If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
A question I’ve seen a lot is what is the difference between the VIB and Rouge levels at Sephora? When the program launched in July of 2013, there were more differences between the levels. Some aspects of the Rouge program got watered down, but new ones get added all the time. My goal this year is to track every Rouge exclusive promotion we receive to see what we really get for spending more. As the promotions come in, I will update this article. To get you right to the goods, I am listing all promotions in reverse chronological order below this. There is some important information below that I believe is worth reading. All promotions available to VIB members and Beauty Insider members are also available for VIB Rouge members. I only list the promotion in the lowest tier that qualifies for the offer so this is far from all the perks VIB Rouge members get.
The first Rouge exclusive (other than standard gifts, which are all below) comes from the 2018 Spring Bonus Discount. Click that link to read more details on the event. It is getting divided into two weekends. Rouge members can shop each weekend of the sale. VIB and Beauty Insiders can only shop during the second weekend so the Rouge exclusive is not only first access. We also get 4 extra shopping days over the other tiers.
VIB Rouge- 15% off code YAYROUGE from April 13th through April 16th and again from April 20th through April 23rd. That is a total of 8 days.
There will be a Rouge Event (click that link for my review of this year’s event) on the first day of the sale, 04/13/18. It is an open door event. An open door event gives the same shopping perks as a closed-door event, but it usually lacks treats and brand reps. Rouge members can bring a friend to shop with them in store on the first day of the sale. As long as the friend is a Beauty Insider member, his/her level does not matter. A friend accompanying the Rouge member will get 15% off. This is a standard benefit that has accompanied the event for years. The Rouge member and his/her guest should get a card case and samples with any purchase.
Employees have been known to refuse the gift to the non-Rouge member. It happened to my sister in the past, but she did receive a gift from this April 2018 round.
I want to touch on the things that were common before but less common or non-existent now. The first is the VIB Rouge promo code. This is a code that only Rouge members can redeem. It usually required a $35 or $50 purchase, but it was almost always worth it. Some codes had very limited stock, like the code for the free Dior lipstick in January 2014. Others had so much stock that they lasted for months, like the Buxom three-piece lip set from summer to fall of 2014. Although I did not keep a tally last year, I only remember one Rouge exclusive promo code outside of the sales everyone got. That was a Rouge promo code, YAYTEN, for $20 off a $100 purchase from July 24th through 27th 2017. I have not lost faith that we will never see a Rouge promo code again, and that is one I would love to count on as a yearly promo.
The second is the bonus in the birthday gift. Rouge members used to get an extra item in the birthday gift. It was usually a black eyeliner (which we probably all have too many of), but it was a bonus nonetheless. Sephora chose to offer the same gifts to all levels in 2016. This decision repeated in 2017 and 2018 so it is safe to assume we will not receive a bonus for our birthdays anymore.
The third is a reduction in private events. We could count on 3-4 private events a year when the program launched. By 2016, most of the events were held during store hours. This change usually meant no more brand reps, special treats, or exclusive events. There was usually still a bonus with a purchase. In 2017, there were two private events on 06/03/17 on 09/09/17. If Rouge members shopped the day a select promotion started (like the spring and fall sales), they could get a small gift. I did not write any articles last year, but I can say the tote bag for the Beauty Insider sale in November was slightly better than the paper-thin ones offered in 2015 and 2016.
I have never received a single gift for being a Rouge member, so I am unsure what those monthly gifts in the advertised benefits are. As I mention in my article discussing this, I can only assume Sephora means promo codes. Those are gifts with a purchase, not a gift. There is a huge difference between those so I wish Sephora would rename that. VIB exclusive promo codes get released about once a month, and I do appreciate those codes. It typically gives 1-2 extra bonus samples and only increases the spending floor from $25 to $35.
There are obvious promotions that most people already know about. I will mention them here anyway for those who don’t. Rouge members get free shipping with any purchase. Those who activate it, also get free 2-day flash shipping. All other tiers of Sephora shoppers can purchase Flash Shipping for $10. As someone who almost refuses to pay for shipping, even $10 a year is a savings I appreciate. Some members have reported getting banned from online orders for placing too many small orders, so whether you pay for Flash or not, I recommend limiting how many orders you place in the single or low double digits.
Rouge members can get as many free makeovers with a Sephora artist as they want for no cost and with no purchase requirement. This is a perk that I do not really care about, but I have read reports from Rouge members who claim they’ve been denied this benefit without a purchase. If you’re interested, I would suggest contacting Sephora to arrange this. Hopefully, you do not have any problems.
There is a private, Sephora phone number for VIB Rouge members. It is 855-768-4384. The greeting while you’re on hold does state you called the Rouge hotline. Associates used to answer stating they were VIB Rouge customer service. That is no longer the case. I do believe that all calls go to the same department. This means there is no difference in customer service and I sincerely doubt it does anything special. Whether I call that or the main line, my wait is the same. Yes, I’ve tested it, and that is why I am almost positive all calls feed into the same place.
Private events vary from store-to-store, but I like attending. This is a closed-door event where you can bring a guest and chat with brand reps. They usually include light refreshments and a special GWP. Sephora transitioned the events in 2016 to coincide with launches. It gives members a chance to purchase new releases before the public. If you like buying things before they officially launch, this is a cool added benefit to the program.
Rouge members do get extra days to shop the spring (Bonus) and fall (Beauty Insider) sales. We also get first access so we get the discount before the other tiers. This gives us a chance to get more popular items before they sell out. It is a great bonus, and I do appreciate that Sephora allowed Rouge members to shop the VIB part of the sale in 2017. I sincerely disliked when being excluded, because Rouge members should get all benefits VIB members get (according to the terms Sephora put forth). Many of us missed items that were out-of-stock during our part of the sale but in stock for VIB members. Members who crossed from VIB to Rouge during the event were unable to get the discount anymore without customer service assistance. It is a good thing that Sephora listened to us on what a mess that was and discontinued it.
We get an extra $5 over VIB members in our Christmas gift. I did not write an article in 2017, which was the first year this became a promo code. It was $25 off a $50 purchase. In the past, it was an actual gift card code.
Members get a free gift when they qualify for Rouge. The gift has a $34 value when purchasing the full-size. It is not sold in this mini size so it is hard to place a value on it.
Sephora does not inform a single Beauty Insider of all deals. 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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