When PC Insiders was announced a few years back, the public and the media were a bit shocked. Loblaw’s was basically introducing a subscription service that would give you some benefits, but who would pay $9.99 a month or $99 annually, plus tax for it?

As someone who shops at No Frills, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Joe Fresh, I was mildly interested but I didn’t think much of it and didn’t bother to check it out when it officially launched. In hindsight, this was a mistake. I think PC Optimum is one of the best retail loyalty programs out there so if there was a chance to earn even more points, I should have immediately looked into it.

It may have taken some time, but I’m now finally a PC Insiders subscriber. Read my PC Insiders review now to find out what I think of the program and if it’s worth paying for.

PC Insiders review

PC Insiders benefits

  • $99 PC Travel credit (with annual subscription)
  • Earn 200 PC Optimum points per $1 spent on PC Organics products, Joe Fresh purchases, PC Black Label Collection purchases, all brands of baby diapers and formula, and all luxury beautyBOUTIQUE products on shoppersdrugmart.ca
  • Free shipping at Joe Fresh and Shoppers Drug Mart
  • No pick up fees at PC Express
  • Exclusive offers on PC Insiders Collection
  • One surprise gift

As you can see, PC Insiders comes packed with benefits. Yes, there is a fee for the service, but if you subscribe to the annual plan, you get an annual credit of $99 at PC Travel which practically makes joining free. If you use my referral code BC1504, you’ll get 25% off the annual fee so you’ll actually come out ahead.

Some people might say they never use PC Travel so that doesn’t apply to them, but PC Travel is a full-service travel agency. If you travel even once a year, just use them to book something that has a minimum value of $99 so your PC Insiders subscription is basically free. I’ve booked flights via PC travel and have even seen some hotels that offer you PC Optimum points when you book with them.

The other major benefit of PC insiders is the increased earn rate. When the program was launched, many people focused on the baby diapers and formula since it seemed that Loblaws was trying to compete against Wal Mart and Amazon, but I think Joe Fresh and PC Black Label products are where you really win.

Joe Fresh already has incredibly affordable clothes. With a PC Insiders, you’re basically getting 20% off in points on every purchase which is huge. You also get 20% back in points on PC Black Label purchases which is great since you’re able to get high-quality food products at a discount.

The no fee grocery pick up with PC Express was one thing I didn’t think would matter, but it’s become my favourite thing about the PC Insiders program. Basically, you can order your groceries online and then pick them up in-store. When you arrive, your groceries are delivered right to your car! The reason PC Express is so attractive is that you no longer need to spend time going through grocery aisles for the things you need. All you need to do is order them online and someone will collect them for you. Some people are concerned about the quality of the produce or the expiry dates on items, but I’ve never had an issue.

As someone who has been using PC Insiders for a few months now, I can report that it’s a winner. Getting free grocery pickups is reason enough for my PC Insiders review to be positive, but it’s crazy how many extra points I’ve earned without changing my shopping habits.

Maximizing your PC Optimum points

In case you’re not familiar with PC Optimum, you can redeem 10,000 points for $10 in groceries or merchandise. Points are earned through targeted offers and in-store promos. However, if you have one of the PC Mastercards, then you would earn points on all your purchases.

For example, the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard gives you 30 points for every $1 spent at participating stores where PC products are sold. You also earn 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart. That means your credit card gives you a 3% and 4.5% return in PC Optimum points respectively at those stores. That’s a crazy high earn rate for a credit card with no annual fee and it’s arguably better than some of the best travel credit cards in Canada. You can read my full review of the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard here.

World Elite Mastercards typically have a higher income requirement, but PC Financial also has an entry-level card in the PC Financial Mastercard which earns you 25 PC Optimum Points per $1 dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart and 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Credit cards are a great way to earn points, but the in-store promos are what really earn you some crazy amount of points. For example, Joe Fresh recently had a promo where you would get 10,000 PC Optimum points when you spend $50. That promo stacks with PC Insiders so that would mean you would have earned 40% back in PC Optimum points during that promo.

These types of promotions also happen at Shoppers Drug Mart on a regular basis so make sure you’re signed up for their newsletter.

Final thoughts

My PC Insiders review is positive. Some people may think paying a monthly or annual fee for a grocery store loyalty program is insane, but when you look at the value you get, it’s clear that you can come out ahead. Remember to use my referral code BC1504 to get 25% off the annual subscription fee.