Coupon Questions: What exactly is a Catalina and How Does Coupon Doubling Work?

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I had this question posted on my Facebook Wall and wanted to answer it here on the blog in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.

Just wondering if you could explain what Catalinas are, as well explain about coupon doubling.  Do all stores double or only certain stores?

Catalinas are coupons that you receive with your order at the register (also called “checkout coupons”). The coupons print out from the small Catalina machine next to the register.  The only stores I know of in our area that give Catalina rewards are Tops Markets, Target, and Walgreens (where they are called Register Rewards).  

There are two types of Catalina coupons you can receive.  The first and most common is a coupon good off your next purchase of a specific item(s).  For example, save $1.50 on your next purchase of 2 Heluva Good Cheese products. 

The second type of coupon you might receive is a specific cash amount off your next order (abbreviated OYNO).  For example, $1.00 off your next purchase (nothing specified).  There are some exclusions in the fine print, like Tobacco, Alcohol, Gift Cards, etc., otherwise, you can use it on almost anything in the store. 

Most times you cannot use a Catalina coupon in addition to another manufacturer coupon for the same item(s). The exception is if it is categorized as a store coupon or if it is one of the second types of coupons, where you will have a specific cash amount deducted from your order.

As far as doubling goes, that is a store promotion, and not all stores double. The WNY region has a number of stores that double manufacturer coupons up to 99¢ in value, including Tops, Wegmans, and Dash’s. Big box stores like Target and Walmart never double coupons.

At the grocery stores that do double, it is set up automatically in their system. So any time a coupon with a value of 99¢ or less is scanned, it will double in value automatically as a store discount. There is an exception though – a very small number of coupons are coded to not double automatically. This is done by the manufacturer through the bar code but many times a store manager will choose to manually double the coupon for its customers. If you notice that a coupon 99¢ or less in value does not double, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they will honor the doubling portion of the coupon.

I hope this helps to clarify what a Catalina coupon is and how doubling works at many of our area grocery stores. If you have any other questions, please let me know! I’m happy to help. 😊

  1. Does the manufacturer or store lose money for the doubled portions of the coupon? I noticed that most coupons now say “Do not double” so I’d thought that I would ask.

    • Hi Angelo! Great question! A long time ago, manufacturers sometimes reimbursed stores for the doubled portion but that has not been the case for quite some time. Manufacturers will put that wording on the coupon as a message to the store that they will not be reimbursed for any doubling of the coupon. So it is up to the store to honor either their double coupon policy or they can use the “Do not double” wording put there by the manufacturer to exclude it from the doubling policy. Most coupons are coded to automatically double in the system anyhow, regardless of wording. My personal opinion is that if the store chooses to have a double coupon policy they should double all coupons, knowing it comes out of their bottom line.

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