Save With Shoppers Optimum Rewards

Companies Using Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM)
Bonus Points Yes
Expiration None
Fee None
Rewards Almost all store merchandise
Return Up to 50% or more
Transferability Completely transferable
Official Site Shoppers Optimum

Shoppers Optimum, the rewards program for Shoppers Drug Mart is by far the best rewards program, of any type, in Canada and probably the rest of the world. I have never encountered another program where you can earn rewards so quickly and of such significant value in a very short period of time with minimal effort, all without the use of a credit card. If you were going to pick only one rewards program to join, even if you don’t shop at Shoppers now or get your prescriptions there, this would be it. Sound too good to be true? Well right now, it isn’t, and hopefully it stays as good as it is now well into the foreseeable future!

Earning Regular Points

Earning regular points at Shoppers Drug Mart, like many other rewards programs, isn’t all that rewarding. You essentially get 10 points per dollar spent which, as you will see later, works out to a return of 1.78% 2% if you wait to redeem your points at the most favourable regular redemption level. 1.78% 2% is actually quite good for a rewards program, especially one that doesn’t involve a credit card, but considering the severely inflated prices that are common at SDM you will generally end up losing a lot more than the 1.78% 2% gained. Therefore, as a standalone points program I would only recommend it if you insist on shopping at SDM for some reason, you get your prescriptions filled there anyway, or you shop there infrequently for convenience sake or for a good sale. But if you follow the strategies in the Earn More, Redeem More, and Tips & Tricks sections, it is definitely worthwhile!

Redeeming Points

Redeeming points at Shoppers Drug Mart is fairly easy but there are a few things you should know. First of all, here are the redemptions levels and the overall returns based on earning regular points only:

Points Redeemed Cash Value Rate of Return
8,000 $10 1.25%
22,000 $30 1.36%
38,000 $60 1.58%
50,000 $85 1.70%
95,000 $170 1.78%

Click to reveal the previous redemption levels before the July 1st, 2010 changes.

Points Redeemed Cash Value Rate of Return
3,500 $5 1.43%
7,000 $10 1.43%
15,000 $25 1.67%
30,000 $55 1.83%
40,000 $75 1.88%
75,000 $150 2.00%

Redeeming points simply involves you selecting the products you wish to purchase, keeping in mind the restrictions, which total exactly the cash value of the points you are going to redeem before tax or more. Then, bring them to the checkout, present your optimum card, and state the cashier “I would like to redeem ‘x’ number of points”. Unfortunately, tax cannot be covered by point redemptions so you will have to pay any remaining balance along with the tax for your entire purchase. However, remember that food items are not usually taxed so you can get away without paying anything if your purchase consists entirely of non-taxable food. Free food is always a good thing! It’s also good to know that when saving up for that big reward your points never expire. Of course, Shoppers Drug Mart can, at their sole discretion, discontinue their points program at any time, devalue points in some way, or completely wipe out the points on your account for any reason. Although, they are not likely to do any of the above things, especially without warning, because it would completely ruin their public image and alienate many consumers.

Restrictions on Earning and Redeeming Points

Here is the official list of restrictions from the Shoppers Optimum terms & conditions:

Shoppers Optimum Points are awarded based on net (purchase price less discounts) pre-tax purchases. Shoppers Optimum Points are not awarded and may not be redeemed on cigarettes and tobacco (where sold), gifts with purchase, bus tickets, passes, pre-paid phone cards, electronic gift cards, lottery tickets, lifeEXPERIENCE packages, products purchased in the post office, delivery charges (where applicable), bottle deposits/returns (where accepted), bill payments (where accepted) or charitable donations. The collection of points for prescription purchases may vary by province and is governed by provincial governments, provincial regulatory authorities and third party insurance plans. Discount applies to the full purchase price (excluding taxes). Shoppers Optimum Points cannot be redeemed on prescription drugs and products that contain codeine.

These terms & conditions are current as of September 15th, 2010. Click to see previous terms and conditions:

Previous terms for earning points:
Shoppers Optimum Points will not be issued respecting the purchase of the following items/services: electronic gift cards (except Shoppers Drug Mart gift cards), Post Office, cigarettes and tobacco (where sold), lottery tickets, delivery charges (where applicable), bill payments (where accepted), bottle deposits/returns (where accepted), gift with purchases, charitable donations, the Shoppers Optimum Points redemption portion of a transaction, and any other items specified as exclusions from time to time or where prohibited by law. Due to each province’s regulations and the regulations of each provincial Pharmacy Regulatory Authority, the issuance of Shoppers Optimum Points for prescription drug purchases and select products purchased through the dispensary varies by province. In addition, there may be restrictions on the issuance of Shoppers Optimum Points on prescription drug purchases in accordance with the provisions of the Shoppers Optimum Members’ third party drug plans. Shoppers Optimum Points will not be awarded to any third party drug plans on prescription drug purchases made by their clients. See store for details or contact the Customer Service Centre. In provinces where prescription drug purchases qualify for points, the individual Shoppers Optimum Member may only accumulate points for prescription drug purchases filled in his or her own name, with the exception of any of the Member’s children under the age of 16. Shoppers Optimum Points will be awarded when a Shoppers Optimum Member pays for a purchase with an electronic gift card. Shoppers Optimum Points will not be issued on Shoppers Drug Mart electronic gift cards when they are purchased. Shoppers Drug Mart reserves the right to add or delete items eligible for Shoppers Optimum Points
Shoppers Optimum Points may not be redeemed towards the purchase of the following products/services: prescription drugs, products containing codeine, electronic gift cards, Post Office, cigarettes and tobacco (where sold), lottery tickets, bus tickets and passes, delivery charges (where applicable), bill payments (where accepted), bottle deposits/returns, charitable donations, gift with purchases and any other items specified as exclusions from time to time. Shoppers Drug Mart reserves the right to add or delete products and services eligible for Shoppers Optimum Points redemption at any time.

This is quite a lengthy list of restrictions, but still, for most regular everyday items, you will earn points when buying them and can use points to redeem for them. I would like to draw your attention to a few important points. First, an interesting scenario arises when you are redeeming your points. In this situation you won’t earn any regular points or special event bonus points on the amount being paid for with points, but you will earn points on whatever amount is leftover, if any. Second, only certain provinces allow you to earn points on prescriptions. If yours is a province that does, you will be awarded regular points on all your prescription purchases. Third, there is one restriction left out of the above terms: points are not issued on milk in the Atlantic Provinces. They changed the rules again and you can now earn points on milk, but you still can't redeem your points for milk. Very strange indeed.

Now, the biggest point of controversy when it comes to these terms and conditions is always over gift cards; both Shoppers Drug Mart branded and regular electronic gift cards. First, what is an electronic gift card? Well it encompasses any gift card that Shoppers Drug Mart sells except for their own gift cards. That means restaurants, retail stores, iTunes, phone cards, cell phone top up cards, etc. When it comes to Shoppers Drug Mart branded gift cards, you always get points when redeeming them for merchandise. But, in the old terms and conditions, it used to state that you wouldn't get points when purchasing Shoppers Drug Mart branded gift cards. Currently, it only states that you don't get points when purchasing electronic gift cards, but makes no mention of Shoppers Drug Mart branded gift cards. It has always been my experience that, yes, you do earn regular points when purchasing Shoppers Drug Mart branded gift cards even during the time when it said in their terms and conditions that you did not.

The other point of contention when it comes to gift cards is whether or not you can redeem points to purchase them. The answer to this is no and always has been no.

Please see the Buying Gift Cards First section for more details on how can earn extra points by always buying Shoppers Drug Mart branded gift cards first, no matter what your final purchase in the store will be.


Continue on to the Earn More, Redeem More, and Tips & Tricks sections to discover how you can get much more value out of the Shoppers Optimum rewards program!