Several rewards programs are well established in Canada, offering generous returns to consumers. While this wide variety may be beneficial at first glance, the customer may have a hard time making an informed choice because of the multitude of options available.
To this end, we offer a clear and concise analysis of the PC Optimum program to guide you in your choice of rewards program.
Overview of PC Optimum
The PC Optimum program is sponsored by the Loblaws supermarket chain and offers points through the purchase of products under the “President’s Choice” banner.
PC Optimum points can be earned at the following locations in Quebec: Maxi, Provigo, Pharmaprix, Joe Fresh, Esso and Mobil.
PC Optimum has two separate sub-programs that offer you the opportunity to earn points – Optimum and Optimum Insiders. The following table compares the main components of these two programs.
Comparison of the two PC Optimum programs
|Annual Fee||Free||$119 + taxes|
|Earning points through personalized offers||Yes||Yes|
|10% discount on all PC products||No||Yes|
|Easy online ordering and no pick-up fees||No||Yes
Priority time slots
|Free shipping with no minimum purchase||No||Yes
Free delivery from Shoppers Drug Mart and Joe Fresh among others
|10% off all Joe Fresh items||No||Yes|
|5% discount on all travel purchases made through PC Travel||No||Yes Includes:
|Welcome kit with free food||No||Yes|
Preview of new products
Recipes and cooking tips
|Dedicated Member Services||No||Yes|
These two sub-programs also include some benefits with partner organizations. Here is a short overview of these benefits.
Comparison of the two Optimum programs with partners
|PC Express||3-5 per pick-up||Free delivery with priority time slots|
|Joe Fresh||$8 on orders of $25 or more||Free shipping with no minimum spend|
|Shoppers Drug Mart||$8 on each delivery or free with a minimum purchase of $50||Free shipping with no minimum spend|
|PC Travel||No bonus||5% return in PC points on all travel expenses|
The Optimum program has no membership fees and is targeted to occasional consumers of President’s Choice products. This is an entry-level program that offers a limited number of benefits such as access to personalized offers.
The Optimum Insiders program focuses on customers who regularly visit organizations offering “President’s Choice” products. The $119 membership fee may seem expensive at first, but it should be noted that this program offers many benefits that will allow you to earn rewards very quickly. In this regard, we note several important benefits such as a 10% discount on all “President’s Choice” products, free delivery with no minimum purchase at Pharmaprix and Joe Fresh and 5% discount on travel purchases made through the PC Travel platform.
It’s also easy to understand how to earn PC points. Thus, 10 PC points = 0.01 cent. It should be noted, however, that this rate is subject to change regularly, as PC Optimum offers several promotional deals per month that allow consumers to earn PC points faster. To redeem your PC points for in-branch rewards, you must do so in increments of 10,000 points.
Financial products offered
There are three ways to earn PC points:
- through the PC Optimum loyalty card,
- President’s Choice Financial credit cards
- and the PC Money account.
Here is a brief analysis of these three financial products.
The PC Optimum loyalty card
This is a basic program that offers some benefits with partner organizations. However, you should combine your membership with a subscription to one of the President’s Choice Financial credit cards. This will allow you to optimize your spending by earning twice as many points.
|Partners||PC Optimum loyalty card|
|Shoppers Drug Mart||15 PC points per $1|
|Maxi, Provigo||Personalized in-branch offers and earning rates that fluctuate from week to week|
|Esso + Mobil||10 PC points for each litre of petrol|
|Joe Fresh||Earning points on in-store promotional offers only|
|Other institutions||No points|
President's Choice Financial credit cards
Here is a brief overview of the credit cards offered by President’s Choice Financial:
President’s Choice Financial Mastercard
|President’s Choice Financial World Mastercard||President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard|
Minimum income requirement
Earning points in grocery stores
10 points for $1
|20 points for $1||30 points for $1|
|Earning points in pharmacies||25 points for $1||35 points for $1||45 points for $1|
|Earning points in gas stations||30 points per litre||30 points per litre||30 points per litre|
|Earning points in PC Travel||20 points for $1||20 points for $1||20 points for $1|
|Earning points for other spending||10 points for $1||10 points for $1||10 points for $1|
|Interest rate||20,97 %||20,97 %||20,97 %|
|Insurance||Purchase insurance and extended warranty||Purchase insurance and extended warranty||Purchase insurance and extended warranty
Car rental insurance
Travel Medical Emergency Insurance
|Other benefits||Free additional card||Free additional card
24-7 concierge service
|Fast support in case of identity theft
24-7 concierge service
President's Choice Financial Mastercard
The President’s Choice Financial Mastercard is the entry-level card for President‘s Choice Financial. This card has no annual fee and no minimum income requirement.
PC points can be earned when you make purchases at grocery stores (10 points per $1), pharmacies (25 points per $1) and gas stations (30 points per litre) affiliated with the PC Optimum program. You can also earn 20 PC points for every dollar spent on travel expenses through the PC Travel platform.
Finally, you get purchase insurance, an extended warranty and a free additional card.
President's Choice Financial World Mastercard
The President’s Choice Financial World Mastercard is the President’s Choice Financial mid-range card . This card has no annual fee, but requires a minimum income of $60,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a household.
PC points can be earned when you make purchases at grocery stores (20 points per $1), pharmacies (35 points per $1) and gas stations (30 points per litre) affiliated with the PC Optimum program. You can also earn 20 PC points for every dollar spent on travel expenses through the PC Travel platform.
Finally, you get purchase insurance, an extended warranty, a free additional card and 24-7 concierge service.
President's Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard
The President’s Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard is the premium President’s Choice Financial card. This card has no annual fee, but requires a minimum income of $80,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.
PC points can be earned when you make purchases at grocery stores (30 points per $1), pharmacies (45 points per $1) and gas stations (30 points per litre) affiliated with the PC Optimum program. You can also earn 20 PC points for every dollar spent on travel expenses through the PC Travel platform.
Good insurance is also available, including purchase insurance, extended warranty, car rental insurance and emergency medical travel insurance.
Finally, you have quick support in case of identity theft through a hotline and a 24-7 concierge service.
The PC Money account
It is effectively a free checking account that allows Canadian consumers who do not wish to apply for one of the President’s Choice Financial credit cards to earn PC Points.
|Account features||PC Money Account|
|Welcome bonus||Up to 50,000 PC points as follows
20,000 PC points after first purchase of $50 or more
|Earning points||2.5% (25 points for every $1 spent) returns at Shoppers Drug Mart
1% (10 points for every $1 spent) on all other expenses
|Other benefits||Free Interac transfers
Unlimited everyday transactions
Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Coverage
The earning rate, while attractive, is not comparable to that offered by President’s Choice Financial credit cards. For every dollar spent at Shoppers Drug Mart, you can earn 25 points, and for every dollar spent at other locations, you can earn 10 points.
This account also has a great welcome offer for new users by offering 50,000 PC points. This bonus is applicable if the following conditions are met:
- 20,000 PC points after first purchase of $50 or more
- 25,000 PC points after setting up 3 direct deposits with President’s Choice Financial
- 5,000 PC points when you make five transactions over $50 per month at a PC Optimum partner
Finally, several other benefits are readily available to users of this account such as free Interac transfers, access to unlimited current transactions and Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) protection.
PC points can be used for a cashrebate at many of the program’s partner organizations such as Maxi, Provigo, Pharmaprix and Esso.
You can also use these points at PC Express and PC Travel. However, it is not possible to redeem your points in organizations that do not have a partnership with PC Optimum. It is also important to remember that points can only be redeemed in increments of 10,000 PC points.
Secondly, it is highly recommended that you redeem your PC points during a promotional period when the redemption rates are attractive. This will allow you to have a higher cash return for the same number of points.
With this in mind, we recommend that you apply for all categories of financial products offered by PC Optimum to get the best possible return on your spending.
So when you apply for the PC Optimum loyalty card, a President’s Choice Financial credit card and the PC Money account, you’ll get an optimal return of PC points on your everyday spending.
In light of the observations in this article, we note that PC Optimum offers a very interesting loyalty program with a great offer of financial products, a simple and generous earning rate, and regular and attractive promotional offers.
President’s Choice Financial credit cards are attractive to Canadian consumers because there is no annual fee, it’s an attractive rewards accrual rate and it offers insurance. The PC Money account also has several benefits such as no management fees and a welcome offer of 50,000 PC points.
However, while there are many benefits to this program, a few things need to be addressed. First of all, we think that PC Optimum’s credit cards are excellent. The same cannot be said for the loyalty card and the Money account, which are not very distinctive, and offer no real advantages. We understand the utility of these two products is maximized when combined with the President’s Choice Financial credit cards, but a fact remains: a higher earning rate would be much more interesting.
All in all, we find the PC Optimum Points program to be an excellent avenue for Canadian consumers who make frequent purchases at Maxi, Provigo, Joe Fresh, Shoppers Drug Mart and Esso.
Membership in the three financial products offered by this loyalty program will allow you to quickly earn rewards that can then be redeemed for attractive cash rebates. If you are only a casual shopper at one of these establishments, it may not be beneficial for you to apply for for this points program, as your cash returns will be only modest.