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Walmart has long been the no-nonsense, no-frills, self-proclaimed Everyday Low Price leader.
While competitors launched and refined loyalty programs like Target Circle, MyWalgreens, CVS Extrabucks, or Kohl’s Cash, the mega-mart tested, then abandoned, a Savings Catcher app and demolished their once-famous Walmart price match guarantee.
Other than their paid Walmart Plus subscription launch in September 2020 to compete with Amazon Prime, all signs pointed to Walmart’s brick and mortar business being fixed in its commitment to low prices as the stand-alone mechanism to sustain sales and customer loyalty … until now. Enter Walmart Rewards.
Walmart Rewards will be live for all Walmart+ members by end of August.
Walmart’s new reward program rolled out in August 2022 to all Walmart+ members. Visit this link on Walmart.com to view rewards.
Reward offers are available in both listing pages and on the single item page. One click saves the reward to your account. Savings will come to you as a credit, so don’t expect to see the discount applied before you complete your purchase.
The offers inside are powered by (and often identical to) Ibotta.
Walmart confirmed via press release the launch of the partnership. This integration with Walmart provides users the same rebates (for now) you’d find in Ibotta’s app in a perfectly “white-labeled” product you’d never know wasn’t exclusive to Walmart. And that’s the whole point of a loyalty program from the retailer’s perspective, right? Make your shoppers feel like the only place they can get the savings is at your store. We saw Target do the same when they sourced coupons.com app manufacturer coupons directly through the Target app. Whether or not it’s a unique offering matters less than whether it feels like a unique offering.
If you’re not yet familiar with how Ibotta works, it’s an app that’s full of what are essentially digital manufacturer coupons — save $2 on body wash or $6 off two 12-packs of soda — but instead of saving you money at checkout, Ibotta saves you money after checkout. The offers can be redeemed at hundreds of stores (in many cases, in store or online). First-time Ibotta users get up to $21 in bonuses in the first week when downloading ($5 reward for your first redemption in week one, $15 if you redeem nine more in first two weeks, $1 bonus from KCL).
Because this is a partnership between Ibotta and Walmart Plus, there won’t be an ability to double up and redeem offers in both apps on a single product. (If you add an offer for the same product to your Walmart account and to Ibotta, the rebate will only go to your Walmart account.) But other party rebate apps (like Fetch Rewards) may still work, creating a coupon stacking opportunity.
Walmart is locking its Rewards away from unpaid members.
If you’re wondering is Walmart Rewards free? you’re not the only one.
When Walmart first released the program, there was unclear language KCL called out in this article that made it unclear whether the program would be available for all Walmart shoppers or only paid Walmart Plus subscribers. I surmised that surely the language about it being for Walmart+ members only was an error, for no retailer ever has made item-level manufacturer offers ‘for members only.’
Hours after the publication of our article, Walmart updated their reward FAQ to correct the inconsistency of language. And in a press release, clarified that Walmart Rewards is for Walmart+ users only. This marks the first ever pay-to-play rewards program of its kind, forcing shoppers to pay in order save money. Amazon Subscribe & Save isn’t just for Prime members. Target Circle doesn’t require you have a Redcard. Shoppers now have to pay money to Save Money. Live Better. at Walmart. Read my full take on this unprecedented move.
If you’re looking for the best free store loyalty programs, we’ve got a list. And Walmart’s not on it.
Walmart Rewards are stored in your Walmart account and they never expire.
Once you earn your Walmart rewards, you’ll never lose them. To redeem, you apply them just like you would a gift card, which a few exclusions that you can read more on below.
When you want to spend your rewards, you’ll have to redeem the full balance at once, unless your purchase price is less than your Rewards.
I redeemed my $12.75 rewards on a $9.97 purchase and had a remaining reward balance of $2.78. Had my purchase been greater than $12.75, the full reward amount would have had automatically applied to my order. There is no way to select a portion of your reward to redeem.
Now, reward offers expire — meaning you have to finish your transaction before a certain time to receive the rewards — but once you’ve earned rewards, they never expire. They forever live in your Walmart.com account until you use them.
Walmart Rewards FAQ
What is Walmart Rewards?
Walmart Rewards is a program that gives shoppers store credit when they purchase certain items (or certain quantities of those items). Those rewards can be used toward just about everything at Walmart.
These rewards come in dollar amounts that are added to your account for future use. (For example, get $1 in rewards back for purchasing four 0.5-ounce cups of yogurt.)
Is Walmart Rewards program free?
Nope. Although Walmart says the program is free, that’s not true. You have to pay the $98/year fee to join Walmart+ in order to qualify for Walmart Rewards.
How do I earn Walmart Rewards?
If you have access to Walmart Rewards, when you sign in to the Walmart app, you’ll see reward offers appear in items’ listings. Then you can tap “Add Reward” and get credit for your purchases. But it’s a little bit different in-store and online. . .
How do I earn Walmart Rewards online?
Once you sign in to your Walmart account online or in app, here’s what you do:
- Find items you’d like to add to your cart.
- Tap “Add Reward” on any items that have rewards (make sure you buy the correct quantity).
- Once you receive your order (via Pickup or Delivery), the Rewards will be added to your account.
Can I earn Walmart Rewards in store?
Yes, and here’s how:
- Add all of the Rewards to your account beforehand in the Walmart app.
- At checkout, scan your app’s Walmart Pay QR code to get credit for the Rewards.
How do I use my Walmart Rewards? Can I decide how much in rewards I want to spend?
When you want to redeem your Walmart Rewards at checkout, here’s what you do:
- Online: Log in to your Walmart account and at checkout, tap “Apply Walmart Rewards.”
- In store: Scan your app’s Walmart Pay QR code and tap “Use Walmart Rewards.”
You don’t get to pick how much of your rewards you use — like, you can’t just take $1 off here, $1 off there. You either use your entire rewards balance or the full amount of the Walmart checkout total (whichever is less). Here’s what I mean:
- If you have $15 and your checkout total is $20, you’ll use all $15 and pay $5 out of pocket. You’ll have $0 rewards remaining.
- If you have $15 and your checkout total is $10, you’ll use $10 of your rewards and have $5 remaining.
Tip: If you’re part of the program, you’ll be able to see your Rewards balance in the app by tapping Accounts > My Items > Rewards Center.
What can you buy with Walmart Rewards?
You can use accumulated rewards to pay for just about anything at Walmart.com and in stores, but there are some exclusions.
Here are the things you can’t buy with Walmart Rewards:
- Gift cards
- Prescriptions or co-pays
- Health services by Walmart Health or Walmart Health Virtual Care
- Optical products and services
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- Firearms or ammo
- Lottery tickets
- Financial services, such as money transfers, money orders, and bill payments
- Walmart Plus membership fees
Can I earn and spend Rewards at the same time?
Yes! Rolling rewards is totally possible. Whatever rewards you have in your account may be used to purchase qualifying items that’ll give you additional rewards.
For example, if you have $5 in your rewards account, you can use that to buy a $4.79 box of GoGurt — which will earn you another $0.50 in rewards.
But for the truly Krazy out there … you can’t use a coupon on a qualifying item and still get the rewards. You have to pick one or the other.