If you're not yet familiar with the Walgreens rewards program, known as "Balance Rewards," now is a good time to find out how the program works and to understand just how couponers can maximize their savings when becoming members.
The program is open to all US residents who are 13 years or older (in Puerto Rico the age is 14 and older). Shoppers between 13 and 18 years old must agree that they have received permission from their parents or legal guardian to join the program. In Puerto Rico, parents must submit the application for members who are 14 to 21 years old.
The Benefits of Becoming a Member
Membership to the Balance Rewards program is free. When you become a member you will receive the following:
- Special sales and member-only promotional pricing on select products.
- Balance Rewards points on qualifying purchases, which can be redeemed on future purchases at participating Walgreens Drugstore, Duane Reade or Walgreens Pharmacy locations.
- Access to promotions at specific stores that are not available at all Walgreens stores.
How The Program Works
Members earn ten Balance Rewards points for every dollar they spend on almost all products and services. In addition, some promotional products qualify you to earn bonus points, and you earn 100 points for every 30-day prescription you fill.
All points are posted to the member's account within three to five days after purchase. The points can be used to pay for future purchases.When you earn 1,000 points, you can get a dollar off your next purchase, when you earn 5,000 points, you get a $5 discount, and so on.
Earning Points for Online Purchases
When ordering products with point promotions online that will be delivered to a home address, points will be granted the same as if you purchased the items in a store.
Points for products purchased online and shipped to the store will be earned after the items have been picked up from the store.
Points will not be awarded to rain check items purchased after the promotional time period is has ended.
Points and Register Rewards
Points will not be earned in a transaction where Register Rewards are used.
*Note - Although this is the written policy, many couponers have stated that they received their points when they used Register Rewards in the same transaction. This policy could be regional or it could change.
Points will not be earned in a transaction where a store credit is used.
Walgreens reserves the right to limit points awarded based on what would be considered reasonable household quantities. Based on what we are seeing, a reasonable quantity is three to four same items, depending on the product.
Returns and Exchanges
If you redeem points on a purchase that you later return or exchange, the amount of points that you used will be deducted from your account.
Points can be used or saved. When you decide to redeem points, they will be converted to Redemption Dollars and deducted from your purchase. The Redemption Dollars are broken down in the following way:
- 5,000 points = $5
- 10,000 points = $10
- 18,000 points = $20
- 30,000 points = $35
- 40,000 points = $50
Keep in mind that Redemption Dollars will not be paid out in cash or store credit. This means that your purchase should be the same or more than the amount of points you plan to redeem. If you purchase is $8, you would not want to redeem 10,000 points for $10 in Redemption Dollars because you will not receive cash back or store credit for the $2 difference.
Redemption Dollars may not be used for the purchase of the following, according to the Balance Rewards Program Details site: "Alcohol, dairy, tobacco, stamps, phone/prepaid/gift cards, money orders/transfers, transportation passes, lottery tickets, charitable donations, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products, clinic services, prescriptions, pharmacy items or services, sales tax, shipping and the Prescription Savings Club membership fee."
Points must be redeemed within a year of earning them, and you'll be deemed inactive in the program if you haven't used your card in six months. Inactive members lose all points and cannot get their points back by reactivating their membership.
Tips About Using the Balance Rewards Program
As with any loyalty program, there will be many questions that have not been covered in the program outline. Also, because Walgreens has multiple locations across the country, not all Walgreens employees are trained identically to deal with all the different scenarios of using register rewards, coupons and earning Balance Rewards points.
This is true even when contacting the corporate office for answers. I received different answers from different people when I contacted the company.
With that in mind, here is what I've learned so far, although be prepared that your Walgreens may not follow the same procedures:
- Most Walgreens stores will not require that you have the actual Balance Rewards card during your purchase if you supply them with your phone number and it is the same phone number that you registered with your card when you enrolled.
- Currently, you can use Register Rewards to purchase items that offer Balance Rewards, and still earn the Balance Rewards points.
- You can also use Balance Rewards points to purchase items offering Register Rewards and still receive the Register Rewards.
- You cannot roll your Balance Rewards points. In other words, you cannot use Balance Rewards points to purchase items offering Balance Rewards and still receive the Balance Rewards points.
- Most all qualifiers offering Balance Rewards will have a set limit as to how many you buy. You will receive Balance Rewards points on each item you buy until you reach the limit. After that, you will not earn additional Balance Reward points on the item, even if you shop at another store or at a later date.
The Bottom Line
The Balance Rewards program can help the majority of Walgreens shoppers, who are not couponers, save money as they make their regular purchases.