UPDATE: Whole Foods Unveils New Rewards Program With Perks Just for Prime Members
UPDATE: Last month, Cooking Light published what we thought were leaked details on Whole Foods' replacement rewards program designed exclusively for Amazon Prime members—and we were right.
Whole Foods released the full details of their new rewards program for loyal shoppers today, confirming our previous reports that Prime customers will enjoy a full 10 percent off all sale items and be privvy to rotating weekly specials. An example of the weekly specials is a full $10 discount on each pound of wild-caught halibut steaks, Reuters reports.
The new rewards program launches across all Florida stores first before it will be rolled out across the nation later this summer. Whole Foods shoppers who also have a Prime membership will need to download the Whole Foods app on their phone and sync their Amazon account as well. They'll then present a scannable code to the Whole Foods cashier at checkout to rack up rewards and savings.
What if you don't have your phone? Customers will reportedly also be able to link their Prime account to their phone number, meaning you'll be able to just share your digits with the cashier to earn rewards as well—a system that many other legacy retailers already employ.
Faithful customers may be disappointed to learn that Whole Foods has decided to terminate its current rewards program, announcing that all digital coupons and other rewards will be erased on May 2. But that doesn't mean that Whole Foods won't provide customers with a way to save money and earn rewards on their grocery purchases in the future.
What we do know is that Whole Foods won't let you keep any of your earned rewards past May 2: “Any account benefits, including membership and/or unused rewards, will not roll into any future programs,” says a new FAQ page listed on Whole Foods' website.
The national retailer is asking customers to "stay tuned" for new details regarding what will come after this rewards program is killed on May 2—but, as you might recall, a covert store display test took place in Austin that could provide some indications of how Amazon will structure a new rewards program.
We reported on the under-the-radar test where a local Whole Foods displayed banners teasing Prime-only benefits and discounts earlier this month, with signage promoting an extra 10 percent off sale items just for Prime members, plus additional discounts. The signs went up late one afternoon—causing a flurry of activity—before they were immediately taken down the following morning.
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We reached out to a Whole Foods representative based in Austin to comment, but they were unable to comment—we're betting, though, that rumors of a new program targeted at Prime members might look exactly like this, and that Whole Foods let the cat out of the bag just a little too early.
In February, Amazon announced it would be giving its Visa rewards cardholders 5 percent back on every purchase made at the supermarket. And earlier this year, the e-commerce giant made headlines when it launched same-day, 2-hour delivery for Amazon Prime members in select Whole Foods markets.
While we might have to wait longer to know just what Amazon's leader Jeff Bezos has up his sleeve, it won't be too much longer—Amazon recently shared their plans with suppliers nationwide.