Walgreens shortens rewards window
If any Walgreens customers are hoarding points in the store’s loyalty program, it might be time to cash in.
The drugstore chain, based outside Chicago, is changing the expiration policy on its Balance Rewards points. Starting Aug. 25, points will expire one year after the date they were earned. Previously, they expired after three years.
Walgreens spokeswoman Emily Hartwig-Mekstan said in an email that company officials believe the new policy will encourage customers “to redeem their points more frequently and lead to more engagement with the program.”
Additionally, the shorter expiration window is consistent with other retailer loyalty reward programs, she said.
Members of the Starbucks Rewards program, for example, receive benefits based on the number of “stars” they earn through purchases. A member must earn at least one star each year after enrolling to receive benefits of the program’s most basic level, and stars expire after six months.
Having points expire after three years is a model better suited for travel-related loyalty programs, like airline points, said Melissa Fruend, partner at Toronto-based consulting firm LoyaltyOne Global Solutions.
Walgreen’s Balance Rewards program launched in 2012. Critics at the time argued that it was late to the game, falling behind rivals Rite Aid, which already had a well-established program at the time, and CVS, which launched its ExtraCare card nationally in 2001.
As of August 2016, Walgreen’s Balance Rewards program had 87 million active members, Hartwig-Mekstan said.
Customers will soon have to redeem their loyalty points within a year when purchasing products at Walgreens.