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Ulta expanded its UltaMate Rewards program to include another tier. UltaMate Rewards launched nationally January 1, 2014. It launched a few months earlier in select cities. While there was a prior rewards program in place, it was nothing compared to the ultimate program we see now. “Where Beauty Loves You Back” became “Where Beauty Loves You Back Even More Brilliantly.” How do you improve a program that was already the best! By launching a new tier with even better rewards and not taking anything away from the previous program, Ulta did it. That’s right, Ulta is upgrading its rewards program with style. Everything you knew before remains almost exactly the same. One small but important difference is the only thing I noted.
That difference is the 2x points promotion that all members get during their birth month needs activation where it did not before. This is not a huge deal, and I am sure Ulta will send a reminder email at the beginning of the month. It should only matter for those who do not know about it or those who forget to activate it. While I understand why Ulta makes its members activate offers, failing to activate them can result in an opportunity cost of lost points. Making offers automatic would greatly improve the program and is the change I’d like to see the most.
Ulta is not the best at divulging information so I believe we will see more changes as the program gets fully rolled out this year. Accounts were updated with how much we need to spend to hit Diamond status on the 16th of January so the program is up and rolling. As more details get revealed about the updates to the program, I will continue to add them here. This chart above says Diamond members will get the same bonus for their birthdays. Sephora gives all levels the same birthday gift (Rouge members used to get an extra item before 2016). It is possible that this is true, but I will update this if I learn of any new bonuses Diamond members get around their birthday. Find Ulta Birthday Gifts, redemption information, and other pertinent details in this article.
My Ulta retailer page and Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Shopping at Ulta article already go into great detail explaining the program so I will only be doing quick comparisons of the tiers here. I will also add the new information into those articles as it becomes available. Official details are available at Ulta.com/diamond. I knew nothing about this change until I received my latest catalog in the mail, so Ulta kept this under wraps for a while. Those mailers are a great source of information on deals, so remember to update your address and opt in for mailers if you do not already receive them.
UltaMate members receive 1 point per dollar spent. Platinum members receive 1.25 points per dollar spent. Diamond members will get 1.5 points per dollar spent. When multipliers are available, Platinum members tend to get a higher multiplier than regular remembers, so it is only natural to assume Diamond members will get a higher multiplier than Platinum members. I will update this as soon as I am able to confirm that.
Diamond members will also receive free shipping with a $25 purchase. This is a great perk because I almost never dip below $25, even at Sephora where I get free shipping on everything. The free shipping minimum for everyone else is usually $50. There are times when the free shipping minimum gets discounted for everyone to $25 or $35 (mostly $35). Platinum members get free shipping on select Platinum Perks and on steals during promotions, like the 21 Days of Beauty. One can assume that bonus opportunities for free shipping below the $25 Diamond minimum will also exist, and I will update this as I discover them. Other than select products that anyone can get free shipping on, I am unaware of any promotions where regular UltaMate members get free shipping.
Diamond members will receive a $25 reward card to spend on services each year. That is a new perk that did not exist in the previous program. I assume this will be good for hair and skin services, although it would be great if it includes brows. Benefit Brow Bar is usually excluded from other promotions, so I expect the same exclusion here.
To qualify for Diamond status, UltaMate members must spend $1200 in a calendar year, which runs from January 1st through December 31st. There is no spending minimum to qualify for the regular program. The spending minimum for Platinum status remains at $450.
All of the redemptions for points are the same, so there was no dilution with this new tier introduction. In 2018, bonus points are awarded on the sales price minus coupons even when redeeming points. This is a huge improvement over the old way where bonus points (like base points) only get awarded on actual money spent. Delve deeper into earning and redeeming points. As always, I recommend redeeming in 2000 point increments for a 6.25% return (at 1 point per dollar, excluding multipliers and bonuses which vary making the percentage of return different for everyone). Spending less than $200 during a 10x points event could earn a member 2000 points, thus a $125 spending bonus. If you are a regular member, your points expire. Make sure you redeem before they do, even if you are unable to save for the greatest value on redemption. Points do not expire for Platinum or Diamond members.
Those who spend way more than $450 a year will definitely appreciate the added benefits. Anyone who spends less than $1200 will need to decide if the added benefits are worth the extra spend. Until the program is fully rolled out, it is hard to say. Ulta did not take your 2017 spend into account. If you spent enough to qualify for Diamond in 2017, you will only be a Platinum member this year until you qualify for Diamond Status. This is one huge disappointment, and I think it is something Ulta mishandled. When Sephora rolled out its Rouge program in July of 2014, it automatically gave anyone who had spent the $1000 (the annual Rouge spend requirement) the status.
I spent well over $1200 last year so I wish I would have started with Diamond Status. When Ulta officially rolled out the new program in 2014, it did not take into account that I had spent well over the $400 (the old Platinum minimum spend at the time) in 2013. It made me start fresh to earn status when 2014 started. While I fully expected Ulta to do the same thing with this launch, I hoped it would not do it again. Having the status from the beginning would have made it easier to note important changes and share them with others. As my Quarter Four spend at Ulta was more than I should have spent, I need to slow down for a while. That means I should rest here at Platinum status for at least half of this year. Other than that disappointment, I like the new changes. All changes (other than activating the 2x points birthday bonus) look positive.
There are many Platinum Perks offered throughout the year that are not even listed on the comparison chart above, including a lot today. Check your emails or check my Platinum Perks article if you are Platinum, because they are worth looking over. Diamond Perks that are not advertised as a benefit of the program get released throughout the year as well. Members also get all the perks Platinum and regular UltaMate members get. Sephora does not differentiate much between Rouge members and VIB members. Ulta is already differentiating (updated this sentence after the date of this article as Diamond Perks started rolling in) more between its middle and top-tier. The added perks (so far) do not seem like enough to justify the extra spend, but they are nice for those members who already spend extra anyway.
Targeted Offers are exclusive to UltaMate Members so I do recommend joining. If you have questions about any Ulta Coupon, I go over all types. Remember to check all Ulta offers before placing an online order because there are always general or brand specific offers that are not targeted. Deal stacking is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. See all Ulta articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal at Ulta. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
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