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Walgreens Balance Rewards Changes Are Coming, So Use Up Those Points Now

A woman looks through a Walgreens circular.

Walgreens is changing their Balance Rewards program. They will be limiting redemption rewards to just $5 per transaction.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

I recently wrote about how to get the most out of Walgreens Balance Rewards after I accumulated enough points to redeem a $20 reward in just one month.

Then this week, I started hearing that Walgreens is making some major changes to its rewards program. I hadn’t seen anything about it on the Walgreens site and thought for sure I would have received an email.

With no luck tracking down an official statement by Walgreens, I reached out to the company via email — and it turns out what I was hearing was true.

Walgreens Balance Rewards Changes Take Effect Nov. 4

A Walgreens drugstore is pictured on September 18, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
A Walgreens drugstore is pictured on September 18, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

They say all good things come to an end, and that seems to be the case with Walgreens Balance Rewards.

According to email correspondence with Emily Hartwig-Mekstan, senior manager of retail and owned brand communications, the Walgreens Balance Rewards program is “moving to a simplified five-tier redemption structure wherein every 1,000 points equals $1, instead of the previous eight-tiered redemption structure. With this change, redemptions will be limited to one 5,000-point redemption per transaction.”

This means rewards members will no longer be able to redeem the $10, $20, $35 or $50 rewards and will be limited to a $5 redemption per transaction as of Nov. 4.

Hartwig-Mekstan went on to state, “This change affects a small percentage of Balance Rewards members who redeemed at the escalated tiers in the past.  We believe the new policy will incent customers to redeem their points more regularly and lead to more frequent shopping and engagement with the program.”

Walgreens has added a notice of changes to the Balance Rewards explainer page and placed fliers in stores.

These changes will only affect point redemption, not existing balances.

So if you’re one of those Balance Rewards members who’s been saving up points for a big reward, you have until Nov. 4 to redeem at an escalated tier. Otherwise, you’ll have to plan on redeeming in increments of $5 per transaction from now on.

Jessica Gray is an editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder.

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