Well well well,
When I published my ‘A Year of Sephora VIB Rouge – A Complete Review‘ post in 2017, I honestly did it on a whim and didn’t think anyone would even read it. To this day, it continues to be my most viewed post of all time. It was humbling and awesome, but also helped answer so many of your questions like, ‘Is it even worth it to be a VIB Rouge Member? Should I really spent the extra $50, $100, $200, etc to get my status?
Having just renewed my status for the 2019 (I hate myself) and with the Beauty Insider appreciation sale underway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to update my thoughts on life as a Rouge member. Sephora has also updated the program rewards which is definitely worth discussing.
THE BEAUTY INSIDER PROGRAM:
For those of you who might be unsure about how the loyalty program works, there are three customer tiers within Sephora if you sign up (it’s free). The intro level is “Beauty Insider” which requires no minimum yearly spend, then “VIB” which requires $350 spent per year, then “VIB Rouge” which requires a $1000 spend per year. Of course, each tier promises better rewards and more exclusivity. They’ve just updated the program to (finally) offer more points to VIB and VIB Rouge members.
In my original post, I went over every single reward in detail and my experiences using them (read here). Below is a screenshot of all of the new rewards.
NEW REWARDS FOR ROUGE AND VIB:
Now Rouge members will earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent, and VIB’s will earn 1.25 points for every dollar spent. About time. During a 3x or ‘4x the Points’ event, this could really add up! However, what good are all those points if you can’t get anything decent other than a microscopic lipstick or infant-sized moisturizer? The table above says ‘Full Size Products’ as rewards but my screenshot below indicates, “Good luck actually getting them“.
Let’s be real- one thing that’s really pissed me off this past year is how they can never keep their premium rewards stocked. These rewards found in the ‘Rewards Bazaar’ online are in the 1000-10,000 points spectrum but they sell out so fast! I saw so many cute 1,000 point sets that included full size products only to have them sell out in seconds online. I mostly just spend my rewards points on the 100-point perks which are usually tiny sample size products.
You can also now redeem 2,500 points for a $100 gift card (which expires within 90 days) so I guess that mitigates the issue of rewards being sold out. Still though, 2,500 points is a lot to bank and a lot to spend to get there! A Rouge member would now have to spend $1,667 to qualify for that reward, and a VIB member would have to spend $2,000. The most points I’ve ever had at one time was about 1,500. They really should do even a $25 or $50 reward in exchange for points.
I’ve included another screenshot below of what the old rewards table used to look like as of a few weeks ago, for your enjoyment:
I do find it interesting that they removed the ‘Monthly Gifts’ reward as seen in the older table above. The thing is, the monthly ‘gifts’ were just online promo codes you could redeem with a minimum $25-$45 purchase. Perhaps they realized this was false advertising. Now, the focus is more on redeeming rewards and earning more points.
I also find it interesting no one seems to know about the private VIB Rouge hotline. If you google it, my original VIB Rouge review actually comes up. Alas, I was able to find it still active on the Sephora website and uploaded it above. I do find it odd they aren’t advertising it in the ‘Beauty Insider’ tab online. The thing is, anyone can use the hotline…they don’t exactly verify your status when you call it. I have found the operators to be quicker to answer than the other Sephora hotlines, so I suppose it’s better than nothing.
MY RENEWAL EXPERIENCE:
Prior to my renewal, I got a lot emails prompting me that I’m “oh-so-close” and I only had to spend ‘x’ amount of dollars to renew my status for 2019.
I’ve renewed my status twice now and every time I’m disappointed with the renewal gifts. Last year, I got a tiny Nars blush. This year, I got the choice of a crappy looking makeup clutch or a tiny red makeup brush. I chose the brush. When I first became a Rouge, I got a miniature Marc Jacobs lipstick but was so bitter about how small it was I gave it away!
I subbed in a mini lipstick below from Bite Beauty for illustration’s sake. You can see what over $3,000 of spending at Sephora has gotten me. Don’t get me wrong I’ve gotten a lot of free stuff from online codes, but below is truly my no-strings-attached loot.
Of course a perk with being a VIB Rouge is that you get the highest discount and earliest access during the biannual VIB Rouge sale. However, my experience is that this has been super inconsistent. VIB members would often also get the same discount and even the same shopping dates. If Rouge members spend more than VIB members, why wouldn’t we get a larger discount than VIB’s and earlier dates? It was super frustrating to try and order something and have it sell out right away because all the VIB’s were shopping too.
This year, they finally gave us our own 6 days of Rouge only discount, and 20% off while VIB’s get 15% off. It just doesn’t make sense to talk up being a Rouge member so much, saying, “Welcome to the top“, just to give the same benefits as people who spend 2/3 less.
All Beauty Insiders get a free birthday gift. I do really wish they had different gifts for BI’s, VIB’s, and VIB Rouge members. I mean, this would be an ideal time to show customer appreciation and recognize the members that spend the most. Alas, the gifts are all still the same regardless of status. The only exception is now VIBs and Rouge can opt for 250 points instead of the gift.
FREE STANDARD SHIPPING:
To this day this has to be the best thing about being a VIB Rouge. I barely ever shop in store anymore. Why would I? I always redeem gift with purchase codes online, you get to choose samples with every order and you can use eBates to earn 2%-10% cash back off every purchase (sign up here!).
IN STORE EXPERIENCE AS A ROUGE MEMBER:
This leads me to my next point, and something that still has not improved and has basically gotten worse. The in-store experience recognizing VIB Rouge members is nonexistent unless you get a makeover. I’m not saying profile people and ask their status as they walk in, but any sort of mention as I’m paying would be nice. As I said in my previous post a, “Thanks____ for shopping with us today,” or, “Nice to see you are a Rouge member, I’ve got a few samples/gift with purchase for you” would go far.
The cashiers at all of the stores I’ve been in literally do not give a sh** about your status. It just isn’t a thing.
IN STORE BEAUTY SERVICES:
The one thing I can take advantage of at my local Sephora is the exclusive VIB Rouge studio. You can get a private 45-minute makeover (book through the app or call) and you won’t be sitting on one of those awkward stools in the middle of a busy store. To be honest I’ve only gone for a makeover once because I prefer to do my own makeup.
I do think it’s nice there is a dedicated area for Rouge. An associate told me all Rouge members can book an unlimited amount of makeovers, they just don’t advertise it.
EARLY ACCESS TO PRODUCT:
I’ve found the ‘early access’ products to be few and far between. I do hope to see more early access products with their revamping of the program. The only thing worthwhile IMO that I’ve ever gotten Rouge early access to was the Hourglass Confession Slim High Intensity Refillable Lipsticks (see my review on those). God I love those lipsticks.
VIB ROUGE EXCLUSIVES:
If you look up ‘rouge exclusives’ in the search bar, you will get one product show up. I’ve included a screenshot for our enjoyment. It’s not exactly a ‘variety of luxe items available to Rouge only clients’ like they say.
VIB ROUGE EVENTS:
Since I published my initial VIB Rouge review post, I have yet to go to another cool Rouge-only event. There simply hasn’t been anything! All that’s happened are private shopping events where you get a gift with purchase- usually some foil samples in a tote bag. The refreshments at the private shopping events are typically a bit laughable as well. Bottled water and biscotti- ooooh aaaaah! Honestly I’ve shopped in-store when they’ve had brand demo days and gotten better refreshments. If anyone from Sephora head office is reading this, I just wanna feel special okay.
I do love Sephora- it’s like a candy store but instead of getting fat you get pretty. I’m happy they’re taking steps to reward Rouge members more, I just hope it actually improves. We need high quality events, exclusive products and rewards that are available- not sold out all the time.
I want to make it clear that I never try to be a VIB Rouge. It just kinda happens. So yes, a few extra benefits and free shipping is certainly nice. Should you spend a few hundred extra dollars out of your way so you can become a Rouge member? Absolutely not!! VIB’s tend to get most of the same rewards, and even Beauty Insiders get special yearly discounts. Being a VIB Rouge is convenient and it’s nice to get special perks, but it’s not life changing. If you’re still here, thank you for sticking with me.
Let me know your thoughts below! I love talking about this program, it just gets me going.