**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.

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.

Apply Now for the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

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.