Time is nearly up for the old Shoppers Optimum and PC Plus cards. On Thursday, the two loyalty points programs will officially merge into a single reward system called PC Optimum.
As of Feb. 1, points collectors in both programs will be able to download a new, unified app, swap their old cards in store and register online at pcoptimum.ca.
If you’re a PC Plus cardholder, little else changes. Your points will be converted one-to-one. So if you have 20,000 PC Plus points, you’ll get 20,000 PC Optimum points. That’s still worth $20, as in the old program, but the threshold for redeeming has been lowered to 10,000 points from 20,000.
Another nice perk is that you now get to collect points at Shoppers Drugmart, too, where every $1 spent will get you 15 points instead of 10.
If you’re a Shoppers Optimum points collector, the merger is more of a mixed bag.
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It’s not a question of how your points will be converted. The redeeming value of your old Shoppers points is the same, if not better, once you switch to PC Optimum.
To put some numbers on it, here’s the Shoppers Optimum redemption schedule:
According to PC Optimum’s online calculator, 95,000 Shoppers points will translate into 170,000 of the new points, which yields $170. The same holds for all the other reward levels.
Things get a little trickier, though, when it comes to calculating whether Shoppers Optimum cardholders are better or worse off when it comes to accumulating new points under the PC Optimum system.
On the one hand, Shoppers Optimum cardholders used to get 10 points for every $1 spent. So being able to earn 15 points for every buck is a plus.
But on the other hand, the Shoppers Optimum loyalty program was a tiered system aimed at encouraging you to hoard your points for longer instead of redeeming them at one of the lower reward thresholds. While a buck spent would always get you 10 points, each one of those points would translate into almost 0.18 cents in redemption value at the 95,000-point threshold instead of less than 0.13 cents at the 8,000-point level.
The PC Optimum system doesn’t work like that. Every 10,000 points you accumulate, you get redeem $10. End of story.
Here’s what the difference looks like when you do the math:
|Point collection||Reward levels||Points needed||Dollars spent to reach reward|
|10 points per dollar spent||$170||95,000||$9,500|
|Pc Optimum||Shoppers Optimum reward levels||Points needed||Dollars spent to reach reward|
|15 points per dollar spent||$170||170,000||$11,333|
The new system makes it much easier to earn a lower reward. While you needed to spend $800 to redeem $10 in the Shoppers Optimum program, you’ll now be able to get your $10 after spending just under $667 (numbers in the table are rounded). The same holds for a $30 discount: You’ll get it after spending $2,000 instead of $2,200.
The drawback is that you’ll need to spend more to earn the bigger rewards. The $85 reward would require you to spend $5,667 at Shoppers instead of $5,000 (although, in practice, you’ll have to chose between $80 and $90, as PC Optimum points are redeemable only in increments of 10,000 points).
And to get what used to be the biggest discount of them all – $170 – you’ll need to spend roughly $11,333 instead of $9,500, almost 20 per cent more.