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When I teach workshops or do our weekly Q&A online video chats, I don’t hide my frustrations with Walgreens. They have two rewards programs and sometimes have great deals, but there are so many tiny rules and murky areas with their rewards that I urge people to never start drugstore deal hunting at Walgreens.
This week Walgreens made a nice change to the Balance Rewards program that makes shopping there a little easier! While I’m still going to stick with my advice of never starting at Walgreens, this change does make it easier to earn and redeem rewards in the store.
What Did They Change?
As of this week you can earn Balance Rewards and redeem them in the same transaction. Previously, if you were buying items that should give you Balance Reward points and you chose to use any points you had saved up from previous deals you wouldn’t earn any new rewards. Now you can!
There Is Still A Catch
As with anything Walgreens does, there is always a catch. If I pay with Balance Rewards on a deal like the one pictured above, and my total goes below the $20 needed to earn the reward, I won’t earn the new rewards points. In general it’s best to just not use points to pay for deals that have a “threshold” dollar purchase requirement so you don’t run into problems with this quirk. This doesn’t apply to deals that just require you to buy a certain number of products.
Note: This is not a problem at CVS or Rite Aid, at other stores you just need to buy the amount required and you always earn the reward.
How To Use This For Great Deals
Even with the small quirk left, this change still helps make deals even better at Walgreens! In the past I would tell you to save your Balance Rewards and only use them to pay for Register Reward deals, but now you don’t need to do that. What I would recommend to help you save the most is to break your transactions up into three:
- Buy any Register Reward Items you Want – pay coupons & any Balance Rewards you have left from last week.
- Buy any threshold Balance Rewards deals you want – pay with coupons & Register Rewards
- Buy any regular Balance Reward deals – pay with coupons & Balance Rewards earned in #2
The rewards points you earn from transaction #3 can be saved and used to pay for that first transaction the next time you are in the store.
A few other notes on Balance Rewards (this is not changed, just to help those that don’t normally shop there):
- Balance Rewards expire in 3 years as long as you shop in Walgreens once every 6 months.
- Points can be used to by anything in the store except, tobacco, stamps, prescriptions and milk (in some areas).
- Points are saved to your card or phone number, you use them at checkout selecting the amount you want to redeem in the keypad.
- Points can be redeemed at certain increments only 5,000 = $5 off, 10,000= $10 off etc.
What are your thoughts on the change? Does it make it easier, or just add to the confusion?