Whole Foods Testing a Loyalty Program — Stackable With 5x Points Earning

Whole Foods gift cards are now available at office supply stores. I found $25 and $50 cards at Staples. Some readers reported variable amount ($25 – $500) gift cards at Office Depot.

The 5x bonus points you earn at office supply stores help take the sting out of (the Whole Foods reputation, deserved or not, as) “Whole Paycheck.”

The store’s margins are apparently getting squeezed – by other specialty grocers on the one hand, and by major supermarket chains introducing high-quality organic produce on the other — and so they’re testing out a loyalty program in eight stores across three states.

Austin, Texas based Whole Foods Market is currently testing a new loyalty program called Hello 365 in eight stores in Illinois, Indiana and Florida that offers a 10% discount on its private-label line of groceries. The organic food chain faces increasing competition from other specialty grocers around the country such as Sprouts Farmers Market and even national chains such as Kroger, which is working to improve their organic foods selections.

If this spreads you’ll be able to stack a 10% discount on “365” brand items with 5x earning on gift cards through office supply stores. That could make shopping at Whole Foods a downright value.

(HT: sobore on Milepoint)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A list of the eight (8) stores participating in the trial:

    Whole Foods Market Tallahassee, FL
    Whole Foods Market Wheaton, IL
    Whole Foods Market Lakeview, IL
    Whole Foods Market Sauganash, IL
    Whole Foods Market South Evanston, IL
    Whole Foods Market North Evanston, IL
    Whole Foods Market South Loop, IL
    Whole Foods Market Carmel, IN

    per the Whole Foods website: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/hello365

  2. Whole Foods also has some good stackable promotions via Ibotta, which is like a mobile coupon app.

  3. I was very happy when I saw WholeFoods gift cards in Staples last week… I’ll be even happier if the 10% off their store brand comes to my NYC Columbus Circle store!

  4. Nobody is forced to buy at WF. Their doors are open and if you want to go in it is up to you. They have very high quality products and kind of complement Trader Joes which is my first choice for buying groceries.

  5. Trader Joe’s is great for certain things but their produce rots before you can get it home. That’s where whole foods comes in.

  6. Did my comment yesterday get deleted or did I just not submit? Probably the latter, Gary doesn’t delete people’s comments.

    WF isn’t particularly expensive if you stick to the perimeter. For the quality, the produce is worth it. The meat counter is a little bit pricey, but they also (at my closest store, at least) carry a lot of local product raised in good conditions – something I’m willing to pay extra for. The aisles get expensive, and often are things you can get identical at other supermarkets for less, and their prepared foods get up there too. I don’t see staples priced too different than other supermarkets, either. For instance, WF sells Maine Milk half gallons for like 30 cents less per gallon than my local Shaw’s.

    Depends on what you want, but I’m willing to pay the price difference for what I’m getting.

  7. Two wholefoods are extremely well located for me — one near work, and one near the gym — so regardless of price, I do frequent WF’s salad bar. 5x back on the $10 meals won’t make them a value, but can’t hurt at all.

  8. @Gary

    Sorry, my sarcasm didn’t show. I know you don’t delete comments. Other blogs… might.

    I’m pretty excited for 5x on groceries, though. If that loyalty program makes it to Maine, that’s a significant combo – especially since I still think UR are worth 2 cents a piece for me with Hyatt as a primary use.

  9. Just saw the new WF sales flyer and they are offering 10% extra on a gift card for every $500 spent on gift cards. It’s for the month of December.

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