What is a catalina?
A catalina is a “checkout coupon”, the kind that print at the register at stores like Safeway, Albertsons, and King Soopers. (And now Target, too!) They are called catalinas because the company the manages the promotions and machines is the Catalina Marketing Company.
What types of catalinas are there?
There are basically three types: the first is a manufacturer’s coupon for a discount on a particular product. The computer tracks your purchases and shopping habits according to your store savings card and then gives you coupon based on your current or previous purchases. Moms with babies tend to get lots of coupons for diapers!
The second type of catalina is a manufacturer’s or store coupon for a discount on your next order (often abbreviated as OYNO). These are typically earned when you buy a certain number of products for a brand that’s having a special promtion. These can usually be used on anything on your next order. They are like “cash with an expiration date”.
The third type of catalina is just the “junk” coupons you get with ads. Sometimes these non-coupon catalinas are advertisements for upcoming catalina promotions.
Do catalinas double?
No, catalinas will not double.
Can I use a catalina at a store other than where I received it from?
It depends. Some stores will accept these since most are manufacturer’s coupons, even if it states “redeem at King Soopers”. However, it depends on the store and the cashier. I typically ask the cashier if it’s OK, and often they say “as long as it scans we can take it”. Sometimes it scans properly and sometimes it doesn’t! If I ask to use a catalina with a different store’s name on it, I usually prepare myself to use a different coupon or no coupon at all if they say it’s not allowed – it’s certainly their prerogative to do so.
What if I don’t receive my catalina?
If you were expecting to receive a catalina but it didn’t print, it could be due to a printer malfunction (such as being out of paper or ink), because the promotion has been cancelled*, or because it’s not valid in your area.
You can contact the Catalina company here and give them your name, mailing address, receipt date and time, the products you purchased, and information on the catalina you were expecting to receive, and if you should have rightly received a coupon, they’ll mail it out to you.
In most cases, unless a catalina deal is advertised in the store or in the ad, it’s best to talk directly to the Catalina company, as most stores don’t know what catalinas may be going on.
*Rarely, a catalina promotion may be cancelled before the originally scheduled end date for a variety of reasons. You can probably still get your catalina from the Catalina company as long as it was previously advertised to last until a certain date and you bought within that timeframe.
Where can I find out about current and upcoming catalina promotions?
Unfortunately, there is no official list of catalina promotions. You can find much information online through blogs and message boards, but a big word of caution: many catalina promotions are regional and may not be valid at your store. A blogger that shops at Safeway in New York may have received information about a catalina promotion that’s not valid at Safeways in Colorado.
Sometimes it’s worth it to “test it out” and see if a catalina promotion you’ve heard about is valid in your area, but keep in mind that if it’s not, there’s not a lot you can do.
Got other questions about catalinas? Shoot them to me in the comments and I’ll try to answer!