This post is sponsored by PC Optimum. All views and opinions expressed represent my own.

If you haven’t already heard the news, the PC Plus program and Shoppers Optimum program have officially merged into one mega-points program called PC Optimum

To give you some backstory, in 2014 Loblaws bought Shoppers Drug Mart in a multi-billion dollar acquisition. Since then, there have been significant changes to Shoppers Drug Marts across the country, such as stores carrying PC-brand products and getting a major food aisle upgrade to include more fresh food products like pre-packaged salads, meats and produce.

The latest change that’s taken place is the merging of Loblaws’ and Shoppers’ rewards programs into the unified PC Optimum program. Personally, I’m quite happy about this merger because it means I get to carry one less card in my wallet. That and I’ll be able to earn points way quicker than I used to because even though I do shop at Shoppers once in a while, I mainly shop at Loblaws because it’s closer to my house.

What Happens to My Old Points?

This is probably the first question on everyone’s mind and for good reason. Sometimes changes to rewards programs mean your points lose value or become worthless. Luckily, that is not the case with this points merger. You won’t lose any points by switching over to the new PC Optimum program.

Here’s what the points conversion looks like:

PC Plus Points to PC Optimum Points

PC Plus points have a conversion rate of 1.00 to PC Optimum points, meaning they hold equal value to PC Optimum points.

Shoppers Optimum Points to PC Optimum Points

Shoppers Optimum points are a bit more complicated, so check out the chart below.

Basically, the more Shoppers Optimum points you have, the higher the value they’ll convert into.

And if you want to know right now how much value your PC Plus points and Shoppers Optimum points are worth, there’s a handy calculator on the PC Optimum website. I did a test with the calculator to see what it would spit out, and here’s what I got.

How Do I Access My New PC Optimum Points?

In order to convert your existing PC Plus points and Shoppers Optimum points into the new PC Optimum points, first you need to grab your new PC Optimum card.

Get Your New PC Optimum Card

To get your PC Optimum card, all you have to do is go to a Loblaws-owned store (ie. No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, etc…) and ask the cashier for a your new PC Optimum card.

I actually didn’t even think to ask. When I was at Shoppers last week, I was handed one by the cashier helping me out (I think they’re all asked to switch everyone over ASAP, so even if you forget to ask, they probably won’t!).

Then, you’ll get a little package like the one I got below that includes information on how to set up your account and two new cards, one for your wallet and one for your keychain.

Install the PC Optimum App

In the package, it outlines steps on how to create a new PC Optimum account online, but you can also just download the PC Optimum app on your phone to create an account as well. And it might be helpful if you’d rather not carry around the card in your wallet or purse (or if you’re one of those people who always forgets it at home whenever you need it).

It took me less than 2 minutes to set up my account on the app, and now it’s nice to know that if I forget my card, I’ve got a backup!

How to Get the Most Out of the PC Optimum Program

I am by no means a points or rewards hacker. I have always signed up for free rewards programs when retailers have them because I literally have nothing to lose and only points to gain. But in general, I don’t try to game the system. I simply shop as I normally would, always being mindful of my budget, then collect the points. And by collect, I actually mean hoard because I am terrible at deciding what to spend my points on!

Case in point, here’s how many PC Optimum points I currently have. I’ve only spent some of my points on groceries I’d say a few times in the past 5 years, so you’re looking at 5 years worth of points accumulation.

That being said, there are a few strategies out there on how to get the most out of your points you may want to think about.

Look Out for Special Points Redemption Days

Shoppers Drug Mart always has special redemption days and since they’ve now merged with Loblaws, you can expect to see more of these “spend your points” days at other Loblaws-owned stores. What these days usually entail is that you can use your points for purchases at a higher value than they are normally worth. This is why it’s always good to check out their flyers or sign up to their email list to be notified of these special events. Also, be aware that you can redeem your points for almost anything except gift cards and alcohol.

Look Out for Bonus Points Days

Other special days to look out for are those in which you can earn way more points than usual. Usually it will be a promotion like “Earn 2x the points when you spend $100.” So, if you have a running list of things you need to buy, wait for one of these bonus points days to earn more points!

Earn More Points with the PC Financial Mastercard

If you’re looking to earn more points even quicker, it might be worth it to get yourself a PC Financial Mastercard. It’s a no-fee credit card that earns you PC Optimum points on all of your expenditures (and not just purchases at Loblaws-affiliated stores). That means that you can earn points by using it to pay your phone bill or gas for your car too!

Price Match When You’re Shopping

Almost all Loblaws-affiliated stores price match, so if you really want to get the most value out of your points, do your research! Check the flyers or use an app like Flipp to see if any other store is offering a product for less, then try to price-match at a Loblaws store. That way you can get the best price, use up your PC Optimum points or earn points with your purchase.

What do you think of the new PC Optimum points program?

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