What is a Catalina Coupon and How Do They Work?

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What is a Catalina Coupon?

Catalina Coupons are coupons that print out of the Catalina machine at participating stores.  These machine are just like the one pictured above and are usually located next to the register.  These are sometime referred to as “Your Bucks”

Catalina Deals are deals that require a certain dollar amount or quantity of products to be purchased.  Once you have met the qualifications, a catalina will print for a certain amount off your next purchase.  Usually this purchase can be made for anything in the store, however, some promotions require they be used toward a specific brand or product.

Examples of Catalina Deals

Here is an example of a Catalina which requires you to purchase a certain amount of products:

Buy 5 participating Kraft Products and get a $5 catalina.

This simply means that you need to purchased 5 of the items listed in the promotion and you will receive a $5 catalina that you can use on your next purchase.

Here is an example of a Catalina which requires you to purchase a certain dollar amount:

Buy $25 worth of Kraft Products, Get a $5 Catalina

This type of catalina requires you to make a purchase of $25 in participating products.  When you do, you will receive a $5 catalina that you can use on your next purchase.

What generates the catalina?

Now, here is the tricky part and the part that causes confusion.  The manufacturer makes an arrangement with Catalina Marketing to promote their brand.  In this case we are using the example of Kraft.

Kraft has their retail prices set and submits them to Catalina Marketing.  Kraft decides they want to run a catalina promotions and they make the arrangements with Catalina Marketing. Catalina Marketing then activates the Catalina at the participating stores.  The activation is done at the prices that they received from Kraft.  So far you can see that this deal is totally controlled by Catalina Marketing and the manufacturer.  The store is not involved except to coordinate an ad in their circular (if it is an advertised deal).

Now, usually stores have a loyalty card.  The store offers many discounts each week when you use your loyalty card.  These discounts are store discounts.  You can think of them as store coupons.  Sometimes the manufacturer will give them an incentive to promote an extra discount and sometimes the store does it on it’s own.

Now, when all the stars align, and a manufacturer is really trying to promote a product, they will have a catalina deal, a coupon and offer the store an incentive to run a loyalty card discount.  When this happens, we can score good deals.

Let’s hop back up to what I said about the prices that Kraft gives to Catalina Marketing.  These are the retail prices or the prices before the loyalty card discount (pre-loyalty card prices).  So, these are the prices that the catalina machine recognizes.  The pre loyalty card prices.  This is not advertised this way because the stores want you to use their loyalty card and purchase more items.  So, because this is not advertised this way, the store will only recognize the deal as working on their loyalty card prices.  And, as I said earlier, the promotion is between the manufacturer and Catalina Marketing.  The store is just participating in it.

What if a Catalina Does Not Print?

So, what happens if a catalina does not print and you have based the catalina on the pre loyalty card price (retail price).  If you go to the customer service counter at your store, they will tell you that you did not meet the requirements.  So, you need to either call or email Catalina Marketing.  They have a great customer service department and can see your receipt once you give them the information on it.  If you, in fact, have meet the requirements, they will mail you the catalina.

To submit a request if your Catalinas do not print, the best thing to do is visit the Catalina Marketing site and complete the form provided.

What Causes a Catalina Not to Print?

There are many things that can cause a catalina not to print.  Here is a list:

  • You did not properly calculate the pre loyalty price when making your purchase.  If you have gotten a deal idea from a website, such as this one, you always have to check your stores prices as they may vary.  You may need to alter your scenarios to fit the prices at your store.
  • You purchased an item in the product line that was not part of the catalina.  You have to be very careful and read your ciruclar (if it’s advertised) to be sure you are getting the exact products and sizes listed in the catalina.
  • An item that is suppose to be participating was not coded properly.  This is not something you would be able to know ahead of time as it is most likely an error in the setup of the deal.
  • The catalina machine is out of paper or not working.

Just a note:

I would highly recommend not to email the stores corporate offices or demand the catalina from customer service.  As I said, these deals run through Catalina Marketing and the Manufacturer so bothering the stores will only aggravate the situation.  If your catalina does not print yet you have met the qualification based on the sale price AND the promotion is clearly advertised in their circular or in their store, you can easily go to customer service to have them make an adjustment.  If you are basing your deal on the pre-loyalty price (also known as shelf price or retail price) or it is not an advertised promotion, you have to understand that things don’t always go as planned.  95% of the time they will, but you have to accept the 5% that they don’t.  If you don’t have the money to “experiment” with a deal, I would recommend not doing it in case it doesn’t turn out as planned.

Hopefully this will answer any questions or frustration that some of you have had trying to work the Catalina Deals.  Please know, that these are some of the best deals to do to help to reduce your grocery bill.  However, as I said, you have to understand that sometimes they may not go as planned.   But, when they do, they are awesome.