteed S$5 voucher. Instead, you’ll receive a spin of the “Vitality Wheel”, where you could win the following prizes:
|1/20||Surprise prize with minimum value of S$10 , or at least 200 Vitality Coins|
|4/20||100 Vitality Coins|
|3/20||80 Vitality coins|
|4/20||60 Vitality Coins|
|8/20||40 Vitality Coins|
Vitality Coins are AIA’s new rewards currency (see below) where 100 coins= a S$5 voucher. But given the odds, your expected value is now 70 Vitality Coins. In terms of voucher value, that’s a 30% reduction from before.
The surprise prizes will include:
- merchandise (e.g. AIA-branded towels, water bottles, stretch bands, sponsored-football club merchandise);
- fitness devices (e.g. from Garmin, Polar, or Apple);
- gym memberships (e.g. one-day passes);
- movie passes and tickets to movie showings, football games and events organised by AIA (which could include the AIA Glow Festival);
- gift cards; or
Color me unimpressed. The Vitality Wheel is stacked against you, and there’s a 75% chance you’ll receive a smaller reward than under the current program.
Perhaps some consultant pitched this in a meeting as YAY GAMIFICATION YAY, but in reality it’s just cost cutting masquerading as gamification. A 5% chance of a large prize just doesn’t do it for me, and the majority of members will find themselves worse off.
“Vitality Coins”: AIA’s new funny money
From 20 July, AIA will introduce Vitality Coins, their new rewards currency. Quite frankly, I don’t see the need for another type of funny money. Currently, the equation is very simple:
Going forward, you’ll now have to earn points to earn spins to earn coins to earn vouchers. Coins and Spins have their own expiry dates and rules, and that’s just going to confuse the average user a lot more.
Vitality Coins can be exchanged at the AIA Marketplace for vouchers from:
- Cold Storage
- Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Mr Bean and KrisFlyer will be added in the coming months.
The current exchange rate is 100 Vitality Coins for a S$5 voucher, but there’s no guarantee this will be maintained in the future. You’ll therefore want to adopt an “earn and burn” philosophy here.
In any case, you can’t hoard Vitality Coins for very long. They expire at the end of the second calendar month following the month they were earned. For example:
|Earn Date||Expire Date|
|20 July 2020||30 September 2020|
|1 August 2020||31 October 2020|
This gives them a 2-3 month validity, depending on when they were earned. And because this wasn’t confusing enough, Vitality coins earned from Platinum bonuses will be valid for 6-7 months.
Emirates rebate cut from 50% to 20%, awarded in Vitality Coins
|Current||From 20 July|
|Base Fare Cap||None||S$500|
|Awarded In||Cash||Vitality Coins|
The other nasty thing about Vitality Coins is that AIA will now give them in lieu of cash benefits.
Take the Emirates airfare discount, for example. AIA Vitality members can currently enjoy a rebate of up to 50% on Emirates Economy Class return tickets, capped at two trips per membership year. Rebates are sent via cheque, and apply to the entire base fare component.
From 20 July, the maximum rebate will be cut to 20%, and all rebates will be credited as Vitality Coins instead of cash. That’s right- no more real money. Instead, you get a captive currency that you can only use within the AIA ecosystem.
Moreover, AIA will only grant the rebate up to a maximum base fare of S$500. This means you won’t be able to capitalize on the fact that Emirates recently cut its fuel surcharges significantly, shifting a larger proportion of the total cost to base fare.
Here’s an example of a Singapore to London ticket on Emirates via Dubai. Note how the base fare is S$732, which means an AIA Vitality Platinum member would currently get S$366 in cash.
From 20 July, he’d receive only S$100 (20% of S$500- remember the cap), in the form of 2,000 Vitality Coins.
AIA states that members can make a booking on Emirates before 20 July 2020 (with travel by 19 July 2021) and enjoy the current rebate structure, but they will still receive the rebate in Vitality Coins.
Singapore Airlines rebate of up to 20% added
For what it’s worth, Singapore Airlines will be added as a travel partner from 20 July, with similar terms to Emirates. Vitality members will earn a maximum 20% travel rebate on Economy Class tickets, in Vitality Coins, with S$500 cap on base fare.
You can utilise at most one flight benefit per membership year, either on Emirates or Singapore Airlines. This is down from the current allowance of two.
As far as devaluations go, this is up there with the worst of them.
I mean, it’d be one thing if AIA just came out to say that times were tough and the current program was not sustainable. But trying to spin these changes as improvements is flat out insulting to the intelligence of Vitality members.
Let’s try and fix that eDM:
It is this commitment to
empowering you to lead healthier, longer and better livescost cutting, that spurs us to introduce a new spin on healthdevaluation to AIA Vitality from 20 July 2020, enabling you to work harder for a smaller reward go the extra mile and enjoy the real reward of AIA Vitality, and that is – a healthier you!a migraine from reading this email
Is it still worth paying for AIA Vitality? At S$8 a month, it can make sense if you’re saving more than that on your AIA premiums. However, it’s a lot less rewarding than before, and I kind of suspect they price the Vitality discount into insurance premiums in the first place (i.e you don’t really save, you just avoid paying more).
What do you make of these changes to AIA Vitality?