DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Walgreen Co. said Thursday it will launch its first ever customer rewards program in September.
The largest U.S. drugstore chain said its Balance Rewards program will allow shoppers to gain points at both Walgreen and Duane Reade stores and for online purchases. They can earn 500 points for prescriptions in some states and also get points for "healthy choices" like immunizations. Consumers can enroll in the program online starting Sept. 6, and Walgreen said customers will be able to sign up in stores beginning Sept. 16.
Members will also get savings offers on popular products, and they will be able to chat online with pharmacists at any time.
The company said shoppers will get a $5 award when they accrue 5,000 points, and they can hold off on cashing in those points to get bigger rewards. The rewards increase to $10 for 10,000 points, $20 for 18,000 points, $35 for 30,000 points, and $50 for 40,000 points. Walgreen said the points will last for three years and remain active as long as the customer shops at a Walgreen or Duane Reade store once every six months.
Walgreen said it will give away 1 million points to 10 customers who enroll online and enter their names into a giveaway contest.
Duane Reade had its own rewards program before Walgreen acquired it in 2010 and it has maintained that program. Duane Reade's FlexRewards program will be converted to Balance Rewards when Duane Reade customers sign up for Balance Rewards.
Walgreen runs more than 7,900 stores across the U.S. Its shares edged down 9 cents to $35.21.