Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It's All About the Bass, er Bonus Cash

I have figured out that pretty much I can never spend down all my Plenti Points as long as I have Bonus Cash.
I am trained to just buy items at Rite-Aid that are A-on sale, B-give a reward(now it's called BC), and C-have coupons for the item.  Using this formula I have gotten so much merchandise at Rite-Aid for free or pennies on the dollar.

But currently, the way their system works at R-A, "my" system utilized within their system will never let me spend Plenti Points.
As soon as you scan your Wellness card, the register takes off Bonus Cash on your card to put toward the total you owe OOP.  Cashiers are now ringing up items, then scanning through your paper coupons BEFORE they scan your card(to avoid having to do "post coupons" for every single paper coupon if you have coupons to apply but have lots of Bonus Cash too.  Doing transactions this way also means whether your Load2CardQs come off appropriately is a crapshoot too, but that's another problem.

For me, it means I have problems spending accumulated PPs on my cards/accounts.
So what I need to do is plan transactions that spend down my Bonus Cash temporarily until I use up my PPs.

This point was driven home to me on Saturday at Rite-Aid.  I went in to pick up an Rx and saw they restocked the Arm and Hammer laundry tabs and scent boosters.  I had a $3 off wyb $15 Catalina I didn't get to use on Wednesday since the new cashier didn't know when/how to scan it for my order that I wanted to use and one of the "pro" cashiers was manning the register so it was the opportunity to now use it if I could come up with a transaction on the fly.

Here is what I put together........

4 x Arm and Hammer laundry tabs on sale=$7.96
4 x Arm and Hammer scent boosters on sale=$7.96
2 x GE led light bulbs on sale BOGOFree=$7.99*not pictured*
2 x Nature's Truth Turmeric bottles on sale BOGOFree=$18.99
(I bought the chocolate candy hearts separately later.)

Coupons Used
4 x $1/1 Arm/Hammer laundry tabs ManuQ/IPQs=$4.00
4 x $1/1 Arm/Hammer scent booster ManuQ/IPQs=$4.00
1 x $2/1 Nature's Truth item ManuQ=$2.00
Coupon Total........$10.00


When the cashier scanned my card, I had a $5/1 GE led lightbulbs L2CQ that did NOT come off but $31 in Bonus Cash attached to this card DID come off(2 x $10, $8, $3), leaving 2 x $2 and $5 in BC on that card.

If the L2C had come off then my total owed would have been $27.90 and a different combination of BC could have come off totaling $27($10/$8/$5/$2/$2), leaving me owing .90¢ on my R-A gift card and leaving $3/$10 in BC on that card.
At any rate, this proved to me that your BC is NOT being used oldest first, then newer ones earned(with longer times until expiration)but whatever combination the computer sees fit to use to get close to your total owed.  Basically you the customer has NO control over what BC gets used!

So after putting the $1.90 owed after BC came off on my R-A gift card(still couldn't use any PPs for this as the remainder was under $2)I saw that the light bulb Q hadn't come off.
Plus the cashier didn't put my $3 off wyb $15 Catalina as that would have meant having to scan the Wellness card first(the register won't take off Catalina spend X/get X without a Wellness card first and then having to do a "post coupon" for ALL the other coupons.....and the L2C still may not have come off.

In the end I used $31 in Bonus Cash, $1.90 on my Rite-Aid gift card and I got $15 in new Bonus Cash(I bought $42.90 in qualifying Bonus Cash items so over $40 threshold to receive $15 in BC).

So after I finished the transaction, the cashier gave me $3 back in cash for the SpendX/GetX catalina doing a "post coupon".

Then when I went over my receipt I saw the L2C for the light bulb didn't come off(and a cashier can't fix that and give you money back for it)so I returned them.
The register made the cashier give me back cash for that return, $8.47, even though I hadn't used but $1.90 in cash/gift card AND told her to return .48¢ in tax in that amount back, even though I hadn't been charged any tax on the transaction when it rang up the first time.
I guess the system at R-A doesn't like/want to give money back as Bonus Cash even if you used some?
And the $15 I earned on this transaction?  Even though I returned the lightbulbs, as of this morning, I still have that $15 BC in this card's account.

Hmmm, I see lots of folks buying and returning stuff in the future if the system doesn't take back the BCs earned and gives you cash instead.  There will be a flood of folks converting Bonus Cash to actual cash in this way.

I just don't know....this whole new system baffles the mind and any sort of logical thinking. lolz

You'll notice, in the receipt above, this card has $98.22 in Plenti Points still attached to it and even though I've used it a number of times since the new BC system came into being I haven't been able to spend ANY of it down since the cash due is always under the $2 threshold for using PPs.

So now I have these BC amounts on this card....2 x $2, $5, $15(in order of when they were earned).

Oh, and I remembered to get those free heart chocolates before leaving the store........they were 2/$1 and I had a $1/2 Load2CardQ loaded on this card/account, so free chocolate.  8-)))

I left Rite-Aid Saturday with all the things in the photo above, spent $31 in BC/got $15 in new BC and $11.47 in cash in my pocket.  Technically I "spent down" my BC when all was said and done by $6.43(well technically $4.54 in BC and $1.90 in R-A gift card monies).

So basically I'll need to spend down to zero all the Bonus Cash on each card, then use up the Plenti Points on each card and try to earn new BC on the last transaction I have where I am spending down my PPs even though this goes against every fiber in my being. ;-)
Got that?

And this is how I have to keep track of the Bonus Cash......

A sheet of paper where I put down what I earn in appropriate amounts and scratch off what I use.
You are suppose to be able to log into your Wellness account on the R-A website and all your BC earned are at the top of you list of Load2Card coupons(when you go to L2C area)but........A-people are not having some BC show up there(even though if you get your cashier in the store to check after scanning your Wellness card they do show up on their screen)and B-if you have duplicate BC of the same amount(you've earned more than say, 1 $3 BC)only 1 of each amount shows up on your account on the R-A website).  Using pen and paper I can see at a glance what's left AND more importantly which one is expiring sooner so I can craft a transaction to use that one before it can no longer be used.  If you are participating in the Bonus Cash thing and you don't shop at R-A often(at least a couple times every 2 months), you could be in jeopardy of not using your BC in time before it expires now as BC is only valid for a 2 month window of time.

There was a young mother with her daughter who is a new coupon user playing the drugstore game and also new to R-A's BC system who was checking out at the register next to me on Saturday and things were not going well with her.  I overheard that she thought she had a $20 BC on her card/account but it didn't come off and she said nobody else would have used her card and used that $20 BC and she hadn't used it yet.  The cashier even checked her card/account on the register and didn't see a $20 BC there.  That customer was NOT happy!   Totally possible she used it already and didn't remember ,but at any rate, it shows you need to stay on top of your game especially as this BC system still has lots of kinks in it that need working out.

And if you read all the ways down to here, you must need help learning the new Rite-Aid system or are a masochist or you need a life as much as I do.  ;-)



  1. I REALLY need a Rite Aid around here!!!!

  2. I absolutely hate the new BC program. Plenti points was so much easier to use. When I learned about the new upcoming BC program in December, I decided to spend all my PP at Macys. After reading this, I'm glad I did.

    I also don't like how the BC shows as L2C q on your receipt, so it's more work to figure out if actual L2C coupons were applied to your transaction. I've been doing more CVS shopping, instead of RA. I hope RA gets their act together fast. I can already see people shopping there way less than they did before. I hope you figure out an easy way to spend down your Plenti points.

  3. I quit playing the pharmacy games when they went away from just giving you the printed coupons-Register Rewards and the like. I like to think Im a pretty organized person but I struggled to keep up with all the curves. I do pretty well with Savingstar, Checkout 51, Ibotta, Shopkicks, Kelloggs Rewards and Swagbucks. That's enough work for me :)

  4. I suppose I am a masochist if those two are the only choices. However, I am just fascinated with the process you must go through. I have always shopped at CVS because of the testy people at RA. Plus, at CVS I can park at the sidewalk. I have to navigate a parking lot and curb to get into RA.

  5. I have had such a time here with my points just disappearing so I am all but done with the system, unless I can start to see it work in small ways.

  6. The only game in town here now is PC Optimum useable at several grocery and drug stores...it is pretty easy. Earn 10,000 pts get $10 off anything. No game to play fortunately and it is pretty accurate so far. It only gets me $10-$20 in free groceries a month though

  7. I have enough issues with Target and their Cartwheel. Rite-Aid does not give enough discounts for me to shop there. I got my Arm & Hammer crystals for 6.99 less 20% (5.59). And I hate trying to figure out complicated systems. I am glad that someone is trying to figure out how to do this. Go get 'em Sluggy!

  8. Yah, I need a life! Actually, some day I hope to move back to a rite-aid store. You’re just blazing the way for the rest of us! So, thanks for that!

  9. You are amazing - I swear the way you explain it is like greek to me.....how you keep track of all this is just unbelievable!!!

  10. I simply don't have your commitment! I spent down my remaining Plenti Points on Christmas clearance, and started fresh.
    Great way to track Bonus Cash. I am going to use it.


Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment. Though I moderate it's partly to keep spam out but also partly so that I read every comment. I don't often respond to comments so if you need me to answer you please write me at my email addy posted on my "About Me" page, linked on the side bar.