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)
  • 25,000 PC Optimum points when using a referral link
  • 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
  • Surprise gift every year for annual subscribers

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 25,000 PC Optimum points for free when you sign up for an annual subscription. That’s $25 for free!

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 should mention that if you want to use this credit for hotels, there is a three-night minimum. There is no minimum for flights which is where I usually use my PC Travel credit.

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.

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

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 25,000 points for free when you sign up for an annual subscription.

PC Insiders Review | Get 25,000 points for free

43 Comments

  1. Josh Haskins on March 14, 2019 at 11:42 PM

    It’s 10,000 points for $10 off, not 1,000 as your article says.

    • Barry Choi on March 15, 2019 at 5:52 AM

      Josh,

      Good catch, that was typo on my end. The article has been updated.

      • Echo on May 15, 2019 at 2:17 AM

        Hi Barry, is the product price higher when you use PC Express than the price in store?

        • Barry Choi on May 15, 2019 at 9:07 AM

          Echo,

          Nope, it’s the same price as your local store and you also get access to the same flyer deals.

        • Kathy White on July 25, 2020 at 12:55 PM

          unless you’re getting it delivered via instacart. Then it’s definitely 10-20% higher. Instacart charges more for PC Express items.

  2. Annette Davis on April 29, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    Nice review. Thanks. I just got an offer for PC Insiders for a year free of charge. Googled is it worth paying for and your article came up. I do occasionally use PC Express. So yes, I’m going to try it out. I pay for everything on my World Elite card and it is amazing how the points just keep adding up and up.

    • Barry Choi on April 29, 2019 at 3:30 PM

      Annette,

      It really is a game changer IMO. PC Express saves you so much time and the added PC optimum points are huge. It’s totally worth renewing after too since you get the annual travel credit.

    • Marc Mung on April 29, 2019 at 10:53 PM

      Same here! Got the email for free 1 year and googled the program and this article popped up. I wonder if I can cancel the subscription after accepting it but am still able to use it for the 1 year. I don’t want to forget about it and get surprised with a bill for 99$

      • Barry Choi on April 30, 2019 at 8:19 AM

        Marc,

        With cards I plan to cancel, I typically set a calendar reminder about 1 month before the annual fee is due. If you shop at Loblaw’s owned stores, I think you’ll quickly see the value of PC Insiders.

    • Dean on September 20, 2019 at 8:56 PM

      I got mine free too and I love it. Never go in the store unless I want to, quick and easy online ordering and when booking through PC travel if you find a better rate elsewhere they will match it and give you 25000 points. I did that twice recently booking 2 hotels for the same trip across 2 days.

  3. Beau Humphreys on May 10, 2019 at 10:33 AM

    Thanks for writing this Barry! My wife and I were just discussing and it makes so much sense. You confirmed some of the things we were wondering about.

    • Barry Choi on May 10, 2019 at 11:24 AM

      It’ll definitely make your life easier especially with a little one. PC Organics makes a lot of baby food and the PC Express free pickup will save you a lot of time at the grocery store.

  4. amna h on May 13, 2019 at 10:25 PM

    your article covers everything but I want to know if you have optimum app offers plus pc credit car plus pc insiders subscription then do you get all the points? for example if there is get 10,000 when you spend $50 on joe fresg on my pc app then I use my PC elite credit card to pay for it and also have pc insiders, how will that work? I am considering paying for it. those who got free trial offer are so lucky!

    • Barry Choi on May 14, 2019 at 10:01 AM

      Amna,

      They all stack. You would get the 10K points when you spend $50. You would then get 20% in PC Optimum points which is another 10K points and then 30 points for every $1 spent with your PC Financial World Elite Mastercard which is 1,500 points for a total of 21,500 points or just over 40% cash-back.

  5. DAPHNIE on May 17, 2019 at 9:18 PM

    Barry!

    Im still a bit confused here. So i signed up for the annual subscription and it mentioned that it will add 50,000 welcome bonus points for upgrading to the pc insider on top of the other benefits it is mentioned. Its been around 10 days and i did not see the points added to my points card yet. How come?
    Thanks
    Daphnie

    • Barry Choi on May 18, 2019 at 6:57 AM

      Hey Daphne,

      I’m not familiar with this promo so you’d have to check with PC Optimum directly. That being said, it usually takes a few weeks for any bonus points to show up.

  6. SF on May 29, 2019 at 5:46 AM

    Pc is offering 100k bonus points for ppl who get one of their credit cards by June 6. I’m interested in the world elite credit card but I’m afraid of getting denied, even though I have an excellent credit score. If I do get rejected, would they at least give me the world mastercard or the entry level one?

    • Barry Choi on May 29, 2019 at 7:02 AM

      SF,

      The World Elite Mastercard has a personal income requirement of $80K or household income of $150K. If you don’t meet those requirements, you could apply for the PC Financial World card which has an income requirement of $60K/100K

  7. Deborah on June 4, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    It’s not 100% “free” – you pay tax on the $99 annual fee (so it cost $114 for me in Nova Scotia) but the travel credit is only $99 and has restrictions (minimum 3 nights hotel or use it for flights). The surprise box was probably worth at least $15 but it was things I would not have bought. I got an intro offer last year of 100k points for subscribing so it was worth it. I was able to call months ahead and cancel effective on the renewal date.

  8. Craig on June 4, 2019 at 11:44 AM

    Hey Barry, love your site and all the information. Quick question if you know. Would i accumulate more points spending our $800/month on groceries at Superstore with the PC Financial Mastercard/PC Insiders or putting it right on my Scotia Visa Infinite?

    • Barry Choi on June 4, 2019 at 3:32 PM

      Craig,

      I suspect you may come out ahead with the Scotia Visa Infinite since you’d earn 4% in cash-back vs. 3% cash-back equivalent vs. the PC Financial World ELite Mastercard. You should still sign up for PC Optimum as you’ll still be able to take advantage of in-store and targetted offers.

      • Craig on June 4, 2019 at 3:40 PM

        Thanks Barry! I guess the only difference would be we would need to use the credit for travel with the Passport instead of food on the MC.

  9. C on June 4, 2019 at 12:43 PM

    Hi Barry,

    I joined early this year,but didn’t see any bonus posted at all.

    Do you know the phone number I should call?

    Thanks.

    • Barry Choi on June 4, 2019 at 3:58 PM

      C,

      This is the number I found for customer care on the website 1-866-PC POINTS (727-6468)

  10. fbgcai on June 4, 2019 at 2:05 PM

    a couple of observations:
    @ SF – good luck getting the bonus PC points – I applied for card last Dec, was approved ; card issued and I’ve been using it but the request/demand as to why the bonus points have not been credited have been “under investigation” since I raised the issue in Feb. – my thinking is they are hoping for me to give up

    @ Barry
    I received the ‘free’ offer to PC Insider so I thought I’d give PC express a try – it was a complete and utter failure
    1) the ordering website is a piece of junk – it DEMANDS you to save a credit card before processing the order but it doesn’t tell you that – took over 30 minutes with a totally clueless help desk to finally get the order processed – I solved the problem
    2) the order was not ready when promised even though they send a confirmation email
    3) I was charged a ‘convenience fee’ even though PC express is supposed to be free for PC Insiders
    4) there were missing PC points on the stuff I bought

    so something that would have taken about 10 minutes – walk in store, pick stuff up, pay, leave ended up costing me about 1.5 hours of time – some convenience

    Also I find there is a bit of a ‘yuck’ factor in having some else picking out my groceries – ok for packaged /canned goods i guess, but fresh veggies, baked goods and meat – no thanks – I’m know the pickers are not as careful as I would be – I’ve seen them in action in the store – not a pretty sight..

    PC insiders even if free is worthless and I’ve had less than stellar results with PC Optimum.

    • Barry Choi on June 4, 2019 at 3:58 PM

      fbgcai,

      From my experience, PC Express has been flawless. I get a call when my order is ready and they even confirm I’m okay with the expiry dates on any baked goods. The vegetables and fruit are always in good condition too. If you got charged the convenience fee, your account may not have been linked to your PC Insiders account, but I’m not sure how that’s possible.

      • fbgcai on June 4, 2019 at 6:09 PM

        well PC Express could explain the complete fail either – lame ” I’m sorry that happened” – they are not getting a second chance. YMMV

  11. Craig on June 4, 2019 at 3:42 PM

    We use it weekly and it is great.. We are busy with a family and would rather have someone pick our order.. As for the yuck factor, have you seen people finger all the stuff while it is out. It ain’t clean if you pick it yourself.

    • fbgcai on June 4, 2019 at 6:12 PM

      each to his own

  12. C on June 4, 2019 at 4:10 PM

    Thanks Barry.

  13. Kayla on June 28, 2019 at 2:21 PM

    After you sign up when do you receive free gift

    • Barry Choi on June 28, 2019 at 8:01 PM

      THere’s no set time each year. They just send it out.

  14. Rowan Henry on July 13, 2019 at 8:13 PM

    Do you get points for no name brand or just PC brand? Thanks.

    • Barry Choi on July 13, 2019 at 8:19 PM

      Rowan,

      With PC Insiders, you 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.

      You do not earn extra points on NO Name products. That said, if you have a PC Mastercard, you earn points on all your purchases.

  15. Cathy on July 19, 2019 at 7:31 AM

    Another plus factor with PC Express is that you can price match! You do it on their website, or by emailing them when you get home. I love that I’m able to do this 🙂

  16. Nelson on September 29, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    I have had very few issues with PC Express. I think you have to be willing to give up a little control for convenience. For items, you don’t want someone else to pick for you, go instore and buy them, before your scheduled pick-up time. We do this for items they were unable to substitute or just wanted to pick ourselves.

    We get really specific in the comments for certain items like milk and creamer where we specify how long expiry dates should be like 10 days for milk or creamer etc. so we don’t end up with an item expiring in 5 or 6 days.

    Also, a little tip when using your 99$ PC travel credit. Sometimes hotels you want, or other deals do not appear on the PC Travel website. No worries if it’s offered on Expedia.ca, you let them know, and they will book it for you through Expedia and you get all the points. As long as you talk with an agent. I found this out last year when trying to book my flight and hotel stay in New York. I booked my flight and mentioned that I would book the hotel too, but I could not find the hotel on the PC Travel site, it was on Expedia. I did the same this past summer. All 3 hotels available on Expedia, but not PC Travel, not a problem. It’s actually better now since they give you the 99$ credit the current transaction, instead of sending you a cheque a few weeks later like before.

    • Barry Choi on September 29, 2019 at 12:27 PM

      Hey Nelson,

      Great tips! I’m not sure if this is for all PC Express stores, but the one I order from always calls me and asks if X expiry date okay before I come pick it up. With bread, the expiry date is always “close” to my pick up date, but I’ve never had any issues with dairy. That said, I like your idea about just leaving a comment about what’s accceptable.

  17. Lau on December 16, 2019 at 4:06 PM

    Hi Barry I’m new to pc optimum and just sign up to pc insiders to avail the free for the first month.. I ordered at fortinos pc express, used my Pc mastercard and pick it up. But I can’t see any points from my recent grocery from pc insiders? How many days should it reflect? Or i didn’t get any points because I avail the free month for pc insiders?

    • Barry Choi on December 16, 2019 at 5:49 PM

      Lau,

      With PC Insiders, you only earn 200 points per $1 spent on select items e.g. PC Organics products. Besides that, if you don’t have a PC Financial Mastercard, you’d only earn PC Optimum points on in-store promos or targeted offers. If you think you’re still missing points, you’d have to contact them directly and put in a missing points request.

  18. C. A. Fitz on April 29, 2020 at 3:38 PM

    I tried this plan for 6 months and earned exact 0 of anything. If you are just a basic shopper and it is the worst subscription plan ever. I wouldn’t recommend it. Wish I could get my $60 back as I seriously regret just giving PC my money for nothing. Seriously angry about the whole thing.

    • Barry Choi on April 29, 2020 at 3:48 PM

      C.A. Fitz,

      Not that you can use it now, but don’t forget you get a $99 PC Travel credit.

  19. Sheida on June 7, 2020 at 11:06 AM

    I purchased Luxury Beauty products on Shoppers website. They had x20 promotions and so they didn’t give me the 200 points per dollar for my insider subscription. I contacted customer service and they replied: insider points are not stacked with promotions. Are you sure it works with Joe Fresh? Have you tried it yourself? Because they sometimes trick you.
    As shoppers often runs good promotions on the Luxury Beauty products, I don’t see any advantage for becoming PC Insider and pay subscription fees as points are not stackable!

    • Barry.Choi on June 7, 2020 at 12:51 PM

      Sheida,

      I was indeed able to take advantage of the Joe Fresh promo I mentioned. I did notice that not every promo stacks with PC Insiders. You have to read the fine print of the promotion you’re trying to take advantage of. One time I was able to stack three promos. Get $400 when you redeem 250K PC Optimum points, 20X the points when you spend $75 or more and additional points on Dyson products. The Dyson product I was buying was $500, but I ended up paying about $30 after factoring all the discounts.

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