If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
How do I condense the article on tips for getting the best deal when shopping at Ulta when it has all the best offers? I won’t. Ulta encourages deal stacking, so there are a lot of things to cover. Some deals are a little harder to find, because it rewards our digging efforts with a larger bounty. I’m half-joking. Most people will place orders without putting too much effort into finding a deal, and Ulta knows this. For those willing to do the research and put in the time, Ulta gives us the deals we need to place an order. If you’ve mastered the art of deal (like Tony Schwartz), I’d love if you can think of anything else. There are always new things to learn, so I will edit this if I discover something new. I’ve seen guides to getting the best deal at Ulta before, but they’re not usually comprehensive and miss many important tips. Details scare some people. If you’re scared of detail, click that little X and back out now. Do not say I did not warn you!
I have one timeline where I list all major: deals, coupons, GWP, Sales, promotions, and Events. Those who want to see an overall idea of what to expect this year should stop by. See where you can use these Ulta Beauty tips with others on the calendar. You can also visit my Ulta retailer page to see active and upcoming offers of all types.
Ulta runs on Central time. If you live on the West Coast, the new day starts at 10pm. Offers for the new day usually go live at right at 10pm (as long as we can find them as we cannot always find Beauty Breaks, Platinum Perks, and Diamond Perks until we get the emails with the links). There are times when offers set to expire that day run past 10pm and other times when they cut off right at 10pm. Make sure you get your purchases in before 10pm if your offer expires that day. When new steals for events go live, we can also purchase right at 10pm. Sure you can wait until the next day, but popular items may sell out while you’re sleeping. I’ve missed so many Beauty Breaks, and Platinum Perks because early risers grab them while I sleep.
Make sure you get notifications from as many Ulta mediums as possible. While most offers are emailed, I have received offers in the mail (like the one above) and offers via text or in the app. At times, the 20% off prestige coupons get mailed and emailed. Whenever that happens, you end up with two different codes. There is an online catalog for those who have issues receiving mail. I like looking at that, because I always find things that are not advertised well on the Ulta site. The coupon in physical catalogs is missing from the online catalog, but the Ulta always advertises the current coupon separately. Ulta has mailed surprise gifts to people (mostly Platinum members), so always have your current address on file. It is 2019, and I am still waiting for a surprise gift from Ulta. One day!
-Join the UltaMate Rewards Program. You get perks for joining, including 1 point for every dollar spent, a birthday gift, 2x points during your birth month, 5x points during your anniversary week, 20% off prestige coupons, special point multipliers, and more. Cash points in for a credit to use on anything. The more you bank the more valuable the points are. Points expire one year after the quarter you earn them in at this level. See all 2019 UltaMate Rewards Perks.
You must have purchase history on your account to trigger a birthday gift coupon. All UltaMate members with purchase history should get a coupon on the first day of their birth month to redeem a gift in-store. They also get 2x points during their month of birth. The birthday gift changes every month in 2019, but it changed by quarter before that. Platinum members get a $10 coupon with their birthday gift.
-Spend $450 a year and get upgraded to Platinum. Your Platinum membership is valid from the date you earn it through the end of the following year. Points do not expire while you’re in Platinum status, but use them within a year of earning them if you’re not. You get all UltaMate Rewards perks plus extra Platinum Perks, including 1.25 points per dollar spent, a $10 birthday coupon, and exclusive Platinum Offers. See all 2019 Platinum Perks.
My package was a dud in 2018, but I hope it improves in 2019. When you earn Diamond status, you get a unique promo code for a gift.
-Spend $1200 a year and get upgraded to Diamond. Your Diamond membership is valid from the date you earn it through the end of the following year. You get all Platinum Perks plus extra Diamond Perks, including 1.5 points per dollar spent, free shipping with a $25 purchase, and a free $25 reward card annually good toward beauty services (which comes inside the Diamond Rewards Qualification Gift). Read more about the Diamond Program. See all 2019 Diamond Perks.
You cash your points in for actual money off purchases. To make the most of the program, I suggest delving deeper into how to earn and redeem points. In the simplest terms, only redeem in increments of 2000 and utilize multipliers and bonus point offers as much as possible. Make sure you know how to run the math, so you get all the points you should. The more multipliers you combine, the harder it is to calculate.
Points never expire for Platinum or Diamond Members. As long as your account is in Platinum or Diamond status, you can bank them as long as you want. UltaMate members should use their points before they expire, even if it means redeeming them in increments under 2000. Ulta only removes points once a quarter, and it removes points that are at least a year old. Any points you earn in quarter three for 2019 get removed when quarter four starts in 2020. You will get an email reminder to spend your points before they expire (as long as you’re opted into emails).
I have one timeline where I list all major: deals, coupons, GWP, Sales, and Events. Those who want to see an overall idea of what to expect this year should stop by. See where these promotions and others pop up. You can also visit my Ulta retailer page to see active and upcoming offers of all types.
Bags full of items ranging from foils to full-sizes that are free with a minimum purchase. These can pop up at any time throughout the year and are available to everyone.
A 4-6 hour GWP event that available on most Wednesday mornings, but can take place on other dates and times.
These come all year and there is rarely a period where Platinum accounts do not have at least one. There are 2x points, 3x points, 4x points, 5x points, 7x points, and 10x points offers. You must activate these offers through the email or the My Rewards section of your account before shopping. As I mention above, multipliers combine. Although certain deals only pop up when there are no multipliers, many pop up during multipliers. It would actually be difficult to purchase many times throughout the year and not hit a multiplier of any kind.
Special pricing that is only available for a limited time and it can pop up at any time.
Coupons and links for gifts with any purchase that can arrive at any time and are only given to select rewards members.
Whether shopping in-store or online, make sure you know which gift with purchase offers are available. Many offers are available in-store and online. Just as no customer knows every offer, no employee does either. An employee cannot give you a freebie if s/he does not know you should get one. It is important to check the online gift with purchase section before shopping online or heading over to a store. Most of the offers in this section are for specific brands, but general offers hide in here. General offers in there are almost always online only, but it never hurts to ask the person checking you out about the gift. Some offers pop up and tell you to add them but others require you to add them. You cannot add them if you are unaware of them. I like to browse this section every time I make a purchase just to make sure I am grabbing all of the freebies I can get. This is also helpful when you are purchasing from a specific brand and are just under that brand’s specific GWP minimum. If you know about the offer, you can decide whether you want to purchase something else to trigger it.
When shopping in store, make sure you stop by the clearance section. This is usually near the center of most stores, but ask an employee if you’re having a hard time finding it. Items inside the clearance section vary between stores. Clearance items in store are always discounted deeper than the same item in the online sale section. There is no guarantee items you find online are sold in store, because the online sale section is a lot bigger. It is a good idea to check the sale section even if you’re not going into the store. If you have time to go to a store and are planning on purchasing something from the sale section, I’d chance going into the store. The only exception is if the online gifts (which outnumber the in store gifts) are more valuable (to you) than the amount you could save with a trip to the store. Many promotions are listed in the Special Offer section. If you want to purchase multiples from a specific brand, check this section to see if there are any BOGO offers available.
Ulta accepts and offers a lot of coupons. If you want more details about any coupon I mention here, refer to Everything You Need to Know About Ulta Coupons. I go over all types of coupons and important details about them. There is almost always an offer for Ulta and drugstore branded items. It is usually for $3.50 off $15, 20% off a single item or 20% off the entire (drugstore) purchase. At times, you can get a coupon for a specific item, like 20% off a hair tool. Those are online, at the bottom of your emails, or in the catalog. Manufacturers coupons work if you shop in person. Brand specific coupons give a discount off a purchase within that brand. We covered the birthday coupons above. I track 20% off prestige coupons. Some members get a discount coupon to urge them to start shopping with Ulta again. Coupons for discounts in the salon are usually available. Unique or general offers for a gift with any purchase get emailed to select accounts.
The free shipping minimum is usually $50. It does reduce at times to $25 or $35, but shipping is $5.95 if you dip below. Paying for shipping always negates some of the deal, so I suggest shopping in store when you are not going over the minimum. Free Shipping is calculated after discounts are applied, so you must go over $50 before tax. Gift With purchase minimums are calculated before discounts. If you have a $60 GWP in your cart, and a discount that takes $10 off, you only need to spend $50 to get that offer.
Ulta launched a new credit card. It is important to note there are added perks to selecting the MasterCard over the store credit card. A chart comparing the two is below. The official MasterCard will work at any place accepting MasterCard. Something would be amiss to mention Ulta Deals without bringing this up, but I’m not going to get it. While this is a fabulous card, I just have too many cards to justify picking up another one. If you decide to pick this up, you get a 20% discount when you open the card. There is no annual fee. Every $1 spent at Ulta earns a bonus point, and there is a 500 bonus point offer for spending $500 in the first 3 months. Outside purchases even get a point for every $3 spent. If you redeemed at 2000 points for $125, it would take $6000 spent outside to cash that out. That actually equates to 2.083% back (but only if you redeem at 2000 points). The in store rate is 6.25% back. This only includes the bonus point, because you’d get the other points for shopping whether you had the card or not. In other words, this is a very rewarding credit card!
As long as you qualify for multiple offers in-store or online, you can add them all. The only exception online is for multiple offers that require a promo code, because you can only add one promo code per online Ulta order. If any in-store coupons mention they cannot be combined with other coupons, that would be the only in-store exclusion. Otherwise, you are only limited by the amount of offers you are aware of. Most in-store coupons combine and many online offers use a link instead of a promo code. I’ve redeemed plenty of orders where I stacked multiple offers.
What are your thoughts on tips for getting the best deal at Ulta? Let me know below. Targeted Offers are exclusive to UltaMate Rewards Members, so I do recommend joining. Whenever there is an exclusive or unique Ulta Beauty offer, I will note that above. An advanced breakdown on Earning and Redeeming Points can help you maximize the UltaMate Rewards Program. Coupons are almost always available. I go over all types of Ulta coupons and track 20% off prestige coupons. Remember to check my Ulta Deals page before placing an online order for possible exclusives and advice. There are always general and brand specific offers I do not list, so check the GWP section of the Ulta site as well. Ulta encourages deal stacking. Most major events run on a schedule, and I track each one. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal at Ulta. See all Ulta articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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