Walgreens began testing a general loyalty program recently just as primary channel competitors CVS/pharmacy and Rite Aid were launching new programs of their own.

Named “Walgreens Rewards” and open to all consumers 13 and older, the program delivers 10 points for every dollar spent on eligible upfront purchases, 100 points for every eligible prescription filled (or 300 points for prescriptions of at least 84-day supplies), and additional “Bonus Point Promotions.”

Consumers register for the program in stores or at the newly launched Walgreensrewards.com. Points can be redeemed online for store gift certificates (2,000 points are required for a $5 certificate), gift cards from other retailers such as Starbucks,  JCPenney, Kohl’s, Foot Locker and Borders (starting at 3,000 points for a $5 card), and select merchandise such as a Paula Dean Signature spatula set (10,600 points), Reebok Pilates ball (11,000), Nine West silver pendent necklace (12,700) and Nintendo Wii dance pad (13,600).

Walgreens also offers “theme” cards that are accepted by multiple retailers (starting at 5,200 points for a $10 card). For example, a “Home Essentials” card is accepted at Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy,  HomeGoods, The Home Depot and JCPenney; a “Sophisticated Style” card is accepted at Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus, Talbots and Zappos.com. Other themes are “Date Night,” “Personal Style,” “Family Fun” and “Luxury Living.”

The drugstore chain initiated the trial on May 9 in three markets:  Richmond, VA, Kansas City, MO, and Portland, OR, according to reports.  The Aug. 22 circular in Kansas City offered 5,000 bonus points overall.  Examples included 500 points with purchase of two select Duracell SKUs from Procter & Gamble and 50 with three qualifying Dawn items from P&G.

It has not been disclosed how Walgreens’ existing Register Rewards program, which offers next-trip savings on eligible purchases, will be affected if/when the loyalty program is implemented chain-wide.

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