PC Optimum Insiders Subscription - Is It Worth It?

By Sunday, February 27, 2022 , ,

A year ago I signed up for PC Optimum Insiders Subscription. Now that the year subscription is up I thought it would be a great time to delve into whether or not it was worth the money.

I started with a free month in mid January 2021, when I was off work due to another Provincial shut down. Stores were essentially all closed except for essentials. Every time we tried to go to a grocery store we found them crowded and had long lines to get in and check out. I thought trying out the service would be great, and it was. We ordered groceries and picked them up, in and out of a No Frills in 5 mins flat. So, I signed up for a year.

A year costs $119 + taxes a year, making it essentially $10 a month. 

What do you get for that $119 a year, well lets find out.

Free PC Express
You get free use of PC Express services. These are pickup slots at Loblaws based stores. They vary from $3 to $5 depending on where you go. We usually used No Frills so we saved $3 each time we used it.
If you use PC Express a lot, this will pay for the membership very quickly.

Sadly we only used it 10 times since the full sign up because.....the service went to trash. Every time we ordered something was rotten, moldy or just unacceptable. Once a bag of grapefruits was fully moldy on pickup, I cannot understand how a shopper would pick that bag and say 'that looks good'. This happened more then it didn't and I got very sick of calling just to get a coupon for the value for next time. I finally said I want my money for those items back on my credit card because I wont be using PC Express again, and I didn't.

It is worth noting the discount dose not apply to deliveries.
PC Travel
You get 5% of the value of your purchases with PC Travel back in PC Optimum Points. That means 50 points for every dollar spent. I did not use this at all as I did not travel the last year. I am guessing if you like their travel service this could be worth while for you. Originally they gave an actual discount when people signed up with the subscription, but they discontinued that.
Joe Fresh
Joe Fresh orders get free shipping with no minimum and 10% back in PC Optimum Points (that is 100 points for each dollar spent). 

I did one Joe Fresh order in the spring, I really haven't been buying much clothing since I am not leaving the house much other than work so it hasn't been necessary. That being said I did like my order and got a bunch of bonus points because a deal was running at the time.

It is important to note that Joe Fresh already has free Canadian shipping when you spend $25, which is very little, so this may not be worth it.
Shoppers Drug Mart
At Shoppers Drug Mart's website you get free shipping on any order (vs the $8 or $50 minimum for free shipping), as well as all the usual points and deals they have going on online.

I did use this one a bit. My mother in law lives in the Yukon where she couldn't get her hair care anymore, I sent her some stuff and it was free. Shipping to her is usually an expensive task as even amazon prime costs a minimum of $35 for me ship her anything at this point. I also ordered myself a few product my store just didn't have since I didn't want to travel around looking for it during pandemic.
PC Products
Every time you buy a President's Choice/PC product you get 10% back in points, which is 100 points for every dollar spent. This can add up to some solid points if you buy a lot of PC products. We do enjoy some regularly but didn't want to change our product choices just to get point.
There is a handy slider on the site which lets you see how much money you 'get back' at the end of the year depending on what you spend. At $23 a week you would earn just enough points to cover the costs of the subscription.

Welcome Box
Finally you get a welcome box when you join. I was super excited about it but massively let down. I saw a lot of neat boxes over the year, and they always change, but mine was not good. I forgot to take a photo, but did do a Instagram story, so I screen capped the images. Welcome boxes are only available to new members, you only get one in your first year.
 I got a wooden spoon ($8 value), Black Label pesto ($5 value), Black Label pasta ($4 value) and napkins ($3 value??? I am guessing). Absolutely unimpressive. Maybe because the pasta never cooked even after 40 minutes of boiling or that the pesto kind of sucked, or I don't know, napkins and a wooden spoon? Really? Meh.
Overall I did not get the full value of membership because we didn't use PC Express enough and did buy enough PC products. According to PC the 13 months (free month included in this) says we saved $108 dollars, which mean we almost broke even with points. We ended up getting a Nintendo Switch with points, so our goal was met, but I could have spent the money directly on it instead of the subscription.

I did find that most of the time I got better points offers during the time, but I am not completely sure if that was a coincidence or not. I also found that I could still leave the grocery store with zero points because we didn't buy PC products or the few select items that could earn points that week. It felt frustrating, especially when spending big bucks at the grocery store now a days.

Would I get PC Optimum Insiders Subscription again? Not now. Right now I have ended my membership, but if they offer a discount code (in the past there have been ones for 25% off) or a massive point bonus, I would consider it. 

I hope this helped you get the full scope of the subscription program. Have you tried it? Did you like it?