FNB is yanking eBucks tiers for some, Slow Lounge visits for others in a big overhaul
- First National Bank is implementing big changes for some eBucks members on 1 July, when it updates prices and rewards every year.
- Those on what used to be Gold accounts will no longer have different eBucks levels to attain.
- Many eBucks users will lose their free Slow Lounge visits, unless they book plane tickets via eBucks.
- The wealthiest group of eBucks users will be able to recover up to R30,000 of spending on Apple products.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
From 1 July you'll be able to pay your First National Bank account fees using eBucks, the bank announced on Tuesday, ahead of an annual update to its fees and rewards.
But changes to the way many FNB customers can earn and spend eBucks will go well beyond that.
One large chunk of account holders will no longer have the 5-tier rewards system, in which earnings and rewards increase for those who use different FNB services, or keep certain minimum amounts on deposit with FNB.
Those users of what used to be Gold accounts, a name being retired in favour of FNB Aspire, will all get the same amount of cash back on their spending at Checkers, Clicks, and a handful of other merchants.
See also on Fin24 | FNB 'retires' gold accounts, will now give black cards to middle-income earners
Another big group of account holders will lose their free use of the Slow Lounges at airports – after such freebies were already curtailed last year – unless they buy plane tickets via eBucks.
Here are some of the big changes coming to eBucks from July.
Slow Lounge visits are disappearing for many – unless they buy tickets via eBucks
In 2020, FNB massively cut the Slow Lounge access benefit for many, including some of its wealthiest clients. Premier and Private Clients account holders at lower eBucks tiers saw their allocation of lounge visits reduced to zero, while low-tier Private Wealth clients saw an 80% cut in the free visits.
See also | FNB is massively cutting SLOW lounge benefits on eBucks – for even its wealthiest clients
On 1 July, it will take that one step further, eliminating all Slow Lounge freebies for all Premier account holders,
As it did last year, FNB told Business Insider South Africa that removing the free lounge visits does not represent a cut in benefits because of its "bonus" Slow Lounge visits – which come bundled only with airline tickets bought via the eBucks website.
Those are also limited, to two per year for those holding the new Aspire credit card, to 12 per year for Premier customers, 18 per year for Private Clients, and 24 per year for Private Wealth and RMB Private account holders.
By comparison, until mid-2020, Premier customers on Level 5 of eBucks could claim 10 Slow Lounge entries per year, regardless of how they bought their tickets.
No more eBucks levels for Gold (now Aspire) account holders
The 5-tier system of eBucks rewards remains for those with more expensive accounts, but have been scrapped for what used to be Gold account holders, and is now named FNB Aspire.
On those accounts, there will be qualifying criteria, and as soon as those are met, rewards kick in.
The rules are slightly different for spousal accounts, but for main Aspire account holders to get eBucks, they must:
- Have monthly deposits of at last R5,500
- Use the FNB app for three purchases or transactions per month
- Have only accounts in good standing with FNB and others in its parent FirstRand Group
That gets them in line for a maximum of R150 worth of eBucks – depending on spend and hurdle levels – for buying at each of the Shoprite group (including Checkers and uSave), Clicks, Engen, and the Intercape bus line.
Top-end customers can get up to R30,000 a year back on buying iPhones and Macbooks
For Premier account holders and up, the iStore will no be an eBucks earn partner.
The theoretical earn limit at the iStore maxes out at R30,000, for Private Wealth clients. But at an advertised maximum 15% back, those customers would have to spend R200,000 on iPhones, Macbook, and other Apple products in a year.
For Premier clients, the iStore limit is R17,500, and for Private Clients it is R22,500.
(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)
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