Scene Points Can Now Help Pay For Groceries In Ontario & An Expert Compares It To PC Optimum

It might be time to dust off the old black card. 👀

Scene card. Right: A Toronto Grocery Store.

Scene card. Right: A Toronto Grocery Store.

With grocery store prices in Canada off the charts lately, we all know that every little bit helps.

As of November 3, Scene points can now be redeemed at select grocery stores in Ontario and we asked an expert how this loyalty rewards system compares to PC Optimum.

Scene+ rewards can now be both earned and redeemed at any Empire grocery brand, which includes Sobeys, Foodland, Voilà by Sobeys, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo.

"Similar to the PC optimum, it is a standalone loyalty program," Natasha Macmillan, the Director of Everyday Banking at, told Narcity. "So, you can actually sign up for an account for free and start earning rewards."

Here is how she compared the two.

Scene+ points by the 100's, PC points by the 1000's 

The first thing to note is how Scene+ and PC Optimum log their points differently. PC points are redeemed by the thousands and users have to spend a minimum of 10,000 points on groceries, which gives them $10 off.

"For Scene+ it's a lower threshold," said Macmillan. "It's 1,000 points for every $10 off but their points are typically worth the same amount. You just earn them a lot faster for PC optimum and therefore need more to kind of get your rewards."

To break it down, 100 Scene+ rewards is $1 and 1,000 PC Optimum points is $1.

The rewards that fit your life

The choice between Scene+ or PC Optimum is one that can really come down to lifestyle.

"The Scene+ card is a great card for entertainment and restaurant purchases," said Macmillan, while she also pointed to its redemption flexibility compared to PC because of its various connections that are already a part of its rewards program.

"You can start to gain more points at restaurants in comparison to the PC optimum that offers no points for shopping at restaurants (...) it offers a lot more opportunities for entertainment as well."

Cineplex, Swiss Chalet, and Harvey's are three of some of the most well-known places where you can collect Scene+ rewards.

"The PC Optimum card is great for gas, personal care purchases, because it does have the Shoppers Drug Mart brand under its umbrella as well," Macmillan explained.

Paring reward points with your credit card 

Macmillan told Narcity there are ways to save some serious cash through points systems and she usually has a $300 grocery bill completely paid by points "once every few months."

But she said the best way to save more is to pair whichever rewards card you use with a credit card.

"With the PC optimum, we recommend pairing that with the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard, that allows you to kind of accelerate your rates and get more points," said Macmillan. "For the Scene+, we really recommend the Scotiabank American Express card and similarly you're getting more points for things that you're already spending."

One drawback is that American Express cards aren't always accepted at every retailer.

PC also has a larger list of no-fee credit cards that pair with its rewards system, so in this case, it may have the edge.

Location is everything 

At the end of the day, Macmillan's biggest piece of advice is about choosing an option that's most convenient.

"I think it's really important to pick a program based on where you shop the most. So for example, I live really close to a superstore, so I immediately am drawn to the PC optimum, so that kind of is a no-brainer for me," she said.

So time to hop on google maps and find your closest option, if you don't already have that answer.

"I would always recommend that people pick a program based on what is easy for them as opposed to 'okay, I'm just going to do this one because it's better.' Chances are you might not use it as much or not get the flexibility that you need with it." said Macmillan.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn is an Editor for Narcity Media and focuses mainly on covering major provincial and local news stories across the province. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.