The value of Safaricom’s bonga points

I’ve been bored the most part of the morning and with nothing much to do, I decided to humor myself by reading comments on Safaricom’s Facebook page (by the way when bored I would advice you to at times visit those comments, some are too hilarious). Going down the previous posts I reached this update:

What can you do with 10,000 Bonga Points and 3499/=? Well, that combination can get you a brand new IDEOS phone! You know it runs on Android, so you won’t get a better deal! Hurry and grab yours while stocks last!

No, it’s not the update that is of interest but rather some comments below the update. Here are two samples:

Jackson Julio Mwas Idiots….10,000 bonga points is a total usage of 100k and that is wat u tel people to do..the best thng is to tell people u wil help them port thea namba to a beta network


Freddie Oyaroh Con pple!how much z 10,000 bonga points worth?its worth ksh.100,000/=,we aint fools.nktuseles!

Sentiments similar to those by Jackson and Freddie can be seen in almost every update by Safaricom regarding bonga points. These people, and many other like minded Safaricom subscribers, value bonga points based on the amount spent; not on the real worth of bonga points.

Loyalty Programmes

I do believe the confusion Freddie and Jackson have in regards to the true worth of bonga points must be because they do not know of loyalty programmes. If you are among the many who feel that Safaricom has been conning you on bonga points, then follow this with me.

Loyalty Programmes are reward programmes going by different names in almost every business segment to pay back customers who are loyal to a business, product, or service. In Kenya, the big supermarkets like Nakumatt and Tuskys have their loyalty programmes named smart points and loyalty points respectively. In Nakumatt, every Shs 100 spent earns the Nakumatt Global Card holder a point, and the value of that point is Shs 1 or 1:1 ratio. Similarly, Tuskys loyalty points are accessible through Tuskys’ Reward Cards. Customers still have to spend Shs 100 to earn one point.

Value of Bonga Points

Bong points deviate from the two by giving customers a point for every Shs 10 spent. That’s the reason you see both Jackson and Freddie value 10,000 bonga points at Shs 100,000. As mentioned, their mistake is to forget that bonga points are actually reward points for monies already spent.

It would be wrong to buy goods worth Shs 100,000 at Tuskys (which will give you Shs 1000 reward), then when going to redeem the points you expect to be given goods worth, again, Shs 100,000 instead of those worth Shs 1000. This applies to Safaricom’s bonga points too. It is a mistake to buy airtime worth Shs 100,000, spend it, get reward with 10,000 bonga points, and expect to redeem the bonga points at the value that earned you the points.

Although Safaricom gives people one bonga point for every ten shillings spent, the value of the points are in not the 1:1 ratio as Tuskys and Nakumatt loyalty points. The bonga points are on the other hand are at a 1:5 ratio (value to points) meaning a subscriber can redeem products/services worth Shs 1 for every 5 bonga points earned. This then means that the 10,000 bonga points are worth Shs 2,000. To calculate this, follow this procedure:

  1. Dial *126# from your Safaricom phone
  2. Select option 2 to redeem bonga points
  3. Select option 1 to redeem free airtime
  4. And see that to redeem Shs 2, you need to have 10 bonga points.

How Safaricom should run its Bonga Points promotions

Going back to Safaricom’s update regarding what customers can do with 10,000 bonga points, it would have been better for Safaricom to have put a note or point of clarification that 10,000 bonga points is worth Shs 2,000. In the promotion Safaricom said that with 10,000 bonga points, one could get a brand new IDEOS phone by topping up with Shs 3500. Safaricom ought to have explained that having 10,000 bonga points is equivalent to having Shs 2000 but the phone costs Shs 5500 so the need to top up with Shs 3500.

In the promotion of bonga points, Safaricom ought to also let customers know that their reward scheme is 100% better than reward schemes by others in the country. When people like Tuskys and Nakumatt are giving back 1% of the money spent on their goods and services, Safaricom is giving back 2%. Remember I mentioned up there that spending Shs 100,000 on Tuskys will give you a reward of Shs 1000 yet spending the same amount on Safaricom services gives you a reward of Shs 2000.

Better Bong Point Offers

Stronger sentiments against Safaricom were expressed by subscribers when Safaricom launched “Fly with Bonga Points” promotion. In this promotion, 28,000 bonga points enables one to obtain a one way domestic ticket, 40,000 bonga points gives you a return ticket, 56,000 points give one a domestic connecting flight via Nairobi, and 80,000 points provide a return domestic connecting flight – all on Kenya Airway’s economy class.

Ignorant subscribers calculated the bonga points as worth Shs 280,000, Shs 400,000, Shs 560,000 and Shs 800,000 respectively; a mistake that led many to spew insults to Safaricom. If calculated on the true value of bonga points, one can see that  a one way domestic ticket, that roughly costs Shs 10,000 on Kenya Airways, is being given to Safaricom subscribers for Shs 5,600 if paid for via the 28,000 bonga points.

Ignorance is not the fault of subscribers

It is easy to blame subscribers for their failure to understand the Safaricom’s reward scheme. But no, we can’t blame them. It is upon the provider of any product or service to explain to the users of the said products/services the full implication of product/service use. When Safaricom launched bonga points, it was upon them to run civic education programmes either through TV ads or otherwise so that the user can fully appreciate the intention and implication of bonga points – that would have saved them the insults they have so far received. Because of their failure to educate subscribers, Jackson advised them to tell people how to port SIM to other networks.


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