Beauty Royalty Programs – The Breakdown

I’m all about saving money and one of the best ways to do that is to join a store’s royalty program.  As many of us are, I’m a member of countless programs.  There’s so many cards in my wallet for stores, I’ve had to add some to my coupon book.  With the iPhone’s new passbook though, I’m able to keep a few in my phone, a digital copy if you will.

So here’s a breakdown of the beauty royalty programs I’m a part of.  I’ll also tell you which ones I prefer, including which drugstore I prefer to shop at.

CVS Pharmacy Extra Care Card

I think that CVS, its royalty program, return policy, and employees are the best.  For a drugstore makeup junkie like me, this store is near perfect.  You can almost always find a BOGO offer on what you’re looking for.  Or they have Extra Bucks Rewards.  These are their rewards to us the shoppers for shopping their.  The first way to earn these is to just shop.  For every $1 you spend in the store, you get about 2% back at the end of the quarter.  You’re able to track this on your account via their website or phone app.  Sometimes these can be given right back to you at the register.  For example, if you spend $10 on L’Oreal makeup, you could get back $3 in Extra Bucks right away.  You can use Extra Bucks to earn more Extra Bucks if you want as well, however, being a retail worker myself I try and refrain from it unless I’m dying for a particular product.

Finally CVS has a great return policy.  You can pretty much return anything you’ve tried and been dissatisfied with.  I feel bad doing this because there’s nothing they can salvage from a used product, but when you can’t test a product or color you have to do what you have to do.  I’ve never had an issue returning something at CVS; they even take back hair products if you didn’t like them.  Please see an in store employee for a full return policy.

Ulta Beauty

If you’re familiar with Ulta’s reward program, you’ve likely been victim to some of it’s restrictions while checking out at the register.  While I agree that the products you can’t use the coupons on many products, it’s still a great way to save some money.  The first thing to do is to sign up for the royalty program no matter how often you shop there.  The reason being is because Ulta will start sending you $3.50 off a $10 purchase coupons in the mail.  If you need to buy staple mascara and eyeliner, that’s a $10 purchase right there.  Wait!  There are restrictions to their coupons.  You cannot use the coupons on their “prestige cosmetics and skin care,” “hair artistry brands,” fragrance, salon services, and some other stuff.

So while you can’t use that $3.50 off your Urban Decay Naked palette purchase, buying the product there still does something for you.  For every $1 you spend in Ulta, you earn a point.  100 points is $3 off ANYTHING in the store, even their prestige items.  You can rack these up for more points, but be aware unless you’re platinum status they do expire every quarter kind of like at CVS.  Easy ways to start accumulating points at Ulta are buying your basic there: cotton balls, cotton swabs, nail files, nail polish remover, moisturizer, hair care items, pony tail holders, etc.  Wait until you get to 100 points then use it on that Urban Decay item you wanted!

Sephora Beauty Insider

If you’re someone who buys a lot of higher end products and few drugstore products, then you probably love Sephora’s Beauty Insider card.  You get a point for every $1 spent, and then there are different rankings that you can redeem points back at.  These points last the entire year and if you spend $350 in a year you reach the VIB status, for even more discounts and perks.  I’m not there yet, nor will I be anytime soon.  I’m not the most fond of this reward program just because I don’t buy a lot of higher end products.  I usually buy enough there before my birthday in November to redeem 100 points at the same time I get my birthday gift and that’s fine by me.

Walgreens Balance Rewards

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what the benefits of this reward program are.  My card isn’t on my account that I made on the website.  I just signed up for it a few days ago to get the sale price on an item I wanted.  To me it looks very confusing.  The rewards levels are in the thousands, which I don’t really understand.  If you shop at Walgreens for the deals, I’d say sign up for it so you start earning, but I’m going to have to look into this a little more to fully understand it.

Target Debit Card- Pros and Cons of having this

The Target Card is not a royalty program, I want to make that clear.  But there are pros and cons to having this card set up straight to your bank account.  For me, I used to work at Target so getting the extra 5% off was a great incentive.  It still is if I’m making a large purchase, so I’ve been swiping it a lot this holiday season.  The cons of the card is that it seems to take days for the money to come out of your account and even more time for the money to go back into your account if you return something.  I’ve taken this card out of my wallet so I don’t just go to Target while running other errands, which I know everyone has been victim too.

As I said, my favorite drugstore is CVS by far for its rewards and ads.  I can’t beat it really.  CVS is less than two blocks away from me making even more convenient for me!


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