It feels like every single store in the universe has some sort of rewards program they offer, and if you’re anything like me, your wallet is loaded down with all kinds of cards. At least now lots of places have apps, so it’s your phone that gets loaded instead of your wallet (much easier to carry). Of all these programs, though, one of the longest running and most rewarding is the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum program. I’ve been collecting Optimum points for years and years and have received hundreds (probably even thousands) of dollars of free stuff over that time. There were concerns back in 2014 when Loblaws bought Shoppers that there would be significant changes to the program and then us Optimum members would get screwed. That really wasn’t the case, though, they have kept things almost the same and Loblaws actually adopted it’s on PC Points program that is also quite good.
Why is Shoppers Optimum so Great?
On its face, the program doesn’t look like anything special. You show your Optimum card when making a purchase at Shoppers, and you’ll earn points at a rate of 10 points per $1. You’ll need to build up at least 8000 points to make a redemption and would get $10 at that level. The redemption levels look like this (usually, more on that later):
Now, having to spend $800 just to get $10 back does not exactly sound very generous, but the big advantage of the program are the constant offers they have available to boost those earning amounts. I don’t even bother shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart unless there’s an extra point offer available because their regular prices tend to be a bit higher than I can find elsewhere. Just as an example of the type of offers available, right now I have 10,000 bonus points if I spend $60, 1000 bonus points if a buy a Tresemme product or 800 bonus points if I buy eggs. If I spent exactly $60 (before tax) and used all three offers, I would get 11,800 bonus points plus my regular 600 points. That would give me enough points for $10 of free stuff and points leftover. Oh, the wonder of it!
Sure, it’s a bit of work to figure out what are the best days to shop and the best offers to use but it’s worth it. Try to save up your purchases and do a bigger shop on the days that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. It also pays to take a look at the flyer for the week to see what products are on sale or may have bonus points available. I don’t actually shop at Shoppers a lot, but usually once a month I’ll plan a trip and stock up on the essentials for the next while. The best offer days to hit up are when they have 10x your points when you spend $50 or more or when you can get 18,500 points on a purchase of $75 or more (that one is happening this weekend, October 29-31). Make sure you also download the app because you’ll get offers specific to you and your purchase history.
The Big Redeem
The best part is the day you get to redeem your points for free stuff, but there’s also a few tricks to make sure you get the most bang for your points. You can tell just by looking at the table above that it makes sense to hold onto your points until you reach the 95,000 level. The lowest level gives you a return of only 800 points per dollar whereas the highest level will bring that return up to 558 points per dollar. An even better reason to stock up your points is that once in awhile there will be a ‘Spend Your Points’ event and your points will be worth even more. There’s no guarantees on the actual amount, but the last couple have bumped up the 95,000 level to $200 (extra $30) worth of free stuff, and the 50,000 level went up to $100 (extra $15) of free stuff. Now we’re talking!
Let’s look at a quick example. If you only shop on the 10x your points days and only do the maximum redemption on a ‘Spend Your Points’ day, you would need to spend $950 to get $200 back. That’s a pretty good perk if you’re buying things you would have to buy anyways!
I’ve talked about my Sephora addiction before, and that doesn’t seem to be decreasing at any point soon, but Shoppers also offers a high-end beauty product boutique so you can earn Optimum points at the same time. They offer a lot of the same brands you’ll find at Sephora (think Clinique, Stila, Benefit, Dior, etc.) and also have free shipping over $50 and free returns. Keep your eyes open for special points offers on products you already use and sign up for their email list for even more promotions
So Long Credit Card
Some of you who are already Optimum point pros might be thinking, hey, what about the RBC Shoppers Optimum Mastercard and debit card? Well, both options have been halted, and no new applications are being taken. At this point, existing customers are still able to use their cards and earn extra points, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself searching for a new card at some point. If you want some more information about the split, you can check out this article. This isn’t that unusual if you’re also a Costco member you probably remember when they switched their allegiance from American Express to Mastercard last year.
The credit and debit card options were a good way to earn extra points and even earn points when you shopped at other stores, but I never had either and have still done pretty darn well collecting points. Hit up those extra points days and hoard your points until special events and you’ll end up walking out the door with a cart (one of those adorable Shoppers mini carts) full of free goodies. You’ll also get to bask in the jealous stares of the people behind you in line when your $200 bill drops right down to ZERO.