Starting January 2023, accrued Safaricom Bonga Points will be expiring if not used up. You have between now and midnight 31st December 2022, to use up/redeem any Bonga Points older than 3 years (December 2019).
Let me explain how we got here.
Safaricom’s loyalty points were introduced as a means of keeping customers spending on the network. For every KES 10 spent, you’d get a point, which could later on be redeemed for data bundles, SMS or airtime.
Over time, customers have been able to use these points to also pay for products and services including smartphones, airplane tickets, and even company stocks with the NSE. These points have effectively became digital currencies with people even buying them from each other, thanks to the transfer option the company introduced a while back.
Redeeming Bonga Points has been set at a rate of 5 Points equal 1 Shilling. So if you have 3262 points, that translates to KES 652.
Why the shift to expiring bonga points?
Loyalty points are an interesting way to keep customers using your services. They tie a customer to a brand. They’re incentives to use certain brands over others. However, should customers hold to such points for a long while, this poses a problem for the company.
As of March 2020, the value of unredeemed Points had risen to KES 3.94 Billion. That’s a lot of money that Safaricom in a way sort of owed its customers.
See, when you redeem points to say pay for something that costs KES 2,000 that will be about 10,000 bonga points. But Safaricom won’t be transferring points to the business, they will be spending real money. Now imagine having billions owed to customers.
This is why the company has been doing a lot to encourage customers to redeem their points. In the past years we’ve seen renewed efforts in encouraging redemption of points. These include:
- Buying NSE Stock
- Allowing third party merchants to accept the Points. For example recently LG started accepting the loyalty points as payment for its goods.
- Having initiatives like the Bonga for Good drive to encourage people to donate their points.
It seems these initiatives haven’t been enough in reducing that burden on the company. That’s the reason for the company now going for expiring points.
How expiring Bonga Points will work:
- Points will have a validity of 3 years.
- When you dial *126# you will be able to see accrued points, soon to expire points, and points that have expired.
- You will not be able to redeem or do anything with expired points.
- Safaricom has not made mention of what happens if someone transfers points to another customer. So its unclear if validity can be extended through transfer.
- If you currently have any Bonga Points that are accrued from earlier than December 2019, you should use them up before 31st December 2022, as they will expire past that point.
Will this encourage redemption?
Probably. Very many people keep their points in hopes that in future they can withdraw them for certain offers. So hearing that they’re expiring will for sure force them to use them up as soon as possible.
However, the idea of them expiring may also hold people from viewing them as worthy of building up. Leading to a situation where people don’t have as many points as they do right now. And that may affect the perks people currently get to enjoy when they have these points.
What do you think?