Points Guru Chronicles: How the Shoppers Optimum Program Works

Craig Sebastiano
by Craig Sebastiano May 15, 2016 / No Comments

The Shoppers Optimum program is one of the best store loyalty programs in Canada. If you frequently make purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart, you should at the very least have a Shoppers Optimum Card, which is free to sign up for and use. However, if you want to earn additional Optimum Points, there are a few ways to get them faster.

How to earn extra Shoppers Optimum Points

With the basic Shoppers Optimum Card, you earn 10 points for every $1 spent at more than 1,300 stores (including Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix, Murale, Shoppers Home Health Care) across the country. But you can earn extra points by doing the following:

Sign up for the RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCardThis rewards credit card will earn you 15 points for every $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart stores, as well as five points for every $1 spent when you shop anywhere else. The bonus: When you shop at Shoppers Drug Mart with your Optimum Card, you’ll earn a total of 25 points per $1 spent in store. You’ll also get 15,000 Optimum Points when you make your first purchase. (Note: You can no longer apply for this card but it can still be used to earn points.)

Get the RBC Shoppers Optimum Banking Account—This account lets you earn 10 points for every $1 you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart stores in addition to the 10 points you’ll get when you present your Optimum Card. You can also earn one Optimum Point for every $1 you spend anywhere you shop. The account comes with unlimited debit transaction but it also comes with a hefty monthly price tag of $10.95. However, you could qualify for RBC’s multiproduct rebate so if you have a credit card (including the Shoppers Optimum MasterCard), investments, and a mortgage with the bank, you won’t have to pay a fee. You’ll also get 50,000 bonus points (an $85 value) for signing up for the account. You could earn an additional 5,000 points if you use RBC’s CustomSwitch service and “transfer your pre-authorized transactions, close your banking account at another financial institution, and transfer the balance” to your new Optimum Banking Account. If you don’t qualify for the rebate, it’s not worth getting the account for the bonus points. (Note: You can no longer get this account but it can still be used to earn points.)

Take advantage of special offers—Signing up for promotional emails gives you the opportunity to get more points. For example, I received a coupon notifying me I could earn extra points by spending a certain amount last week. If I spent $100 last Monday, I could have earned 22,000 bonus points.

The emails will also let you know when new personalized coupons are available. You can often earn extra points by buying certain items you’ve purchased in the past. In order to earn the additional points, you’ll must load the coupons to your Optimum Card either by logging into your account through the mobile app (available for both iOS and Android) or the Shoppers Drug Mart website.

And of course, there are regular offers like “20x the Optimum Points when you spend $50 or more in store.” Keep in mind that the 20x promotion is only applied to the points you earn with your Optimum Card so you’ll earn 200 (20 x 10) Optimum Points per $1 spent. If you pay with the RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard, you’ll earn 15 additional points for each $1 spent for a total of 215 points per $1 spent.

If you’re thinking of buying a gift card or two in order to spend a certain amount, think again. Unfortunately, you don’t earn Optimum Points on gift card purchases.

How to redeem Shoppers Optimum Points

To manage your points and profile, log in to your My Optimum account. From there, you can check your points balance, see a list of past transactions and even donate your points to a charity. You’ll also find out about current promotions (those Optimum offers), so you may want to check your account often to find out how you can earn more points.

Once you have earned enough points, you can redeem them at the checkout when you go to pay for any future purchases. It’s so easy. However, keep in mind you get more value from each point if you redeem a large number of points at one time so try to save up your points for a large transaction. 

The value of Shoppers Optimum Points

Valuing Optimum Points can be tricky. Although you can find the rate of return per point by dividing the reward value of the points by the number of points needed for redemption (see below), it doesn’t reflect the return you are getting from $1 spent. This rate only tells you how much you get back for every point you earn.

Since you can earn more points, depending on when and where you make purchases with your RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard, this measure is not exact. Instead, the rate of return for every $1 you spend is a better indicator of the value you gain from the Optimum program. This can be calculated by multiplying the number of points you earn for every $1 you spend. For example, if you earned 5 points for every $1, you would get 0.125% x 5 = 0.63% back per dollar, if you redeem at 8,000 points for $10.

Here are some examples of the types of returns you can get per $1 spent, when shopping with an RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard:

Shopping at Shoppers with your Optimum membership card and RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard

Points redeemed Reward value Return per point Points earned per $1 spent Return on every $1 spent
8,000 $10 0.125% 25 3.13%
22,000 $30 0.136% 25 3.41%
38,000 $60 0.158% 25 3.95%
50,000 $85 0.170% 25 4.25%
95,000 $170 0.178% 25 4.47%

Shopping at Shoppers on 20x the points days with your Optimum membership card and RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard 

Points redeemed Reward value Return per point Points earned per $1 spent Return on every $1 spent
8,000 $10 0.125% 215 26.88%
22,000 $30 0.136% 215 29.32%
38,000 $60 0.158% 215 33.95%
50,000 $85 0.170% 215 36.55%
95,000 $170 0.178% 215 38.47%

Shopping elsewhere with your RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard

Points redeemed Reward value Return per point Points earned per $1 spent Return on every $1 spent
8,000 $10 0.125% 5 0.63%
22,000 $30 0.136% 5 0.68%
38,000 $60 0.158% 5 0.79%
50,000 $85 0.170% 5 0.85%
95,000 $170 0.178% 5 0.89%

Although the returns on the RBC Shoppers Optimum MasterCard when you shop outside of Shoppers Drug Mart stores aren’t amazing, you can greatly enhance the returns you get when shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart stores and using both your credit card and your membership card. And remember, all of this comes at absolutely no cost to you.

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