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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Safaricom changes tune over Bonga points expiry plan

Safaricom makes a U-turn over the Bonga points expiration schedule which was set to commence in January.

Safaricom has abandoned a plan to put an expiry date on its Bonga loyalty programme that had amassed Sh4.5 billion in liabilities by March 2022, which would have seen customers lose points accrued before 2019.

In an email answer to inquiries about the loyalty program prior to 2019, the telco refuted rumors on Tuesday that it had established a Bonga Points expiration date.

“At no point did Safaricom announce that Bonga (Points) were expiring,” Safaricom said.

The latest position by the telco company is against a November update of the programme’s terms and conditions that would have seen the unclaimed points expire effective January 1.

“Effective January 1, 2023, all Bonga Points older than three years will expire and will be unavailable for redemption,” the telco said.

“Your Bonga Points will also expire immediately in the event that your line has been deleted as a result of inactivity and in accordance with the terms and conditions for the use of the Safaricom services.”

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A review shows Safaricom has since retracted the update from its website.

At the same time, a look-up of Bonga Points balances through the *126# USSD code shows the telco still lists points accrued before 2019 separately from the current balance of points.

However, the pre-2019 points are available for redemption as those accrued most recently.

With liabilities expected to reach Sh4.5 billion by the end of March 2022, Safaricom had described the decision to let the unused Bonga Points expire as a commercial move intended to encourage redemption.

For every Sh10 spent on the network, the telco’s loyalty program awards pre-pay and postpaid members with one point since it launched in October 2017.

Talk-time (minutes), data bundles, and message bundles are among the benefits that can be obtained by exchanging Bonga Points.

The U-turn on Bonga expiry comes amid a backlash by consumers who faulted the push to limit how long a subscriber could access and redeem the loyalty goodies.

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