Sephora Rewards vs. Ulta Rewards

Utilizing makeup rewards programs is a new area for me, but few months ago a new Ulta store opened in my area. Normally, any makeup I can’t get at a local discount store, I order online through Sephora or drive about 30 minutes to reach the nearest Ulta and Sephora.  With an Ulta opening close by, I wondered whether the convenience of shopping at a local Ulta and redeeming their rewards outweighed utilizing Sephora for their rewards program.

On the surface, there are some similarities to both rewards programs. Both rewards’ programs utilize a point system with the minimum threshold of 100 points necessary to redeem for a reward. Both use a $1 = 1 point system. Both offer tiered program levels based on how much you spend. Both are affiliated with so if you shop online you can earn cash back at both places. This is pretty much where the similarities end.

With Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program you can:

  • Redeem your points for deluxe samples or curated product sets.
  • Get a gift during your birthday month regardless of how many points you have earned. The gift is usually your choice of a mini-set from a higher end product line.
  • Points never expire so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of spending your points before you lose them.
  • Reach Very Important Beauty Insider (VIB) by spending $350. VIB includes: Welcome kit of a 10% discount offer, one free makeover offer and free shipping offer.
  • Reach Very Important Beauty Insider Rouge (VIB Rouge) by spending $1000. VIB Rouge includes: Gift welcome kit, unlimited make overs offer and free shipping on all online purchases.



With Ulta’s Ultamate Rewards you can:

  • Redeem your points for a $ amount discount off your total purchase.

100 points = $3 off
250 points = $8 off
500 points = $17.50 off
750 points = $30 off
1000 points = $50 off
2000 points = $125 off

  • Points can be used in combination with other discounts and offers.
  • Earn points on salon services but cannot redeem points for salon services
  • Reach Platinum by spending $450
  • Earn points 25% faster ($1 spent = 1.25 points)
  • Extra birthday gift, Exclusive offers and double or triple bonus points in your birthday month

Consider your shopping habits

Are you a moderate to above average consumer of beauty products? Then it certainly pays to belong to both rewards’ programs. However, deciding which store to spend your money at depends a lot on what you value. If you like getting free deluxe samples and in-store makeovers, then Sephora is where you should make the bulk of your purchases. It is also easier to reach the higher tier program at Sephora as you have to spend $350 there to get VIB vs. $450 at Ulta to reach the Platinum level.

If you don’t care about high end samples and buy drugstore type brands in addition to higher end brands, then it would be worth spending at Ulta for the discounts. The only caveat here is to watch for sales on discount store brands at Ulta otherwise you may pay more for them then you would at a discount store.

To get around overpaying, try stacking your coupons at Ulta. For example, if you have a coupon for Maybelline products and a coupon from Ulta (usually $3.50 off a $15 purchase or 20% off one item) you can use them both and the price will be less than the discount store. Use any accumulated reward points and you have just become a triple discount diva! Plus, you will be earning points towards your next reward. Congratulations!


Location is also something to take into consideration. If you spend enough at Sephora to earn VIB or VIB Rouge but don’t live close enough to a brick and mortar store then you won’t be able to take advantage of all their in-store perks. With Ulta, their rewards program doesn’t allow you to spend your points on their services but if you book an appointment for one of their services you will earn points for it.
What is the best deal you have gotten at Sephora or Ulta? Where do you shop more? Let me know in the comments below.



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