The Slow Lounge website

Pretoria - In mid-2010, at the height of World Cup fever, FNB announced a new “value add” – the SLOW Lounge. In letters sent to clients, the bank enthused: “It’s a new concept in airport lounges, that offers a brief rejuvenating pause en route to the real world.”

All FNB Platinum credit card holders who spent R3 000 or more a month were granted free access to SLOW lounges, along with a guest.

A colleague of mine, who has been happily taking advantage of the SLOW lounges on his travels, has just discovered that FNB has increased its minimum qualifying spending to R5 000.

“This mistake cost me R750 for a few drinks and snacks,” he said.

“I had to travel from Joburg to Cape Town and Durban and back for work in December,” he said.

“At the three airports’ SLOW lounges, I presented my card, which was swiped without a word, and I’ve just discovered that each visit cost me R250.

“I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s got caught.”

Probably not. I’ve already encountered one other FNB platinum-card holder – and frequent flyer – who was none the wiser.

I asked FNB whether moving the goalposts was as a result of the SLOW lounges becoming overcrowded.

Responding, FNB’s head of rewards and new business development, Emma Berkowitz, said the criteria were amended annually “in order to maintain the exclusive and upmarket experience that our SLOW lounges offer to customers”.

The new minimum spending of R5 000 was introduced to encourage customers to use FNB as their main bank card, she said. - Pretoria News