Walgreens to launch loyalty card

New York -- Walgreens will launch a loyalty card on Sept. 16, Reuters reported.

The move follows the chain’s long insistence that it did not need a loyalty card, even as rival CVS Caremark Corp. and Rite Aid Corp had their own successful well-established programs. The CVS ExtraCare loyalty program claims more than 70 million households as members.

The new Walgreen card will be called Balance Rewards. The program is being spearheaded by Graham Atkinson, who joined Walgreen as chief customer experience officer in January 2011. Previously, he led United Airlines' Mileage Plus program.

The Walgreens program will combine aspects of airlines' frequent flyer plans and loyalty cards from other drugstore chains, the report said.

"This program is all about collecting points, saving up for a treat," said Atkinson, in the Reuters report. "If we get a more engaged customer, and ultimately a more loyal customer, they will give us a larger share of their shopping wallet."

Walgreen shoppers will earn points for buying certain items, filling prescriptions, getting shots and even participating in a walking program, according to the report.

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