Walgreens Rewards Card: Not as Good as Register Rewards

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If you live in one Kansas City, Portland or Richmond, you have probably been using the Walgreens Rewards card to do your shopping.  You have probably also noticed a HUGE difference in the rewards that you are getting (or not getting) as a result.  I have heard so many of you voice frustrations over the program. 

For those of you who do not live in an area utilizing this program, I’ll give you a little background.  In May, 2010 Walgreens PROUDLY announced that they were going to offer a Rewards program and phase out most of the Register Rewards that they were currently offering.  They advised that shoppers claimed that they didn’t like having to keep track of the receipts nor the fact that they expired.  So, they developed a new program called Walgreens Rewards.

The program works like other rewards cards in that you earn points for purchases you make.  In the case of Walgreens, you earn 10 points for each dollar spent.  They also offer bonus points that you can earn when you make select purchases.  You accumulate your points and then, can redeem them for various prizes, including gift cards and even a coupon for $5 Walgreens purchase.  It sounds good, in theory, but there are some flaws and sadly, Walgreens is NOT listening.

First of all, when you spend $1.99, you will only get 10 points.  Why not 19 points?  Well, points are rewarded only in values of 10.  So, you instantly LOSE credit for the $0.99 you just spent.   I understand not getting 20 points since you did not spend $2.00, but you are instantly peanlized for NOT spending $2.00.   If you think about 5 purchases as follows:  $1.75, $15.92, $7.78, $9.42 and $7.89, you will end up with a total of 390 points — rather than 427.  This may not sound like much, but it ads up and you are losing out on getting credit for money that YOU spent.

Another disappointment is the elimination of Register Rewards.  Just this week, there was a really nice money maker on Finish Dishwashing Tabs.  Well, a money maker if you didn’t live in a test market area.  Instead of receiving the Register Rewards, you received 300 bonus points in your account.  I know that the reason so many shop at Walgreens is because of the Register Rewards and eliminating them really removes much of the appeal.  Granted, if there happens to be a Register Reward you can earn the points plus the Reward – but these seem to be getting fewer and farther between.

As mentioned, there are several rewards available.  However, the cost of the rewards starts at 2000 points.  Yes – two thousand points! Even with bonus points, it can take quite a while before you accumulate your points.  Once you do hit this threshold, you can redeem them for a $5 Walgreens coupon.  It is very hard to accumulate your points to achieve a free reward. 

For me, the thrill of shopping at Walgreens is gone.  I have to spend more to earn less.  I know many of you feel exactly as I do.  I also know you have spoken up and provided Walgreens your feedback, but your comments are falling upon deaf ears.  I just really hope that someone, somewhere is actually going to start to listen to Walgreens consumers and take what we are saying to heart.   If not, soon, the rest of Amercia will join us in the disappointment that is the Walgreens Rewards card.

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Comments

  1. It sounds like a huge headache Tracie :( Thanks for passing on your experiences!

  2. I’m so glad we haven’t received the card system yet! Sorry for all of you who must deal with it! Walgreens won’t even be worth shopping at with this card.

  3. Sarah Andrus says:

    you should email a link to this article to them. they really need to understand that the fate of their business depends on satisfying their customers. Very well written and compelling article.

  4. I don’t buy there much, (love me some Rite Aid!) but I would hate to see the other stores follow suit and do the same thing.

  5. I agree! And I really dislike this system, I have earned whooping 5$ since this program began. I really would prefer to go back to the rebates with some rr thrown in.

    I really would prefer to shop wags over cvs as they built one right near my house, they seems friendlier, and they have better sales/clearance, but i hope the rewards card is phased out from KC!

  6. I don’t like the way they do coupons either, if I have 2 coupons(store and manu…) for one item, then I have to buy something else which doesn’t use coupon to make the first 2coupons work. What kind of weird system is that. I always got confused with coupons when I shop at Walgreens. Their customer service sucks too. I waited for 10mins to pick up my photo, can’t find anyone work around there. Hope they will change soon.

  7. Thanks, Tracie hope all of our work helps.

    Hope everyone e-mails, writes or phones WalGreens. Frankly I am sick
    of their points program.

  8. I know it’s frustrating! I have a Walgreens literally right down the street from my house! I was an avid WAGS shopper. UGH!! It’s worth it to drive the extra mile to get to CVS now. However, on really good deals, I know that Lawrence, KS, and St. Joseph Mo both are still using the rapid rewards. Also, another bad things about the rewards program. I had a friend who forgot her card and asked them to look it up. Well, they’re computer wasn’t “searching” so she ended up paying FULL PRICE! If you don’t have your card, you don’t even get the sale price listed in the ad. Craziness!

  9. Ugh! What an awful program! If/when this comes to Atlanta, and the RR are phased out, I will likely stop shopping there!

    What I’ve liked about Rite Aid, is they offer “Up Rewards” (equivalent to RR), as well as their Wellness Card. In conjunction, you can get some great deals there. IF Walgreen’s cares to retain it’s many loyal customers, they may wish to consider duel programs.

    **sigh**

  10. I really dislike Walgreens overall. They act so suspicious of my coupons – even the managers. And I think the employees at the 2 stores closest to me (in South Overland Park) are so unfriendly. CVS is just better all around.

    • I work out south and completely agree with the lack of friendliness. My ”home” location in Shawnee is much better but sometimes you have to pick up things over lunch. All in all, the rewards card have been a major disappointment.

  11. I only just began shopping at Walgreen’s, as one opened nearby. I have already been disappointed in their Register Rewards system, as they won’t allow more than one to be used towards a purchase (unlike CVS), and use of the same type of RR as payment for a purchase results in no further RR printing for that transaction. I find these rules very frustrating and have already decided to stick with CVS. It is so much easier to shop at CVS!!!! I will use up the RR I have accumulated at Walgreen’s, but after that, I think I am over Walgreen’s. And this new rewards plan would 100% end any shopping at their store. Just not worth the drive…

    • You can use more then one RR to make a purchase, you just have to follow the 1 cpn/RR per item rule and all should be well…minus the other thing you said…

  12. Amen! The best thing I can say about the Walgreen’s new point system is that it makes it an easy decision for me to go to CVS.

  13. If they extend the rewards card to my areas, I really might just cry. It’s terrible, I’ve heard nothing but complaints from my friends in the KC area, and I wanted to cry when I went shopping at Wag’s, even just for a few minutes to snag a toothbrush, in KC. It’s just not appealing. Hopefully somebody listens…..

  14. I dislike the card system also. Since the test began in May 2010, I have only accumulated enough points to get one measly $5 walgreens certificate. The system is unfair to couponers because points are only rewarded based on the $ amount you pay out of pocket. So even if you purchase $20 worth of products, your reward amount is based on the total after coupons are deducted. They advertise some items as 5X or 10X points, but if you use a coupon for that item which makes it free, you don’t get any points. I don’t think that is fair because Walgreens is still making money from our coupons, but not giving us the points!

  15. Such a BAD BAD program! I have just stopped shopping there because of all the non deals!!!!! I thought about going to St Joe this week for the dish washer tabs…. but then CVS came through with a sweeet deal next week so I ordered more Qs and will just go there!
    Thanks for highlighting this topic Tracie! I’ve been wondering the correct place to complain for a while now, but just gave up wasnt worth it.

  16. Miranda Nolen says:

    Our Walgreens still uses the RR system. I would rather shop at CVS & Rite-Aid now rather than go to Walgreens and this card will make me stop shopping at Walgreens altogether. It can get so complicated shopping at Walgreens, making sure you have enough items for your coupons and trying to figure out how to set up your transactions. And, they always seem to over charge me! CVS and Rite-Aid are my stores of choice! And they seem to be so much more coupon-friendly!!!

  17. I have to say, I never got into going to walgreens or CVS for that matter and trying to use coupons to get the “rewards” that print out ( ecb’s or RR’s) So when that system went away at walgreens it did not bother me. I am loving the “points” on the card thing. We finally get a “reward” for precriptions, which we never did before and we get points for photo purchases… I just looking at my account and we have over 6800 points, and the ONLY thing we buy at walgreens is mostly meds and occassionally some pictures. And it looks like according to my account, You get 10 points for every $1 spent, Yes it sucks that if you only spend 1.89 they give you 10 points and not 20, But alot of stores are like this when using a store coupon, Why should this be any different. Also different with walgreens is that you can use the points for a $5 certificate ( for 2000 points, which they say is just like cash, Not a Q for 5 off of 25) or Other stores / resturant GC.. Which is looking pretty good to me, it would be nice to save up for a dinner out with my hubby!

    just my 2 cents from a different view.

    • Thanks for your insight Nicole. I was sharing my views, but it is good to see someone who likes the program and that it works for you. And I did notice my typos on the points and corrected that within the post.

  18. I too have had difficulties witht he Walgreens card program. I’m not even sure how those points are claculated. I’ve shopped at Walgreens several times in the past week and my WAGS Reward accounts hasn’t been updated since 12/28— NINE days ago!

    Another thing I have wondered about is all the rebates that have been popping up at Walgreens. Two or three years ago they eliminated their monthly rebate program in favor of the RR– but now they are featuring a rebate nearly every week. What’s that all about?

  19. I live in the KC area and have been a faithful Walgreens shopper for years. I’ve been using the Rewards card since it started this past year, and up until this week I have liked it. This was the first week that I encountered the RR not printing out because of the Rewards card. I felt the “test market” was actually able to “double dip” because we were receiving the RR and getting bonus points. I have been able to redeem enough points for (6) $5 certificates as well as take advantage of the RR. But, if this weeks transactions are an indication that we will no longer receive the RR, I will be very disappointed. The Rewards card system is definitely not equal to the RR, and as much as I like Walgreens over CVS (I have experienced bad customer service with them numerous times), this new system may cost Walgreens a faithful customer!

  20. I actually have shopped Wags in the past and have found them to be my least favorite of the 3 due to the coupon issue. As of now though, my CVS price matches Wags so this will hurt me in terms of that and when I do shop there.

    Personally I think overall this is a terrible program. As someone pointed out they get reimbursed for coupons, yet they are not counting those towards your total? Didn’t Rite Aid just try that with their program (Gift of Savings) and they changed it. I really take issue with companies who get full credit for coupons and do not give it in return.

    I couldn’t agree more that their program is at times confusing, awkward, and could be done better. Perhaps other people do not agree. I have never been compelled to shop there regularly based on their sales because of the complexity of the coupon situation at times and the lack of cashier knowledge/cooperation.

    At least now it is competitive with the other 2 major chains. I think you take this program away and it’s laughable. Before couponing I would tell you, you had to be a moron to buy anything at a drug store, they are SO overpriced. Now I’m only going to get a reward from these people when I’ve literally spent $200?? I think not.

  21. I have pretty much given up on Walgreens quite awhile ago, and I don’t live in a test area. Their coupon/RR policies are just too complicated.

    I am an avid RiteAid shopper now. I love that we get points for buying our prescriptions there too. Last year I easily earned my 20% discount. Plus I love love love love love it when they have a $5 off of $25 coupon.

  22. It seems like the program would work better if it rewarded shoppers as a percentage of spending (similar to CVS; we don’t have Rite-Aid here, so I am not familiar with their program), rather than a points system.

    When the program rolls out in Phoenix, I won’t be shopping at Walgreens anymore, as it just won’t be worth my time or money. At least with CVS, I get a percent back each quarter (not that it’s a huge sum, but I also get a $4 or $5/$20 purchase Q nearly every week, which is a great perk) that I can use in combination with ECB’s and coupons. And it pays back for pharmacy too. Though CVS prices are all over the place at times, I do find that their corporate is always looking to make the rewards process more rewarding for customers – they do process feedback from customers and roll out new programs well (beauty club, for example).

    It’s too bad Walgreens doesn’t work on their rewards system in a similar manner – customer feedback (and in turn, loyalty) should be their main focus in rolling out this program.

  23. I live in Lenexa, KS and dislike the program very much. There are very few RR products available to us in this area. I have been spending most of my hard earned money at CVS now. Very rarely do I go to Walgreens. Hope they discontinue this program.

  24. This is the first I’m hearing about this in any detail, and it sounds terrible! I’ve only just started doing this, so I just rediscovered Walgreens about 3 months ago. I have spent more money at Walgreens in the past 3 months than I have in the past 3 years! If the RR’s go away, I probably will, too. Other than Walgreens great clearance items, there isn’t much I need to buy there that will still be a good deal without the RR’s. Fortunately we just got a CVS in our area so I can shop there. I prefer Walgreen’s selection, but I have been doing well at CVS lately. If CVS would do away with their silly ‘Limit 1 per card’ policy it would be better, but 1 per card is better than no RR’s.

  25. I’ve never been a fan of Walgreens and this doesn’t surprise me. I’ve tried different Walgreens over the years hoping that it was just bad management, etc., but the company really does not care about their customers. I don’t go there anymore, even if there is a really good deal. It’s just not worth it.

  26. Sounds like a terrible program. I think they will loose a lot of their shoppers to CVS & Rite Aid if they implement this program nationwide.

  27. I love Walgreens! We just moved here a few months ago and I am still getting used to the Rewards program. I do agree the points aren’t as good as the Register Rewards, but the clipless coupons are a nice feature! I frequent the Walgreens in Leavenworth, KS and South Platte, MO. The customer service at both stores is fabulous! I even inquired about implementing a 15% military discount. We moved from Colorado Springs, CO where every Tuesday they offered a 15% military discount. I emailed the Walgreens Corporate Office and within 24 hours I had a call from the manager of the Leavenworth Walgreens saying they were looking into the discount and how it all worked. He gave me a follow up phone call to let me know they were still checking into it. Although there is more planning required with Walgreens to make the most of the Register Rewards we do still receive, it is worth it for me! I do think the customer service at my favorite stores has a big part in how much I like Walgreens!

    • Sounds like your store is a rare find Jody – and I am so glad to know that some Walgreens stores are so willing to help. Good for you!!!!

  28. Sorry about your frustrations with their new rewards program :(.
    I don’t shop at Walgreens anymore. I had a horrible experience where the assistant manager of our local store told me he “didn’t have time to deal with my coupons.” On the way home I called WG customer service, they said they were simply there to investigate and they would get back to me after they spoke with this assistant manager to “get both sides” – no apologies or “we value your business”…NOTHING!!! …and not that I would have cared but they never got back to me.
    I refuse to give our hard earned dollars to companies who treat their customers like this so we don’t spend our money there anymore.
    Thanks for your candid thoughts, Tracie!

  29. Heather Hotz says:

    The ONLY reason I go to Walgreens is for the RR’s *bonus*. I will cease to be a customer if it is discontinued here in western Illinois.

  30. Reading this makes me so glad I shop CVS…I thought about learning how to shop wags when they announced the rewards program….glad I didn’t spend that time.

  31. I am glad you wrote on this topic. I just recently moved from Kansas City to Wichita, KS and got my good RR’s back!!!! My mom coupons too in Kansas City and I am always asking her if she went and got this or that for the week from Wags and her answer is always no because it was just extra points up there. Luckily you have CVS there because we do not down here in Wichita nor do we have Rite Aid. I don’t know what I will do if they go to just the card across the entire country.
    I truly feel this will be the worst business move WAGS will ever make if they do in fact follow thru with the plan. One more thing to point out is that your points are AFTER coupons are deducted too. I still have my card and use it down here and it is about every 3-4 months that I have enough points for a $5 gc so not very impressive in my eyes and I shop @ WAGS 3-4 times a week easily.
    We should coordinate an email campaign with all of the coupon world to let WAGS know how much we, their customers, disapprove of their points system and card. If they are flooded with emails from the entire coupon community I would hope that they would listen.

  32. I quit Walgreens and just started using them in 2010 because of the RR’s. I am very frustred with them and the points system. In the year 2010 I only have earned 2 $5 gift cards. I have gone back to using CVS more and more – I love my PEEPS there, they take great care of me!

    Can Kansas City say “COME ONE RITE AID”!!!! Wish we had one, the deals sound fab!!!

  33. We don’t have a Rite Aid or CVS here so if Walgreens does away with the RR I will be left afloat. No place to get great deals at all! I really hope they decide against the card. The RR combined with a sale/coupon are the only reason to shop at Wags – their everyday prices on items is ridiculous!

  34. Interesting. I’m in KC and have been out of the coupon game for awhile. My stockpile on several drugstore items has dwindled, so I’m back in the game, and while CVS doesn’t seem to be what it was a couple years ago, this points thing looks like a giant pain (not that RR weren’t a pain here too….). Glad I googled it to find out what it meant before actually trying it!

    I’ll stick to CVS and Target!