Walgreens Abruptly Shutters My Rewards API, Eroding Developer Trust

Walgreens last week announced the deprecation of the Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices (BRhc) API. The announcement was made on October 30th and the deprecation date is set for November 4th. A five-day notice for a service deprecation, especially over a weekend and amid a presidential election in the United States, is disrespectful to developers that have helped grow Walgreen’s wellness platform. 

The Balance Rewards API provides developers with a way to build applications that connect individuals with Walgreen’s reward programs for healthy lifestyle choices. Individuals could receive points on the platform for walking, running, and meeting weight management goals. In place of the Balance Rewards program, Walgreens announced an all-new initiative called myWalgreens. Details on the new program are limited and the direction of myWalgreens appears to be in flux. The email notification of the change noted that:

“With the launch of myWalgreens, we are laying the foundation of a more robust way to engage customers and support in their health and wellbeing. As a result, we will be suspending the BRhc API while we continue to build and evolve our strategy around the evolution of health and wellbeing for our customers.”

Deprecating an API on short notice, without a clear path for migrating developers to a comparable service, and timing the announcement for such a busy time in America is not a way to ingratiate developers to your cause. Developers rely on communication from partners in order to ensure a compelling experience for end-users. When communication falls so horribly short it serves to break the trust between developers, end-users, and corporate stakeholders.