Canadian Pharmacies and Credit Cards
Most pharmacies in Canada are grouped under banners: Brunet, Familiprix, Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix, Proxim, Uniprix… While some have chosen to be part ofa loyalty program (Pharmaprix with PC Optimum or Jean Coutu with AIR MILES), others do not.
However, it should be remembered that many purchases are ineligible for earning points & miles such as:
- prescriptions and products covered by the Pharmacy Act and its regulations
- postal services
- lottery tickets
- gift cards / prepaid cards
But then? How do you earn more points for all your pharmacy purchases? By having the RIGHT credit card for all pharmacies… or depending on the banner you usually use.
And check out two tips at the end of the article that could earn you… lots of points & miles for your pharmacy purchases!
The best credit cards for ALL pharmacies
Here, we’ll look at cards that offer more points, miles and cash back for all purchases made at any pharmacy.
So, if you are used to going to 2-3 different banners depending on where you work or live, it can be handy to have an “all-terrain” map!
In this sense, 3 cards stand out:
American Express Gold Rewards card
The American ExpressMD Gold Rewards Card is one of the most well-known American Express cards. It allows to accumulate:
- 2 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent at the pharmacy (as well as grocery stores, gas stations and travel purchases)
- 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar of purchase everywhere else.
According to our evaluation, 1 privilege point = 1.7 cents, which means that for every dollar you spend at the pharmacy, you could get a return of about 3.4 cents.
- Transfers to airline programs (Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club…) to obtain airline tickets
- Transferred to hotel programs (Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors) for free hotel nights
- Applied as a credit to the account for travel or everyday expenses
- Used to save money on airline tickets via the American Express flat fee schedule
As of 01/08/2019, changes have taken place regarding this card, and the cash back is as follows:
- 4% cash back on groceries and recurring payments
- 2% cash back at gas stations and local transportation
- 1% cash back everywhere else (including pharmacies)
The Tangerine Mastercard Discount Card
The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card has the advantage of no annual fee from year to year and the choice of categories in which you want to earn more rebates:
- 2% cash back in 2 to 3 categories of stores(pharmacies, grocery stores, furniture, restaurants…)
- 0.5% cash back everywhere else
Thus, by choosing the “Pharmacy” category, you will be able to earn 2% cash back on all your pharmacy purchases!
The best credit cards for JEAN COUTU pharmacies
Jean Coutu drugstores are linked with the AIR MILES loyalty program. Therefore, it will be advantageous to use an AIR MILES credit card to make your purchases at Jean Coutu drugstores.
The AIR MILES credit cards that collect the most AIR MILES miles at JEAN COUTU pharmacies are
- AIR MILESMD* Platinum credit card from American ExpressMD: 1 AIR MILES mile per $10 in pharmacy purchases
- BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard: 1 AIR MILES mile for every $10 in purchases everywhere, including Jean Coutu drugstores
- BMO® AIR MILES® Mastercard®*: 2 AIR MILES miles for every $20 in purchases at AIR MILES Partners
The best credit cards for Pharmaprix stores
Pharmaprix / Shoppers Drug Mart are linked with the PC Optimum loyalty program. So, if you use a President’s Choice Financial credit card (which also contains your PC Optimum loyalty card) you will earn additional points.
As a reminder, PC Optimum members earn 15 PC Optimum points for every dollar spent with their loyalty card (on eligible expenses).
There are 3 President’s Choice credit cards that earn PC Optimum points:
- President’s Choice Financial Mastercard: 25 PC Optimum points / $ at Shoppers Drug Mart
- President’s Choice Financial World Mastercard: 35 PC Optimum points / $ at Shoppers Drug Mart
- President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard: 45 PC Optimum points / $ at Shoppers Drug Mart
Two tips for earning points & miles at the pharmacy
Now that you know which credit card to use for your pharmacy purchases, let’s discover 2 tips that could help you earn lots of points & miles!
Gift cards purchased in pharmacies
Pharmacies are a great place to find gift cards for many businesses: SAQ, Amazon, Gap, Netflix…
By using the right credit card to purchase these drugstore gift cards, you maximize your point accumulation!
So instead of getting 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar by buying your bottle of wine directly at the SAQ, go to your local pharmacy and buy an SAQ gift card: you will then get 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar!
Don't let the insurance company pay for you immediately!
If you are covered by private/group insurance, you have probably given all this valuable information to your pharmacist so that the insurance will cover its part and you will only have to pay the difference at your pharmacy counter.
By doing so, you just lost a great opportunity to earn points & miles!
Of course, it is possible to make up for the situation: tell your pharmacist that you now wish to pay directly for your medication by credit card (and therefore earn points in the process) and that you will make your own arrangements with your insurance company to obtain reimbursement!
This tip is valid for most of your health expenses (like the dentist for example…!) and is part of our list of tips to collect points and/or unlock welcome bonuses!
At the end of the year, it’s all these little habits that will make the difference when it comes to using your points:
- use the right credit card in the right place
- consider gift cards to maximize point accumulation
- consider putting everything on your credit card rather than having the insurance pay for you