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In the market for a credit card that will allow you to earn back on day-to-day spending without having to pay an annual fee? Depending on where you shop, you might want to consider the PC® World Elite Mastercard®. It’s a particularly great fit if you regularly stock up at Loblaw grocery stores or if you fill the tank at Esso™ and Mobil™ gas stations, where it has a 3% earn rate (30 points per $1 spent or per litre of gas purchased). It also makes sense for frequent customers at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, where it earns back at 4.5% (45 points per $1).
The PC® World Elite Mastercard® is one of Canada’s few World Elite Mastercards without an annual fee, and it had the highest customer recommendation score in Forrester’s 2020 Canada CX Index™ Survey. That said, it’s not the only rewards card out there that pays back handsomely on everyday spending, and its Loblaw-centric rewards structure might leave some feeling restricted.
Pros and cons
- No annual fee
- High earn rates in certain stores
- Easy, straightforward redemptions
- Points don’t expire provided your account stays active and in good standing
- Special events allow you to earn extra points
- High income requirement to qualify
- Accelerated earn rates are limited to certain partner stores, and points can be redeemed only for purchases within Loblaw banner stores
- Points can’t be transferred to other loyalty programs
- The included travel insurance is very limited
How to earn points
The PC® World Elite Mastercard® has the best overall earn rates offered among all three PC Financial® credit cards:
- 45 points per $1 spent at Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix
- At least 30 points per litre of gas purchased at Esso™ or Mobil™ stations
- 30 points per $1 spent on PC Travel services
- 30 points per $1 spent at Loblaw Banner Grocery Stores (includes Loblaws, No Frills, Valu-Mart, Independent Grocers, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, Fortinos, etc.)
All other purchases earn 10 points per $1 spent. Make sure to keep an eye out for special events as well which will allow you to earn points at a higher rate.
How to redeem points
The value you get when you redeem PC Optimum™ points is very straightforward: 1,000 points can be redeemed for $1 worth of groceries or other products at Loblaw banner stores, as well as online at shoppersdrugmart.ca, pharmaprix.ca, joefresh.ca and pcexpress.ca. That’s it—there’s one flat rate for all redemptions. Points will not expire provided your account stays active and in good standing. This means you can collect and save as many points as you like, with no rush to redeem them within a certain period of time.
There are only a few caveats to what is otherwise a very easy redemption process: You do need a minimum of 10,000 points to redeem, and points can only be redeemed in $10 increments. So, if for example you’ve accumulated 28,000 points, you can either opt to redeem 20,000 of them and then wait until you’ve earned 2,000 more to make a 10,000-point redemption, or you can just wait until you have 30,000 and redeem them all at once for $30 in value. Also, you can redeem a maximum 500,000 points per transaction ($500 in value).
Be aware that some select items are not available for redemption with points, like tobacco and alcohol products, gift cards, etc.
Though it’s not loaded with the valuable features that you might get if you shell out for a rewards credit card with an annual fee in the $100+ neighborhood, the PC® World Elite Mastercard® nonetheless has a few handy perks and benefits worth noting:
- Up to 10 consecutive days of Travel Emergency Medical Insurance per trip, for cardholders under the age of 65. Max benefit $1M.
- Up to 31 consecutive days of Collision/Loss Damage Waiver Insurance for car rentals with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $65,000 or less
- Identity Theft Assistant Service
- 24/7 concierge service
Readers frequently contact us asking if the card covers trip interruption or cancellation—to which the answer is, unfortunately, no. The PC® World Elite Mastercard® does not offer any additional travel insurance beyond its basic emergency medical and car rental coverage. If you’re looking for a credit card that offers a more comprehensive suite of protections you should check out our list of credit cards with great travel insurance.
Rates and fees
The PC® World Elite Mastercard® has a purchase interest rate of 21.99%, 22.97% (21.97% in Quebec) on cash advances.
*Basic rates may apply; see details on provider’s site.
- Annual fee: $0
- Cash advance in Canada: $3.50
- Cash advance outside of Canada: $5.00
- Foreign transaction fee: 2.5%
- Dishonoured payment fees: $42.00
- Overlimit fee: $29.00 ($0 for Quebec residents)
- Copy of sales draft or account statement: $10.00
- Credit balance refund made by cheque: $20.00
- Inactive account (12+ months no activity): $10 or balance amount; whichever is the lesser value of the two.
You need to be a Canadian resident and the age of majority in your home province to be eligible for this credit card. Furthermore, you’ll need to have a minimum personal income of $80,000 per year or $150,000 minimum household income per year.
How to apply
Ready to apply for the PC® World Elite Mastercard®? Here’s what you need to do:
Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements as listed above.
Visit the website here and click the red ‘Apply now’ button.
You’ll be asked if you already have a PC Financial® account. If you do, great. It just means all your information is on file and ready to go in your account. If not, that’s ok! You can create an account now.
You’ll be given an application disclosure summary again with the eligibility requirements, as well as the fine print details. Give it a read over and then tick the box that you have read and accept.
Fill in the application form. You will be asked to provide some personal details, your employment info, if you want to add an additional user or any optional extras to the account, etc. Filling this information out should only take you a few minutes.
Review your application and submit.
Approval should be very quick. Once you are approved it takes about 5-7 business days for your card to arrive in the mail.
How it compares
The PC® World Elite Mastercard® is a pretty handy credit card to have—for some. There are other grocery and gas-oriented credit cards that might be a better choice depending on your spending habits and lifestyle. Here is how the PC® World Elite Mastercard® compares to two other Canadian favourites: the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card and the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®.
The PC® World Elite Mastercard® is likely the best option for high-income singles or couples who plan on making the majority of their grocery purchases at Loblaw banner grocery stores. Here’s how the math works out: A single consumer who spends $4,000 annually at those stores will earn around 120K PC Optimum™ points, which is worth about $120. That’s a very respectable chunk of change for a card with no annual fee.
Small families, however, might benefit from paying the annual fee for the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card. Given that they’ll have more mouths to feed, let’s say they spend $8,000 annually on groceries, $5,000 of which is spent at Loblaw banner grocery stores, and the remaining $3,000 outside that network. With the Scotia card’s higher earn rate (4%), they’ll get $320 in cash back on those purchases; with the PC® World Elite Mastercard® they’ll earn 180,000 PC Optimum™ points, worth $180. In this circumstance the small family is better off paying the annual fee for the Scotia card, because after factoring out that $120 fee they’ll still end up with an extra $20 in cash back that they would not have earned with the PC card.
However, if you’re fundamentally opposed to paying an annual fee for a credit card, you might also look at your monthly expenses and compare the earn rates for the PC® World Elite Mastercard® against the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®. The Rogers card’s 1.5% cash back rate on all CAD purchases and 3% rate on USD purchases make it a great option for a few different types of consumers:
Frequent customers at big-box stores like Costco or Walmart, where the Scotia and PC Financial cards either won’t be accepted or will only earn a 1% return
Those who have a diversified monthly budget that isn’t heavily skewed toward groceries and/or gas
Snowbirds, dual citizens, or other frequent cross-border travelers who make a lot of purchases in the United States
¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card to learn more.
Grub for nothing
At the end of the day, the PC Optimum™ program is definitely one of the best ways to save on groceries in Canada, provided you shop regularly at the ubiquitous Loblaw stores and PC partner brands. And once you’re at the register, paying with the PC® World Elite Mastercard® is the easiest way to rapidly accumulate more points and get more and more free groceries.
However, if you make about 50% or more of your grocery purchases outside the Loblaw network, this probably isn’t the right credit card for you. In that case, you would be better off looking at a different card that still has a high earn rate for groceries or a high base earn rate on all purchases, and that isn’t locked into a specific loyalty program.
Sponsored advertising. President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® is provided by President’s Choice Bank. The PC Optimum™ program is provided by President's Choice Services Inc. President’s Choice Bank is not responsible for the contents of this site, including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information regarding the PC® Mastercard®, PC® World Mastercard®, or PC® World Elite Mastercard®, please click on the “Apply Now” or other applicable button.