Once upon a time there were 2 separate and relatively popular rewards programs: PC Plus, which you would use when you got groceries, and Shoppers Optimum, which you would use at Shoppers Drug Marts.
Then one day those 2 programs were merged into a single program – PC Optimum rewards, and, after a few initial hiccups, it has become one of the most popular loyalty rewards programs in Canada.
If you shop anywhere you can earn PC Optimum rewards, you should probably sign up and get yourself a collector card. It’s super easy to collect points, and they have real value you can use for all kinds of everyday purchases, ranging from toiletries and groceries to high end electronics and games.
PC Optimum at a glance
|Value of a PC Optimum reward point:||0.01 cent per point (CPP)|
|Ways to redeem PC Optimum reward points:||* Redeem for purchases at participating retailers
* Points must be redeemed in 10,000 point increments, where each 10,000 points is worth $10
|How to earn PC Optimum Reward Points:||* PC Optimum collector card
* PC Optimum mobile app
* 3 PC Financial Mastercards
* PC Optimum bonus offers
* PC Insider membership
|Who these rewards are good for:||* Canadians who want to save money on everyday essentials|
|Frequently Asked Questions:||* Level of flexibility? Medium
* Do rewards expire? No
* Is there a way to earn rewards faster? Yes
* How do I sign up for PC Optimum Rewards?
* Can rewards be transferred to other programs? No
PC Optimum points value
Figuring out the value of your PC Optimum points is very simple, because these points have a standard and consistent value of 0.1 cent each.
You can’t redeem points until you have collected at least 10,000 points, but once you do, you can redeem every 10,000 points for $10 off your purchase.
The maximum you can redeem in any single purchase is 500,000 points, or $500.
Ways to redeem your PC Optimum points
As soon as you have collected 10,000 PC Optimum points, you can redeem them 10,000 at a time for $10 off your purchases at any participating stores, or online at the Shoppers Drug Mart or JoeFresh websites.
Unfortunately you cannot redeem your PC Optimum points at Esso or Mobil gas stations. You can collect points at these places, of course, which you can then redeem at the nearly 2,500 other participating Loblaws stores.
PC Optimum locations
PC Optimum is owned by the Canadian retail conglomerate Loblaws companies, and you can collect PC Optimum points at most of the stores that fall under that larger umbrella. These include the following stores.
- No Frills
- Real Canadian Superstores
- The Independent Grocer
- Wholesale Club
- Independent CityMarket
- Atlantic Superstore
- Shoppers Drug Mart
If you’re like me, you probably didn’t realize that you could collect PC Optimum points at all these places. Just keep in mind most of these stores will only give you points through bonus offers. The only stores with regular earn rates on every purchase are Shoppers Drug Mart banner stores, and at Esso and Mobil gas stations.
How and where to earn PC Optimum points
For the most part, to collect PC Optimum points, you have to shop at participating stores, but there are a few ways you can easily crank up how quickly you collect these valuable rewards.
Register for the PC Optimum rewards program
First and foremost, you need to sign up for the PC Optimum program on the PC Optimum website.
At this point you’ll be prompted to enter your first and last name, and given the choice to opt in to the weekly PC Optimum offers newsletter (which can get you lots of bonus points as we’ll outline below).
The next step involves linking a PC Optimum card and/or a PC Financial credit card to your account. If you have neither of these yet, you’ll still have the option to access your card through the PC Optimum app, which we talk about in more detail shortly.
Get a PC Optimum collector card
If you don’t have a PC Optimum collector card yet, you can get one at any of the Loblaws-owned stores, such as No Frills, any of the Superstores, or Shoppers Drug Mart.
Once you have a card you can start using it right away, even before linking it to your account.
You should link that card to your PC Optimum account, however, so all your points properly accumulate into your account. You can link your card through the website at any time.
PC Optimum app
The PC Optimum app is a very convenient way to:
- collect rewards,
- keep track of the points you’ve collected,
- see a detailed breakdown of the points you’ve received for each transaction,
- get personalized offers that match your spending habits,
- and see flyers from your favourite participating stores.
You don’t even have to carry your regular PC Optimum card with you if you use the app – you can bring up a scannable barcode right on your phone that shops can use instead.
Once you get in the habit of using the app, you’ll find yourself collecting even more points with the personalized offers. It’ll also help you be aware of the various bonus offers that are available.
PC Financial credit cards
You can also link your PC Financial credit card to your PC Optimum account. Every time you use your credit card, you’ll earn bonus PC Optimum points to add to your collection.
None of the PC Financial credit cards have an annual fee, and you can ramp up your PC Optimum points collecting even faster if you use one.
So, how many bonus points can you earn with these credit cards?
|PC Financial World Elite Mastercard||PC Financial World Mastercard||PC Financial Mastercard|
|Points on in-store purchases||30 points per $1 spent||20 points per $1 spent||10 points per $1 spent|
|Points on Shoppers Drug Mart purchases*||45 points per $1 spent||35 points per $1 spent||25 points per $1 spent|
|Points on Esso fuel purchases (per litre)*||20 points per litre||20 points per litre||20 points per litre|
|Points on purchases at PC Travel||30 points per $1 spent||20 points per $1 spent||20 points per $1 spent|
|Points on purchases everywhere else||10 points per $1 spent||10 points per $1 spent||10 points per $1 spent|
* These totals include points earned as a regular PC Optimum member.
Given that PC Optimum often has bonus offers where you can earn thousands of extra points in a single transaction, these may seem like relatively small potatoes, but they add up pretty quickly if you use your PC Financial credit card regularly.
Other top credit cards to use at Loblaws banner stores
If you’re not interested in maximizing your PC Optimum points by using a PC Financial credit card, there are other credit cards you can use at Loblaws stores.
It may actually be in your best interests to do so, because you can use a credit card to earn other rewards — such as AIR MILES or just straight cash back — while also earning PC Optimum points by presenting your PC Optimum card or app.
Here’s a quick overview of some of our top alternative credit cards you might consider.
|Credit Card||Welcome Bonus||Earn Rates||Annual Fee||Apply Now|
|Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite||Earn 10% cash back for the first 3 months, up to $2,000 in spend (terms)||* 4% cash back on recurring bills and grocery purchases
* 2% cash back on gas and daily transit
* 1% cash back on all other purchases
|Brim World Elite Mastercard||Earn up to $500 in bonuses after making your first purchases with participating retailers (terms)||* 2 points per $1 spent (up to $25,000 spent annually)
* 1 point per $1 spent after that
|Brim Mastercard||Earn up to $200 in bonuses after making your first purchases with participating retailers (terms)||* 1 point for every $1 spent||$0||Apply Now|
|BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard||2,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months (terms)||* 1 mile for every $10 spent on all purchases||$120||Apply Now|
|MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard||5,000 bonus points after spending $500 or more in the first 3 months (terms)||* 4 points for every $1 spend on eligible gas, groceries, and restaurants spent in the first 90 days
* 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible gas, groceries, and restaurants
* 1 point for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
|Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card||None||* 2% Money-Back on purchases in up to 3 categories of your choice
* 0.5% Money-Back on all other purchases
So, what do these cards have to offer?
Combined with 2% cash back on gas, and 1% cash back on everything else, this is a solid card to consider using to really maximize the rewards you earn at the grocery store.
Brim Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point, and can be redeemed in the form of statement credits – so they’re essentially cash back.
Combined with the stunning 15 kinds of insurance coverages the card comes with, this card is worth another look.
If you’re looking for a good cash back card with no annual fee, the
Are you an avid AIR MILES collector? Then the
It has one of the best AIR MILES earn rates of 1 mile for every $10 spent on all credit card purchases, which is double the normal AIR MILES earn rate. Combine that with your PC Optimum card, and you’ll be racking up rewards all over the place.
If you’re looking for a super flexible travel rewards card, the
And finally we have the
Maximizing your PC Optimum points
So we’ve already touched on a few of these, but here’s our quick list of ways you can maximize your PC Optimum points collection.
Sign up for weekly personalized PC Optimum offers
We all already get way too much email, but this one may be worth signing up for. Once a week you’ll receive an email from PC Optimum reminding you to check your app or PC Optimum account for this week’s personalized offers.
You will have to “load” these offers by checking your app or account, however, so be sure to click that button when the email arrives.
Get a PC Financial Mastercard
We already talked about this above, but if you’re really keen on collecting PC Optimum points as quickly as possible, getting one of the PC Financial Mastercards will let you earn points anywhere you shop.
Download and use the PC Optimum app
Having the app doesn’t increase how quickly you collect PC Optimum points, but it is a really convenient way to collect and redeem points, stay on top of the current bonus offers, and track how many points you’ve collected.
Watch for special earning and redemption days
Every so often PC Optimum will have a significant bonus offer where you can collect a huge number of points.
For example, just this past weekend I saw that Shoppers Drug Mart was offering 20x points if you spent $50 or more. Simply by going in and buying a bunch of everyday items we already needed, I scored an extra 14,250 points. That’s over $14 in value.
And this week I have another offer for 25,000 bonus points if I spend $75 or more at Shoppers Drug Mart. That’s another $25 in value, just for doing my regular old shopping.
Maintain multiple accounts in a household
While it’s possible for you to share your PC Optimum account with your spouse, it really makes sense for you to have separate accounts.
Most PC Optimum bonus offers are only available once per account, so if you’re sharing an account you can only use it once. If you both have an account, you can each take advantage of an offer, effectively doubling your rewards.
If you want to maximize your rewards, it just makes sense for each person in your household to have their own account.
Stock up on items when you can max out your points
When you do find these big bonus offers, why not stock up on essentials to take full advantage? You may not need $75 worth of toilet paper or pantry items right now, but if you can get 25,000 points it might make sense to stock up, especially if those items are also on sale.
When I took advantage of the 20x points at Shoppers Drug Mart, it was by stocking up on shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, and other toiletries, all of which was on sale for at least 50% off.
The result? I got over $100 worth of toiletries for just over $50, and I got over $14 worth of bonus PC Optimum points. What’s not to love about that?
Stack promotions if you can
Planning this sort of thing can be a bit trickier, because it’s hard to be really sure which promotions will or won’t stack.
Your best bet is to keep an eye out for bonus point days and spend a bit of time going through the offers available that week to maximize the points you’ll get.
Get your gas at Esso or Mobil
While you can’t use your PC Optimum points to buy gas, you can earn points for every litre you buy. If you also use your PC Financial credit card, you’ll earn even more rewards just for filling up at Esso or Mobil stations.
Join PC Insiders
Finally, PC Optimum has the “PC Insiders” club. For $9.99 a month you can earn extra points, get free shipping, and get free online grocery pickup at participating stores.
If you get an annual PC Insider subscription for $99, not only will you save money on your membership, you’ll also get a $99 travel credit (making membership essentially free), and an annual surprise gift just for being a member.
On top of this, members can get huge point bonuses for some things. For example, right now PC Insiders can get 200 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent on products from the PC Black Label collection, Joe Fresh, or selected items on the Shoppers Drug Mart website.
And this is in addition to the points you’ll already get at participating retailers.
How flexible is the PC Optimum rewards program?
PC Optimum is moderately flexible. You can only earn and redeem points at retailers that are part of the larger Loblaws conglomerate, but these retailers sell a wide variety of everyday essentials like groceries, toiletries, and gas.
Can I use PC Optimum points to buy gas?
Unfortunately, you cannot use PC Optimum points to pay for gas at Esso and Mobil stations. You will earn points for those purchases, however, which you can then use at any of the other almost 2,500 participating retailers.
Do PC Optimum points expire?
PC Optimum points to not expire. You can start redeeming them as soon as you collect 10,000 points, and you can redeem up to 500,000 points in a single transaction ($500).
Can I use PC Optimum points to pay taxes on purchases?
You may not be able to use PC Optimum points to cover taxes on purchases at certain participating retailers. There’s no set list of which stores don’t allow you to use points to cover taxes on purchases, but they’ll let you know when you’re making purchases.
How can I maximize my PC Optimum points?
We actually cover a few different ways here, but the most important things are to make sure you use your PC Optimum card or app whenever you can, consider getting a PC Financial Mastercard, and making sure you sign up for the weekly PC Optimum newsletter. If you’re the sort to join clubs, the PC Insiders club is also a great way to get bonus points.
Are there any disadvantages to the PC Optimum program?
The only real disadvantage is that you can only collect rewards at participating retailers, so you’re not going to earn these rewards on everything you buy. You can offset this by signing up for other reward programs like AIR MILES or Aeroplan, or by getting a really good cash back credit card to maximize rewards in other ways.
How can I sign up for the PC Optimum rewards program?
You’ll have to go to the PC Optimum website and register for an account. You’ll also have to either get one of the PC Optimum collector cards at a participating store, or install the PC Optimum app on your smartphone.
The PC Optimum program had a few issues when first started, but those have all been cleared up. It’s an incredibly popular rewards program in Canada now, and by paying a little bit of attention to how and where you earn points, you can really maximize the value you get from it.
Are you a PC Insider? Do you think this program is worth the subscription fees?
What are your top tips for maximizing your PC Optimum rewards?
Let us know in the comments.