Canadian Drugstores and Credit Cards
Most drugstores in Canada are regrouped under banners: Brunet, Familiprix, Jean Coutu, Shoppers Drug Mart, Proxim, Uniprix and others. The vast majority have a loyalty program (Shoppers Drug Mart with PC Optimum or Jean Coutu with the MOI program).
These programs do not offer points on many purchases are not eligible as:
- prescriptions and products covered by the Pharmacy Act and its regulations
- postal services
- lottery tickets
- gift cards / prepaid cards, etc.
But then? How do you earn more points for all your drugstore purchases? By having the RIGHT credit card for all drugstores… or depending on the banner you usually use.
In fact, these drugstore purchases charged to the credit card will earn points, even on medication. The credit card issuer does not know what you have purchased. All he knows is that the purchase was made in a pharmacy. Therefore, award points on the total amount, including taxes.
And check out two tips at the end of this article that could earn you… lots of points for your drugstore 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 respect, three credit cards stand out for drugstore purchases:
American Express Gold Rewards card
The American Express® Gold Rewards Card is among the best-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
Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* Card
The Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* Card earns cash back:
- 4% cash back on groceries and recurring payments
- 2% cash back at gas stations and local transportation
- 1% cash back everywhere else (including pharmacies)
Tangerine Money-Back Credit 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 cash back:
- 2% cash back in 2 to 3 categories of stores(pharmacies, grocery stores, furniture, restaurants…)
- 0.5% cash back everywhere else
So, by choosing the “Pharmacy” category on this Tangerine card, you can earn 2% cash back on all your pharmacy purchases!
The best credit cards for JEAN COUTU and Brunet pharmacies
- eligible purchases made in participating stores at Brunet in Quebec and Jean Coutu in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick
Please note that to earn these points, you must present your Moi card AND pay with your moi RBC Visa credit card. In addition, Moi points are not awarded on the purchase of many products such as medication, lottery tickets and gift cards.
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 in 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’ve just lost yourself a great opportunity to earn points.
Of course, it’s possible to make up for lost time: tell your pharmacist that you’d like to pay for your medication directly by credit card from now on (…and earn points in the process), and that you’ll make your own arrangements with your insurance company for reimbursement.
This tip is valid for the majority of your healthcare expenses (like the dentist, for example…) and is part of our list of tips for collecting points and/or unlocking 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
There’s also a technique for buying gift cards with credit cards to earn more reward points!