If you shop at your neighborhood Walgreens often, you should definitely take advantage of Walgreens’ Balance Rewards program.
Because if you don’t, you are missing out on essentially free money and awesome discounts.
They reward you for shopping at the store and online.
It’s also a great way to save money at Walgreens since you get access to exclusive deals and discounts (more on that later!)
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Here’s all you need to know to get the most out of Balance Rewards program…
What is Walgreens Balance Rewards?
Walgreens Balance Rewards is a customer loyalty program that has been around since 2012.
As of August 2016, the program had more than 87 million active members.
You earn points for the things you already buy at your neighborhood Walgreens.
You can then redeem your points for perks, Walgreens coupons and cashback on future purchases!
How it works
Balance Rewards lets customers earn points by linking a rewards card to their walgreens.com account or app, or by swiping their rewards card or providing their phone number at checkout.
As a member, you earn points on a variety of purchases, including prescriptions (it essentially acts like a pharmacy rewards program)and photos. You’ll have access to Members Only Perks, paperless coupons and exclusive offers.
You have to be 13 years old to join (14 in Puerto Rico). If you are under 18 and want to join, you have to agree that you have obtained permission from your parents to do so.
Although there are no “family memberships,” you can link up to four Balance Rewards memberships by calling customer service at (855) 225-0400.
Points, however, cannot be transferred between accounts.
How to get started
It’s free to join, and available to Walgreens and Duane Reade customers. (For a full list of participating stores, visit www.walgreens.com/balance.)
You don’t have to actually purchase anything to join the program.
You can join in store at the checkout counter, at the photo kiosk, via their official app, or at walgreens.com.
Sign up in the store
One of the easiest ways to get started with WBR is at the checkout counter.
Chances are, your cashier will ask if you’re a member or would like to join. But if not – just tell them you’re interested in getting started. He or she will take some basic information from you, then you will receive a physical rewards card to carry in your wallet and use at future checkouts.
Signup is quick and easy.
If you’re in a hurry and would rather sign up on your own time, you can do so on the app or online as well. However, you will not receive a physical card unless you sign up in store.
Sign up through the app
The Walgreens app is totally free and available for Apple and Android devices.
Here’s how to get started with the app:
- Step 1: Download the app from the iOS or Google Play store.
- Step 2: Click “Balance Rewards” in the app.
- Step 3: Click “Join Now” and follow the prompts.
If you already joined in store, you can scan your card or enter your information to connect your Walgreens.com account with your rewards membership inside the app.
Once you do so, you’ll be able to:
- View your rewards balance
- Access your mobile rewards card
- View and take advantage of members-only perks
- Review your spending and rewards activity
Sign up on the website
- Step 1: Go to www.walgreens.com. and click the “Balance Rewards” tab.
- Step 2: If you already joined in store, enter your member or phone number and click “activate now.” If not, click “join now.”
- Step 3: Click “create new account” and choose either “basic access” or “pharmacy access” and follow the prompts to create your account.
Once your account is created, sign in and link your rewards ID to your Walgreens.com account to start collecting perks for spending online.
How to earn rewards
If you registered in the store, you’ll receive a physical rewards cards.
Now, you don’t actually need the card. You can simply enter your phone number at the checkout and that will get you the points. This is good if you’re like me – constantly losing cards!
If you have the app, you can use your mobile card, or you can type your phone number into the pin pad on the credit/debit card reader at checkout.
If you’re shopping online, you can utilize rewards just by signing into your linked account.
Points are added to user accounts after purchases are made. For purchases made in store, expect 3-5 days before they arrive in your account.
For online purchases, rewards will hit your account once the purchase has been shipped.
You may also use Balance Rewards points along with other Walgreens or Duane Reade manufacturer discounts or promotions.
What if I’m missing points I know I earned?
If you’re missing points for purchases you’ve made, go to walgreens.com/balance and click on the “missing points” link.
You can also access this via the app or by calling (855)225-0400 to speak with a customer service representative.
Will my membership or points expire?
Memberships will become inactive if not used for a period of more than six consecutive months.
If that happens while you have a points balance, you’ll forfeit those points – so don’t let it happen!
Other rewards expire on a 12-month rolling basis (before August 2017, points lasted three years before expiration).
What kinds of items are not eligible?
Not all purchases, unfortunately, are eligible for rewards or promotions.
- Phone/prepaid/gift cards
- Money orders/transfers
- Transportation passes
- Lottery tickets
- Charitable donations
- Pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products
- Clinic services
- Some prescriptions ordered via Walgreens’ mail order service
What items are eligible?
Here are some common purchases and how many points each are worth:
- Everyday purchases – 10 points/$1
- Featured products – varies
- 30-day prescriptions – 100 points each
- 90-day prescriptions = 300 points each
- Immunizations = 100 points each
- Members only perks – varies
- AARP exclusives – varies
How do I redeem Walgreens Balance Rewards points?
As you continue to rack up points through spending, your stash grows in value.
Here’s what points are worth:
- $1 = 1,000 points
- $2 = 2,000 points
- $3 = 3,000 points
- $5 = 5,000 points
- $10 = 10,000 points
- $20 = 18,000 points
- $35 = 20,000 points
- $50 = 40,000 points
Typically, in-store cashiers will ask if you would like to use your available rewards balance on your purchase. That choice is up to you.
If you’re buying something that costs $10 and you have a $5 rewards balance, by all means – use your rewards to save 50 percent if you like.
However, if the situation is reversed, you may want to hang onto your points.
For example, if your total purchase is $5 and you have $10 in rewards, you would lose the remaining $5 by redeeming your rewards for that purchase.
If you know you have a rewards balance, and the cashier does not ask if you want to use it, just let him or her know you’d like to use that balance.
If you’re not sure what you have, you can log into the app or website to check.
Use rewards perks to extend your savings
While logged in, under Balance Rewards, you can access member perks that can earn you extra points toward extra rewards.
You must view the perk online and activate it in order to use it.
For example, several current perks include:
- Get 7,000 points when you spend $20, one time use. Add this perk April 2-13; earn points April 7-13. Valid in store and online.
- Get 5x points when you spend $10. Add this perk April 9-21; earn points April 15-21. Valid in store and online.
To add any perk, just click “add perk” under the offer.
You can activate multiple perks at a time.
Access exclusive offers
The company offers some exclusive specials for rewards members in its weekly ad.
This week, for example, rewards members can take advantage of:
- Buy one, get one 50% off mix and match hair care
- Buy one, get one free Finest Nutrition Vitamins and Supplements
- 2 for $7 ice cream treats
- …and more!
Rewards for healthy choices
With Balance Rewards, you don’t always have to make purchases to accumulate points.
You can also earn points for healthy activities, as long as you track them in the app on Walgreens.com.
To do so, visit the site or click “Balance Rewards for healthy choices” under “Prescriptions & Health” in the app.
There, you can track:
- Sleep: 20 points per daily log
- Link a device or app: 250 points/device or app
- Walk, run or cycle: 20 points per mile
- Frequent activities: 20 points per daily log
- Weight tracking: 20 points per daily log
- Blood pressure test: 20 points per daily log
- Blood glucose test: 20 points per daily log
- Quit smoking & tobacco: 20 points per daily log
There are limitations on what you can earn for some things. You can only earn rewards for two blood glucose tests per month, for example.
Adding rewards app access to other devices can earn you 250 points per device, for a maximum of 500 points (or two devices) per month.
AARP member rewards
Link your AARP membership to your Balance Rewards account to earn extra rewards like:
- 50 points per dollar on store brand health and wellness products
- Valuable coupons delivered straight to your inbox
- Earn 1.5x the points for certain Balance Rewards and healthy choice activities up to 1,500 points per month.
How to link your AARP membership
You can link your Balance Rewards and AARP membership online at walgreens.com/AARPCard or over the phone at (855) 225-0400.
To link your AARP and Balance Rewards memberships:
- Go to walgreens.com/AARPCard and scroll down to “Link memberships.”
- Click on the blue button labeled “Link memberships.”
- Enter the number on the front of your AARP card without spaces.
- Click the Submit button.
After you click the Submit button, you will see a confirmation that your Balance Rewards and AARP accounts have been successfully linked.
Reviews from other users
Some online users complain that the program doesn’t stack up to others like it, including the CVS ExtraCare program.
One user on Reddit reported trouble earning and redeeming rewards at the same time, while others say they’ve done this successfully.
Overall, most people are happy with it. After all, you are basically earning cashback and rewards for buying things you were going to buy anyway.
Personally, I’ve never had problems with the program.
Like clockwork, I enter my phone number on the keypad at checkout when I shop there, which is at least monthly in order to keep my prescriptions filled.
I’ll admit, I’ve never kept a close eye on my earnings total until now. But it’s certainly a pleasant surprise when the cashier tells me I have cashback to spend!
Now that my online account and rewards membership are connected, I expect to take full advantage of the program.
Is it life changing?
No, probably not. But since I enjoy shopping at Walgreens anyway, I might as well earn some money back for doing it.
Are you a Balance Rewards member?
I would love to hear your review of Walgreens Balance Rewards program. Tell us what you think of the program in the comments below.