Credit Cards

When Do Pharmacy Purchases NOT Earn Drugstore Bonus Points? [A Rookie Post]

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to our featured topic.

 

When Chase rolled out the Freedom Flex card and updated the Freedom Unlimted, it introduced a new bonus category: 3% cash back (or 3X Ultimate Rewards) at drugstores.

But depending on where you purchase prescriptions and other pharmaceuticals, you might not earn the bonus points or cashback you expect.

Here’s why.

Not All Pharmacies are Located in Drugstores

That headline may sound confusing to some and obvious to others.

We all know CVS, Wallgreens, Rite Aid, and other drugstores have pharmacies. But plenty of other merchants also dispense prescriptions: grocery stores (like Ralphs), retail stores (i.e. Walmart), and warehouse clubs (think Costco).

Does your credit card earn a drugstore bonus?
(©iStock.com/dragana991)

So you may earn a drugstore bonus, a grocery store bonus, a warehouse store bonus — or no bonus at all.

Let’s take a quick look.

Ralphs Pharmacy: American Express Gold vs. Chase Freedom Flex

My family currently uses the pharmacy at a local Ralphs supermarket. So any spending — including pharmacy purchases — made inside the store will code as supermarket/grocery store.

Here are a couple of examples.

In April, I used my American Express Gold Card to pay for some prescriptions at Ralphs.

A Ralphs Pharmacy purchase made with an American Express Gold Card.
4X with the American Express Gold Card!

Because the Ralphs Pharmacy codes as a U.S. Supermarket (which earns 4X on the Amex Gold Card), I received 172 Membership Rewards for my $43.01 spend.

I used my Chase Freedom Flex when I recently bought some prescriptions at the same location. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t receive a bonus but wanted to give it a shot. You know, for science and blogging sake.

It was one of those times I hated being right.

A Ralphs Pharmacy purchase made with a Chase Freedom Flex credit card.
Whomp, whomp!

My $76.43 earned me a whole 76.43 Ultimate Rewards points. But because my pharmacy is inside a supermarket, I didn’t receive the drugstore bonus.

So Which Card Should You Use at Your Pharmacy?

At CVS, Rite Aid, Wallgreens, etc, I use my Chase Freedom Flex for any purchase.

If your pharmacy is in a supermarket or other grocery store, one of these credit cards is probably your best shot. If you’re a Costco member and get your drugs there, check out their credit card (which is somewhere on this page’s “See More Offers” section).

Final Approach

The drugstore bonus categories on credit cards such as the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimted are definitely a plus. (And if you don’t have one of those cards yet, remember that new approvals receive 5% cashback on grocery purchases for the first 12 months, though some caps apply).

As with everything in the points and miles hobby, make sure you’re using the right card at the right place.

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Comments

  1. Why did you only get 1x at the grocery store with Chase Flex? They pay 5x on groceries for the first year.

  2. A few months ago I purchased contact lens solution from Costco online expecting this to trigger the warehouse club category bonus on Discover, but it was coded as Costco Pharmacy, so no 5X.

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