In this PC Optimum points guide, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about the program including how to maximize your points. First off, PC Optimum 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.
Since PC Optimum is the loyalty program for Loblaw’s owned grocery stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Esso/Mobil gas stations, it’s best used for people who shop there regularly. Unlike other store loyalty programs, PC Optimum allows you to earn points in multiple ways, and you can even get an increased value for your points when you make a redemption. Read this PC Optimum points guide for all the details.
- PC Optimum points value
- Where can I earn PC Optimum points?
- How to earn PC Optimum points
- How to earn more PC Points?
- How does PC Optimum compare to others?
- Final thoughts
PC Optimum points value
The first thing you’ll want to understand is your PC Optimum points value. The normal redemption rate is 10,000 PC Optimum points for $10 in groceries or merchandise. That gives your points a value of .1 cents each. Which is not bad considering this is a free program to join.
That said, Shoppers Drug Mart regularly has bonus redemption events where they’ll give you a bonus when redeeming points at specific thresholds. The most common bonus redemptions are as follows:
- 70,000 PC Optimum points = $70 plus a $30 bonus points offer for $100
- 130,000 PC Optimum points = $130 plus a $70 bonus points offer for $200
- 250,000 PC Optimum points = $250 plus a $150 bonus points offer for a $400
The best value for your points will always be using them for the maximum possible value during Shoppers Drug Mart bonus redemption events. While it’s true that Shoppers Drug Mart has higher prices compared to say Walmart, it’s still worth saving your points to redeem a high value item that’s the same price as everywhere else. For example, I’ve redeemed a Dyson hairdryer and Nintendo Switch. I’ve also redeemed video games on the lower-tier redemption since they cost close to $100 after taxes.
What many people don’t realize is that you can redeem your points online during these bonus redemption events. Shoppers Drug Mart has more products available online, so it’s a good place to look for things.
Another way to redeem your points is at Esso gas stations. 4,000 PC Optimum points get you 10 cents off per litre up to 40 litres in a single fill. That’s a total of $4, so the value is the same. However, you can also redeem 10,000 points for any car wash package. If you use it on the highest value package, which is usually worth more than $10, you’re getting a good value.
Where can I earn PC Optimum points?
Since PC Optimum is owned by Loblaws, you can earn points at pretty much all of their stores and gas station partners which include:
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- No Frills
- Real Canadian Superstore
- Independent CityMarket
- Atlantic Superstore
- Joe Fresh
- PC Travel
PC Optimum is aimed at people who shop at Loblaws owned grocery stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Esso/Mobil gas stations. Although some people don’t like that you have a limited amount of stores to make your redemptions, that’s not necessarily true. Basically, you can earn PC Optimum points at the largest grocery chain and drug store in Canada. You also get access to a lot of gas stations.
How to earn PC Optimum points
What’s interesting about PC Optimum (and that’s similar to other programs) is that you only earn points in three specific ways. By default, you don’t automatically earn points by joining PC Optimum and shopping at participating stores. There are actually three specific ways you earn PC Optimum points.
If you only have the PC Optimum card, you’ll only earn PC Optimum points whenever there’s an offer. For example, there might be an offer where you get 1,000 PC Optimum points for every $5 you spend on baked goods. This is actually a pretty good offer since it translates to 25% back in points. That said, since you’ll only earn points on in-store offers, it’ll take a very long time for you to accumulate a lot of points.
You’ll get an email every week with targeted 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 recent offers have been targeted towards fruits and vegetables since I’ve been buying those a lot as of late.
It’s also worth mentioning that Loblaws has recently introduced member promotions that are exclusive for PC Optimum members. For example, one time they had an offer of 6,000 points for every $12 you spent on IOGO yogurt. That’s 50% back in points!
Use a PC Financial Mastercard
If you get a PC Financial Mastercard, you’ll earn points on ALL of your purchases regardless of where you shop. 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. If you don’t like using credit cards, consider getting a PC Money Account as it allows you to earn PC Optimum points while using debit.
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.
Save your offers
As mentioned, you’ll get PC Optimum points offers every week. While these offers are great, you may not need them that week. The good thing is that PC Optimum allows you to save your offer for the following week. Just click the offer in your app and then choose to save it for next week. When you do your regular shopping the following week, you’ll have the offer available.
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.
It’s also worth noting that these offers are typically available at all the co-branded stores so you can shop around and save. Using the example above, let’s say General Mills cereal is on sale at No Frills. If you loaded up there, you’d be paying less and earning more points. Every so often you can get 50-70% off items by combining sale items with PC points offers.
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. When you do the math, that’s 30% back in points. Admittedly, Shoppers does cost more than other stores for many items, but 30% back in points is crazy.
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 and additional promos
- 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 earns you extra PC Optimum points. It may sound crazy to pay to join a grocery/retail loyalty program, but when you look at the benefits included, it may be a good value.
- $119 annual fee
- 25,000 PC Optimum points when using a referral link
- Earn 10% back in PC Optimum points on every single PC product
- Free shipping at Joe Fresh and Shoppers Drug Mart
- No pickup fees at PC Express
- 10% back in points on all Joe Fresh purchases
- 5% back in points on PC Travel bookings
- Welcome gift after joining
As you can see, you’ll earn 10% back in PC Optimum points on every single PC product. Since PC Products are typically less expensive than the name brand products, there’s potential to save big here. That said, PC Insiders only really benefits you if you’re getting value out of the annual fee which is $119 plus tax.
The free PC express pickups could make the annual fee worth it, but that assumes you actually use it. You would need to do some rough math to see if paying the annual fee is worth it. 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 PC OPtimum accounts so now everything is pooled. 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).
How does PC Optimum compare to others?
There is no other grocery loyalty program like PC Optimum. Although other stores such as Longo’s and Food Basics have their own rewards programs, they’re very basic and focus more on in-store offers and coupons. Those programs are perfectly acceptable if you shop their regularly, but the return is nowhere near as good as PC Optimum points.
There’s also Rexall Be Well which is the loyalty program for Rexall. Since Rexall directly competes with Shoppers Drug Mart, you need to compare the two programs. Here’s the thing, Rexall’s program is awful. Your earn rate is lower than PC Optimum. Plus, your redemption value is lower. If given the choice between the two programs, go with PC Optimum. That said, if Rexall is the only pharmacy near where you live, then you might as well collect Be Well points.
It’s also worth noting that PC Optimum points are only good if you shop regularly at stores that earn your PC Optimum points and you have a PC World Elite Mastercard. When you have that card, you’re basically earning a 3% return in points at grocery stores. However, there are credit cards that offer you a higher return on grocery purchases. For example, the American Express Cobalt Card gives you 5 points per $1 spent at grocery stores. I consider that an incredible value, which is why I now prefer to shop at Food Basics.
American Express Cobalt Card
- $12.99 Monthly fee ($155.88 yearly)
- 2,500 monthly Membership Rewards points after charging $500 in purchases each month for a year (30,000 points total)
- 20,000 additional points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
- Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eats and drinks
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on streaming services
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
For reference, American Express Membership Rewards points have a value of 1 cent each. That means grocery store purchases are getting you 5% back. However, you can also transfer your points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. I personally value Aeroplan points at 2 cents each, so I feel like I’m getting a 10% return when I grocery shop.
As you’ve quickly learned from this PC Optimum points guide, there are a lot of ways you can earn and redeem your points. The base value of your points is not bad, but you can really extend the value by using them at Shoppers Drug Mart during bonus points events. If you want to earn more PC Optiumum points, then make sure you get one of the PC Financial Mastercards.