Rant & Rave: Beauty Retailers’ Reward or Loyalty Programs

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about Reward or Loyalty Programs!

my answer: I don’t like when they barely give you any rewards/loyalty perks. It seems useless on their end to bother maintaining the program! I only like the programs where you can get money to apply to future purchases, money off other purchases, or exclusive coupons/codes.

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I like Ulta for that reason and Sephora in Europe. In the US, I don’t care for S’s reward system. I generally don’t care for the items you can get with the points and I would rather get discounts instead.

sephora’s “rewards” don’t do much for me. i can’t remember the last time i actually used my points. what they offer doesn’t interest me much. on the other hand, their return policy is terrific. i do a lot of shopping online, and the colors, once received, often just don’t match what i see on the computer, so i have no choice but to return the item or i’ve wasted the money. they have a wonderful selection of products, and there is no ulta close enough to me to be convenient. i wish sephora would have more % off sales, or let us use points toward purchases, but until then, i’ll still be a customer with a lot of accumulated points.

Yes, I agree on the return policy. Ulta is awesome in that way as well, if you’re lucky to have one close by.
I have currently something like 4000 points at Sephora. A couple of times I got something I thought may interest a friend, but I can’t remember when was the last time I used those points on myself.

I would highly agree. Now, on the beauty end – Sephora vs. Ulta… Similarities: Tier programs and Birthday rewards. Differences: Sephora – 3-tier program, Points based physical rewards, Tier based shopping perks, In-Store Makeovers both paid and unpaid as well as classes (for Beauty Insiders), wider variety in Brand Name Products, Makeup Artists are Sephora University Trained which means they all received the same general training, Skin IQ, Seasonal Coupons (Typically only towards holiday), and one general Birthday Gift. Ulta – Constant coupons either $3.50 off, Multiple points on purchases, 20% off, and the 20% off on ALL brands, More points you earn = the bigger the $ off reward or other service in exchange, Two Tiers (More perks when Platinum as far as point earning and 20% off everything coupons), Two birthday Rewards (Mascara and Birthday Coupon), More Drug Store brands, Makeup Artists training varies, and Salon/Skin Care Services. I think I covered all bases. While each has their perks, Personally, I enjoy the perks in which the more I spend the more $ I get on my account towards $ off a future purchase with no restrictions. Ulta wins in that department. I feel that their Rewards program is catered towards what the customer wants as far as a reward program that is actually “Rewarding” for the more we spend which in turn would make me want to spend more so I can get those % off or $ off. I like Sephora for the wide array of products, classes offered, and knowledge of their makeup artists but they fall more on the reward program side. What they should improve on is the coupon offering at maybe three times a year or 4 times a year based on which tier you are mostly VIB and VIB Rouge since those customers spend significantly more on products. In addition, offering coupons for those who attend their classes. I would like more of an incentive to reach VIB Rouge than just “Special Product” offerings for that tier or earlier shopping perks.

I think Shopper’s Drug Mart has the best program in Canada. You get points that are redeemed for decent amounts of money for product in store. I recently used mine to offset the cost of a new Clarins moisturizer (which I am loving). I think the only time I have liked Sephora’s was last week with the 20% off. Otherwise, it’s useless.

Me too! Shoppers is great because it’s very easy to rack up a lot of points and to redeem them for regular sized purchases. Sephora would be more worth it if the points could be redeemed for better rewards like free regular-sized merchandise, not just sample or deluxe sized products.

I loved SDM points too! Unfortunately about a year and a half ago I had the worst encounter with a new Beauty employee & I’ve boycotted them ever since. They’re the only SDM in my town & the sales person told me I had the intent to steal something (by taking it outside of the designated beauty aisle). I used to spend a lot of money there so I emailed the store owner & they told me that since they weren’t there they couldn’t actually know what happened… Now I just hit one up if I’m out of town.

Shoppers is great, but in December 2016, they will discontinue the point system and move it to something like PC Points. I have a hard time returning things at Shoppers. I like Sephora points as well, and that they give out samples, where as Shoppers they don’t.

Totally agree. This sounds JUST like a certain VIB program I know haha. I’ve been a Rouge for a few months and I have seen no reason to keep ordering from Sephora when other sites will convert my points into actual money instead of deluxe samples.

I refuse to participate in “Rewards” Programs that require me to pay an upfront fee to be part of the program. (Aveda & Body Shop, I’m looking at you.) Simply put these kinds of plans a marketing tools and I shouldn’t need to pay for them. I like the possibilities that Sephora offers, but they really need to improve the rewards they offer.

The point system that Ulta has is pretty basic I guess, but I DO like that they offer special promotions for 2xs the points or 3xs the points or even sometimes 5x the points and then your reward is actual money that you can apply to any purchase. Seems like it takes forever for me to just get up to $3 off though! I also like 15% off and 20% coupons, I always look forward to the Sephora VIB sale for this reason.

I dislike it when a program requires that you purchase a membership. You shouldn’t have to pay money to save money. The total discount you accrue over the year must exceed the amount of the membership otherwise it can actually end up costing you money. So, unless you plan on making a large purchase or frequent purchases, it’s not worth it.

I like loyalty programs like Nordstrom’s; especially when there are the extra point days. Depending on your level, it can mean getting up to 10% of your purchase price back in Nordstrom Notes. I also like the early access to sales and special events and many of the extra services like free alterations. Love Nordstrom’s loyalty program!

As for Sephora, the freebies that you can purchase with points are hit or miss, but I am ever so thankful Sephora has their annual VIB/VIB Rouge 20% sale and their lesser discount promotions that occur at other times. Sephora is extremely generous in that regard.

The only one I really understand is Sephora, and I love it. I have been shopping at Ulta for over 10 years and have yet to get a “reward” better than the $3.50 coupon.

At Ulta you get money for your points… In other words, with your point you can get stuff. Whatever you want. Also, if you are Platinum, your points don’t expire. I use to love it, but they messed up with my points, so I’m on strike. I got a flat iron, PThomas Roth skincare items, couple of Lorac Pro palettes and a Becca palette. All with my points.

Sephora’s reward system is becoming less and less rewarding the longer I use it. I’ve been a VIB for 5 years and I /hardly ever/ use my points, like maybe once a year. I’ve redeemed 500pt rewards three times and every time I was disappointed in what I got. I like the coupons I get but getting coupons 2-3x/years isn’t what I consider a good reward for being a loyal customer.

Ulta’s rewards seem so much better, but their website is awful to navigate and I’ve found the employees in the closest store to be unfriendly and unhelpful. Also they don’t have some of my favorite brands.

Oh my, tell me about it, there should be a Rant & Rave just about Ulta’s website; it’s one of the worst e-commerce sites I’ve ever used.

Well, this seems the good place to ask, is the Sephora VIB worth it? I would have to spend $150 by the end of the year and then wait a whole year for the next sale. Does that also mean I have to spend the same amount next year to maintain status?

I personally don’t mind Sephora’s reward system. Ulta’s is a bit more beneficial in that I can get actual $ off BUT points expire and mine usually do before I can use them πŸ™ The closes Ulta to me is a good half hour drive away and unless I’m restocking on skin care or buying LORAC I don’t really go there. They have less of the brands I like & I can find better deals on drugstore brands at Walmart or Target or CVS sometimes. I’m definitely a big eBates user though! Love that I can get cash back at tons of online stores! πŸ™‚

When you spend your $150, your VIB status will be good for the rest of this year and next year, but after that it will expire unless you spend enough to re-qualify. For me personally, it’s worth it to get the coupons. Sephora does Chic week in Spring (15% off, but I can’t remember if this is all BIs or just VIBs). They then do the 20% off VIB sale in November, and usually there is another coupon sent out in late November/early December (It’s usually like $20 off a $50 purchase I think) and that is also VIB exclusive. Ulta always does a couple of 20% coupons during the year too, but they don’t carry all the brands Sephora has. Frankly, I usually find I renew my VIB status every year during the VIB sale, since I stock up on everything.

I agree with lot of comments. I don’t mind paying for the membership if it’s reasonable. What I really hate is the fact they expire or your status drops after the year if you don’t maintain. It’s a lot of money to be VIBrouge and I haven’t spent enough this year to maintain. I would really like to know statistically what is the best rewards program in the USA

As VIB Rouge at Sephora, I do like their semi-annual 20% off sales (assuming I can get into the website) and their 3 day shipping with no minimum purchase amount is awesome! I can order something for $15, not pay for shipping, and it comes in like 3 days. Also, I like first access to some products, especially if they might sell out. And you can redeem points for deluxe samples, but I wish they would change their selection on the samples more often. I also have ULTA, and agree that I like the cash back, so I can use it to buy whatever I want. I wish Sephora had that option as well. BUT since I use my credit card to buy Sephora stuff, my card has a points program (I think $1 for 1 point), where I can redeem it for Sephora gift certificates (which are for me, of course!), so in a way, I do get “cash back” when buying Sephora.

Im Rouge too… Yes.. Is cool, but the rewards themselves, suck. I have barely ever cashed anything. Not impressed enough to get my loyalty. I spend a LOT, and expect more than just few crappy samples.

Ulta is the only beauty store that I feel has a truly excellent rewards program. The new Platinum membership tier is just incredible if you’re a big spender – where else could I have gotten Lipstick Queen’s Velvet Rope lipstick for free? The fact that their salon points count toward your overall rewards is a MAJOR perk. I mean, bleaching my hair costs me a good $75 every five weeks. Those points rack up quick.

Rite Aid also has decent membership sales. The 40% off Revlon sales tend to inspire a minor shopping spree when I see it.

Rant: Some you have to spend a lot of money for any kind of reward; some places, the rewards are always out of stock when you go to cash in your points. Forget anything that requires I buy a membership. I’m already spending money on your brand/store, I shouldn’t have to pay member fees on top of it.

Rave: Programs that give you cash back, money off, lots of coupons are awesome, of course.

That being said, if I’m going to buy something anyway, I’d rather have some kind of free rewards program than none at all. I wish Sephora’s were better (more like Ulta’s), but I do like the items I’ve gotten for my points, and I can usually get what I want.

I hate Sephora’s reward program. Suck so badly, I rarely ever buy there anymore. I used to love Ulta, but as I cashed a couple of things with my over 5000 point I had, they slashed my remaining points in more than double Of what they should have. Complaint so badly, sent emails, called, went there…they gave me back only a portion, so broke up with them. Went and cashed all the remaining points, and never went to the store again. Now I buy just anywhere. I Like Neiman Marcus cause I don’t pay taxes. But basically… I don’t care anymore. Use Ebates and Mr.Rebates to try to get some back.
Sephora sucks, Ulta is incompetent, and since I dont have no Credit Card at any store, I get no rewards..

I have grown so frustrated with Sephora and its rewards program (I’m a Rouge living in Canada). I largely shop online because my stores in my city have limited availability. When the semi-annual sale rolls around, that 20% first gets eaten up my the 13% tax I pay in province, and also by the “free” shipping which uses Borderfree. Borderfree, Sephora’s customs broker, requires Canadians to pay all duties up front and charges a ridiculous amount to do so. The savings are barely noticeable for me. Combine that, with the disappointing rewards offers (why am I paying what amounted to $100 for a sample size and pretending it’s a “reward”?) … I’ve had enough. We don’t have Ulta in Canada, and unfortunately they don’t ship here, which is a bummer. I’ve decided to begin actively shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart (as another poster said, their rewards program is legit) and will order directly from other companies like Ellis Faas — whom Sephora recently dropped, ugh — NARS, MUFE and the like.

Is that the sales tax for everything or is it higher because it was purchased internationally? Forgive my ignorance, I just have no idea how Canada’s tax system works and would like to have a general idea.

The sales tax depends where which province or territory you are in, as low as 5% or as high as 15%. All territories and provinces have a GST (goods and services tax), which is a federal tax. Most provinces also have a PST (provincial sales tax) too. Some provinces merged the GST and PST together into a HST (harmonized sales tax). The three territories and the province of Alberta have no PST so they only have to pay 5% tax. This is why I didn’t ship Sephora to my school province and only shipped it home since it’s not a hard choice to not pay 13% tax when I only need to pay 5%.

Any purchase made in the province of Ontario (and most other provinces) is taxed 13%. The 13% we expect, but as Erin said, if we buy things across the border or internationally we have to pay duties if the value of our goods is over a certain amount!

So yes, the sales tax is for everything! But not only do we have 13% on everything, we also pay duties fees for things coming across borders.

I agree with you. As much as I like Sephora, I’d shop elsewhere if the retailer had all the same brands. I think the EU has a better rewards system. And no it doesn’t transfer it seems or my VIB got lost in the mail. πŸ™

Since I haven’t really researched the Ulta one, I can’t say much about that. But having been a VIB of Sephora for three years, and have being VIB Rouge ever since they invented that, I think I can have an opinion here. First of all, it is all very clear that their rewards are not enough, especially there’s rarely anything on the money wise. This recent 20% off is only once a year and I heard a lot of cancelled orders, suspended account and of course the website tech issue. But I STILL love Sephora over Ulta just because I am a real sucker of this brand. I guess their brand loyalty team did a fabulous job. I love their brand offering, the layout, color, online experience, especially in the small city I live, neither of them are fancy. So my most of the experience relies on their online version. And definitely Sephora does much better than Ulta.
I love spending 100 points to get a deluxe sample such as Marc Jacob’s mascara. And I did purchase a full size after I fell in love to the sample. Also for some expensive products like Algenist Serum, I don’t just risk my $78 to get a full size one and return it if I don’t like it. A trial size is great for both the brand and users. But definitely Sephora should expand that category so the points has some real value to more customers. I’m sure a lot of us may appreciate a good range of deluxe travel-friendly products from their favorite brands.

I just did my first Sephora order from the US to the UK but I’m not likely to order so regularly as to really use the reward system. I did like the Make Up Forever birthday gift though.
In the UK, I mostly stick with Boots. They add up quickly if you use your points coupons right and try and buy all your beauty bits for the next few months at once. It’s 4 points per pound spent and each point is worth a penny but every couple of months I get a double points voucher in the post and there’s normally a Β£4 of points if you spend Β£40 deal as well. I’ve got a Christmas coupon for Β£10 of points when I spend Β£60- which at Christmas with a couple of skin care bits to get too is very do-able! I always use points to treat myself to something high end. I normally get a Chanel lipstick or something and get one or two a year out of my points which is pretty good.

I’m usually pretty disappointed with what Sephora gives out with their point system because it’s usually stuff I don’t use or care about. I like Sephora for the convenience of being able to drive to the mall, walk in and test everything for myself and most of my favorite brands are there. When I purchased my VIB stuff this year I found myself wishing that I could get points as money toward my purchase as opposed to whatever samples they had.

Ulta’s point system is better, but they don’t sell several of the brands I use there. I’d rather use beauty.com, but I don’t want to deal with sending something back if the color looks bad on me.

The only one I’ve ever really been involved in is the My Lancome reward system. It’s OK, I guess, and I did get a free lipstick and free bottle of Bi-Facil out of it, but you kind of have to spend an enormous amount of money to really benefit…

Otherwise, such schemes don’t really exist here in any meaningful sense.

The only kind I’m aware of here are cupons giving money back, and % off, although in some stores the % doesn’t go toward some brands, Chanel and Dior, I’m looking at you!
So I really like the loyalty programs. If only Seohora here could start some kind of program it would be nice.
There are some stores like Body Shop where you have to buy a membership to get any %, I kind of dislike that, as it makes you really have to buy there to get the money back.
H&M started som nonsense, not really makeup related, but they do sell their own make up as well as some drugstore brands, where if you’ve not bought enough you have to pay to keep the points membership. I dislike this as well.

I can only compare Sephora USA to Sephora Spain. In Spain you do not have to be a VIB or VIB Rouge to get the 20% off or the 25% off if you spend over 150€. It is eligible for any Sephora card holder and typically takes place 4 -5 times a year along with periodical 10% discount coupons. They also carry high end brands here such as Sisley, La Praire, Guerlain etc. Unfortunately the selection on other products is non existent as in Laura Mercier, Hourglass, Illamasqua and so forth. Otherwise we donΒ΄t really have any other point system. I like not having to spend a minimum annually as I shop wherever and when ever it is convenient.

I guess I’m in the minority, but I way prefer Sephora’s rewards to Ulta. Yes, in theory I would rather get cash off my purchases, but Ulta’s points system is so paltry. You have to spend $100 to get $3 off a purchase. ($1=1 point, 100 points = $3 savings). $3!! I can understand wanting to use your rewards however you want, but most of the deluxe samples Sephora offers as 100 pt perks are worth significantly more that $3, if you compare them to the cost of the full-size item. For 500 points (which would only get me $15 off at Ulta), I’ve gotten some amazing values — a little NARS set that had $40 worth or product, a Kate Somerville set that had $50 of product. I just ordered a Mini Tory Burch perfume for 250 points, which is awesome since I’d never use up a full-size bottle of perfume. Yeah, it’s annoying if they don’t have anything you want, and some of the offerings do suck, but I think they do a good job of switching up the offerings fairly frequently. For someone who loves trying different products, and rarely uses up full-size products, I think it’s a much better option than a rewards program that gives such a small percentage of cash back that you don’t even notice it.

I dont know.. I managed to amase over 4500points or so in like a year? And sure I buy a lot, but also I take advantage of the 3x points, 5x or even 10x points… That last one was only once. They send me a 20% off twice a year. Sure their website is crap… But I use to buy online at the store, and they were all fantastic. My problem was that they mess with my account and though they restore part of my stolen points, I got pissed.

I kind of agree with you! It would be nice if Sephora did some sort of cash back, but I do like that their samples are decent. I recently cashed in 100 points for a Bobbi Brown BB cream that was half a full size ($22 value, approx), and I was able to get practically a full bottle of the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum with three orders (I chose a .3 oz deluxe sample with each), without cashing in points!
Sometimes the samples do suck, but what I also like is that Sephora’s offers and discounts, while fewer than Ulta’s, actually apply to all brands carried. I get so frustrated when the $3.50 off or 20% off coupons at Ulta “exclude prestige brands of cosmetics”. I recently used the VIB Rouge discount for products ranging from Stila to Dior. I like not being tied down to certain brands!

Ulta’s can be just about timing.

A short while after the UD Electric palette came out, Ulta got it in–while they had a 20% anything coupon (which happens at least 4-5x a year, if you’re Platinum), AND I had like $12 in reward points, so I got a brand new palette for like $30. (And I put it on my AmEx, which also earns points–I’ve spent AmEx points on Neiman Marcus giftcards, which is why I own Armani and Guerlain stuff. I got it “free.”)

I share many of the sentiments already expressed! I have on several occasions received really great “points perks” and their birthday gifts are good too but Sephora could certainly afford to hold more of their 20% off promos. I’m willing to bet the increased sales would more than offset the discounts they give (I know in my own case, I bought at LOT of products I wouldn’t have purchased otherwise and I’m sure I’m not alone). Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada has a really good points system and on certain days (some open to all and some for which you need to be sent an email – anyone who “signs up” with them will get these, though – it’s not like you have to drop a bundle, as with Sephora) – anyway, on fairly frequent days, you can earn 20 times the regular points on your purchases. I save these points (which have a dollar value) and use them to purchase pricey items I’d otherwise have to think about….Guerlain foundation, shadow quads and highlighters, makeup and skin care from Benefit, Stila, Origins, Philosophy, Clarins, Clinique and Shiseido, to mention just a few lines they carry. The savings are tremendous and the fact that SDM carries milk, basic groceries, general toiletries, vitamins, supplements, diapers, etc. means I can get a lot of points pretty quickly.

I recently became both a Sephora VIB Rouge and an ULTA Platinum member (coughhh), and I’m definitely Team ULTA. The VIB sale was nice, but the rewards rarely strike my fancy– I feel like they’ve been hawking those same perfume minis in the 250-point range since I was a small child. πŸ˜›

I’m in little old New Zealand and while the price point on our beauty products is insane and we miss out on a lot of brands, one of our best beauty stores, Farmers, has an amazing loyalty program. We get 1 point per dollar spent and for every 200 points we get a $20 voucher. There is also regular 15-20% off everything sales and bigger discounts on certain brands.

I’m also a Sephora VIB Rouge which is an okay reward system. I often do purchase full sized items after getting the deluxe sample rewards and enjoying them. Which I guess is actually more about marketing/advertising for them rather than customer loyalty. I get annoyed that they will occasionally cancel my order with some lame excuse that doesn’t seem to apply to most of my orders.

I don’t like programs that require you to get a credit card or to pay a fee – no way for me.

Sephora USA “rewards” program just sucks. After spending hundreds of $$ you are gifted samples, woohoo! Sephora France has a much better program where you get money off of your next purchase, plus regular 20% coupons.

Ulta’s program would be alright, but my points always expire before I can redeem them. Their website is terrible and their sales associates incompetent and sometimes unprofessional in the stores around me so it’s not the first place I go to for beauty purchases, which is why I never reached platinum status and my points won’t stop expiring. If my points didn’t vanish I would definitely shop at Ulta more.

For drugstores, I have the Rite Aid rewards program and am a Gold member so I get 20% off the store, on anything that is not already on sale, all the time. This is awesome and I reach Gold tier easily by filling my prescriptions there. There’s also a lot of BOGO and 40% off one brand so it makes drugstore cosmetics dirty cheap.

My main quip is the amount of money one often has to spend when shopping before earning a reward. I am an innate bargain shopper, even when splurging on something. As a result, it often takes me several visits over a period of time to accumulate enough point that translate into a reward. I know the whole point is creating repeat customers, but should the ones who spend goo gobs of money be the only ones to get rewarded if there are others who shop as consistently, even if they don’t spend as much? I do like the promotions that Ulta occasionally offers, like the double points or playtime points; otherwise, my points would risk expiring more often.

I agree with the other reader that the Ulta website is the worst. 95% of the time, I run into some glitch (it freezes, everything in my basket disappears, it won’t let me edit the selections in my basket, or it won’t let me go back to where I was browsing). And I’m not shopping during crazy sales either. Sephora’s website is 10x better, except during this last 20% off sale. I only shop at Ulta if Sephora doesn’t carry the brand, or if Ulta has some really crazy deal that I can’t pass up.

Yes! I love when I get coupons or promotions just because I’m a member of the program. I hate having to get special items or promotions on condition of purchasing something new. I also don’t like how some reward systems skimp out on a rewarding membership experience. What is the point of my loyalty if you won’t acknowledge me?

I’m from Singapore and the Sephora rewards program here is even more pathetic.

It’s called the white card member. Anyone can join the membership (with a min spend of $1) and there’s 20% off sales twice a year. You get 1 point/dollar and every 250points entitles you to 10% off next purchase, that’s it. Can’t even redeem any samples. The membership doesn’t expire but the 10% coupons do. Some times u get 2x points.

A few months back, they started another tier called the black card member. Once you’ve spent $250, you’re automatically upgraded., in which I am. But come on, it’s not THAT hard. A clarisonic here costs $220. -_-
Plus again, it’s a life membership. Their recent 20% off was exclusively for black card members, not sure of they’ll start doing that for future sales.

I myself am also a Sephora US VIB member. I’ve only managed to spend that much because they offer brands my country does not offer or are months earlier in releasing LE items. And they have kits that my local Sephora do not offer. And most of the times, the marked up price here makes up for the shipping for me to get my stash from US to here. So I’m indifferent.

I haven’t tried venturing to Ulta because 1) Their site sucks & 2) I heard shipping takes a look bloody while and my forwarder will only hold my items for so long.

But I must say Sephora’s shipping to my forwarder can be a pain in the butt.

S: Boy, was that sale last week a disaster. I preloaded a cart. signed in on fri, + it did not recognize me as me, which normally happens. signed in, which i normally don’t have to do…it’s automatic, and most of the cart was duplicated. never got a notice about a ‘code’ as don’t get any emails. got the mailer after the sale was over. the only way i could order was to call in, but she was able to pull up the order, had the card numbers. she asked if i were a BI + i said rouge + she was shocked that i didn’t get emails (get Ulta daily or more often.) I THINK the order was ok…wait + see. The only thing i like about S is the free shipping for rouge. seldom like the samples + then get gobsmacked by how many points have accrued ( i always buy makeup for gifts, ’cause most of my friends won’t indulge + are unfamiliar.) Ulta’s $ works better for me + you have a guaranteed coupon. got short LQ chinatowns, FS red set withs inner l/s, pencil, + gloss + a NYX vamp (7 items) for only $44 at their recent sale. a sinner alone is 24, i think. so it WAS a far better deal than S. The only U drawback is never free shipping + no lipstick queen in store. should get Nordie’s rewards program….and ladies, if you think Ulta’s site is awful, check out Barney’s…it’ll take you 15 minutes to find Nars Dominique. Barney’s site is the third circle of hell + it’s about an hour away, so i get there very seldom. OMG, the quintessential website nightmare. designer should be executed at dawn, painfully. i’ll offer to pull the trigger.

Since an Ulta opened 5 minutes away, I shop there a lot. I enjoy getting the $ for points, but what I enjoy more is when they have 20% off the whole store, so I can stock up on the more expensive items then. Also, for drugstore brands CVS is actually great because of the frequent extra bucks, and if you sign up for emails there will usually be a discount of 15-30% off your entire purchase almost every week.

CVS can be unreal. Last month, I got 30% off coupons two weeks in a row. If only my most local store restocked the cosmetics section more often. I think I honestly own everything they currently stock that I would want.

I am in the UK and for me its SpaceNK.

I am a VIP member so get Β£10 to spend each time I reach the 100 points. The money goes onto my card within 24 hours of reaching the target. All InDulge members get a Birthday gift, I get full size products which are branded names. Beauty events GWP Goodie Bags heads up first of the date and chance to register to go.

We had the By Terry national make up artist over two weeks ago, no set amount to spend to get a great GWP, you could buy a just lipgloss and get it.

Shoppers Optimum is a great program and I have redeemed a lot of points for money off, over the years. But my rant is in the last few years they have upped the amount of points you need to redeem! It used to be 3000pts got you $5 off your purchase, and I can’t recall the increments from there, but it went up to $75 off, if you had enough. NOW it starts at 8000 pts for $10 off, and I have no idea what is after that.

Because Shoppers’ prices are higher, I don’t shop there for a lot of my basics so it takes me FOREVER to get to the $10 off!!!!

I prefer Sephora. You can just walk in and get your birthday gift. At Ulta you have to remember to bring the flyer that was mailed home to you.

If I had ever gotten my own blog off the ground (someday I’ll learn to take decent pictures…) I had planned to write about this very thing. While the VIB program seems to be wildly successful, their rewards are essentially promotional samples; a 500-point perk amounts to a GWP with a $500 purchase, and the actual products don’t seem commensurate with that. The GWP packages from counters or individual brand websites usually require a much smaller purchase (I don’t have them all in front of me, but I want to say average $40) and often have more stuff in them. As always, individual mileage may vary – it will depend on what brands you buy and what products you use – but I haven’t felt like the VIB program has given me anything that dramatically stands out.

That said, I do use my Sephora points (I’m a Rouge) when there are mini mascaras or mini eye primers (especially the tiny Nars one) on offer. It saves me from having to purchase high-end mascaras just to try them, and I can never get enough eye primer. I also take advantage of the random codes for extra samples with $25/$35 purchases when the sample assortments contain something I know I’ll use.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long, but I’m totally over spending money at Sephora. I hit Rouge status this year, with the only perk so far being early 20% off access at their VIB event. My experience was awful, as the store was even more crowded than usual and there were no perks or samples or anything. Just the ‘tote’ bag and weird bracelet thing, plus some food from Costco.

I realize they don’t *have* to do anything extra, but the cosmetics industry is so competitive that it would benefit them to do restructure their points system. They don’t sell anything I can’t get at Nordstrom, Macy’s, or Ulta. I like being able to browse without having someone breathing down my neck trying to sell me on their product. So, I’ll probably wander around Sephora and test out colors, etc. and then go to a department store. Nordstrom almost always throws in extras (especially the Chanel counter!), plus they have GWPs that are way nicer than the 500 point perks, but by spending way less.

I’ve also discovered Birchbox and their amazing rewards system. My points add up so fast and it’s “real” money to use in their shop, plus they have a great mix of lifestyle and high end beauty. And while Sephora only offers 20% once or twice a year, Birchbox offers promos and amazing GWPs (headphones, jewelry. . even Kate Spade, books, etc.) pretty much all the time. If you don’t subscribe, it’s worth it to get their monthly box and do reviews in exchange for points – they add up really fast.

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