Shopping Discussion

What loyalty programs are actually beneficial?

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  • Feb 21st, 2017 6:45 pm
[OP]
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Feb 9, 2009
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What loyalty programs are actually beneficial?

After moving back to Canada, I realize most of our loyalty programs are absolutely terrible. The best one I'm part of is PC Plus, but everything else seems to be a bit of a waste of time.

What loyalty programs do you find beneficial? What about programs for smaller stores, chains (i.e. small restaurants)?

In Asia, I was receiving over $100 USD every year just from 2 or 3 loyalty programs from restaurant chains. I'm hoping to find the same here.
61 replies
Newbie
Feb 4, 2017
4 posts
So far, Shoppers Drug Mart seems to be in my favor. If you use their coupons and special points deals/days. The points which you can use for purchases adds up quick. That being said you're only allowed to redeem $30 per transaction during redemption.
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 28, 2007
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PC Plus is what I changed to from Airmiles. To make it worthwhile, you need to have one of their PC Financial Mastercards. Works great for us. Probably used over $600 in PC Points already in the last 6 months.
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Oct 16, 2008
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Shoppers Optimum and Scene are my go to, although both have gone extremely downhill in the last couple years.
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Aug 17, 2008
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Sask.
Shoppers Optimum is the best for us.
[OP]
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Alleygatored wrote: So far, Shoppers Drug Mart seems to be in my favor. If you use their coupons and special points deals/days. The points which you can use for purchases adds up quick. That being said you're only allowed to redeem $30 per transaction during redemption.
What do you usually buy at shoppers?
[OP]
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jackrabbit000 wrote: PC Plus is what I changed to from Airmiles. To make it worthwhile, you need to have one of their PC Financial Mastercards. Works great for us. Probably used over $600 in PC Points already in the last 6 months.
Me too. Fantastic program, saving me hundreds after only a few months as well. The MasterCard is a must get to pair with the program.
Newbie
Feb 4, 2017
4 posts
I usually do the deals for daily items like toothpaste, drinks, soups, milk and sometimes medication. They usually have a 20X Points $30 or more on ALMOST ANYTHING IN THE STORE or something similar to that. In addition you can stack certain coupons for even more points.
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
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pkpower wrote: What loyalty programs are actually beneficial?
Only you can answer that question for yourself because it depends on your own situation and shopping habits. For example if you shop at Loblaws (or are willing to switch), have a PCF WE MC (or are willing to switch), have a Loblaws gas bar nearby, etc. then PC Plus is probably your best bet. OTOH if you buy most of this type of merchandise at Costco then not so much. Likewise if you're a frequent flyer then an airline-linked card may offer the best rewards for you.

Also be careful that the rewards program doesn't drive your spending, i.e. that you buy more stuff, and/or that you're willing to pay more for that stuff, just because you'll get rewards. That almost never works to your benefit.

Finally it's a good idea to also have a cash-back credit card that gives you a 1% or more rebate when you buy stuff at stores that don't participate in any loyalty program. I use Amazon's free Visa card for that. It also offers commission-free FX so it's particularly beneficial when travelling outside of Canada.
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Aug 3, 2005
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I use the Rogers MasterCard because it gives 1.75% back on ALL purchases. There is an annual fee but if you setup auto-payment for your Rogers/Fido bill, the annual fee is waived. I have it setup to pay my Fido bill.

I buy my groceries from Food Basic and Costco because I find that Loblaws/Superstore is more expensive. The amount of money that I save on groceries by shopping at Food Basic and Costco is far greater than the 1% to 3% that the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard provides.

You have to understand that the PC Plus points that you are getting, you are actually paying for them by buying higher priced groceries.
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Deal Guru
May 29, 2006
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airmiles cash + shop at safeway = killer deals.

example, buy 4 black diamond cheese for 4.99 each and get 100 airmiles, so you spend 20$ and get 10$ in airmiles cash, which you can redeem instantly at safeway.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2014
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Shoppers Drug Mart - Optimum. Also, I never cash in points until I have accumulated 95,000 points which allows me to cash in for $170.00 before tax or if used on Seniors' Days, the 95,000 points goes further post the 20% discount offered on items that are not on sale. I only cash in my points on items not on sale, so that works for me.

One of the other posters said that he/she can only cash in $30.00 per transaction - that is most likely based on the number of points available in his/her account. Or it is a provincial thing - I am in Ontario.
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Jan 30, 2013
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Alleygatored wrote: So far, Shoppers Drug Mart seems to be in my favor. If you use their coupons and special points deals/days. The points which you can use for purchases adds up quick. That being said you're only allowed to redeem $30 per transaction during redemption.
The maximum allowed redemption is 95,000 it;s on the back of all Shoppers Drug Mart receipts
Deal Fanatic
Nov 11, 2008
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kennyt18 wrote: I use the Rogers MasterCard because it gives 1.75% back on ALL purchases. There is an annual fee but if you setup auto-payment for your Rogers/Fido bill, the annual fee is waived. I have it setup to pay my Fido bill.

I buy my groceries from Food Basic and Costco because I find that Loblaws/Superstore is more expensive. The amount of money that I save on groceries by shopping at Food Basic and Costco is far greater than the 1% to 3% that the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard provides.

You have to understand that the PC Plus points that you are getting, you are actually paying for them by buying higher priced groceries.
Loblaws yes. Infact, most of the "sale" prices at loblaws is the regular price of superstore with very similar to no frills + benefit of price matching. Food basics has never been appealing to me. It's always dark, or their choice of colours doesn't it make it feel fresh.
[OP]
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Isn't No Frills one of the cheapest grocery stores?
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Aug 22, 2006
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bylo wrote: Finally it's a good idea to also have a cash-back credit card that gives you a 1% or more rebate when you buy stuff at stores that don't participate in any loyalty program.
To me this is the best loyalty program.
I get a bunch of money back every year for spending like I normally would.

The other store loyalty programs are basically just gravy.
Although at the end of the day I mostly use PC Plus.

Also Hotels.com isn't bad if they have the lowest price.
10 stays = 1 night free = an average of 10% off.
But sometimes they don't have the lowest price.
Or if you stay at one hotel chain often, it might be worth climbing their own loyalty program because it offers more than discounts (late checkouts, free stuff like wifi or parking, etc)
Deal Fanatic
Nov 15, 2008
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I consistently get 35% store credit back on every cash $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart by playing their optimum game.

2016 I was getting 5.25% credit back per cash $1 in PC Plus points, but now that I am using the app and have a bit more control of how I use my offers I am at 14.25% returned to start the year. I expect to do better yet.

Compare that to a passive program like 1-3% back with a credit card.

The other retailer with great gamified offers is Canadian Tire. They have 25X points days that really make a difference. My buddy has done very well with that one. I can't tell you how well right now because the CT points site is down, but I recommend that program too.
[OP]
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lecale wrote: I consistently get 35% store credit back on every cash $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart by playing their optimum game.

2016 I was getting 5.25% credit back per cash $1 in PC Plus points, but now that I am using the app and have a bit more control of how I use my offers I am at 14.25% returned to start the year. I expect to do better yet.

Compare that to a passive program like 1-3% back with a credit card.

The other retailer with great gamified offers is Canadian Tire. They have 25X points days that really make a difference. My buddy has done very well with that one. I can't tell you how well right now because the CT points site is down, but I recommend that program too.
I like people like you, calculating your returns.
[OP]
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Shoppers seems to be a good loyalty program after PC Plus. Are things there cheaper though?
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Apr 20, 2011
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pkpower wrote: Shoppers seems to be a good loyalty program after PC Plus. Are things there cheaper though?
No. Shoppers gives a lot of points, but everything is more expensive than elsewhere except a few good sales.
I find myself pretty much never shopping there, just get things from superstore or walmart.

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