I am a regular Walgreens shopper (as in nearly every week). So when Walgreens launched its new Balance Rewards program, I signed up on day one. I wasn’t about to let an opportunity to save on my purchases pass me by. Learning by trial and error, I have discovered a few tips and tricks to help make using the #BalanceRewards program to its fullest benefit. And guess what? I am going to share them with you!
But first, let me tell you a little bit about the Halloween goodies I bought and how I used Balance Rewards to pay for them. So you can see the program in action. (See my whole trip in my Google + story.)
I started my shopping trip with 3,500 points in my account, not enough to redeem. I purchased 20.98 (plus tax) worth of Halloween candy (four bags of M&Ms and two bags of Hershey’s), the candy was on sale and the purchase of $20 or more rewarded me with 5,000 points.
In a second transaction at the register, I purchased activity books, stickers and tattoos for the party goodie bags and Halloween decor for a total of $11 (plus tax). After the cashier finished ringing up my items and coupons, she asked if I wanted to redeem 5,000 Balance Rewards points. Of course, I did so that brought my total to $6 plus tax.
My grand total out-of-pocket expense was $26.98 (plus tax). For everything shown below.
And now, a few tips about how to best use the Balance Rewards program.
The first thing to do is sign up. You can do so online or in store. If you choose to sign up in store, you will want to register online later so that you can check your balance at any time. So it is probably easiest to start by signing up online. Then every time you shop you should either swipe your Rewards card or provide your phone number for easy look up.
Download the app too. Available on iTunes or Google Play, the app allows you to refill prescriptions simply by scanning the bar code (my husband’s favorite feature), make shopping lists, check out weekly ads and even scan coupons from your phone. Tons of features, and it’s free – get it.
Look for Balance Reward opportunities in your Sunday flyer and on signs throughout the store. The offers change week to week, but since points accumulate earn them whenever you can.
Here’s where I am going to go all technical on you with what does and does not work for the program. I learned all of these things the hard way, so listen up.
- When the Balance Reward offer says to spend $$$ to get XXX rewards points, that total number is BEFORE coupons. For example, when I purchased Halloween candy for my party the offer was spend $20 get 5,000 points. If I used coupons to bring my total below $20, so I would not get the points. You can still use coupons, you just have to spend the min number before coupons. (However, if the Balance Rewards offer says buy XXX item or buy two of XXX item for points you can use coupons to buy those products without affecting points.)
- When you redeem points (in increments of 5,000, which is the equivalent of $5) the redemption is the same as using a $5 coupon, and the balance is forfeited if you spend less than $5. For example I was offered the chance to redeem my points on a $1 item, I said sure not realizing until after I received the receipt that the entire $5 worth of points was wiped out on $1.
- Balance Rewards points cannot be redeemed on prescriptions.
- You cannot use Balance Rewards to pay for something and earn Balance Rewards in the same transaction. For example, I purchased a prescription along with items and used 5,000 points to pay for those items. Because I used points, I did not earn my 250 points for buying a prescription. If I had done two transactions, I would have gotten the points.
Always check your receipt! Always.
My Halloween shopping trip was a success. The kiddos all loved the treats, which I passed out trick-or-treat style at the party.
My favorite goodie was 20 upcycled baby food jars turned into cute little M&M jars. (Note, in case you are wondering 4 bags = 17 jars. I had to buy an additional bag.) How cute did these turn out!
Disclosure – I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Walgreens #CBias #SocialFabric. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I love the baby jar and M&Ms idea!
I dislike the fact that it takes 3-5 days for the points to show up on your card and that you have to spend the amount required after coupon total. A coupon is like paying Walgreen’s cash or check just in the form a manufactures coupon.Also if you want to use your points to purchase other items on sale that week you’d have to come back spending extra fuel and also they often poorly stock their sale items making them sold out by the time the points are on your card. I used to be a regular Walgreen’s shopper but, since they have started using this system they have lost my business totally.
I 100% agree, I dislike that you have to spend the amount after coupons. For couponers, it is very hard to earn these rewards regularly.
Thanks for explaining the Walgreen’s Balance Rewards program. My husband and I racked up over 21,000 and wanted to see what we could purchase with just the points. In researching a list of acceptable purchases, I came across your website and learned more than I had set out too!! Thanks so much for sharing!