Walgreens Balance Rewards Questions & Review ~ Redemeption, Mulitple Items, Etc.

I wanted to share what I learned about the Walgreens Balance Rewards program.  I'm not thrilled.

If you haven't signed up, you can do it online or in the store.  Basically, certain products will give you points, which turn into credit you can spend at Walgreens.  (See their "fine print" for exclusions.)  See the chart above for point values.  (Currently, you can still earn Register Rewards for some items.  That is totally separate from this program and does not affect point redemption or earning points.)

Here's what I learned today by reading program details, talking with helpful cashiers, and doing some experimenting with multiple transactions . . . (The "fine print" doesn't cover everything below.)

1)  You can purchase as many items as you want and the points will multiply.  (They do have the right to limit you.)  So, if Product A gets you 1,000 points, buying three of Product A will get you 3,000 points.  There's no need for multiple transactions.  They have changed this.  Each deal has a limit of one reward per transaction.  You will want to do multiple transactions, if you want to maximize your points.

2)  You will get store credit if you need to return an item you "paid" for with points.

3)  You will not earn points for a product that you normally would, if you are redeeming points or using store credit.  (I suggest paying for items that generate points in an separate transaction.)

4)  You cannot redeem partial points from the chart above.  I attempted to spend 59¢ after earning 5,000 points.  The cashier was not given the option to break it up.  I could have used it, but I would have lost the remaining $4.41 value.

5)  You can get a raincheck for the sale price, but you will not earn points when you redeem the raincheck.

In my opinion, the major flaw of Balance Rewards is the redemption.  You can't redeem part of a reward or earn new points when you're using your existing points.  I'm assuming you can drop down a tier if you have hit a higher redemption amount and want to redeem less, but you will always have to hit at least $5.  You also won't want any part of that $5 to be on an item that would earn points since you will forfeit getting new points.

I don't see myself getting into this since I normally buy only the super deals at Walgreens.  I'm assuming that the "super deals" will soon be only the Balance Rewards items.  If I want to redeem points, I won't earn points — making a potential great deal not so great anymore.

What do you think?  Have you tried it?  Did you learn anything different or in addition to what I did?

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17 Responses to “Walgreens Balance Rewards Questions & Review ~ Redemeption, Mulitple Items, Etc.”

  • Leah says:

    How do you get a card?  I don't think I'll like it, but may give it a try a time or two.

    • Juli says:

      You can use the link above to get an account set up. I never received one in the mail, but it might still be coming?? If you want an actual card, you can sign up in the store. You don’t really need it, if you prefer to enter your phone number. That’s what I did and it will keep my wallet less cluttered!

  • Christine says:

    I signed up for the program last week but just got a card today. It creeped me out that the program has my DOB on file and tied to this program, which I noticed today when completing the enrollment. I think this program is going to be just like all the other rewards programs — you just have to use them in a way that makes sense. They are just rolling the program out, so I'm sure they will make some changes going forward. I shop there so little these days anyway — CVS is much easier and mostly hassle-free so I go there. 

    • Juli says:

      I agree with you, Christine!  I just need to evaluate how meany deals will come along that aren't point deals, that will add up to more than $5, that are worth my time and effort to redeem the points.  We'll see!  I also agree that CVS is much more simple.  I love that they give rainchecks on the ECBs also.  It takes the need to rush there away and makes it less of gamble that they'll have it in stock.  Plus, I love pulling out rainchecks when I have expiring ECBs.  Their system works well for me.  I hope this point system will be better than I anticipate!

  • cherry says:

    I was very excited about the walgreens and duane read new program…what a disappointment. There's no rewards bucks, nothing really. I signed up but will stay away from both stores. I prefer ride aid and cvs. People do not waste your time.

  • SJ says:

    My wife tried signing up for the Balance rewards card at a Walgreens store. Once she entered our home phone number, the system automatically displayed my name, address and DoB. I believe what Walgreens is doing is illegal and violation of privacy rights. First, I'd like to know how did they obtain my DoB and address. Second and most importantly, why is it there for anyone to see by simply entering my home phone number?

    • Juli says:

      I haven't noticed that and will have to look for it.  I don't know if you can contact them and ask them to remove it or not.  I hope so!  I don't remember what information I gave them (online) when I signed up.  If they asked me for my birthdate, I didn't give them the right date.  I never do, though I keep the year the same.  I'll have to watch when I put my number in next time.  I hope they're receptive, when you contact them.

      • Bill says:

        I just signed up for Balance Rewards. And they had a deal for 1,500 points with every $15.00 purchase in coca-cola so I got a total of 3000 for $30 in coke product. This was my first time using Balance Rewards they asked for my phone number and all of a sudden they had my name, address, phone number, birthdate, etc. She said "When you get a prescription filled at Walgreens they automatically have your info on their computers & cashregisters including email addresses. This have been proven bad for other stores who's computers have been hacked and your email as well as you personal computers can be hacked with viruses.

        • Juli says:

          Oh, boy!  My husband just found all these random comments that got caught in my junk mail filter.  Yours was one of them.  So sorry I didn't reply earlier . . . .

          I've heard that they are collecting personal information, to sign up.  I wasn't aware the information could be pulled from the pharmacy.  I don't use the Walgreens pharmacy and, honestly, I can't remember what information I gave them when I signed up.  I wish there was  different way to get into the program.  I'm guessing that if enough people voice their concerns, they will modify it.  You may have already done it, but it is probably worth your time to voice your concern.  I hope they make some changes!

    • Sam says:

      Have you ever had prescriptions or done photo orders at Walgreens? If so, that's why you were in the system. And as for the address you don't have to give it out…you just have to give the zip code. 

      • Juli says:

        So sorry for the late reply, but we just discovered a bunch of legit. comments in my spam folder.  :(  Anyway, I appreciate you explaining how they get the information.  It makes total sense.  I signed up online and remember very little about the whole process.  Thank you for taking the time to help us understand it!

  • LJ says:

    I just got the walgreens balance reward credit card because it had lower fees than Greendot, however, I noticed with my first use to rent a car, the charge was higher than what the merchant charged me. After I called Walgreens balance rewards debit card customer service, I was advised that
    they will add up to a 20% surcharge for each transaction and then re-credit to the account when the merchant charge is fully settled – usually 2 – 3 days..

    Looks like a nice way to generate some free loans from their unsuspecting customers.

    Doesn’t look like I’ll be a customer with them for much longer – Going back to Greendot.

    • Juli says:

      I had no idea they even provided that service. I only use my card, like most frequent shopper cards at grocery stores. Sorry for your bad experience. I would contact them and let you know your frustration . . . and, stay away from their service in the future. Sorry for a bad experience!

  • Kent says:

    I use the Walgreens Balance rewards card. I registered for it in the store. Without it, I would not shop at Walgreens for value, just for convenience of not going to a grocery store.

    Balance rewards is highly complex. The advertising is deceptive. It will say in light print 4.99 less register rewards good on next purchase $1.00 then in bold type LIKE PAYING 3.99 It’s all over their in store and Sunday flyers. But the only way you pay 3.99 is if you have rewards available. The casual buyer won’t realize until they are at the register. Then at the cashier make sure you get the the reward. 1,000 points = $1.00

    When you are ready to redeem watch out, lets say you have 42000 points worth $50. It will offer you a $5.00 reward, it’s going to cost you!! Your points balance will be 37000 but your available rewards DROPS FROM $50 to $35. No joke, that $5 DISCOUNT COST $15 !!

    Then when you redeem, and you can only redeem at Walgreens, you will only be able to redeem when you are not making a purchase earning points. So you may have to check out in two transactions. Cashiers are friendly and will do it, but in a busy store it’s a hassle.

    Find Walgreens online and you can electronically clip coupons to your balance rewards card. Usually it will deduct coupons after all your items have rung. So keep a running total of what your charge will be, if it doesn’t match check for coupons not deducted, it happens a lot.
    The cashier will adjust if you ask, but it takes a manager.

    If you can figure it out Walgreens can be a great buy. I have it down, I buy sale items with manufacturer and store coupons, on my last purchase receipt said I saved 44% off retail.

    • Juli says:

      Sounds like you have the system down. I’m not a fan, but get sucked in with some great bargains every once in awhile. I don’t wait to get to $50 since I can’t imagine wanting to spend $50 at Walgreens, at one time … ever. I spend very little, since I’m usually doing a Register Reward deal and using what I have, to earn another one. Well, I don’t do it very often anymore. If I earn one, I try to spend it in the same trip, since I don’t want to have to return in two weeks. I’m just not seeing the deals that I used to. I’m tired of the short (2 week) expiration on them and all the rules — mostly that they count them as a “coupon” and you can’t have more coupons than items, and that they won’t accept a $2 RR for $1.99, etc. CVS is so much better! They’ll also give you rainchecks for ECBS items, unlike Walgreens and Register Rewards. I guess the low stock is also a huge turn off for me. But .. like I said, every once in awhile, they’ll get me hooked again and “stuck” with a RR, that makes me return. During their Thanksgiving sale, there are plenty of bargains to lure me in! :) Keep doing what you’re doing, if you’re saving money. Glad you have the system figured out. That’s half the battle!

  • david says:

    Way too much trouble for far too few “rewards”. I ended up getting screwed out of ALL of my “points” and it upset me so badly that I will avoid Walgreens at all costs now. Thanks for nothing.

    • Juli says:

      I’m not a fan of their program either. I prefer the CVS program. If you have a CVS near you, try that. It’s much more straightforward. They don’t have points, just Extra Care Bucks (like Walgreens Register Rewards). But, they expire in a month instead of two weeks and they are much easier to redeem. There’s more on their program here.


      We do coupon match ups for CVS each week. (Some items will have printable coupons, others use Sunday newspaper coupons.)

      I’m not affiliated with Walgreens, so if you would like them to receive your feedback, be sure to visit their website.

      Hope you find the best way to save without a huge hassle!

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