Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shopper's Drug Mart Optimum vs. Costco Executive Membership

Regular readers of this site (or my Twitter feed) know that I love Shopper's Drug Mart's (a Canadian pharmacy and drug store) Optimum rewards program.  I also love Costco.

With the start of a new school year, I have been reviewing our budget and looking for more ways to spend less.  One thing I have been reviewing is our use of different reward programs and where we buy our groceries, toiletries, household products, etc.

IN A NUTSHELL:  Optimum is the better rewards program (vs. Costco Executive membership).  Costco is still a great place to save money.

The Nitty Gritty Details:

Shopper's Drug Mart - for every dollar you spend at Shopper's Drug Mart you earn 10 Optimum points.  There are various levels of points that you can redeem, but I typically only redeem the maximum so that is what I used to my calculations.  Under the current rewards structure (September 2015), if you redeem 95,000 points you can get $170.00 worth of product.  This means if you spend $9500.00 you get $170.00 back (95000 /10 = 9500.00) - which is about 1.7%.  With a Costco Executive Membership you get 2% back on all your purchases.  At first glance, the reward programs seem very comparable but in reality they are not.

So why is Optimum the better rewards program?

The Optimum rewards program regularly features days when you can earn 20x the normal points (so 200 points for ever dollar spent) if you are spending $50.00 or more.  In addition to this, Optimum regularly sends bonus point coupons to email subscribers many of which are tailored to your shopping preferences.  Optimum also features bonus redemption days where you can redeem 95,000 points for $200.00 worth of product instead of the regular $170.00.
So let's redo those calculations:
I try to shop at Shopper's only when it is 20x the points and I also aim to only redeem points on bonus redemption days.
SO -  with that in mind - if I spend $475.00 (95000/200 = 475) I earn $200.00 in free merchandise.
Hold on a minute - that is getting 42% of what you spend back. 

Yes.  Yes it is.  And that is why Optimum is hands down my favourite rewards program on the market.  It is far superior to any other consumer rewards program that I am aware of.

Some of you may be thinking that Shopper's Drug Mart is expensive.  It is not.  It is true that many of their products regular prices are higher than in other stores, but Shopper's has excellent sales.  Read the flyers regularly.  Their sale prices are almost always competitive with other retail chains (especially for diapers, feminine products, deoderant, various food items, etc.).  Shopper's was recently purchased by the Weston corporation and they now carry many President's Choice brand products.  If you are into makeup and cosmetics, Shopper's Beauty Boutique carries most top cosmetic brands (Smashbox, Clairins, Lancome, Clinique, Estée Lauder, etc.) and you can now order them online from the store and have them shipped to you.

Although I love Costco for many things (flour, yogurt, imported cheeses, the list goes on) - I am carefully examining my shopping list to see what items I should switch back to purchasing at Shopper's Drug Mart.

If you do not have an Optimum card - get one.

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