PC Optimum Points is one of the most popular loyalty programs in Canada. It’s probably the #1 retail loyalty program in the country and you should definitely join it if you’re not already a member. In case you didn’t know, PC Optimum is the merged program of Optimum and PC Plus. This merger took place in early 2018 so you’re now able to earn PC Optimum points at some of the top grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and more.

According to a recent survey from PC Financial, 49% of Canadians said they’ve blown their holiday budget, while 74% said holiday spending is a source of stress. That said, 69% said they were likely to spend loyalty points to offset holiday costs and reduce stress. In other words, you can use your PC Optimum points to your advantage.

If you’re already a collector of PC Optimum Points or if you’re new to the game, there are actually quite a few ways to earn even more PC Points. In fact, you should be following all of my tips below since you’ll end up saving quite a bit of money on groceries and merchandise.

Where can I earn PC Optimum points?

Since PC Optimum Points is owned by Loblaws, you can earn points at pretty much all of their stores and gas station partners which include:

  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Pharmaprix
  • Loblaws
  • No Frills
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Fortino’s
  • Independent CityMarket
  • Valu-mart
  • Zehrs
  • Atlantic Superstore
  • Maxi
  • Dominion
  • Joe Fresh
  • Esso
  • Mobil

Esso and Mobil aren’t owned by Loblaws, they’re just their gas station partner so you can earn PC Optimum points there, but you can’t redeem your points. I should also mention that although Loblaws owns T&T Supermarket, you can’t earn or redeem PC Optimum points there.

How to redeem PC Optimum points

At Loblaws owned stores, you can redeem 10,000 PC Optimum points for $10 which can be applied to groceries or merchandise. 10,000 PC Optimum points is the minimum redemption value but you can claim in 10,000 increments e.g. 20,000 points =  $20, 40,000 PC Optimum points = $40. There is a maximum redemption of 500,000 PC Optimum points or $500 per transaction. That said, as you’ll find out below, there are ways to get more value out of your PC Optimum points redemptions.

How to earn more PC Points

PC Optimum is no different from any other loyalty program in the sense that if you really understand how it works, you can actually maximize your points. What I mean is that there are plenty of ways to earn more PC Optimum points and there are also some ideal times to spend your PC Optimum points. I’m not even kidding when I say you can earn 50%+ back in points on purchases. Here are ways to maximize your PC Optimum points.

Load your offers

Every week you get an email with your new offers, but these offers don’t become valid until you login to your account or open the app. This is obviously a way for PC Optimum to get you to look at the offers, but it’s a requirement so make sure you do it. The app usually gives you extra points for items you normally purchase as a way to get you back in the store. For example, some of my offers for extra PC Optimum points include get 400 points for every $2 spent on PC Appletreet Sauce, 400 points for every $2 spend on PC Mayonnaise and 600 points for every $3 spent on PC cereal.

Stock up on items when it makes sense

From time to time, you’ll get some incredible PC Optimum offers such as get 5,000 points when you spend $10 on General Mills cereal. Well, 5,000 points are worth $5, so you can basically get your cereal at 50% off. In this case, you might as well stock up on cereal and collect all those extra PC Optimum points.

If by chance you get an offer that you can’t use that week, if you click the offer, there’s an option to save it for next week so you can load up then or just buy what you normally would, when you need it.

Use a PC Financial Mastercard

What many PC Optimum points collectors don’t realize is that unless you have a PC Financial Mastercard, you’ll only earn PC points on in-store promotions and targeted offers. If you get a PC Financial Mastercard, you’ll earn points on ALL of your purchases. The PC Financial Mastercards available are as follows:

  • PC Financial Mastercard
  • PC Financial World Mastercard
  • PC Financial World Elite Mastercard

The PC Financial Mastercard has no minimum income requirement and gives 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. This is great considering the card has no annual fee, but things become really lucrative if you have a personal income of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000. At that income, you’ll qualify for the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard which gives you 45 PC Optimum Points per $1 dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, 30 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent where PC Products are sold and at PC Travel; and 10 PC Optimum Points per $1 spent everywhere else. The PC Financial World Mastercard sits in the middle of the pack and has a personal income requirement of $60,000.

Some people use some of the best travel rewards credit cards in Canada to earn travel rewards, but you’ll usually get a higher return by using a PC Financial Mastercard wherever you can earn PC Optimum points.

Look for special promotions

You can always earn additional PC Optimum points thanks to in-store promotions. Some recent promotions include: earn 7,500 PC Optimum points for every $75 spent on almost anything in Loblaws grocery stores, 15,000 points when you spend $50 or more on almost anything at Shoppers Drug Mart and get 70,000 PC Optimum points when you spend $200 or more on beauty online. Those three offers give you back 10%, 30% and 35% back in PC Optimum points respectively. Shoppers Drug Mart also often has an earn 20X the PC Optimum points on purchases over $75  so you can see how incredibly valuable it can be to shop during bonus PC Optimum points events.

Redeem your PC Optimum points during bonus redemptions

To maximize the value of your PC Optimum points, you should redeem them whenever there’s a bonus event. Over Black Friday / Cyber Monday, Shoppers Drug Mart had their biggest bonus redemption event of the year where you would get $100 off when you redeemed 70,000 PC Optimum points, $200 off when you redeemed 130,000 PC Optimum points and $400 off redemptions of 400,000 PC Optimum points. That was an extra $30, $70 and $150 respectively which is insane. 

These bonus events usually only happen at Shoppers Drug Mart but I believe a similar (but less valuable) promo was also available at Superstore. I’d say these offers happen about twice a year so it can be worth saving your points if you have some bigger expenses coming up.

Stack promotions when you can

A while back Shoppers Drug Mart had a one-day promo where I would get 8,000 PC Optimum points if I spent $30. The weekly flyer at the time also had an offer of 2,000 PC Optimum points when you purchase Head & Shoulders shampoo. Let’s say the shampoo costs $5, if I bought $30 worth, I would have earned a total of 20,000 PC Optimum points (8,000 + 12,000). If I paid with my PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, I would have earned an additional 1,350 PC Optimum points. That’s a total of 21,350 PC Optimum points which has a value of $21.35 on a purchase of $30. In case you’re wondering, that’s a return of 71% in PC Optimum points.

I also took advantage of the recent Black Friday and 20X the points event where I bought a Dyson supersonic hair dryer which has a retail price of $499. I used the following promotions to my advantage.

  • Get $400 in credit when you redeem 250,000 PC Optimum points (regular value $250)
  • 104,485 PC Optimum bonus points earned due to 20X the points on spends over $75
  • 4,500 PC Optimum points earned because I paid with my PC Financial World Elite Mastercard
  • 500 Aeroplan points earned by using the Aeroplan estore to get to Shoppers Drug Mart and then taking advantage of the Aeroplan Black Friday sale

Although the hairdryer cost me $164.99 for the outstanding balance, I earned about $110 in PC Optimum points, plus I got that extra $150 in credit by redeeming my points during a bonus event.

Join PC Insiders

PC Insiders is a subscription-based program that costs $9.99 a month or $99 annually, plus tax. It may sound crazy to pay to join a grocery/retail loyalty program, but when you look at the benefits included, you’ll quickly realize that you can get a lot of value for it.

  • $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, you’ll 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. This is basically 20% back in points on those purchases so there’s a lot of value there. 

Remember that get 400 points for every $2 spent on PC Appletreet Sauce deal I got? Well that’s a PC Organics product which normally costs $2 each. By combining the targeted offer, PC Insiders, and my PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, I’d earn 860 PC Optimum points. That’s a 43% return in points.

If you’re worried about the cost of the membership, the $99 PC Travel credit when you get an annual subscription almost covers the entire cost of the membership. Plus, you can get 25% off your PC Insiders subscription if you use my referral code BC1504. Read my PC Insiders review now for more details about the program. 

Link your accounts

What’s interesting about PC Optimum points is that you can link different accounts into a single family account. My wife and I merged our old Optimum and PC Plus accounts so now everything goes into our one PC Optimum account. Even though the accounts are linked, the offers you get are still personalized within the individual apps. If you have one of the PC Financial Mastercards, then make sure you get supplementary cards so everyone can earn PC Optimum points.

Fill up your gas at Esso or Mobil

On the PC Optimum website, it states that you can earn at least 30 PC Optimum points per litre of gas filled at Esso or Mobil but it’s important to understand how that breaks down. You’ll earn 10 PC Optimum points per purchased litre of gasoline or diesel fuel, 10 PC Optimum points per dollar spent on the card when you pay with your President’s Choice Financial Mastercard, and 10 PC Optimum points per litre of premium gasoline (Octane 89, 91, 93).