The BEST way to buy cheap Nintendo Switch games in Canada
Nintendo Switch games are expensive in Canada, most new first-party releases from Nintendo are priced with an MSRP of $79.99 CAD. For example, in Ontario once you factor in the 13% HST, it will be $90.39, it's a steep price to pay. But there is a way to get a discount to save money on your games.
In the last few years, major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon.ca have had E3 pre-order discounts on games announced or featured at E3. These pre-orders are pretty much zero risk as you don't even need to put any money down, and can cancel if you change your mind at any time.
Best Buy and Amazon have had 20% pre orders during E3, but this has dried up for the most part, there haven't been any discounts on first-party games in 2019.
During E3 in 2017 and 2018, Walmart had the hands down best discounts on Nintendo Switch games, new releases were being sold for $50 - which is also the threshold for free shipping at Walmart.ca. Compared to the regular price of $80, this is a staggering 37.5% discount - a savings of $30, unheard of for Nintendo games!
I've pre-ordered my share of big games from Walmart during their E3 promotion, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, Yoshi's Woolly World, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate were all for $50 a piece, it was a steal of a price!
Sadly, in 2019 there were no longer pre-order discounts for first-party games at Walmart.ca as well. It's a bummer.
Outside of E3, the other good time to buy Switch games at a discount are during Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. There are only a couple of more weeks until Black Friday so be sure to keep up with the local flyers and online deals at the big stores! In the past two years, there have been games at $50-60, so there are definitely deals to be had!
Besides these two times of the year, discounts on Nintendo Switch are practically non-existent. But there is one method that is often overlooked.
What is the best way to buy cheap Nintendo Switch games in Canada?
The 20X promotional days at Shoppers Drug Mart gives 30% cash back in PC Optimum points and is the best deal for new release Nintendo Switch games.
First things first, you have to understand how the PC Optimum points program works. At Shoppers Drug Mart, you earn 1.5% in points on most retail purchases. A 20X event (on purchases over $50, which is most video games) brings that to 30% back in points! And yes, you can use earn these points on Nintendo Switch games, accessories and even consoles!
Shoppers generally does not discount these products, so you will have to buy them at regular price at $79.99, but you earn 30% back in PC Optimum points. It appears that Shoppers always rounds down to the nearest dollar for the purpose of points calculation.
Proof that it works! 23,700 PC Optimum points back, equivalent to $23.70.
If you pay using a PC Financial MasterCard, depending on the level of card you have, you can earn up to 3% more points on top of what you normally earn.
What Switch games does Shoppers Drug Mart carry?
They tend to carry most major first-party titles from the Mario and Zelda series. But definitely your mileage may vary. I've seen Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis Aces, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Maker in store from time to time.
Does this work on new release Nintendo Switch games?
Yes! In fact I've been to several Shoppers stores and then often get new Switch games on the day of release. You will likely have to ask the staff for help as they are really bad at displaying new games.
When is the next Shoppers 20X event?
Shoppers Drug Mart usually has 20X offers at least once a month advertised in local flyers. In addition, install the PC Optimum app on your smartphone, they may have targeted 20X offers to you on a semi-regular basis.
Shoppers 20X in app offer, equivalent to 30% off for Nintendo Switch games and consoles
Is the Shoppers 20X offer available online?
As of now, Shoppers does not sell Switch games online, so you will have to check in store, which can be a challenge and hassle. But sometimes to save money you need to do some groundwork!
Great, I got my PC Optimum points, what do I do with them now?
There are a variety of ways to redeem PC Optimum points. Since I have to eat, personally I like redeeming my points towards groceries at lower-margin stores like No Frills or Real Canadian Superstore. In general, redeeming points at Shoppers is a mediocre deal as they have very high margins, so unless they have redemption bonuses which give you more money for your points, I don't recommend using your points there!