What Is the Walgreens Test Market?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

We’ve got so many new readers and new couponers that have joined us (welcome to you).  I thought that it might be good to remind people who live in Kansas City, Portland or Richmond,  that when you shop at Walgreens, you are living in what is called the “Test Market.” 

Here is some background.  In May, 2010 Walgreens 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.  When you shop at Walgreens, you earn 10 points for every 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.

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.   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 thing many test market shoppers have noticed is the elimination of Register Rewards.  Just this week, there was a great deal on Crayola Washable Markers — spend $2 and get a $2 RR.  Well, at least for anyone who didn’t live in the test market.  Instead of receiving the Register Rewards, you received 30x bonus points in your account.  That equated to 600 points or $1.50 – which was $0.50 less in rewards than others around the country. 

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.  Once you hit this threshold, you can redeem them for a $5 Walgreens coupon.   With this program, you do get a birthday gift — 1,000 points placed into your account – which gets you half way to your $5 coupon.  However, for me, that is nothing compared to the deals that I noticed others getting that we can not get where I live.

So that is basically the Walgreens Rewards Program.  At last discussion, it seemed that this program was gong to be launched nationwide in January 2012.  I have not heard much more about it, so we shall see if they proceed with the program or if it fizzles.


  1. Paulette G says

    My hubby applied for a job in your area and I told him I didn’t want to live in the KC area because of Walgreens and the test market being there. I know silly me. Choosing where we live based on my being able to shop and coupon…..

  2. Erin Erlinger says

    i for one STOPPED shopping at walgreens because of this. it seems a way for them to PRETEND they are giving us deal shoppers what we want, but really they are cutting back what we get. people didn’t like the “hassle” of register rewards so now the card does all the work….but we get less reward, since some of the savings money is spent to start up and implement the card. VS is my drugstore almost exclusively now.

  3. sondra says

    I will not shop walgreens either anymore after this week. Had trouble with RR with cottonelle, coupon trouble with a BOGO, and then today, a manager wouldn’t let me use a manufacturer’s coupon with a walgreens coupon. I have had enough. CVS is much more appreciative of my business.

  4. Jacque says

    I live in Warrensburg, MO which is a test market area— it sucks so bad! And there is only a wags— no CVS (boo!)… I do sometimes hitch a ride to Clinton, MO where it is NOT a test market area! And it’s a low income area so, low prices =)

  5. Erin says

    Another negative point about the test market rewards is that using coupons counts against you. If you use a coupon on a RR item, you still get the full amount of the register reward. If you use a coupon on an item offering 10x points, you do not get the full points value.

    Oh, and they have reduced the birthday reward. I just had my birthday and I got an e-mail offering only 500 bonus points *with* any purchase.

  6. Erin c says

    I used to be an avid wags shopper, but NO MORE! I go in there on emergencies only and have been finding much better deals at CBS since their changes.

  7. tami reynolds says

    I went to walgreens saturday i had a coupons for bengay and tylenol pain patches. The guy told me that I couldn’t use 3 coupons because I only had 2 itiems. I tried over and over that I had a walgreens coupon and a manufacture coupon that I could use together. He would not listen to me. I asked for a manager after waiting for 5 mins I walked out. That’s okay I got them cheaper at price chopper anyway 🙂

  8. Jean says

    I stopped shopping at Walgreens shortly after they implemented their new “program”…I am not a fan! I have a Walgreens 2 min. from my house, but I drive to another town to go to CVS instead! 🙂

  9. Courtney says

    Living in a test market really does discourage me from shopping at Walgreens. I don’t even bother to try do deals there any more; it’s CVS for me. Occasionally there is a deal thru the coupon book (like Avent pacifers stacked with a manufacturer coupon last week for $2.50 off) but it is rare for me to even go through the doors. When I first learned about the change to a test market, I made some effort to get online to track my account and points and got nowhere. Less shopping = less points = less reason to even bother! I cannot understand why this program would go nationwide.

  10. says

    Thankfully Richmond has CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. I’m new to the drugstore game so until recently I had no experience with RR, ECBs, etc. I wondered why Walgreens was the worst for deals. I have shopped there but I specifically will only purchase items I can get RR. I LOVE Rite Aid and CVS. If Walgreens gets rid of RR completely, I won’t shop there anymore.

    That being said, I do have a complaint about CVS. I was in there on Saturday and they had only one box of poptarts left (on sale for 1.79 a box). I wanted to get 6 boxes (had 2 coupons for $2 off 3 boxes). I asked if they had more and the manager said no but I could get a raincheck. Unfortunately, I was rushed at the register (all 3 kids with me) and forgot to get the raincheck. I was back in there the next day and the shelf was full!!! I don’t believe for one second that they got a new shipment in on a Saturday night or Sunday morning. Why couldn’t he just go back there and get them? They offer rainchecks so it’s not like they are keeping you from getting the sale price. So frustrating!! I prefer Rite Aid the most. Just my 2 cents.

  11. Jennifer says

    Since the new program started I have also stopped shopping at walgreens. You now have to spend so much more out of pocket, and don’t get the “reward” for it. I love CVS!

  12. judy says

    i talked with a employee in the Troy, Al walgreens and she said that it would be taking place in 2 or 3 months. i really hate the idea. She also said that there would be more rebates than they have now also. Rebates I can handle, I just don’t know about this point system!! 🙁

  13. judy says

    I have noticed that as well, they explained that if you have 5 items you can only use 5 Q weither they be man Q or WAGS Q or a RR. I know bummer, But if you add something like a 11 cent folder you can use another Q or RR.

  14. Kristen says

    I too have stopped shopping at Walgreens…not sure the last time I went in there. I’m in CVS all the time though.

  15. Deb says

    I have also stopped shopping at Walgreens because of the test market and I sent them an email to let them know about it.

  16. Joni says

    I live in KS so we are a test site and it is awful we are punished for using coupons (less points), no points on the change and often the ridiculious points they offer do not equal the same as the RR. Plus it takes a week for the points to show up on your account so you cannot use the points immediately. I have written Walgreens kindly expressing my displeasure – no reply. I avoid WG unless there is a killer deal otherwise CVS wins my business!!

  17. Shelley says

    I just got my birthday rewards coupon yesterday and it was for $10, a nice surprise! I live and shop in Overland Park, KS

  18. jimsgirl says

    You have to remember that Walgreens is a business, open to make $$. A great deal of the phasing out of RR is due to the “extreme couponers” who try to take advantage of the system and manipulate the rules. In the last few years there has been a real change in shoppers with coupons. Many of them (NOT ALL, but many) have this sense of entitlement, and greed, and are very, very rude. It is just not an environment Walgreens wants to be a part of or have to have their employees deal with.

    • Tracie says

      It is just difficult to see what CVS does and it works and Walgreens is so different. It is more difficult to work any offers at their store (not talking about anyone getting things for free), but it makes many not want to shop there. The point was to simplify the process and it is alienating shoppers instead. So, that says to me that it is not working as they had hoped.

  19. Amanda says

    Hello. I live in Lees Summit, MIssouri and work Downtown Kansas City. Can anyone tell me if there are stores around those areas that AREN’T test stores? I don’t mind diving a bit to get my good WAGS deals, I am just unsure of where there would be a store close.