Sephora Beauty Insider | Reward Program Changes for April 2020

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Sephora Beauty Insider | Reward Program Changes for April 2020
Sephora Beauty Insider | Reward Program Changes for April 2020
Sephora Beauty Insider | Reward Program Changes for April 2020

As speculated, Sephora’s Beauty Insider reward program is getting major modifications as of April 30th, 2020.  You can read through the full FAQ here.

Beauty Insider Points

Here’s a recap of how points have been changed-up from ability to earn them to how you can spend them.

Beauty Insider Cash (New)

You will be able to use your points to save money “whenever you want.”  In the past, Sephora doesn’t offer a lot of point multiplying events (though there are a few, like on skincare or fragrance), so at worst, you are redeeming 500 points that took $500 spend to accumulate for $10 back or 2% “cash” back.

Per their FAQ, there will not be additional denominations available for redemption, e.g. it isn’t going to be like Ulta’s where you’re incentivized to hold onto points for better “cash” back.  (If you shop a lot of brands carried at Ulta, then Ulta is typically better when it comes to “cash” back rewards; see Ulta point charts here.)

  • 500 points = $10 off purchase at checkout (instantly)

Rouges will still be able to redeem 2,500 points for a $100 reward through the Rewards Bazaar.

Points for Discount Events (New)

Sephora will run events where Insiders can exchange their points for savings.  Per their FAQ, there will be two events each year where insiders can redeem points for a percentage off one’s purchase.

Point Multiplier Events (New)

Sephora will have shopping events where you can earn points faster based on your tier.  Note: “The “everyday” multiplier will no longer be available for VIB and Rouge.”

  • Rouge – 4X points per dollar spent
  • VIB – 3X points per dollar spent
  • Insider – 2X points per dollar spent

Points for Services (New)

You’ll be able to use your points to also pay for services, though there’s not a lot of detail on how, when, etc. at this time.

Free Shipping (Modified)

Everyone gets free standard shipping based on their tier.

  • Rouge – free standard shipping on all purchases
  • VIB – free standard shipping on $35+ purchases
  • Insider – free standard shipping with $50+ purchases

Note: Flash shipping now requires a subscription ($15 annual fee) regardless of tier.  Flash shipping is unlimited, 1-2 day shipping with no minimum purchase required and discounts 1-day shipping fee to $5.95.  Those who previously enrolled in Flash with Rouge status, those subscriptions are “good for the calendar year in which you qualified for Rouge status and the following full calendar year.”

Seasonal Savings

Twice a year, Beauty Insiders will be able to save based on their tier.  This is similar to past years, but it sounds like they’re just being more upfront with it existing and continuing to exist in the future — it isn’t marked as “new.”

  • Rouge – 20% off
  • VIB – 15% off
  • Insider – 10% off

Samples

The program offerings remain unchanged here. There will still be a Rewards Bazaar that gets new offers Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9AM PT. There will also continue to be codes to get free samples with your order. A birthday gift will continue to be offered with Insiders choosing between three gifts and VIBs and Rouges choosing from four gifts, while supplies last.

 

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I was part of the beta program for the $10 insider cash and I could not use that cash with the 15% off they were offering. It was one or the other. I didn’t see in the FAQ’s if the cash could be used in addition to the discount.

Not fully impressed, but at least there will be a way to ‘spend down’ the ridiculous amounts of points accumulated, because the deluxe samples aren’t what we wish. This is obviously a direct response to customer loss to Ulta. The improvements are small, but I won’t feel as if I’m totally hosed by a LVMH subsidiary. No bravos here, and maybe a tinge of ‘too little, too late.’ S already lost me to U for numerous reasons.

I’m an outlier when it comes to Sephora incentive programs (I used to be Rouge but have been Insider for two years now), but this seems to be pretty stingy in limiting point redemption to $10, and in not allowing for a refund in cash or points if an item is returned.

Also, as has been discussed before by me and others, the fact that Insiders get only 10% off for the occasional Seasonal Savings events means that most of my state tax is paid. Not really that impressive. One reason that I’ve been Insider for two years is that I take advantage of Ulta’s 20% off sales or buying directly from brands instead of relying on Sephora.

And I’m not a Flash user because I avoid most auto-renewal programs like this, as my experience is it’s almost impossible to turn off the renewals. (Maybe Sephora’s Flash program is different in this regard though. Or not.) I’ve also avoided getting anything shipped from Sephora in a while as items were damaged in my last two Sephora shipments–relying on just one or two airbags doesn’t protect products or reduce risk of leaking.

Flash was easy for me to turn off…unfortunately I cancelled my auto-renewal 3 months before it was supposed to renew, and instead of letting it run out to the full year I PAID FOR and then stopping it, Sephora cancelled my flash IMMEDIATELY. So they hosed me out of 3 months of flash, and CS was just like “sorry too bad.” So I haven’t shopped there since.

Alice, the way they treated you in not letting your subscription go to full term before lapsing is the other pet peeve I have regarding auto-renewal programs. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. It reminds me of their despicable one-minute rewards they offer those who are lucky enough to refresh during that time frame.

Oh my gosh! I cancelled my flash (which is due to auto-renew in January 2021) I better check and make sure I’m still getting it the rest of the year. If not, they will be hearing from me.

I’ve been Rouge forever, so with that Flash shipping, but they keep cancelling it after a year of obtaining rouge status . Whenever I call them, they tell me it’s just for the year I obtained Rouge, and I keep pointing them to my email that tells me I have it for the following calendar year as well. I just give up.

I buy from Sephora a lot because of the brands I use and it’s convenient to get everything from one place, but the shipping issue is really starting to bug me. I will not pay $15 when it’s part of my benefits (even though I can afford it), and I’m rouge every year anyway. I don’t understand why they can’t their act together and at least have a consistent message.

Second evvvverything you said. Auto renew? Hell no. Following you in the drop rouge>>>> insider. Staying out is the best way to damp down any lingering annoyance/resentment at big S. (and I call it that because, despite the probable quality and choice of merchandise, it IS a corporate mall store.)

I had been trying for about 3 years to drop my Rouge and was unsuccessful, although each year I managed to get a little closer. This year I am on track to not be Rouge so I am happy about that. I do most of my shopping at Ulta or with individual brands. I really want out of the Sephora business as much as possible. You are right, you have to hit them in there pocket book before they wake up and realize what they are doing to their business. They really are gouging us as they roll in the billions.

Eeeeeeeh. Why is Sephora’s reward program so lacklustre? What makes other retailers able to give more benefits while Sephora’s program just seems to get worse? I am Rouge because they are unfortunately the only retailer here for a lot of brands I love (I’m in Canada), but I try to vote with my dollars whenever I can…

Ugh. I hate Sephora’s reward program and I feel like this made it worse.
-I wouldn’t recommend the redeem for cash rewards, if you return anything under the value, you don’t get your money back, it’s not like a gift card.
-I have had rouge for however many years it’s been around and there has never been a reward available to redeem my points for (over 500 points) that isn’t sold out. I checked when they supposedly rolled out Tuesday Thursday 9 pacific, whatever. I should just stop shopping there. Thanks for the info, Christine!

I think they only offer one of those above 500 pt rewards. I have never heard of anyone being able to get a reward over the 500 pts. It’s like they are dangling a carrot out in front of you, except you will never ever get one. I got tired of saving my points up and finally got 2 of the $100 gift cards and they weren’t easy to get neither.

Oh, tell me about it! I have tried and tried to get the rewards, but I’m never successful. I have well over 10K points–what am I supposed to do with them?

And the flash shipping with rouge never works for me. I’ve been a rouge for as long as you have, and in the past two years, they’ve disabled my flash shipping after a calendar year has passed, stating it’s only for one year. I keep telling them it’s for the following calendar year as well, but they just ignore me.

So, there are no ULTA stores in Canada but ULTA is, apparently, on its way and I’ve read that Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart are both quite worried how it will impact their beauty business. Because I qualify for the “seniors’ discount” at Shoppers (20% off all regular priced items – and luxury beauty brands are rarely on sale – every Thursday) and because their points system is good, I think they’ve a lot less to worry about than Sephora does.

This really doesn’t seem like great “rewards”. I do like to take advantage of the Rouge 20% off sales (but if my local SDMs carried a wider range of luxury brands, I wouldn’t care very much at all) and while I appreciate free shipping, I rarely purchase online, preferring to shop in-store, so free shipping has never been a big deal to me!

Their arrival (Ulta’s, that is) may be years away. But where I live, there is a lot of empty retail space left by Sears and Payless so no shortage of store locations for them to move into. But I really do get the feeling it’s a long way off.

I was Rouge for the past year and it was pretty disappointing. Ulta’s program is so superior, but I wish they carried more high-end brands in their stores (e.g. Dior, Hourglass, Guerlain, Givenchy, Charlotte Tilbury, Huda, etc.). Last year’s Sephora birthday gift was so boring that I passed on it.

I was also part of the beta offering 10$ for 500 points and I was like, thanks but 10 bucks off my average Big S purchase won’t even cover my taxes. I fail to see the point. I usually hoard points until I can nab the $100 for 2,500 pts from the rewards drop.

One thing I have noted on the $100 for 2,500 pts. They used to offer this benefit every Tuesday. No longer. I saw this drop exacctly once from the last week in January to the 2nd week in February. Also, the Rewards drops are no longer dropped exactly at drop time. They stagger the crappier rewards first so you have to sit tight and refresh for up to a half hour to grab something other than a deluxe sample.

I hate that you have to refresh and then hurry to “buy” the rewards tactic. I avoid that whole game like the plague. It’s probably one reason I still have over 8000 points. I think it’s disgusting that the $100-for-2500 points offer is only for Rouge too–another reason that Sephora gets much fewer of my dollars.

Thanks for this info Wednesday!

I’ve been on the lookout for a $100 reward since the VIB sale in November and I haven’t seen any… Good to now how it works with the staggered rewards.

To piggyback on this thread, I attempted to get a $100 reward this morning. I put it my shopping basket and when I went to check out, poof just like that it disappeared with a message saying it was no longer available. This is so ridiculous to me! I have thousands of points and I am finding it impossible to get anything worthwhile with them (I do not need any samples of anything). At this point, I really do not see any incentive for me to keep my rouge status. I don’t see anything mind blowing about the “revamped” rewards program. If anything, I am insulted. As far as discounts are concerned, I am seeing beauty brands offer more discounts more often these days. I can shop directly with them and use Ratuken and get an additional cashback savings. Overall, I am dissatisfied and disappointed with Sephora these days. My goal was to use most of if not all of my points this year (although right now I am finding it very difficult). At this point, I am scaling my purchases with Sephora way back. I know I am not alone in my feelings and disappointment in Sephora’s treatment of customers who spend their hard working dollars with them.

I too have had that happen and a stream of blue smoke comes out of my mouth. Think that Friend’s meme with Phoebe playing Ms. Pacman. The time wasted chasing the only attractive option for Rouge tier is embarrassing. I feel it should be a standing offer open to all of any status who have amassed the points.

I just want to tell you guys why I’m not going to be shopping at Sephora like I used to.
I started shopping Sephora in 1999, at the first Times Square flagship. It was such an exciting store and I loved every minute being there.
I have been faithful to Sephora for years and gladly spent my money both in store and online. I was an early adopter of the app, back when they gave you 29 points/day just for checking into the app. I’ve shopped mostly online with time.
I would estimate I’ve spent a minimum of $30k at Sephora over the last 20 years and most of it in the later years, as I now have much more purchasing power and far greater interest in makeup. I’ve been a Rouge from day 1 of the rouge program. While I realize my spending doesn’t make a difference to their bottom line, if there are other shoppers like me out there, then they are probably experiencing a slowdown in growth.
The last few years I’ve noticed a significant decrease in quality of customer support. The employees in the store often don’t know anything about new releases, and the last few times I went to my local 34th street location in Manhattan, they seemed depressed, bored, or disinterested.
Online, I have repeatedly asked to have two email accounts merged intact with my username. To date my reviews still have no username or rouge status to lend credibility to my reviews. Also, all my old reviews are gone.
On top of that, the points don’t mean much. It went from 2500 points for $100 certificates to, “HEY ROUGE! WANNA BE A PART OF SOMETHING NEW AND EXCITING!! How about you spend 500 points and get $10 off”. That’s a 50% cut in what points were worth. Their beta program was a joke. I’m glad to hear the 2500/$100 is still around but you have to catch it on a full moon at 12pm EST on tues/thurs on the dot, and I haven’t in many months. Also, it’s not really $100 because as a rouge, I can get a 20% discount. Someone else mentioned – you can’t get combine the discount and points together, so I lose 20% off that $100. It’s effectively 2500/$80. I spent $1,666 (1.5 point/dollar) to get 2500 points, so that works out to $80/$1666, or 4.8% cash back. That’s abysmal for a top tier rewards system.

I hope someone from Sephora reads this and their boss, their boss’s boss, and their boss and, the boss above them to know that this didn’t go unnoticed just by me, and that a lot of people online claim to be writing off Sephora. It’s not too big to fail. I will go in to swatch and to buy things I’m not sure about, but I will be spending most of my cosmetic budget on brand sites and better competitors, namely Beautylish and Ulta. I don’t even have an Ulta account but from what everyone says online, Diamond trumps Rouge by at least an order of magnitude.
Sephora corporate should be ashamed of the way they tried to con their customers into spending their points on a giveaway and minor discounts.
This is one of the 3 most disappointing customer experiences I’ve had. I’m a loyal customer – why would a Sephora think all of this is ok? It doesn’t even make sense. Unless the point and reward system changes for the better to properly incentivize and reward spending, my spending at Sephora will be 4.8% of what it used to be.

Same experience here. I really miss the old Sephora. It felt like a magic makeup Mecca. I could go there and get my favorite Stila products (my top brand back in 2000) and they were all in stock, they had adorable makeup cases, and you could play around with the makeup to your heart’s content. One Mother’s Day, I made my mom an orange themed gift box, and they helped me pick out all different orange beauty and body stuff to put in it. It was so cute. Now, you go in there and can barely walk through the hoards of people, it stinks like perfume, and they are out of everything. Online isn’t much fun either.

I think you are right about all of this stuff. They don’t expect us to sit down and do the math, that is for sure!

The thing that has been consistently confounding to me is that they only put out a limited number of the $100 rewards, even though they KNOW exactly how many people have enough rewards to redeem it. They make it scarce on purpose to make us feel guilty or have FOMO if we miss it. But they could just make it always available like Ulta does so that you can spend it when you hit the points and just make that it. They do not want to do that because it cuts into their profits–but since we are all moving more and more to Ulta and other retailers I guess that will be moot soon enough.

This is why I spend a lot more of my money at Ulta, even though they don’t have half of the brands that I care about. 100% of the time, if I can get something at Ulta rather than Sephora, I will. The only things I still buy from Sephora are exclusive brands, but once I move out of CA I will probably switch to Beautylish due to their demonstrably better CS and shipping.

(also, side note, as a writing teacher I love how much effort you put into breaking down all of the issues with this program and why it sucks, so thank you!)

So many people feel the same way. I don’t know if they will feel the impact with those of us that won’t be shopping there as much any more. I sure hope so, that is how businesses learn how to earn customers respect.

I shop at Sephora over Ulta because Ulta is not conveniently located but that’s going to change in the near future. I am on a replacement only no buy and the fact that they are trying to confine so many discounts and multipliers to periodic events is super annoying because when I need something, I won’t want to wait for the event.

I’ve been spending less and less at Sephora as I don’t feel that they appreciate my business and the rewards don’t tempt me. I am seriously thinking of looking into Beauty Pie. Has anyone else ordered from this website?

I did a survey like 2 years ago about the rewards/what my opinion was on changing (and I told them to just compete with Ulta!!), so I am a little bit surprised it has taken this long. I am not surprised that Sephora is being Sephora about it, since they are the “luxury” store out of Sephora/Ulta, but even Nordstrom and actual luxury department stores offer perks to their loyal members.

“Sephora is being Sephora about it”

This is one of the most accurate statements I ever read about makeup. The fact anyone who likes makeup knows it’s a negative should not be lost on Sephora marketing…

I’m glad they’re doing the $10 off thing, that sounds cool since I never know what to spend my points on and I don’t mind blowing them on a coupon. But then again, I also don’t prioritize points and my loyalty doesn’t lie with who has the best rewards system.

Honestly, this is too little too late. Ulta crafted a much more customer friendly rewards program and offers a better mix of products (since I do buy both drugstore and prestige brands.) Add in the 20% off I get more often even as the lowest tier and I’m done with Sephora. I haven’t bought anything in there in over a year and I used to be Rouge.

Sephora can do better.. this is pathetic for a company that makes BILLIONS annually. Insulting actually. I have found that I actually do better by shopping at the individual brand websites and the individual brands have better sales.

Well said! The individual brand websites have better knowledge about their products and great customer service. I plan to do the majority of my shopping in the future directly with the brand or even the luxury department store beauty counters! Such a better experience. Staff at the Sephora store nearest to my home seemed disinterested, standing around clustered together gossiping. I don’t mind paying more money if the quality of products and overall shopping experience is better. Sephora is missing the mark with this. They are not forthcoming about the updated return policy which is problematic.

To me, this certainly seems like a DOWNGRADE in perks instead of the upgrades we’ve all been hoping for. I’m just disappointed, that’s all. Sephora, why such paltry incentives?

I recently decided to switch to Ulta this year based on the consistent comments on this site that the Rewards program is better and the fact that thsy carry “drugstore” products. While there are some brands that are exclusive to Sephora, I don’t really miss them and tbh, I feel I’m a bit tired of the LVMH brands generally. This doesn’t really make me want to go back. I agree with the comments about Sephora being fun once upon a time, and I also think their staff used to be more helpful and knowledgable. They used to always give away samples for you to try products before buying and I almost never see that anymore. Last time I asked fir help with foundation I was sorely disappointed in what was recommended to me (I also don’t think it was recommended based on my inquiries but rather what they wanted to push at that moment as two different people suggested it and they gave me a Tarte foundation when I asked for tinted moisturizer.) Just generally, I don’t miss it. I’ll be going for my free birthday gift this year and unless I cave to an exclusive, I plan that to be it.

The elimination of the everyday modifier really bugs me. I make more “everyday” purchases than special event purchases, so this will definitely reduce my point accumulation. None of these changes will really benefit me in any meaningful way, so what’s the point of being Rouge? I can get 20% or 25% (or better sometimes) by making purchases directly from the brands themselves. This will definitely change how much I spend at Sephora going forward.

I spend at Sephora every Christmas because I accumulate gift cards there over the course of the year, but there are a lot of things I wish they did better. Aside from the points system, they’ll only let you use one gift card per order, that is not convenient when you’ve got multiple $25 and you don’t get free shipping until you hit $50. Their return policy has gotten stricter and stricter, to the point that I’ve returned two items in the space of three months and they wouldn’t accept a third. They carry all of the high end brands, but within the range, lets say YSL or Tom Ford, the selection is extremely limited and sells out fast. Short of having gift cards, I don’t spend there. I take my money to Nordstrom, Saks, Neiman’s, and Macy’s, who all do either $50 off $250 beauty, or 15% off, multiple times a year. And you don’t have to accumulate and spend any point to get deluxe samples, they just throw that stuff in for free.

I had heard that Sephora was going to be changing it’s points program to be more similar to Ulta, but this is really bad. $500 spend to get $10 back is actually less of a return based on the current system of 2500 pets for $100 back (at 1.5 pets per $1 spent for Rouge currently.) We don’t have Ulta yet here in Canada (though I’ve also heard they’re coming sometime this year.). I will be shifting my spending to Shoppers Drug Mart and/or the brands directly. I will now make an effort not to shop at Sephora unless there is a sale or I have a gift card. I believe this is my third year being Rouge. Not anymore.

Sephora is alienating me further and further. I’ve been a rouge member for as long as I can remember. My husband gave me two e-gift cards for Christmas, one for Sephora, one for Nordstrom. Somehow, somebody got ahold of those gift card numbers and spent both of them (very weird bc I only printed out the gift cards once and never took them out of my bag).

Nordstrom saw that unusual activity on the gift card and sent me a replacement one immediately. Sephora on the other hand told me they saw purchases on the gift card that were unusual but that I would have to take it up with the FTA first! The FTA wanted nothing to do with me and were confused as to why Sephora would direct me to them.

Now, they no longer offer flash shipping for rouge members. Though I rarely return things, I think the return/exchange deadlines are laughable for people who have jobs and real lives to live. Yeah, that 2500 pt redemption is great but I very very rarely seem them nowadays compared to when it first came out.

They continue to make it less and less appealing to be a Rouge… I continue to give more of my business to Ulta, their rewards program blows Sephora out of the water, they couldn’t have at least matched Ulta in the rewards points conversion? I just don’t get it… and the whole “you can use your points to purchase coupons” thing is just gross and it feels like a slap in the face.

I’ll be losing my Rouge status this year, so I’m not too bummed over all. I stopped purchasing from Sephora and buying directly from the seller, mostly because the sample choices were terrible. I found last year I had over 3000 points to ‘spend’ and everything I wanted was gone by the time I clicked on my email link notifying me of new items for point spending. My choices were the same items I had already been receiving in my Play! boxes or items I already got with my points in the past. I also stopped getting free samples when I shopped in Sephora stores during check out and the customer service just started to tank. I only purchase Kerastase from them now and some of the Sephora brand makeup, that’s it. My Dermstore loyalty points are far better than anything I got with Sephora.

The winner here is clearly Ulta. I have been Rouge since its inception, and each year I reach Rouge, I kick myself. Under no circumstances will I allow myself to get there this year, ESPECIALLY with these changes coming.

Being able to exchange points for money is pretty good (although I do wish it was a bit more than $10 for 500 points – that’s $500 spent). I see they were trying to get people to spend their points now so they wouldn’t have to give us cash… I’m mainly bummed that VIB discount has been knocked down to 15% for every sale. I used to save all my purchases for those two VIB sales but this past year I’ve gone elsewhere for the better coupons, whether that be Ulta or the brand’s website.

This will be my last year as rouge, I’m going to make sure I don’t get there just on principle. This is insulting and they must honestly think we are dumb. I’ve been doing way more shopping on Beautylish and Nordstrom’s and will continue to do so, I’m even going to start shopping on brands websites. Their customer service is a JOKE and so are their employees who never know how to help.

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