The Underrated Store Loyalty Program…

Greetings my upwardly mobile friends,

I want to talk about the underrated store loyalty program that can have a noticeable impact for people that live and/or work in New York City.

New York is full of stores with loyalty and reward programs. Many are good, some are bad, others are so-so. For me, the value of these programs is heavily dependent on how often I use that store. Having lived and worked in the area for many years, I have consistently found myself inside Duane Reade and Walgreens stores for any number of daily life purchases on a regular basis.

Indeed, anyone who lives and/or works in or around New York City is likely familiar with the brand and their hundreds of locations in the City and surrounding area. Duane Reade is a pharmacy, convenience store, market, and generally just a staple of life in New York. It was acquired by Walgreens almost a decade ago.

What never ceases to surprise me in New York is the number of people that don’t take advantage of the Duane Reade / Walgreens store loyalty program.

The program gives you any number of reward points for a wide array of purchases and activities. You can redeem the points for discounts. It’s roughly $1 for every 1000 points. I redeem them regularly for $5 off my purchases and sometimes I find myself going to Duane Reade or Walgreens locations and spending $0 because my points more than cover the purchase.

Under the current program, you can redeem up to $50 worth of discounts in a single transaction. I can’t say that I ever recall redeeming that much in a single purchase but I frequently find myself parched in the summer and getting a free beverage simply by walking into a store and punching in my account number there.

There are other benefits like special coupons, and bonus rewards for buying certain products. We ended up with tens of thousands of points when buying formula for Baby Up. We’d get free online coupons from Walgreens, and then bonus points for purchasing certain brands at a Duane Reade location. In many instances, the prices were really good and the rewards we received made it a much better deal than shopping elsewhere.

If you’re living or working in New York City, I cannot stress how useful this particular store loyalty program is. I’d call it a life hack or a frugal hack but I think that’s a cliche. The truth is that it’s just a free store loyalty program that makes sense to use. If you’re going to be there anyway, you may as well take advantage of the free money they’ll give you.

I have one big caveat for all of the above. There is a fair amount of online review data that suggests that CVS is cheaper than Duane Reade on a lot of ordinary products. While CVS stores are frequently less convenient to find in the city, you might want for consider shopping there for lower prices on said products.