If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
If you’re looking for rewards that are about to release or have already released, view my 2018 article on the Rewards Bazaar. Those looking for an overview on the program or tips to actually score the upcoming items can keep reading this.
Most Beauty Insiders know that Epic Rewards was a hot mess. Epic rewards was a Sephora promotion where members with at least 1,000 points got extremely limited gifts in exchange for Beauty Insider Points. This event was never announced far in advance, so members with a lot of points had to stalk the site. Those lucky enough to arrive within five minutes of launching had a shot to grab some items. Others who were not lucky enough to refresh the screen at the right time missed out entirely. For those who were fruitful, the gifts were great. They were easily worth the points (ranging from 1,000 to 10,000), but the hassle to get them was certainly not. This event only happened three times (that I can recall) in: August 2014, May 2015, and August 2015. After the third failure in a row in August 2015, Sephora scrapped the idea altogether. Three strikes, and they were out. Sephora is attempting to address this run on the bank with the launch of Rewards Bazaar.
Rewards Bazaar is also replacing the current Beauty Insider Rewards Boutique, so it will be the only place to redeem points online at Sephora. Every store will have select smaller valued perks for those wishing to redeem in person. Beauty Insiders redeeming 100 to 500 points would redeem as they usually do. They would add their desired items from Rewards Bazaar to an order and place it as usual. Smaller perks up to 500 points can release at any time throughout the month, but most of them will release near the beginning of the month (as they always have).
Those looking for higher valued redemption items can browse the new rewards that release in Rewards Bazaar every Tuesday and Thursday during Pacific business hours, 9am-5pm. There are usually 1-2 higher value items released each day and most release at 9am on the dot. If you arrive before 9am, there is a good chance your browser will cache. When your browsers caches, you will not see the new items until it refreshes. By the time it refreshes (well after 9am), you can almost guarantee your item will be out of stock. Clearing your cookies will not clear your cache, so make sure you clear your history (at least for the past hour if you forget and arrive before 9am).
If you arrive at 9am (not a minute later) or clear your cache quickly enough, the new items should be available (assuming they released right at 9am). Sometimes, the system may cache from your last login. Those unable to clear their cache in time can enter through another browser. I enter initially through Safari and login through Firefox if I do not see any new offers after clearing my history for the last hour. They will never release at 8:59 according to the terms of service, so arriving early would not help anyway. It is always possible they can release as late as 4:59pm on a staggered schedule, but after closely monitoring the releases the month of September, I can say it is unlikely. There is not much need to stalk the link all day. Those who want to check multiple times should probably check right at 9am. When you see 2 new items (750+) at 9am, that is it. No more items are coming. If you see less than two, you can check sporadically a few more times throughout the day.
Any single item 750 or over is eligible for redemption with free shipping without a purchase. If you do not have one item that is at least 750 points, you will need to make a purchase with your redemption. I actually recommend you do not purchase anything with perks 750+. Not only does it take longer to checkout when you try to purchase something, but orders with extra items take longer to process. People have reported having their perks canceled, because orders that came in after theirs got processed before theirs. All the canceled orders seem to have other items included with the perk.
Flash Shipping does not apply to gifts in Rewards Bazaar, so these gifts will get the standard 3-day shipping. My experience is they will arrive slower than that, but others are getting them in a normal time range. Anyone without free or Flash shipping can place an order under $50 (including $0 if they only want the perk) to get free shipping if they redeem a 750 point perk. As mentioned above, this could mean your order takes longer to process and gets canceled, but it is a great way around the $50 minimum for VIB and Beauty Insiders.
The fine print says rewards can go for as much as 50,000 points. Very few Beauty Insiders have that many points, so values that high will not appear often. Under the old system, the 100-500 point perks released once a month around the sixth. While it is most likely these perks will release the first day the Rewards Bazaar releases new items each month, they can still release at any time.
To meet demand, Sephora plans to release new items twice a week for a total of 104 times a year. That means this program is here to stay. As long as this works out, I can see this continuing indefinitely. It is certain to service more people than epic rewards, which only took place once or twice a year. This should make redemption a lot easier and bring more frequent offers. While the popular items still run out quickly, it is now a matter of minutes instead of a matter of seconds under Epic Rewards. Tracking items released at random times like 4:34pm (if it ever happens) will be difficult, but those who miss out one day will never have to wait long for the next release.
The official launch was August 18th, because that was the first Thursday after the announcement. Most of the major offers began dropping in September (unless you count makeup applications with Sephora employees), so many people will list September as the official start to the new program. Items are not as extravagant as the ones we saw during Epic Rewards, and the ones that are nicer require more points to redeem them. Having higher valued options other than the current 500 point perks will finally give point hoarders a chance to redeem for something meaningful though.
The gifts during Epic Rewards were unusually high in value, so I knew Sephora could not maintain similar offerings long-term. As someone who never saves her points, I have started saving (somewhat) now that I’ve seen the new plan. This program is a lot more relaxed knowing perks will likely drop at 9am twice a week instead of a random time in the middle of the night once or twice a year. I would rather redeem with ease for something less valuable than stress out and get something better.
I grabbed the screenshot above from around 11am on the first day of the launch, 08/18/16. They released a new reward and re-released some older rewards. Surprisingly, only two of the five 500 point rewards are out-of-stock. Granted, these are only 500 point rewards. Most people are probably waiting for higher value rewards before they cash in. Rewards are first come first served, so if you see something you want, check out quickly. Having it in your cart does not reserve the item, and it will go out-of-stock if someone manages to check out with the last item while you’re still browsing.
If I missed any questions you have, there is a chance someone already asked a similar question on the FAQ Thread. You can always ask questions there if yours has not been addressed. I will try to answer any questions I can here. At this point, I think the biggest issue is figuring out what day they will drop which reward. Sephora is sending a monthly email of the bigger perks that will drop within the month, and I can almost assure all or most will release at 9am. What days will they release though? They do not get released in the email order, but I will study the releases to see if I can figure out a pattern.
Sephora does not inform a single Beauty Insider of all deal details. Certain offers are targeted and others have different purchase minimums based on the code. Remember to check New Offers and/or Recycled Offers before placing an online order. If you’re spending over $25, you can add a promo code to any order. See all Rewards Bazaar and Sephora articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal When Shopping Sephora. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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