Don't miss these drugstore deals

Don't miss these drugstore deals

Loyalty programs from CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Walgreens can save on prescription costs and more

Published: March 15, 2015 06:00 AM

Your local pharmacist may not know you by name, but your drugstore loyalty program knows all about you—from the vitamins you take to your fondness for trying new nail polish colors. In addition to giving you discounts just for spending money, many of the programs are using that info to reward you for taking care of your health.

All of the enhanced programs are free, and it’s easy to sign up at your local store or on retailers’ websites. You’ll earn points for filling prescriptions, getting a shingles vaccine, testing your blood pressure, or even going for a walk. (In the case of CVS and Walgreens, you’ll have to sign up for their standard loyalty programs first.) Just show your card or phone app at the store to earn points.

Rack up rewards and you can cash them in to buy stuff (generally excluding some items such as alcohol, gift cards, lottery tickets, prescriptions, and certain other purchases), or put them toward health screenings, gym discounts, and other perks. Details vary by program (see below). Also be aware that some states don’t participate, and some exclude certain prescriptions.  

Find out how blood-pressure monitors did in our tests and which blood-glucose meters measured up.  

 

How to rack up loyalty program rewards

  • 10 credits when you sign up and register your prescriptions.
  • 1 credit every time you fill or refill a prescription, or 3 credits for 90-day prescriptions.
  • 3 credits for adding prescription management to your account, which allows you to refill orders, view your prescription history, see your prescription calendar, and more.
  • 1 credit when you sign up for refill-reminder e-mails and prescription text alerts.
  • 1 credit every time you get a flu shot or other vaccination from a CVS pharmacist.

What you get

  • 10 credits gets you $5 in ExtraBucks Rewards.
  • Earn up to $50 in rewards each year.

Extras: Advantage for Diabetes. You’ll earn double points when you buy select products, such as blood glucose meters, test strips, and foot-care products.

Good to know: Points aren’t available to use immediately. Each time you earn 10 credits, it takes about a week for the $5 ExtraBucks Rewards to be added to your account. Credits expire at the end of each year.

 

How to rack up loyalty program rewards

  • 1 point for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • 1 point for every dollar you spend on government-funded (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid) prescriptions.
  • 25 points for every non-government-funded prescription filled.

What you get

  • 250 points, or bronze level, gets you 10 percent off Rite Aid brand products for a year, plus 10 percent off everything during one shopping trip.
  • 500 points, or silver status, gets you 10 percent off everything in the store for a year plus a free wellness reward, such as a gym-membership discount, magazine subscription, or health screening.
  • 1,000 points, or gold level, earns you 20 percent off store purchases for the year.
  • Points expire at the end of each year, but if you reach bronze, silver, or gold level this year, those discounts are good through the end of next year.

Extras: Wellness+ benefits also include 24/7 online access to a pharmacist. If you’re 65 or older, you also get 20 percent off your purchases on the first Wednesday of each month, a free pharmacist consultation, and other benefits.

Good to know: Unlike some other programs, you receive no rewards for getting a vaccine or tracking your blood pressure.

 

How to rack up loyalty program rewards

  • Get a certificate in the mail when you join and fill a prescription.
  • Get an additional certificate each time you fill five eligible
    prescriptions (excluding government-funded ones).
  • Earn rewards even faster by adding up to seven guests to your account.

What you get

  • For every five eligible prescriptions, you get 5 percent off a day of shopping at Target and a promo code for 5 percent off at Target.com.

Extras: Target’s pharmacy app, Healthful, helps you manage prescriptions and tracks your rewards (free for Android and Apple).

Good to know: Don’t expect instant rewards. Certificates and promotional codes that get you 5 percent off are delivered by snail mail about two weeks after you earn them. Also, rewards expire 45 days after the issue date.

 

How to rack up loyalty program rewards

  • 500 points for every prescription you fill.
  • 20 points per mile when you walk, run, or cycle.
  • 20 points per weigh-in.
  • 20 points for a blood pressure or blood glucose test.
  • 250 points if you sync the program with an activity tracker (Fitbit, iHealth, or Jawbone) or app (MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, or RunKeeper) and set and achieve a goal.
  • 500 points for pledging to quit smoking and setting a date plus 20 points per day as you track your progress.

What you get

  • For every 5,000 points, you get $5 to spend in the store or on Walgreens.com.
  • AARP members get bonus-point offers and 50 points for every dollar spent on certain Walgreens products.
  • Points expire after three years or if your account has been inactive for six months.

Extras: Your Digital Health Advisor is an online health coach with tips on weight loss, managing stress, chronic conditions, and more.

Good to know: There are limits on the number of points you can earn for each activity. For example, you max out at 1,000 points per month for exercising.

Editor's Note:

These materials were made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by a multistate settlement of consumer fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).


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