Arguably the most popular rewards card program in Canada, the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Program has proved to be invaluable for me. I absolutely love it, even with the recent cutback from July 1, 2010 (in case you didn’t know, they increased the amount of points you would need to redeem the same amount of money- “less for more”).

With 1200 stores across Canada (and growing), I suppose the company needed to increase its bottom line what with the recent legislative changes to generic medications that came into effect. This cutback on points doesn’t really matter to me, since I’m a SC.TO holder and would like to see them increase their earnings and profit margin. I suppose it was about time, almost seemed like they were giving money away.

I love the Shoppers Optimum program, and not only because I’m a SC.TO shareholder.

Here’s how the Shoppers Optimum Program works:

The key to the Shoppers Optimum program’s success, in my opinion, is that it is so ridiculously easy to use.  None of this online redemption stuff, or having to wait for your reward in the mail etc.  just pure, unadulterated, instant gratification (something that us Generation Y’s are accustomed to).  You collect your points, and when you want to use them, you just tell the cashier.  That’s it.

Essentially, carrying that card around with you is pretty much like having cash for Shoppers Drug Mart. So don’t lose it


So how many points for one dollar?  You get 100 points for every dollar you spend.

Here’s how much you can redeem:

  • 8000 points gets you $10
  • 22,000 points gets you $30
  • 38,000 points gets you $60
  • 50,000 points gets you $80
  • 95,000 points gets you $170

Assuming that you only obtain points at a $1 to 100 points ratio, the return percentage is:

  • 8000 points= 1.25%
  • 22,000 points= 1.36%
  • 38,000 points= 1.58%
  • 50,000 points= 1.70%
  • 95,000 points= 1.79%

It makes sense to hoard your points until you reach the top two levels and then redeem them, otherwise you get less return on the money you spent.

Now, you might be thinking… What? I have to spent $9500 to get $95 worth of stuff at Shoppers?

Yes, you would if you didn’t take into account the bonus points and the 20x the points events and other promotions.  So with the basics in mind, let’s examine how we can obtain points on an almost exponential level.

20x the Points Event

  • The event seems to happen more often now that they have changed the redemption levels.  It used to be just every two months or even less frequently, but now it seems to be happening quite regularly, like almost every other week or at least monthly.
  • This event usually lasts for anywhere from 1-3 days, and usually falls on a weekend, like Saturday and Sunday and a holiday Monday.
  • You get 20x the points you would get normally.
  • Have to spend $50 usually to get the 20x the points.
  • Spending $50 before tax would equal 10,000 points.
  • If you do this 5 times ($250) you would accrue 50,000 points= $85 redemption
  • Hence, the % return will go from 1.70% to 34% you spend $250 and you get $85 back.
  • How sweet is that??

Tell a Friend Event

  • This can easily be the fastest and most spend-free way you can get points
  • If you sign up for their email notifications and newsletters, you often be “in” on the events, namely the Secret Points events (even the cashiers at Shoppers Drug Mart aren’t notified about these events!)
  • In the Secret Points Events, you register online and refer a few of your friends to refer their friends (pretty much like a very short pyramid scheme)
  • For each person that you refer and buys $20 worth of stuff through the link on your email, you get 5000 points (for a max of up to ten friends)
  • When you yourself buys $20 worth of stuff, you get 5000 points.
  • So if you spend $20 and you have lots of friends who like the Optimum Program as much as you do, you could potentially get 55,000 points just for having 10 friends that spend $20.
  • The potential return for this event (taking the 50,000 points redemption choice and if you referred 9 friends) would be 425% (if you spend $20 you get $85 back)
  • Sometimes they change the amount, like spend $30 you get 8000 points was the most recent promotion

Bonus Redemption Days

  • I usually hoard my points with the above two events and spend them when they advertise a bonus redemption day.
  • This promotion usually last a weekend as well, and is definitely not held simultaneously with the above two events (otherwise I think there would be complete pandemonium and chaos!)
  • You get more bang for your buck but would need to have enough points to be at the top two levels
  • If you redeem 50,000 points, instead of $85 you get $100 ($15 extra)
  • If you redeem 95,000 points, instead of $170 you get $200 ($30 extra)
  • These happen quite infrequently, like every 2-3 months.  The last one was in September and I think the one before that was in the summer.

MBNA Shoppers Optimum Mastercard

  • I already have a master card and I personally don’t think this card reaps that many benefits (extra 25 points doesn’t really cut it for me), so I would rather have a no fee travel reward card personally
  • You get 15000 points upon your first purchase
  • You get 25 extra points for every $1 you spend at Shoppers Drug Mart
  • They give you the option of picking your colour, from pastel blue, purple, green, red, lavender, or silver

Other Bonus Points and Tips

  • Sometimes they send you cards in the mail or advertise that if you bring your prescription over, you get get X number of points
  • If you have prescriptions and they are paid out by your extended health or by your provincial government anyway, fill them at Shoppers because then you can get free Shoppers money on behalf of your extended health or provincial government
  • edited 21/10/2010**** note**** Shoppers has expensive dispensing fees (what it costs you to have your pills filled from the pharmacist), so hopefully this does not negate the benefits.
  • They often have some bonus point offers in the form of coupons, or cut outs from their Glow beauty magazine e.g. if you buy Cover Girl mascara, you can get 2000 points
  • They have opened up a new boutique shop called Murale and you can redeem your points there too (has higher end cosmetics, similar to Sephora)

Other PF Bloggers Agree!

The Shoppers Optimum Program has been mentioned by a slew of other Canadian PF bloggers. Check out what they have to say too!

Okay that’s it for my mega post!

My Canadian readers, are you a huge fan of the Shoppers Optimum Points program like I am?  What’s your optimum points collecting pattern or technique?  Any tips you would like to share?

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