An In-Depth Comparison of CVS vs. Rite Aid

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • There are numerous drugstores around the nation you could choose to shop from. Today we'll compare two popular options to see whether CVS or Rite Aid is better.

Throughout the United States, there are approximately 60,000 drugstores, including pharmacies inside grocery stores and other large retailers like Walmart. Of these, around two-thirds are large retailers or chain operations that most American households are familiar with. However, while they generally offer the same conveniences, such as pharmacies, medications, groceries, drinks and some random items, no two major drugstores provide the same experience or options, making it challenging to choose the right one for you. 

Today we'll look at two popular drugstore options to see which might be better for you in our review of CVS vs. Rite Aid. Our in-depth comparison will cover the general shopping experience, location availability, and rewards programs. 

CVS or Rite Aid: Which Is the Better Place to Shop?

CVS and Rite Aid both have similar offerings in terms of products and services. Each offers a pharmacy where you can fill prescriptions, receive vaccinations, and ask questions about medications. In addition, each store sells varying groceries, medications, general health products, beauty items, office supplies and toys. However, Rite Aid generally has a significantly larger grocery section, whereas CVS has a much wider selection of toys. 

In terms of atmosphere, the usual Rite Aid setup is much brighter and more welcoming than CVS, which uses darker coloring schemes and carpeting in its design. On the other hand, Rite Aid usually has bright white tile flooring and seems brighter overall. This might make Rite Aid the better place to shop based on the atmosphere alone. 

Does CVS or Rite Aid Have a Better Rewards Program?

CVS and Rite Aid have reward programs with similar offerings, which are discussed in more detail below. Although neither option is an obvious winner, both programs provide savings that make it worthwhile to sign up if you shop regularly at these locations.

CVS ExtraCare Program Basics

With the CVS ExtraCare Program, you:

  • Can receive ExtraBucks Rewards coupons in the dedicated app or online
  • Earn 2% back in ExtraBucks each time you shop with your rewards card
  • Earn purchases made through Shipt or Instacard (but only if you remember to provide your ExtraCare card number)
  • Will not receive discounts or rewards on purchases made for specific excluded items (including prescriptions)
  • Receive a $3 in-store bonus on your birthday
  • Can earn up to $50 in rewards by signing up for the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program
  • Receive a free gift when you spend at least $30 per month when you sign up for the ExtraCare BeautyClub

Rite Aid Rewards Program Basics

With the Rite Aid Rewards Program, you:

  • Can access your coupons, points, and other rewards via a dedicated smartphone app
  • Receive members-only discounts and sales
  • Earn 10 points for every dollar you spend on qualifying products
  • Earn between 250 and 750 points for each qualifying prescription
  • Earn 250 points for getting certain vaccinations (COVID vaccines don't qualify)
  • Redeem a $2 BonusCash for every 1,000 points accrued
  • Join Rite Aid Rewards 65+ for additional discounts and savings for older adults

How Do CVS vs. Rite Aid Compare in Terms of Available Locations?

According to the company's website, CVS has more than 9,900 locations in 49 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. This means most people living in urban or suburban areas will have a CVS location conveniently located nearby. However, people living in rural areas or certain states with few locations may find there are no convenient CVS drugstore locations near them. Some states with few locations include Wyoming, Vermont, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota

According to the company's website, Rite Aid operates 2,451 stores in 18 states. These states include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

In terms of available locations, CVS is the obvious winner, with more than 7,000 additional locations in 31 additional states. As a result, chances are significantly higher that you'll have a CVS nearby than a Rite Aid. 

CVS vs. Rite Aid: Which is Better Overall?

To summarize:

  • Rite Aid and CVS provide similar product offerings
  • Rite Aid has a brighter, more welcoming atmosphere than CVS
  • CVS and Rite Aid have rewards programs with similar offerings, discounts and savings
  • CVS has significantly more locations, spread out in numerous more states than Rite Aid

Choosing a better overall winner is challenging since the two stores rank similarly in most categories. However, CVS will be the only option for many people, as Rite Aid has significantly fewer locations. That being said, if you live in an area with a CVS and a Rite Aid nearby, the stores are comparable in most aspects, making either a reasonable drugstore option. 

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

Read More
Woman gets help at pharmacy
Rituxan is an injectable medication used to help treat and manage a variety of medical conditions, ...
A woman lays on a yoga mat and stretches
Linzess can help soothe the symptoms of IBS, including chronic constipation. Find out how this medication ...
Holding Hands Providing Comfort
IMBRUVICA is an immunotherapy that uses the immune system to fight cancer cells. Find out how it works ...