Starting Sunday, you'll have to change the way you play the drugstore game to get all your freebies and super cheap deals at Rite Aid.
After a seven-month pilot program in four cities, the drugstore chain is rolling out a paperless rewards program for all of its 4,700 stores nationwide.
What does that mean for the rank-and-file couponer?
There are two basic changes you'll encounter when earning and redeeming +UP Rewards.
First, Rite Aid's rewards will no longer print at the bottom of your receipt. Instead, the +UP Rewards, which can be used like cash in future transactions, will load directly onto your Rite Aid loyalty card.
Second, Rite Aid shoppers will no longer be able to turn around and instantly use their +UP Rewards on a second transaction. Under the new program, shoppers will have to wait until 6 a.m. the following day to spend those +UP Rewards. The rewards expire after 14 days.
Rite Aid, in a press release you can read in full HERE, is promoting the change as a convenience for shoppers.
“Customers in the pilot program overwhelmingly told us that they appreciated not having to worry about keeping their receipts and bringing them back to the store to redeem their +UPs,” Rite Aid's Chief Operating Officer Ken Martindale said.
Rite Aid is providing an opt-out feature, which will allow shoppers to request that their +UP Rewards continue printing on their receipts. If you don't opt out, the paper +UP Rewards will disappear after Saturday.
You can manage your +UP Rewards on the company website or through the Rite Aid smartphone app. You can also sign up for weekly text reminders by texting REWARD to RATEXT.
What do you think of the changes? Based on what I've been reading on the national coupon sites, the response has been largely negative.
While going paperless has its merits, couponers in the test markets said they had trouble managing the +UP Rewards digitally. Oftentimes, they said, program glitches prevented them from picking and choosing when and how they spent their rewards.
Folks also didn't like the idea of having to return to the store the next day to use their rewards.
What's your opinion on the changes? Will you continue to shop at Rite Aid? Please weigh in with your thoughts.