Walgreens Takes Away Register Rewards Replaces with a Points Program

Some of you have probably heard that Walgreens will be launching a new rewards program soon, this Fall actually. We’ve heard many rumors for quite some time. I wanted more information so I contacted Walgreens myself. I wanted a better understanding of how it will work, especially since there will no longer be Register Rewards. I apologize for not asking you to sit down before I dropped THAT bomb. I know what you’re thinking…I thought it too!
Many people are up in arms about this and feel that redeeming their coupons at Walgreens any longer won’t be worth it. The biggest plus is I see is not having to keep up with RR’s anymore..or loosing them. The worst thing is we won’t be able to roll our “RR’s (since there won’t be any) into the next transaction. This one hurts those of us that do more than one transaction at a time or count on the RR’s to purchase things we really need.  On the bright side, the shelves won’t be cleared anymore! That’s probably why they went this route. Read the conversation I had with a Walgreens online associate below and judge for yourself.
I am the customer in blue type and Retta is the Walgreens online associate in red.

Hi! My name is Retta B. How may I help you?
Customer: Hello Retta, can you tell me who would I need to speak to, to better understand the new Walgreens rewards card coming out this Fall?
Retta B: I’m happy to assist you.
Customer: from my understanding, there will be no more Register Rewards, is that correct?
Retta B: That is correct.
Customer: can you explain how the card will work in the place of Register Rewards?
Retta B: Yes, it is a free program, you will receive and use points for items that you want.
Retta B: You will also receive information and earn rewards for activities that will make you more healthy.
Customer: and I heard that the points will not expire like the Register rewards..is that right?’
Retta B: And you don’t have to carry a card.
Customer: you don’t??
Retta B: Let me make sure of that. May I have 1 – 2 minutes?
Customer:  sure
Retta B: That does sound correct, but I’m not able to find that they do not expire.
Customer: I think you would need the card when you check out to be able to keep track of your points though….
Retta B: Your membership keeps track of your rewards balance.
Retta B: Each time you get a store receipt you’ll see your balance.
Retta B: Points are redeemed for incremental dollar amounts when making purchases.
Customer: okay, so I do use coupons… will we still be able to use coupons and roll points into a separate transaction or do you have to build up your points before you can use them?
Retta B: You will build points.
Customer: will Walgreens still accept manufacturers coupons?
Retta B: Points are redeemed for incremental dollar amounts when making purchases. You’ll enter you phone number during checkout.
Retta B: Oh yes, of course.
Customer: when you say incremental dollar amounts…does that mean that when you want to use your points, there is a limit of how many you can use during a single transaction?
Retta B: Yes, I’m not sure quite how that will work.
Customer: so there will be no card at all, I would just enter my phone number for each purchase?
Retta B: Correct. Then if you have questions there will be a dedicated phone line for customer support.
Customer: will the telephone number be printed on the receipt also?
Customer: the number for customer support I mean..
Customer: or do you mean there will be a dedicated phone in the store to check how many point we have?
Retta B: No, your store receipt will show your balance.
Retta B: There will be a telephone number set up so you can call should you have questions.
Customer: how will I get this phone number should I need to use it?
Retta B: When the program launches the information will be available.
Customer: okay…do you have any idea of a launch date?
Retta B: Not until Sept 2, 2012.
Retta B: There will be information available.
Customer: okay..great! Thank you for your help, I really appreciate your time!
Retta B: My pleasure.
Customer: have a great night!
Retta B: Thank you. You too.

So there you have it. No card…good. Points redemption…could be a challenge, which already stinks since one month away, no one knows exactly how they will work. I’ve heard you have to earn up to 5,000 points before you redeem your points but don’t quote me on that. As you can tell from my above conversation, we just don’t know how many points we will be able to redeem in one transaction.

The points work like this: Every 1,000 points is worth $1. To break that down – every $.10 you spend earns you 100 points.

1)For a Register reward deal we’re used to, there now will be a lower sale price, you will be able to earn  points but the overall savings will be less.

2)In some instances, we may see a higher sale price with a higher amount of points to earn that are slightly less savings that we’re used to.

3)We could also see a manufacturer giving out a great deal of points in conjunction with the same sale price we’ve seen before.

4) Additionally, we may see  manufacturers will try to entice us with more points if we buy more than one item.

We could see all four of these scenarios in a single ad, one or two…there’s no way of knowing yet.

I’m trying to be positive about this. To be honest, I’m a little jaded ever since JCP took away their coupons, so I fully understand how others will feel. What I see that will be challenging for couponers (especially those on super tight budgets) is to have to front more money in advance, unlike paying less to little with separate transactions and RR’s.

I think I would have perferred a card and set limits like CVS does. But whatchya gonna do? It’s times like these I can’t help but sound like a broken record-  the folks that took everything they could get their hands on and cleared the shelves ruined yet another way for us regular folks to save money. I still haven’t decided whether to stick with Walgreens or not and I don’t know that I’m fascinated with the effort it will take to see how much money I could save.

What do you think? Will you stick with Walgreens or shop elsewhere?


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