Walgreens’ Rewards Program: Balance Rewards (Now Able to Redeem at 1,000 Points)

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Walgreens’ new rewards program, Balance Rewards, started last fall. Here’s a brief overview of the program as well as details and restrictions.


With the new Balance Rewards program, you can:

  • save on sale items each week
  • earn points on thousands of items, including every prescription and immunization
  • get points when you Walk with Walgreens
  • redeem points for items you love

Details & Restrictions

I took a quick peek at the Terms & Conditions to see if I could decipher the system. Here’s what I discovered:

  1. The card will offer you access to particular sales and promotional pricing.
  2. You’ll present your personal card to the cashier to earn and/or redeem points.
  3. You’ll earn points on certain purchases that can later be redeemed on certain future purchases. All points will be awarded to your account 3-5 days after purchase. Points can be earned for online purchases.
  4. Point promotions will not apply to rain check items purchased after the promotion has ended.
  5. Points will not be earned in a transaction in which Redemption Dollars (see below) or store credit is used.
  6. If you don’t earn or redeem points for 6 consecutive calendar months, your membership will be deemed to be inactive and all accumulated points will be forfeited. For active members, all points expire on a rolling 36-month (3-year) basis.
  7. To redeem your earned points, your points will be converted into Redemption Dollars which will then be deducted from the total price of your purchase:
    • *NEW* 1,000 points = $1
    • *NEW* 2,000 points = $2
    • *NEW* 3,000 points = $3
    • 5,000 points = $5
    • 10,000 points = $10
    • 18,000 points = $20
    • 30,000 points = $35
    • 40,000 points = $50

According to Walgreens, Register Rewards will continue in its current form for the foreseeable future.

Your turn: Did you pre-enroll for Walgreens’ new program? What questions do you have about how it will work?


  1. JoAnna says

    I enrolled online last wk (always busy in store and didn't want to make the line behind me wait longer, cashier said about 5 minutes). I'm not sure if I will receive a card in the mail but I can use my registered phone number to receive the benefits. It sounds like it will take a long time to accumulate 5,000 points to just earn $5.00 but maybe the points are awarded in large quantities. I really hope the RRs continue as they have in the past.

  2. AsUntoTheLord says

    I talked to a cashier about it and honestly it sounds like a huge waste of time, effort, and resources on Walgreens part. Whoever works the "deals" aspect of their marketing has no clue what brings people in and makes them buy things. I get tired of these worthless gimmicks with a zillion strings attached that never really amount to much customer benefit and seemed designed to make you spend more than their "deal" made you think you would. With the complicated process they have for the RR deals, I wish they would have put all this effort into making THAT already-known system BETTER instead of trying a new one with just as many (if not more) rules/restrictions. :-) IMHO

      • lori says

        Watch your points on your receipt! I returned an item that I was
        supposed to get points for, but since I didn’t get any points, I no
        longer wanted the item. I noticed that when I returned it, it subtracted
        the points I never got. The computers can really do whatever they want
        and I don’t have any recourse…don’t like this system!

  3. Eva D says

    5. Points will not be earned in a transaction in which Redemption Dollars (see below) or store credit is used.

    Everytime I shop I earn RP's so I guess I will never earn points? whats the point in this. Im confused

  4. d says

    Looks like too much time, hassle and restrictions for little or no benefit. I don'teven use their RR for this reason. Wish they would bring back their Receipt Savers Rebate program. Used that all the time. It was so easy.

  5. Crystal says

    From what I can tell, the main idea is that weekly ad prices are only available to card members and Peward Points are available for only a handful of items every week (much like RR). There are most likely at least a few items that earn over 1,000 points every week, so points may add up quickly if you shop at wags regularly.

    Save up your RP for a purchase that won't earn points, then cash in a bunch (like using several RR on a purchase that won't earn you one from the same manufacturer).

    Yes, it's an additional complication. Yes, I still got the card. I plan to just ignore the points for the most part and continue shopping as I have been, then blow them all at Christmas every year.

  6. Travis says

    So I went to Walgreen's yesterday to get my deals and the cashier asked me if I wanted to sign-up. I didn't want to because it is confusing. I ended up signing-up because the cashier told me that for now on (from 9/16 and on), the rewards card will active ALL the sales prices, which means if you don't have one, you will not get the sales price. Is that going to change your mind? It did with mine

  7. EC says

    As someone who mostly gave up on Walgreens because of their difficult RR program, #6 concerns me most:

    If you don’t earn or redeem points for 6 consecutive calendar months, your membership will be deemed to be inactive and all accumulated points will be forfeited. For active members, all points expire on a rolling 36-month (3-year) basis.

    I signed up anyway for a chance to get the 1 million points and in case I need to buy deals in the future. I plan on cutting back on Walgreens even more now though.

  8. Mare says

    As soon as I saw the Walgreen's ad with the point system, I knew I had to go to PYD and have it explained to me how this system works. Thanks Carrie. Since I don't have a CVS nearby, I am forced to learn how to play this game.

  9. Rachel says

    I don't shop very often at Walgreen's, and if I do, I usually use my RR at Rainbow. The program sounds confusing…don't think I will be shopping there much anymore.

  10. Katrina says

    I went to Walgreens today, and as far as I can tell this new program is causing more problems than anything, at least at my store in TX! I just wanted to buy a few things that had good RRs this week and I wanted to sign up for my card. When I got to the register they told me that I couldn't sign up for a new rewards card because their system was down, which is fine. But then my RR didn't print. I asked and the cashier wasn't sure and directed me to another cashier, who directed me to cosmetics. Then at cosmetics she told me that they aren't doing RR anymore and that they were supposed to work this week but their system switched over early. So I would have to fill out some forms and mail them in to get my RR. If it hadn't been products that I needed and a total of $7 in RR I probably would have left, but instead I waited 15 minutes for the manager to bring me the forms (he brought the wrong ones at first which is why it took so long). While I was waiting several other people came to cosmetics to return their products because they did not want to deal with mailing in the form. I told the manager that putting a sign on the door would make a big difference so people could be expecting the issue but who knows if he will. So my 15 minute shopping trip took 45 minutes, and I have to wait 6-8 weeks to get my RR now… very frustrating! I work 3 jobs so I don't have much time for shopping anyway, and this experience was frustrating enough that I don't think I'll be back to Walgreens for a while!

  11. Nicole says

    So when do we give them are phone number? Do I just tell the cashier I signed up on line and shout my phone number at them while in line with everyone else?!?!

  12. EC says

    I haven't tried this yet, and I'm wondering if you can be sure you are rewarded the appropriate points before leaving the store. With RRs (and ECBs at CVS) I always square away my receipt before leaving the store in case the machine or I made a mistake. Does anyone know if receipts show how many points you've earned? This will likely be the biggest factor in if I choose to participate in this new system. So far it does not sound great.

  13. chris says

    Yes the receipt shows your beginning points balance, points earned or redeemed, and ending points balance, at the bottom of the receipt.

  14. chris says

    Here's what I learned about the new reward points program, that I think is worth mentioning.

    You have to redeem your points by reward level or tier ($5, $10, $20, etc). Unused Points from a reward level or tier are LOST and there is no "change" given on the points when redeeming (there are no partial rewards). For example, if your total comes to $0.50 and you redeem 5,000 points, it will use the full 5,000 points for that redemption (and you'll lose the other 4,500 points). The thing to remember here is that if you're redeeming a reward, your total should be higher than the reward level or tier you're redeeming, or you'll lose the difference.

    Points are awarded right away – I did not have to wait 3-5 days, and I was able to use them right away in the next transaction.

    If you redeem Points, you cannot earn Points in the same transaction. It would be best to buy Register Reward items with Points, then buy Point items with Register Rewards, in separate transactions.

    Points are NOT earned when you use store credit. Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons, so they do NOT effect Points earned. However, Walgreens gift cards, and the Walgreens Rebate Card, are considered store credit, and you will not earn points if you use those.

  15. Joy says

    The one thing I do like is that every time you fill a prescription you get 500 points. As one who has a lot of prescriptions between my husband and I its nice. We already have $5 credit on the way to $10 just between signing up and filling our usual prescriptions.

    One other thing, for me signing up was very quick. I did it at check out and it only took a minute or two.

  16. Angie says

    Can you earn points on a deal multiple times? (Ex. 500 pts for an item, can I buy 5 and earn 5×500? Does it have to be in different transactions or the same?)

  17. Tarah H says

    There is also a new program that links to your balance rewards card that allows you to earn extra points for walking and logging your steps. It's called Walk with Walgreens…see details here: walk.walgreens.com/

  18. Melissa Volk says

    Wow! I'm really disappointed with this new program. I think it's a ploy to keep us from couponing. Now we're seeing less of the register rewards and everything is for the balance points.

    Before, we could use register rewards to buy items that gave us register rewards. BEWARE! I found out tonight that if you redeem your balance points, you don't get the points on the items you're purchasing. Blows our whole system out of the water.

    • JoAnna says

      You use your Balance Reward points t =o purchase items that generate Register Rewards and use your Register Rewards to purchase items that generate Balance Rewards–then you won't need to think abut filler items as much as you needed to before. It can be trickier (more hoops to jump through) but the system can still work for you. Also–save the Balance Reward points (they don't expire for 3 yrs as long as your acct stays active at least every 6 months) and use them to buy Christmas and bday gifts for "free".

  19. I'm Done says

    I'm Done with Walgreens. They've lost me as a customer and about 5 other people I've talked to. They are making a simple shopping experience too complicated and controversial as are many other companies who are jumping on this marketing fad. I suppose some people like to play all these games but a large % don't. I wouldn't want to alienate people like that.

    I suppose they got the idea from the Casinos.

    Bye, Bye Walgreens

  20. julie says

    This sucks. The cashier told me i didnt need a card. Really? Well the walgreens ap i just downloaded asks me to scan my card and doesnt give me the option to use my phone # anywhere. (cashier said thats all i need) i agree and am fed up with all these rewards cards and strings attached. Just offer competitve prices in this alleged capitalistic free market. And i dont mean price differentiation by pennies. Be competitive. Lower prices and u will continue to have my business.

  21. Stacey says

    I am amazed how difficult people are making this. I made an online purchase today of buy 1 get 1 50% off sunscreen products. Total came to over $30, so I earned $5(5000) in rewards point. Free shipping plus I gat an additional 15% off with a coupon code. Also went to the store, got $30 worth of Walgreens product and a deodorant that came with a sample and got $6(6000) points. I currently have over 30,000 points and am saving them up to get the $50 for 40,000 points. I have already redeemed over $40 in points…seems pretty easy to me…

  22. cheryl says

    I was at my neurologist office last week and he told me their practice had partnered with Walgreens to provide infusions in their office. I get IVIG infusions every 6 weeks, my question is, are there any Balance Rewards given for these 4 hour treatments given by Walgreen nurses. Seems to me 4 hours of my time should be worth something.

  23. s0mthinels says

    I have never been so frustrated with a rewards program. Huge waste of time. I gave up long ago trying to actively collect points but thought I would passively collect points for my prescriptions. I logged in today to check my balance only to find that I hadn’t been awarded points for ANY of the prescriptions I filled this year. I called customer service only to be informed that my account had been flagged as being associated with a government assistance program (you can’t collect points if you are on medicare/cade etc) and that they wouldn’t be able to award my points until they they submitted a request to the federal government to review and clear my account. Seriously? It shouldn’t be this difficult! It is a cruddy program to begin with and now a federal employee has to look into my account so that I can save $3 on a lip gloss? Sounds like a good use of tax payer dollars!

    • Judy Eckert says

      So they tell me. Can’t get prescription points if you or family member is on Medicare even if Medicare does not pay for prescriptions. I didn’t know that Medicare, Which I pay for every month and have paid into all my working life was considered Government Assistance.

      • JLynn says

        It’s the same if you are military, whether active or retired, using Tricare!! That’s a government program, also well earned and very needed for the vets, but many of the programs offered, such as just transferring prescriptions to get the however much $ amount gift cards are not allowed!! Even if you opt to have them not use your Tricare and use the insurance my husband has from his 2nd career after retiring!! I am on 3 programs, though they only bill 2, being disabled, I have medicaid, but in order for me to receive any kind of benefits from Medicaid, I HAVE to pay for it if I have Tricare or I can never have Medicaid!! So if you are a vet or disabled, you’re using a government program and cannot even use those transfer prescription offers as well as the one mentioned above, with the points for them being filled at Walgreens!!! Oh, and I must mention, I stopped going to Walgreens for a while, as many military did, because corporate decided to no longer process Tricare insurance, which is the military insurance!!! Luckily, but too late for many, they reinstated that, which was smart in my town, where we have an Air Force/Army base, another one about 15 miles away and then another Army base about 30 miles away!!! I haven’t been back since, so now with all this going on, I’m not even sure I want to deal with all this, since couponing and price matching and everything is already a full time job and quite difficult for those of us who are disabled!!! We shall see!! Love all the feedback I’ve read, so thanks for everything you all have posted, been very helpful!! :)

  24. Javon Maxey says

    Lets say I earn 5000 points by purchasing eggs.
    If I do that this transacation and then leave the store and go back and purchase eggs again do I earn 5000 poins again or is there a waiting period.

    Please email me back the answer. I am very new to couponing and dont quite understand the Rewards balance Points.

    • says

      Javon – I believe that the limit for Balance Rewards is 1 of the same offer per transaction. You won’t need to leave the store in between as long as you split up your transactions.

      ETA: However, you cannot earn Balance Rewards points on an order in which you *use* Balance Rewards points.

  25. Treev says

    I finally got to 40,000 points for $50….I have been told that is the best use of this program and not to use the money until I get to 40,000, but do I have to spend it all in one transaction to really get/have $50?? I don’t understand how that works? I get the point system of acquiring the points but I feel like once I got to $50 worth and I go in and spend lets say $10…then do I have to go back up to 40,000 points to get that extra $10?? I know I am probably over thinking it but I feel like if I don’t spend it all at once I will lose that extra $10?
    Thanks for when you get time to explain that to me.

    • Shania says

      If you are shopping and decide to redeem 10,000 points ($10.00) then your point balance will go down and you will have to build them back up to 40,000 points. You can only redeem the $50.00 if your purchase is more than $50.00.
      I hope this helps.

  26. Karl Wade says

    Somehow my balance dropped to 80 points several months ago. I just checked and I have still only 80 points. I spend $30 to $45 a month and still only 80 points.

    • Shania says

      Is there someone else in your family who uses your rewards card? You can always go online to check your rewards history and see when you have been rewarded points and when you have used points. Your points have probably not gone up because you may not be buying items that offer the points. Always look out for items that have the blue sales tag on them. They tend to be the ones that you earn points with. Also make sure you read what the tags say. In some instances you have to spend $10+ on an item or participating item to receive the points.

  27. connie helton says

    i’ve been a member since the rewards program started. it doesn’t take that long to accumulate enough points to redeem. the only complaint i have so far is that i redeem 2 5000 point coupons and didn’t get my points. then this evening i spent an extra $10.00 so i could earn 5000 points that i did receive. i had my husband spend money so he could get another 5000 points but was only rewarded with 500. and finally bought 2 quaker oatmeal products to receive 500 points and again didn’t get anything. what’s going on you guys this is the first time ever i have complaints. hope you guys can get it right. i am going to call walgreens first thing in the morning.i hope it will get straightened out.

  28. Stan says

    This points system is the most confusing, complex program/promotional advertisement as a means of marketing strategies in bringing in more business. No one at the Walgreen’s location where my family shop, including the manager, Leslie, was capable of explaining how any of this works. In fact, she told me herself that she was certain she’d never grasp how this works and if so, she knew she’d never be able to explain it to her employees and especially her customers. That being said, why would Walgreen’s choose such a laborious, far fetched way of promoting their business and thinking that this would bring volume and more revenue to their stores? Why not simply offer the same type of cards that other stores provide to their customers, where they can be entered during their final transactions that will benefit them on all weekly sales? This is the most sensible, common way for both the customer, as well as the business to benefit, in the end. Walgreen’s prices are one of the highest priced stores in business, but rather trying to market a simple and reasonable plan that works for everyone, they’d rather use a strategy that does nothing but confuse everyone, which will benefit no one and the fact that this couldn’t be more transparent and obvious to anyone with half a brain, should be a complete embarrassment to Walgreens corporate office. I will NEVER shop there again. This store is a complete rip off and the fact that they increase their prices substantially and noticeably, then offer a 10% discount and then call it a “sale” is completely idiotic and ludicrous, to say the least. If Walgreens has any interest whatsoever in staying in business and competing with their neighboring businesses (CVS, Rite Aid, etc.), they are going to have to rethink this and develop a much simpler way of marketing their products to show customers that they have the most reasonable prices, the best quality of merchandise, but doing so in a way that doesn’t require the customer to have a Masters degree in order to figure out how to save on their favorite products. This current points system is not the answer and is not working for anyone (employees or the customers).

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