Thinking about becoming a PC Insider and not sure how to use PC Travel?
The PC Insiders program launched in 2018 and has exploded in popularity amongst Canadians.
Since PC Travel is closely tied with PC Insiders and PC Optimum, I thought I would do a PC Travel review to see if it would be worth using to book travel.
Online Travel Booking
PC Travel is great for the travel credit for PC Travel Insiders and those who collect PC Optimum points. Customer support and price competitiveness can be an issue for customers.
Pros of PC Travel
- PC Travel credit if you’re a PC Insider member
- With the credit it works out to a free PC Insider membership
- PC Mastercards have no annual fees
- PC Mastercards provide at least 2% back in PC Optimum Points when booking PC Travel
- Can earn bonus PC Optimum points
Cons of PC Travel
- Can’t book flights with discount airlines like Swoop or Flair.
- Difficult to change ticket details after booking.
- Prices for PC Travel Vacations seem to be way more expensive than other choices.
- Even if you do earn a lot of PC Optimum points, there are potentially other better travel deals out there.
- Takes 3-5 weeks to receive PC Optimum points, which is too long.
What is PC Travel
PC Travel is a travel agency started by the President’s Choice brand. You can book hotels, flights, vacations, cruises, and car rentals through the website.
Who can use PC Travel?
There are only two ways you can be qualified to use PC Travel:
- If you hold one of the three President’s Choice Financial Mastercard.
- If you are a PC Insiders Member.
Here are the three different Mastercards that qualify. Note the salary requirements:
What is PC Insiders
The PC Insiders program is a new subscription service that unlocks perks & benefits on select food, apparel and more at participating retailers where PC Optimum points are earned and redeemed, and also online at shoppersdrugmart.ca and joefresh.com.
Cost: Annual Subscription for $119/year
Benefits: 20% back in PC Optimum points at participating retailers on:
- All brands of baby diapers and formula
- All PC Organics products
- All PC Black Label Collection purchases
- All Joe Fresh® purchases
- All beautyBOUTIQUE online orders
Free Shipping on:
There is also a PC Travel services credit for annual subscribers, meaning if you use this travel credit, your PC Insiders membership is essentially free.
If you already shop a lot at PC Brands stores like Superstore, Loblaws, Nofrills, and Shoppers Drug Mart, the PC Insiders program is a great deal.
If you take at least one flight a year, you can take advantage of the travel credit also on PC Travel, which essentially makes your PC Insiders membership free. With that kind of deal, there’s no downside to joining up with PC Insiders.
How to earn PC Optimum points with PC Travel
Here is a breakdown of the different credit cards you can use and how many PC Optimum points you can earn when booking with PC Travel.
- If you are a PC Financial Mastercard holder, you will earn 20 points per $1 spent on PC Travel
- If you are a PC Financial World Mastercard holder, you will earn 20 points per $1 spent on PC Travel
- If you are a PC Financial World Elite Mastercard holder, you will earn 30 points per $1 spent on PC Travel.
Translating this into dollar amounts:
For every 10,000 points you receive, you will $10 in Optimum points, which is the same as cashback since it is deducted from your purchases at PC stores.
If you’re booking with PC Travel, and you have the maximum card of PC Financial World Elite card, you will get 30 points for every dollar spent. This means to earn 10,000 points, you will need to spend around $333 to earn $10 in Optimum points. This is equal to 3% cashback.
If you don’t have the max card and are only earning 20 points for every dollar, you will need to spend $500 to earn $10 in Optimum points, which is equal to 2% in optimum points awards.
3% is an excellent points reward for a no-fee credit card. There are also elite-level rewards like travel medical insurance included when you purchase the flights.
PC Travel vacations vs Redtag.ca vacations
I made a comparison for an identical vacation from Toronto to Cancun, Mexico. There was the same hotel, Smart Cancun by Oasis, which was $1,168 on PC Travel, but only $968 on redtag.ca. That is a massive $200 difference. The PC Optimum points you earn will not even come close to making up that difference.
How long does it take to receive my PC Optimum points?
Looking at PC’s terms and conditions, it will take between 3-5 weeks for your PC Points to be awarded to your account.
Where can you redeem PC Optimum points?
When you get 10,000 PC optimum points, you can redeem them for up to $10 worth of free products and groceries at any participating stores. Here is the list of those stores; there are a lot of choices!
- Real Canadian Superstore
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- Joe Fresh
- Atlantic Superstore
- Independent grocer
- No Frills
- Extra Foods
- Save Easy
- Bloor Street Market
- Maxi & Cie
- City Market
PC Travel Flights vs Google Flights
I did a search for a Vancouver to Edmonton flight to compare prices with the PC Travel platform and Google Flights.
Although the flight prices for Air Canada and Westjet were the same for both platforms, one thing that stood out is that on PC Travel, you won’t be able to book discount airlines such as Swoop or Flair.
Google Flight – Flair Airlines is available
PC Travel – Same Flight, no Flair Air was available to book!
Who should use PC Travel
- If you’re a PC Insiders member, make sure to use up your PC Travel credit every year.
Who should not use PC Travel
- If you don’t shop at any PC or Loblaws-affiliated stores much.
- If you don’t have a PC Insiders membership or PC Mastercard.
Get the PC Insiders if you shop a lot at PC Brands like Superstore, Loblaws, NoFrills, Shoppers Drug Mart. Then, you can use the travel credit to fly using PC Travel. You can’t redeem PC Optimum for travel, but you can earn PC Optimum points by booking with your credit card through PC Travel.
PC Travel flights and PC Travel vacations don’t seem to be a great deal, though, and there are better deals to be had elsewhere.