IS PC Optimum the Best Retail Loyalty Program?

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of PC Optimum. All opinions are my own.

Without a doubt, my favourite loyalty program is PC Optimum. Now, you may be wondering if that’s actually true since this post is clearly sponsored by PC Optimum, but I’ve been using PC Plus (now PC Optimum) ever since the program was launched. When I lived at home with my parents, No Frills was the closest grocery store. They already had some of the lowest prices, but with PC Plus, I was able to save even more money. And who doesn’t like to save money?

What’s interesting is that just about every retailer has some kind of loyalty program. This shouldn’t be a surprise since retailers want you to keep shopping with them so they need to give you an incentive to keep coming back. Loyalty programs are the natural way to do it, but ever since PC Plus merged with Optimum to become PC Optimum, they’ve clearly become the leaders in the retail loyalty space.

In this post, I’m going to show you what makes a good loyalty program, how PC Optimum fits into that, and how you can earn more points.

Is PC Optimum the Best Retail Loyalty Program

What makes a good loyalty program?

When it comes to a good loyalty program, there are a few factors that I look for:

  • Easy to earn points
  • Multiple ways to earn points
  • Easy to understand

If a loyalty program meets all of the above criteria, then it’s probably good. The tricky thing is, most people don’t know what the fine details are so they may not actually be getting the best value. For example, a rewards program may only give you 1 point per $20 spent. Even if you’re spending less than $20, you’ll still be prompted for your loyalty info even if you’re not earning anything. You might think you’re getting something, but you’re not.

With PC Optimum, you earn points on targeted offers and in-store promotions at Shopper’s Drug Mart, participating stores where President’s Choice products are sold, and at Esso Gas stations. However, if you have a PC Financial Mastercard, you can earn up to 3x the PC Optimum points where President’s Choice products are sold and up to 4.5X the points at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Redeeming your points

Redeeming points is also vital with any program. My wife recently shopped at a retailer which gave her “company dollars” that she could use later for discounts. The problem is, those dollars could only be used at specific times, usually when there weren’t many sales going on. My wife quickly realized it was better to just wait for a proper sale since prices would still be lower compared to using those dollars she had “earned” when things were regular price.

PC Optimum allows you to redeem 10,000 points for $10 in credit at any time, at any participating retailer so you never need to worry about if you can or can’t use your points. You can save up your points or use them right away. The choice is yours.

Regardless of which program you collect points with, you want to understand the redemption values to see if it’s worth your while to save up your points or to spend them right away. With airline programs, it may be worth saving those points for a big payoff, but you could be collecting those points for years before you get something.

Knowing how to earn more points

Many retailers often have special promotions where you can earn more loyalty points, but not everyone is aware of them. If you collect PC Optimum points, there are a few ways to stay informed about the latest promotions.

Sign up for the newsletter: As long as you’re signed up for the newsletter, there’s no way you’ll miss any of their current or upcoming promotions. PC Optimum also sends you targeted offers directly to your email so make sure you open those emails and load your offers.

Check your app: The PC Optimum app is where all your offers are displayed so you can quickly see what purchases will earn you extra points. The app also shows your current point balance, store flyers, and upcoming promotions.

Listen to the radio and watch TV: Whenever there’s a major points event, PC Optimum will make sure you know about it by running ads on radio and TV. Here are some ways to earn more PC Optimum points fast.

Using credit cards to earn more points

There’s no doubt that using a credit card that allows you to earn loyalty points with every purchase is the best way to earn points fast. Not every retailer has a co-branded credit card, but the ones that do can make things very lucrative for you. PC Financial has three no-fee credit cards that all earn you additional points. Here’s a quick look at them.

PC Financial Mastercard

  • Earn 10 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Loblaws owned stores
  • Earn 25 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points per litre at Esso / Mobil
  • Earn 20 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at PC Travel
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No Personal income requirement

PC Financial World Mastercard

  • Earn 20 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Loblaws owned stores
  • Earn 35 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points per litre at Esso / Mobil
  • Earn 20 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at PC Travel
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $60,000 Personal or $100,000 household income requirement

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Loblaws owned stores
  • Earn 45 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points per litre at Esso / Mobil
  • Earn 30 PC Optimum points per $1 spent at PC Travel
  • Earn 10 PC Optimum points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $80,000 Personal or $120,000 household income requirement

As you can see, by having any of the PC Financial Mastercards, you can increase your earn rate significantly. I personally have the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard and use it all the time. It honestly doesn’t take me long before I have enough points to make a redemption.

Final thoughts

Honestly, in my opinion, PC Optimum is the best retail loyalty program in Canada. I’ve been using it for years have easily claimed thousands of dollars in free groceries. The program is free to join and you can earn even more points by using one of PC Financial’s Mastercards.


About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Jackie on January 24, 2019 at 9:34 AM

    Hi. The link to apply for a pc financial card is broken. Also the pc financial website Cosby mention th 75000 points for signing up. I’ve been meaning to get this card but waiting for a promotion like this.

  2. Jackie on January 24, 2019 at 9:35 AM

    *does not mention

  3. SUSAN on January 25, 2019 at 4:47 PM

    Just did this. Thanks. I liked the old program better where saving points led to big payoff at spend your points event. Harder to earn now too. Shoppers doesn’t seem to do as many promos. But apparently the optimum plus program (which has a fee) is great for people buying diapers. Extra points. With just the regular program we do at least $200 per year in redemptions. Just gotta know how to work it.

    • Barry Choi on January 25, 2019 at 11:05 PM


      It’s true that if you saved up your points, you could get a higher redemption, but in the new program, you earn more points on daily purchases. I personally find the promos to be similar with Shopper’s, but I didn’t shop there that often so maybe I just haven’t noticed.

    • Hal on January 29, 2019 at 8:45 AM

      Barry: You suggest using a PC Financial credit card to earn more points. Unfortunately, with no prior warning, the credit card wesite removed the option of downloading transactions in QFX (Quicken) format. Without this feature, the PC Financial Mastercard becomes unusable as a person’s primary credit card because reconciling the account balance is now too tedious and error-prone for an account with a few hundred transactions a year. The PC Optimum programme is therefore less worthwhie than before.

      • Barry Choi on January 29, 2019 at 8:49 AM

        Hey Hal,

        That is a fair point. I personally just check my spending online every billing cycle so not being able to download the info as a Quicken file hasn’t been an issue for me. I certainly understand why that would be a dealbreaker for others.

  4. Carole on January 29, 2019 at 5:26 PM

    Ive been using this card for a long time. Saved $2,020 lost year on groceries by making sure i maxed deals and points (but only for things I’d normally buy).

    I don’t get the comments on saving points to get more….. can someone please explain.

    The thing I don’t like about the new program is that there in no running total of what you’ve saved. It used to show clearly on the app, and now doesn’t. If you go back to look at your points spending, it only goes back a few months. Seems counter intuitive to me. I would think the company wants to highlight how much you’re spending. Barry, do you have any connections at the company, so you can provide an answer?? Thanks

    • Barry Choi on January 29, 2019 at 5:35 PM

      Hey Carole,

      Before PC Plus merged with Optimum, you could redeem more merchandise if you saved up your points and used them at Shoppers Drug Mart.

      I know PC Insiders shows how much you’ve saved to date, but that’s only the added savings as opposed to total savings. It would be nice if it just showed an ALL TIME savings number within the PC Optimum app.

      I could look into why there’s no ongoing counter, but I imagine it’s for technical reasons or something along those lines.

  5. Carole on January 29, 2019 at 10:45 PM

    Thx. Barry, PC insiders??
    It may be technical as to why no longer a total, but it would incentivize customers if there was a running total thus benefitting PC

    • Barry Choi on January 30, 2019 at 7:37 AM


      PC Insiders is a paid membership that PC offers. It’s $99 a year but you also get an annual $99 travel credit at PC Travel. I like it just so I get free pick up with click and collect.

      I 100% agree that it would be huge incentive if people saw how many points or how much they’ve saved to date.

  6. SUSAN on February 4, 2019 at 6:42 PM

    It seems the bonus signup offer has vanished again. I just received my new card and don’t recall the details. Anyone have that info handy?It was 75,000 points and you had to make a purchase but I don’t recall if there was a minimum purchase amount or if it had to be at a loblaws branded store. Note to self – screenshot the offer for reference.

    • Barry Choi on February 4, 2019 at 6:44 PM

      Hi Susan,

      The 75K Signup bonus was only available when you applied during the Jan. 24-27 Points day special. There is no current promo as far as I know.

  7. Suusan on February 5, 2019 at 7:35 PM

    Hi Barry. Thanks. I did apply during that period and just received the card. I believe the entire offer was to apply for the card and then complete a transaction in order to qualify. Perhaps there is some flag attached to the account so that when I do the transaction the points will be triggered. My dilemma is that I can’t recall what that transaction requirement was.

    • Barry Choi on February 5, 2019 at 7:56 PM

      Hi Susan,

      I know you had to apply directly through their website for the offer to be valid. I don’t think there was a transaction requirement, you just had to apply between the 24-27th. That being said, often the points are applied after your first transaction, but there might be a delay when it comes to the points posting. You could always just call customer service to find out.

  8. Katie on July 4, 2019 at 6:46 AM

    Interesting how with the credit cards they have made sure that the more money you make the more points you are rewarded. Because…rather than making it fair on groceries across the board it makes perfect sense for those in the world who can afford more groceries to be awarded more free groceries while those who struggle are going to continue to struggle.

    • Barry Choi on July 4, 2019 at 7:30 AM


      The minimum income requirements are set by Visa and Mastercard.

  9. Lynn BAKER on August 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM

    My card was stolen how do iŕepĺace it??

    • Barry Choi on August 16, 2019 at 3:46 PM

      Lynn, Please contact PC Optimum

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