PC Insiders Review: Whether Or Not To Pay For A $120 Subscription to PC Optimum Insiders

This PC Insiders Review is for Canadians deciding whether to pay for the PC Insiders Subscription program. I find the membership fee is worth it for most households that shop at a Loblaw banner stores at least once a month and are into collecting loyalty points.

Using PC Optimum app for PC Insiders

PC Optimum is the current darling of the Canadian loyalty program landscape. Anyone who actively collects PC Optimum points should look into PC Insiders, because it really does increase the points earned.

What is PC Insiders?

We all wondered “What is PC Insiders” when it was announced. PC Insiders is a membership program offered by Loblaws in which shoppers pay an annual fee to get special benefits. In this way, it’s similar to a Costco membership or paying for Amazon Prime. 

Why would we opt-in to pay an optional annual membership fee? Well, assuming you can afford the annual fee up front, you would pay the fee if you expect to receive more value from the program than the fee itself costs you. You have to be planning that subscriber benefits you’ll receive in the exchange for a subscription fee exceed the value of the fee.

Think of the PC Insiders Subscription as an upgrade to the free PC Optimum loyalty program. The PC Insiders subscription membership works at Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, Joe Fresh, and other Loblaw banner stores.

PC Insiders Review - All About the PC Insiders Subscription

PC Insiders Subscription Cost

The program costs $119/year as the annual list price, making it about ten bucks per month. You’d pay the $119 for a PC Insiders subscription for the same reason you might buy a Costco membership – you know you shop there enough to make it worth it.

Most people I know have received a discount off this sticker value by using a promo code or referral code (see next section).

Current program prices listed here: https://www.pcoptimum.ca/insiders/en/

PC Insiders Promo Code

If you need a promo code, I’d love it if you used my shopper referral code! You’ll get 25,000 PC Optimum points back ($25 worth of points) with my referral code: MD1604. Just enter MD1604 in the promo code box. After you join, you’ll get your own referral code to give your pals so they can get $25 back in points too!

Click here to apply my promo code and get 25,000 points.

Your PC Optimum points will be awarded to your account 4-6 weeks after you sign up using my code and I’ll get 10,000 points too.

President's Choice Storefront - PC Insiders Loyalty Program Loblaws

PC Insiders Benefits

PC Optimum™ Insiders members get 10% back in points on all PC® products. You’re earning 100 PC Optimum points per dollar spent, before taxes, on the following PC brands:

  • President’s Choice®
  • PC® Organics
  • PC® Black Label Collection
  • PC® Blue Menu®
  • PC® Free From®
  • PC® Nutrition First®
  • Joe Fresh®

You get these Insider program benefits at Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills, Pharmaprix, and Joe Fresh (both online and in-store). There are, however, some exclusions in the terms and conditions, including gift cards, phone cards, home delivery, and PC services (mobile, insurance, financial).

The core benefit of the PC Insiders subscription service is that it’s relatively easy to earn more value in PC Optimum points than the amount of the membership fee. Once you’ve earned enough points to pay back the subscription fee, you’re getting 10% back in points on a good portion of most purchases.

So what is “enough” in terms of shopping dollars? 

The subscription fee is now $119 for the year. And you’ll be paying tax, so let’s assume an approximate total cost of $135 for the PC Optimum Insiders annual subscription fee.

Every 10,000 PC Optimum points are equal to $10 that can be redeemed in-store or online.

SO – on points alone, you need to earn around 135,000 PC Optimum points in a year to make the subscription fee worth it. But, if you used my promo code (MD1604), then you’ll be getting 25,000 points back. So then you only need the Insiders program to earn you back 110,000 points in a year to break even.

Is earning 110,000 PC Optimum points reasonable for most households? Yes. Totally – if you’re into buying PC Brand (and who isn’t, its awesome). That’s $1100 worth of PC stuff in one year. We’re talking anything PC groceries, PC home goods, or Joe Fresh clothing. So, if you regularly shop at a Loblaws for groceries or other day-to-day goods, there’s a chance that the Insiders subscriptions makes sense.

PC Insiders PC Optimum Points Earned

The PC Optimum Insiders subscription fee is worth paying if you regularly spend a minimum of about $100/month on PC Brand & Joe Fresh products. That’s $1200 spent in 1 year that earns back 120,000 points, that can be redeemed for $120 off your bill. At that point, you’re basically breaking even.

So, if you’re going to spend $25/week or $100/month on PC products, the fee is worth paying on increased points earning alone. Any products you buy beyond this minimum are basically always 10% off. Not bad.

BUT – you have to be buying the eligible PC Brand and/or Joe Fresh stuff to get these base Insiders PC Optimum points

Loblaw Superstore Storefront - for PC Insiders Review and Tips

Making the PC Insiders Subscription Fee Worth It

Here’s how you can make your PC Insiders membership fee worth it:

  1. Buy at least $23/week in PC Brand products:
    • President’s Choice®
    • PC® Organics
    • PC® Black Label Collection
    • PC® Blue Menu®
    • PC® Free From®
    • PC® Nutrition First®
    • Joe Fresh®
  2. Use the PC Express grocery pickup or delivery every week or two.
    • You get priority time slots (which is becoming more and more useful as PC Express gets busier).
    • I quite like PC Express! No fee at PC Express was the reason I first joined PC Insiders. I’d never actually used grocery pickup, but I knew it had potential.
      • I LOVE shopping online instead of spending an hour wheeling a cart down endless aisles. And I never seem to have a loonie for the cart….
      • I also LOVE not having to deal with getting the kids in and out of their car seats. It’s like a drive-through for groceries. Plus they sometimes give you a water bottle. Nice touch.
  3. Enjoy free shipping with no minimum spend on joefresh.com and shoppersdrugmart.ca purchases.
  4. Actually use the $99 PC Travel credit. I haven’t actually done this, so I can’t offer any particular advice on this one.
How to Use PC Insiders- Tips for Shopping at Loblaw Banner Stores - Automatic Doors

How To Use PC Insiders

Remember that points earned are based on the total price of the eligible purchases after any discounts and before taxes. So you still get points back when things are on sale. But you don’t get points on taxes. Obvs.

“You must redeem a minimum of 10,000 PC Optimum points at a time, which are worth $10 in rewards. If you want to redeem more than 10,000 PC Optimum points at one time, you must redeem them in increments of 10,000 PC Optimum points, each increment being worth $10 in rewards.”

PC Optimum Terms & Conditions
PC Insiders Free Surprise Gift Delivery

Other Benefits to the PC Insiders Subscription

Annual subscribers also get a “surprise gift” when they join. You don’t really have any control over what it is or when you get it, but it’s kinda fun to receive. The gift I got this summer is shown below. It included a few PC Black Label bottled food items and a wooden serving board. My kids enjoy playing with the cardboard gift box…. (lol)…

PC Insiders Subscription - Summer Gift Box - Surprise !

If you shop online, PC insiders also gives you free shipping at joefresh.com and shoppersdrugmart.ca. The online stock is often much better than at individual stores, so online shopping for these stores can be a good option. I just like the satisfaction of knowing I won’t get dinged with a shipping fee.

With PC Insiders, you also get “exclusive access to PC Insiders Collection must try items”. I’m not totally familiar with this aspect of PC Insiders. It hasn’t been a huge draw for me.

PC Insiders Collection New Foods to Try

So What Is the PC Insiders Collection?

As far as I can tell, the PC Insiders Collection is simply a collection of PC products that the company wants to highlight. It shows off seasonal treats with an emphasis on entertaining and foodie trends.

Checking the PC Insiders Collection “view all” page is a good way to get some new ideas for the kitchen, especially as the seasons change. I don’t know what’s cool, but I have a decent amount of trust that the professionals that curate this page do.

Exterior of Loblaw Grocery Store

Beware the Following Restrictions

As with other subscription programs, there are restrictions. Here are a few to beware of before trying to over-optimize your loyalty program….

The 10% back in points earned for eligible merchandise purchases are calculated based on the price after any discounts and before taxes. You don’t earn Insiders base points on PC products sold at Real Canadian Wholesale Club or T&T Supermarket.

Points earned through the PC Insiders program cannot generally be combined with other bonus points offers. So no doubling up on points during “store-wide, site-wide or department-wide bonus points offers”. You get either your PC Insiders points OR the bonus points offer, whichever is the greater number of points.

You do, however, earn your 10% back in PC Insiders Program points in addition to the regular 15 points per dollar earned for eligible purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix, the points regularly earned through use of a President’s Choice Financial® payment product, points earned through PC Optimum item-based personalized offers, and select in-store offers. So it can be a tad confusing.

To pay no pickup fee for PC Express orders, you must make a $30 minimum purchase (before taxes and fees). Joe Fresh may have holiday “blackout periods” during the Black Friday and Boxing Day promotional periods.

There’s also a monthly maximum for earning points. The maximum is $10,000 per calendar month in eligible purchases across all PC insiders categories. You won’t get points for “eligible” purchases over 10K in a month. Because honestly, that would be a scary amount of groceries to cook up.

When shopping online, you have to use the same email address you use to sign in to your PC Optimum loyalty account. Otherwise it would be difficult to give you your points.

The travel credit can be tricky to spend, because it:

  • must be used within each subscription year or is forfeited
  • can only be redeemed once per annual subscription period
  • cannot be used again in the same annual subscription period if you cancel your travel booking
  • cannot be used for hotel-only bookings for less than a three-night stay
  • cannot be applied to travel insurance purchases
  • is not valid on prior bookings
  • is not transferable.
  • offers no refunds, credits or rollover of any unused value of the travel credit

At the end of your subscription period, the subscription will automatically renew and the fee will be charged to your card on file unless you cancel.

President’s Choice can also restrict, suspend or otherwise change any aspect of the PC Insiders Program at any time. So check the terms and conditions yourself:

https://www.pcinsiders.ca/en/terms-and-conditions

Superstore Flyers Posted in Lobby

PC Insiders Review: Is the Fee Worth It?

Can shoppers get enough value from PC Insiders to justify the annual fee?

Yes – PC Insiders is worth it for many mamas! 

If you shop at a Loblaws retailer at least once a month, definitely consider PC Insiders. If you collect PC Optimum loyalty points with any sort of enthusiasm, definitely consider that the fee might make the program worth it. Remember to use my referral code (MD1604) to sign up after this pc insiders review and you’ll get $25 worth of points back.

Mary

Mary is a Mom of two who manages to find a few minutes here and there to write for you guys on this web site!

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