How to Earn and Redeem PC Optimum Points for Beginners
This beginner’s guide is designed to cover the basics of the PC Optimum loyalty program. You’ll find tips on how to earn as many points as possible, whether by using multipliers, special events or personalized offers from partners.
What Are PC Optimum Points?
In 2018, Loblaw merged two of its most popular loyalty programs, PC Plus for grocery stores and Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum for pharmacies. That’s how the PC Optimum program was born. This new program combines the advantages of the two previous programs in a single offering.
Today, the PC Optimum program, which already had over 16 million members at the time of the transition, is still going strong. Your PC Optimum card is free and can be used in over 4,500 stores across Canada. Members can earn and redeem points at Loblaw-affiliated stores, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstores and more. Points accumulation depends on the store you go to. Your points are redeemable once you’ve accumulated 10,000 points, which give you $10.
I was a member of the PC Plus program before the merger in 2018 with Optimum. I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan, as accumulating points was more difficult. However, everything changed when I discovered the new PC Optimum program.
Where Can I Earn PC Optimum Points?
The free program gives points only on personalized offers in grocery stores. The Insiders subscription earns 10% on all PC products. The main places in Canada to collect points are:
- Loblaw-affiliated grocery stores
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- Esso and Mobil
Loblaw’s banners include Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Valu-Mart, Zehrs, Fortinos and more. You can also collect points on these partners’ websites via your PC Optimum account.
How to Get PC Optimum Points?
One of the most frequently asked questions on forums and groups is how to get the most points in a single transaction. Be sure to check that your points balance reflects your actual purchases every time. There have been cases of points theft and errors. Here are several ways to maximize your PC Optimum points.
Of course, you’ll need to create a PC Optimum account in order to take advantage of offers and bonuses. Don’t worry, the basic subscription is free. It entitles you to 15 points for virtually every dollar you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix.
PC Optimum Offers
Every week or once in a while, you’ll receive customized special offers in your account. Download the application for greater convenience. For example, here are my offers for the week:
- 200 points for every $1 in cheese at the service counter
- 200 points for every $1 in tomatoes
- 400 points for No Name smoked sausages
- 400 points for No Name butter
- 400 points for each purchase of Fresca drinks
Since I do my weekly grocery shopping for specials, I can add these items to my list. A purchase of each product gives me nearly 2,500 points if I buy $5 worth of cheese and $3 worth of tomatoes. Given the value of the points, it’s the equivalent of $2.50, but it adds up over the long term.
These are also basic offers only. The PC Optimum program tailors my offers to the products I buy most often. Customization is one of the reasons why PC Optimum is one of the most popular programs on the market.
Sometimes there are additional offers, such as 4,000 points for every $20 spent on cheese and delicatessen, in addition to the other offers. If you don’t need the product this week, you can save the offer and use it the following week. You can do this with up to 4 offers!
Using a President’s Choice Credit Card[Offer producttype=”CreditCard” api_id=”5f638718ba713057455d88e9″]
Certainly, some cards have high eligibility criteria, but a PC credit card could well be the solution for accumulating points faster. The PC Financial Mastercard has no minimum income, compared to the PC World and World Elite cards, which have minimum incomes of $60,000 and $80,000 respectively.
|PC World Mastercard
|PC World Elite Mastercard
|Loblaw Grocery Stores
|10 points per $1
|20 points per $1
|30 points per $1
|Shoppers Drug Mart
|15 points per $1
|25 points per $1
|35 points per $1
|45 points per $1
|Esso and Mobil
|10 points per litre
|30 points per litre
|30 points per litre
|30 points per litre
Even with the basic PC Financial Mastercard, you earn 10 points per dollar at participating grocery stores, 25 points per dollar at Shoppers Drug Mart and 30 points per dollar at Esso. If you can afford it, the PC Financial World or PC Financial World Elite card will be a perfect addition to your points. You can also use it solely as a secondary credit card for groceries.
In fact, the credit card World Elite Mastercard PC Financial earns 45 PC Optimum points for every dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart (instead of 15 points), 30 points per liter of gas at Esso (instead of 10 points), 30 points for every dollar spent at Loblaw grocery stores and 10 points everywhere else. With this credit card, you also benefit from other advantages in terms of leisure, entertainment, car rentals and travel insurance. To find the credit card that best suits your spending habits, we invite you to use our credit card comparison tool.
Fill Up With Esso or Mobil
It can be advantageous to fill up at Esso or Mobil gas stations as a PC Optimum member. The reward rate is set at 10 points for each liter of gas. You also earn 10 points for every dollar you spend at their convenience stores and car washes.
For an average worker doing less than 60 km round trip every day, that’s a total of around 1,200 km per month. A Corolla with a 1.8L engine of the year consumes an average of 7.9 L/100 km. Each month, you can collect up to 940 PC Optimum points.
It’s not an exact science, but if you have the PC Financial Mastercard (any card), the accumulation rate is 30 points per liter. That’s 2,820 points a month just for driving.
Did you know that there’s a PC Mobile plan for your mobile phone? Personally, I only heard about it recently. When you take out a subscription, you’ll get a welcome offer of 20,000 PC Optimum points after two months’ service. Moreover, you can earn up to 10% of the value of your subscription in points. Let’s say you have the $50 plan, that’s 5,000 points every month.
Sign Up for the PC Optimum Insiders Program
The PC Optimum Insiders subscription is like the advanced level of the PC Optimum customer. This is a paid subscription that offers certain advantages that free accounts do not. This will cost you $119+ tax to join, or 119,000 PC points in comparison.
The benefits in terms of points rewards are as follows:
- 10% back in points on PC or PC-marked products on the site;
- 10% back on Joe Fresh products;
- Free delivery on joefresh.com and shoppersdrugmart.ca
- Free pick-up from your grocery store with reserved time slots
Sign Up for a PC Money Account
The PC Money account is free. It’s like a no-fee bank account with the option of a prepaid Mastercard. It’s perfect for those who love PC Optimum and don’t or can’t have a credit card.
The advantages are as follows:
- FREE online bank account
- Unlimited purchases and transactions;
- A limit of $5,000 per month;
- Earn 10 points for every dollar spent in participating stores;
- Earn 25 points for every dollar you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart;
- Earn 5 points for every dollar you spend elsewhere.
What is great is that you can earn points everywhere, compared to the PC Optimum Insiders program where you only get a reward on PC products.
Combine PC Optimum Accounts
Up to 4 additional PC Optimum accounts can be added for a total of 5 combined accounts. Usually, this is done with close family. However, I have also seen groups of friends pooling their points while taking advantage of the offers. The distribution is proportionate to expenses and accumulation.
This allows you to earn points extremely quickly. You only need to agree on who is responsible for follow-up and how points can be spent.
How to Redeem PC Optimum Points
There are several ways to redeem your PC Optimum points. Around a third of members of all types of rewards programs end up not using their points. Don’t be like them, and keep your eyes opened for places to redeem your points. PC Optimum points do not expire, but your account may be closed if you do not earn or spend any points for 2 years.
You can redeem your points at participating stores or online at Shoppers Drug Mart, Joe Fresh and participating grocery store websites. Points can only be redeemed in increments of 10,000 points, which equals a $10 discount. You can get a maximum of $500 off a single purchase, or 500,000 PC Optimum points.
You can also use your points at Esso stations. With 4,000 points, you’ll get 10 cents off per liter, for up to 40 liters of gas. With 10,000 points, you’ll get a free car wash package!
Understanding the Math Behind Offers
Events like 20x the points at Shoppers Drug Mart happen often. These are the best times to collect points. However, you need to be careful when making your calculations. The multiplier applies only to base points before tax. By the way, bonus offers and extra points (like those you get with a credit card) don’t count. These points will be added at the end.
Patrick decides to buy $200 worth of products and cosmetics at Shoppers Drug Mart during the 20x points event. According to the terms and conditions, the multiplier is eligible up to a maximum amount of $300, so it’s okay!
Because Patrick is an Insiders PC Optimum member, he also has a personalized offer of 40,000 points on any purchase over $75.
Since he also uses a PC Money account, he earns 10 extra points on his purchases. Unfortunately, these are not eligible for the 20x points event.
At the cash register, we’d get this:
|Promo / Event
|20X: (amount before tax) x (Base points) x (Promotion)
|Personal offer: Purchase of more than $75
|PC Money: 10 x 200 = 2,000
Bonus Redemption Event
During this event, you can redeem different amounts of points depending on the promotion. In the case of Black Friday, we often see this offer:
Sometimes this promotion appears at the same time as the 20x Event. Unfortunately, you can’t earn points on your redemption amount. Only on the remaining balance.
For example, I want to buy a Nintendo Switch for the holidays and it costs $375. I have 200,000 points and plan to use 130,000 of them during the promotion.
At checkout, $130 + $70 will be deducted from the initial cost of the Nintendo Switch console, leaving $175 to pay. On this amount, it will be possible to apply the 20x points promotion according to the terms of the event. The math is the same as the exercise above, you’ll get 20 x 15 x 175 = 52,500 points. That’s a lot of money, considering the savings you’ve made!
20% – 30% – 40% Back in Points
This offer doesn’t come along very often in my Insiders PC Optimum account, but it’s worth it. It’s simply a return on the redemption of your points.
Let’s take this example: I have the offer of 40% points in return on an exchange of 50,000 points. The eligible amount for the exchange is $75. At checkout, the calculation is: $75 – $50 = $25 + 20,000 PC Optimum points.
Here’s a summary of the most important information to remember about this section:
- These offers are mainly available at Pharmaprix / Shoppers Drug Mart;
- The 20x Event applies to base points only;
- The points will be deposited in your account several days after the end of the offer;
- There are some important terms and conditions to read to avoid surprises;
- Some offers are only available to Insiders members;
- Offers may need to be downloaded to your account or app;
- It is possible to use discount coupons and still receive points;
- You must meet the minimum amount before tax and rebates.
Although this information is clearly indicated, it is sometimes easy to go too fast. I lost 50,000 PC Optimum points on a personalized offer because I didn’t enter the code when I bought online. It’s still $50!
I think this program is perfect for anyone who simply wants to collect points for regular use. Unlike AIR MILES or Aeroplan, it’s much easier to earn PC Optimum points, and faster.
The only thing I had to pay for was the Insiders PC Optimum membership ($119 + tax). Everything else is free, even the PC Money account. I now use my account everyday. And I earn points on essential day-to-day expenses. Believe me, it’s worth it if you follow all these tips!