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PC Plus |
2013 (as PC Plus) |
2018 (as PC Optimum)
PC Optimum (formerly PC Plus) is a loyalty program operated by Canadian retail conglomerate Loblaw Companies. Launched in late-2013, the program allows shoppers to earn points based on specific purchases at Loblaw grocery store locations, including in-store promotions, personalized offers delivered via the PC Optimum website and mobile app, as well as per-dollar spent on eligible products at Shoppers Drug Mart, Esso, and Mobil locations. These points can be redeemed in-store for grocery and other purchases.
The program is available at almost all Loblaw supermarket banners, with the exception of T & T Supermarkets. In February 2018, PC Plus was relaunched as PC Optimum, officially merging it with Shoppers Drug Mart's similar Shoppers Optimum program (which operated in parallel with PC Plus after Loblaw's acquisition of the chain). The following month, it was announced that PC Optimum would be adopted by Esso gas stations in Canada, as part of a deal with Imperial Oil to replace its membership in Aeroplan.
PC Plus began in Ontario as a test launch in April 2013, expanding to all other provinces in November 2013.
On February 9, 2017, Loblaw announced that selected PC Plus accounts had been the target of fraudulent activities—particularly, the theft of points. The company stated that the breaches were the result of a targeted phishing operation and not a specific security flaw, but that it had temporarily suspended the service and reset all user passwords and as a precautionary measure. The announcement came two weeks after a man was arrested for theft at a Loblaw's store in Ottawa, for having redeemed points from a stolen PC Plus account to purchase a large number of gift cards. Following the resumption of service, Loblaw banned the purchase of gift cards using redeemed points, as they were a common purchase with stolen accounts.
On February 1, 2018, the PC Plus program merged with Shoppers Drug Mart's similar Optimum program (Loblaw Companies had previously acquired the chain) to form PC Optimum. Users were instructed to transition their existing PC Plus and Optimum accounts online, or do so in person and exchange their cards at Loblaw grocery or Shopper's Drug Mart locations. There were also several technical issues on-launch, including errors when creating an account on the PC Optimum app, the PC Optimum website being down for several hours, stores not giving out new cards, as well as some users' points not being transferred to the new service correctly. Loblaw acknowledged these difficulties, stating that they were aware "that the transition has not been smooth for some", and were working with customers to rectify them. As was the case before, only Shoppers Drug Mart locations will offer base points on purchases, at 15 points per dollar spent.
On March 13, 2018, Loblaw announced that Imperial Oil would switch to PC Optimum as the main loyalty program for its Esso-branded gas stations, ending a 14-year relationship with Aeroplan. PC Optimum is also accepted at the gas stations of sister brand Mobil, which launched in Canada as part of the 2017 acquisition of Loblaw's gas station network by Brookfield Business Partners. The partnership officially launched August 2018, with 10 points being awarded for every litre of gas and every dollar spent on other eligible purchases (including car washes and convenience store purchases). 
Customers earn points for purchasing specific weekly "loaded offers" (which are managed from the PC Optimum website and mobile app) based on purchasing habits, or through in-store promotions tied to specific purchases or coupons. PC Financial credit card users also earn points based on the dollar value of all purchases placed on the card through any retailer. The rate of point acquisition varies depending on which credit card is used, and whether or not the purchase made was at a Loblaw-affiliated store. For example, if a purchase was made at a participating Loblaw affiliate, then the stated rate is 10 points for every dollar spent on a PC Mastercard, 20 points per dollar on a PC World Mastercard and 30 points per dollar on a PC World Elite Mastercard. As 1000 PC Points are valued at $1, the minimum rate of return is 1%. Promotions are sometimes used to give bonus points on specific products.
Points can be redeemed for free groceries or other rewards. Points may be redeemed once a customer has 10,000 points or more banked (1,000 points = CA$1). Customers must also have a second form of payment once points are redeemed (as customers can only use points in multiples of 10,000, depending on the total or number of points the customer has banked). Points may not be redeemed for items such as alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, prescription medication and milk in Quebec.
Announced in November 2017 as a pilot program, PC Insiders is a $99 per year (or $9.99 per month) pilot program for PC Plus members. The program includes bonus points on diapers, infant formula, PC Organics products, Joe Fresh products, and on the Shopper's Drug Mart beauty website. In addition, subscribers receive free order pickup with PC Express, complementary online shipping, and a PC Travel credit.
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- "PC Plus member? Then change your password, Loblaws warns after points stolen". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
- "Missing points plague members in Loblaws switch to PC Optimum card". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
- "PC Optimum program stumbles out of the gate with technical issues". CTV News. Bell Media. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
- "How to change over to the PC Optimum program". CTV News. Bell Media. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
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- "Esso moves to affiliate itself with PC Optimum, no longer Aeroplan, in loyalty point switch". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
- "Mobil brand of gas stations to launch in Canada after deal for 213 Loblaws-owned locations". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
- Tremblay, Diane. "Les points PC Optimum maintenant offerts chez Esso à la place d'Aéroplan". Le Journal de Québec (in French). Retrieved 2018-08-23.
- Alini, Erica. "Esso drops Aeroplan as it picks up Loblaw's PC Optimum, Esso Extra to continue". Global News. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
- PC Points promotional website: About PC points
- Laird, Kristin (20 November 2017). "Loblaw pilots fee-based loyalty program". Canadian Grocer. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- Evans, Pete (20 November 2017). "Loblaws pitches upgraded loyalty program for $9.99 a month for premium perks". CBC News. Retrieved 20 November 2017.