If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Ulta expanded its UltaMate Rewards program to include the Diamond Rewards tier. UltaMate Rewards launched nationally January 1, 2014, and Ulta Beauty’s Diamond Rewards launches on January 16, 2018. While there was a prior rewards program in place before 2014 (UltaMate Rewards got tested select cities in late 2013), 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. I want to break the changes down. Most perks remain the same or better. One small but important difference is the only thing I noted.
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 maximize your deal as a Diamond member by combining it with other offers on the calendar. You can also visit my Ulta retailer page to see active and upcoming offers of all types.
That difference is the 2x points promotion that all members (UltaMate Rewards, Platinum, and now Diamond) 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 the offers automatic would greatly improve the program and is the change I’d like to see the most.
Ulta advertised no difference between Diamond and Platinum members on the 2018 Ulta birthday gift. As I was still Platinum on my birthday in 2018, I could not confirm this. I officially crossed over to Diamond Rewards status on June 4th of 2018, so the 2019 Ulta birthday gift is my first as a Diamond member. If we get anything special (that is not advertised), I will come back and let you know. Of course, if the rules change and Ulta advertises something special, I will come back and let you know as well.
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.
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.
-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.
-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.
Members must spend the $1200 in one calendar year, which runs from January 1st through December 31st. Once a member qualifies, s/he will remain a Diamond Rewards member through the end of the next year. For Example, if a member spends $1200 by September 25th, 2019, the member is Diamond through December 31st, 2020. If $1200 is not spent in 2020, the member starts 2021 in a lower tier.
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. This unique offer does not list any exclusions as long as the service is at least $25.01. This comes in a box with (some) beauty goodie(s). The gift(s) that come in your welcome box will vary.
We earn points faster with 0.25x this increased base. Ulta did not water its points redemption down when it introduced this new tier. That means we can redeem at the same value as before, but we will earn them faster! There was actually another improvement to earning points in 2018 that did not exist in 2017. Bonus points get awarded on the sales price minus coupons even when redeeming points (unless it is a site wide offer). 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 for more details on this and to learn more. Points do not expire for Platinum or Diamond members, so you should only redeem in 2000 point increments for a 9.375% return (or more if any of those had multipliers).
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. With the free full-size gifts with any purchase every month in 2018 (still waiting to see if those offers will repeat in 2019), I think it is easily worth it for anyone on the cusp. Ulta did not take 2017 spend into account. If you spent enough to qualify for Diamond in 2017, you still started 2018 off as a Platinum member. 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 $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.
Ulta surprises us with Platinum Perks and Diamond Perks that are not advertised. The lists above only show a small portion of what we actually get. Diamond Members get UltaMate, Platinum, and Diamond Perks. View the perks articles to see all the perks, advertised or not.
What are your thoughts on the new UltaMate Rewards Diamond Program? 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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