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The Best Credit Cards For Drugstore Purchases

To the point There are nearly 200 credit cards available in Canada. But only a few of them offer their full potential for drugstore purchases. Find out which ones!

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
  • stamps
  • 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:

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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.

The American Express® Gold Rewards Card is part of the Membership Rewards loyalty program, whose points can be used in many ways:

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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)
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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

Jean Coutu and Brunet pharmacies are linked with the Moi loyalty program. The only card associated with the Moi program is the RBC Visa Moi Card. Thanks to it, you get 2 X the points on :

  • 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.

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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).

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There are 3 President’s Choice credit cards that earn PC Optimum points:

President’s Choice shows the total number of points you could earn using your President’s Choice Financial credit card and your PC Optimum loyalty card.

For example, the President’s Choice Financial Mastercard earns 10 points/$ at Shoppers Drug Mart, which is in addition to the 15 points/$ you can earn as a PC Optimum member. This gives you a total of 25 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…

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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!

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Bottom Line

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!

milesopedia helps you become a real points hunter and save money every day!

Come and share your adventure with us in the facebook group.

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Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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