Are CVS ExtraCare Plus Perks Actually Worth The Price?

As far as pharmacy retailers go, CVS is the most widely accessible in the U.S. Approximately 85% of Americans reside within five miles of one of the company's 9,000-plus locations across the United States. This is compared to Walgreens' ~8,700 pharmacy stores and Rite Aid's ~1,700. Therefore, it's safe to say that, at one point or another, most Americans shop at CVS, whether for medicine, snacks, household supplies, or other essentials. In an effort to further increase loyalty (do companies value loyalty anymore?) to the brand, CVS rolled out in 2001 its ExtraCare program. Free of charge, the initiative gives customers 2% back in ExtraCare Rewards, special sale prices and other perks.

It wasn't until 2019 that CVS launched Care Plus, its first paid membership offering more exclusive perks than its no-fee counterpart. In early 2024, CarePlus was rebranded to ExtraCare Plus, priced at $5 each month. Zach Dennett, vice president of loyalty, omnichannel, and Hispanic formats at CVS Health, said in an official statement, "Now, instead of having to join various programs to unlock all the savings available to them, we've made it easier for our members and patients to choose from our two-tiered offerings and access the benefits that best fit their needs..." But what are these benefits? And are they worth the monthly fee?

CVS ExtraCare Plus perks explained

For $5 a month, CVS ExtraCare Plus includes all the perks of ExtraCare, as well as a number of exclusive benefits for registrants: free same-day delivery, free shipping, free same-day Rx delivery, 20% off CVS Health brand products, 24/7 Pharmacist Helpline, and a $10 monthly bonus reward simply for being a member.

However, there are a few fine-print details to keep in mind. For example, regarding the free delivery, members only have access to this perk if they spend at least $10, and will be required to pay a service fee. Additionally, if a customer wants their package to arrive that same day, they have to submit their order at least four hours prior to their store's closing time. If the store's open 24 hours, the order must be placed by 8 p.m., otherwise it'll arrive the following day.

As for the $10 monthly bonus reward, this must be used by the end of the month it's received, or it expires. Though the idea of saving several months' worth to use at one time might sound like a great idea, it's impossible to achieve. Other caveats to the $10 bonus are that it must be used on an order that costs at least $10, has to be spent all at once, and cannot be put toward purchases like alcohol, lottery tickets, gift cards (here's why buying gift cards from a store's display rack could get you scammed), magazines, and other exclusions.

Is it worth the $5 monthly fee?

For those who shop at CVS once in a blue moon to grab one or two items that they need, ExtraCare Plus probably isn't necessary. However, for those who frequent the store on a regular basis, it's worth the membership fee. Thanks to the $10 reward, members are basically earning $5 back each month. Additionally, if they opt to pay for an entire year up front for $48, that equates to $4 a month and $6 back in their pocket.

Frequent online buyers will also save quite a bit on delivery fees. For example, to have an order shipped in Philadelphia, it costs between $5 and $6, depending on if the customer selects "same-day delivery" or just regular shipping. If someone orders from CVS three or four times a month, that's over $20 in savings. (On that score, see the products you should always buy in-store instead of online.)

So far, it seems as though CVS shoppers are seeing the benefits from joining the ExtraCare Plus program. According to Retail Touch Points, the paid plan had, as of January 2024, over 6.5 million members. Of course, for occasional CVS shoppers, the basic ExtraCare tier is still very much an option, boasting a whopping 74 million members.