Points Make Prizes: Sephora VS. Shoppers Drug Mart

Thursday 17 July 2014

I am a huge fan of points systems, however now all points programs are created equal.  I am going to do a rundown on four major cosmetics retailers' points systems, and their redemptions.  The goal? To find which points system is the best.  In this post I will analyze Shoppers Drug Mart/Murale and Sephora.  The next post will take a look at MAC and LUSH.

In the very recent past Shoppers has been stepping up its game in the high end cosmetics department.  Called the "Beauty Boutique", many Shoppers now carry a good selection of make up.  Nothing to complain about!

Shoppers Drug Mart owns Murale, and so Murale has the same points system as Shoppers.  For you savvy shoppers that means you can earn your points on paper towel and dish soap, and spend your points on Chanel and Dior.  Not too shabby!

Sephora is owned by LVMH, which owns basically half of all luxe brands.  Benefit, Make Up Forever, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Moët champagne, Dior, Krug (cups), De Beers (diamonds), Fresh, NUDE, just to name a few.

Membership at both Sephora and Shoppers is free.


Before looking at how points add up, it is important to consider what you can buy to earn those points.  Shoppers and Sephora carry similar brands, however there are many distinct differences.  Please note that this list is not exclusive, and not every Shoppers store carries all of the higher end brands.

Shoppers/Murale: Drug store brands (Revlon, Maybelline, Rimmel, etc), Chanel, Fekkai, Quo, Groceries, Household Supplies, Tampons, and more!

Sephora: Alterna, Living Proof, Bumble and Bumble, Tarte, Julep, Marc Jacobs Cosmetics, Too Faced,  Make Up Forever, Sephora Brand, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Bite, Ole Hendriksen, Formula X, Hourglass, Josie Maren, Phyto

Both: Benefit, Dior, YSL, Bobbie Brown, Ojon, Smashbox, Lancome, Stila, Glamglow*, Marc Jacobs Fragrance, NARS, Clinique

*Often out of stock at Murale.

The key advantage that Shoppers has over Sephora in this regard is that at Shoppers you can buy groceries, and paper towel, and tampons, and candy, and dish washer soap, and all sorts of things that you would buy anyways.  You can then take points accumulated on "necessities" and spend them on "splurges".  You can even mix it up-- get some of what you need with your points, and then toss n a Dior mascara.  The possibilities are endless.  At Sephora you can only purchase various levels of high end cosmetics, hair care, and fragrance.

Points Systems

Shoppers:  At Shoppers you earn 10 points per dollar for a regular redemption.  To put that in context it would take spending $800 to earn $10 off.  Which sucks.  Many uninformed people argue that Shoppers has an awful points reward system because saving up 95,000 points seems daunting.  Trust me.  I am a student, I don't have $800 to spend in order to save $10.  However, I have redeemed at the 95,000 level 3 times in the last 2 years.  So let's break down how I do it.

First off, I have signed up to get Shoppers emails, Murale emails, and Shoppers coupons delivered to my home.  The coupons are tailored to you based on demographics and past purchases.

Murale recently had a promotion on.  Spend $125 or more, and earn 20x the points.  I was in need of a set of hot rollers, so I went to Murale.  The total price was just over $125.  For the sake of this argument let's assume it cost me $125.

In regular point world, that would earn me 1,250 points.  With the promo, that becomes 25,000 points.

Often Shoppers has single use Balea masks on for 3/$5, and earn 500 points.  Let's assume I pick up six in total.

Now let's assume I need some groceries and home supplies.  I generally wait for a 20x the points promo.  At Shoppers one must generally spend $75 on these promotions.

With the coupons sent it isn't too hard to get another 10,000 points.  Recently these have included various shampoos, food items, and diet coke.  In total this would not have cost me more than $30

Murale 20x Deal: 25,000
Balea Masks: 1,000
Shoppers 20x: 15,000
Coupons $30: 10,000

And that's 51,000 points.

Over the course of 6 months it is easy to repeat this cycle.  In total, using this method, it would cost about $500 ($480) plus tax to obtain $170 worth of product back.  Keep in mind that Shoppers also often has a Super Redemption weekend twice a year where 95,000 points is worth $220 in product.  They also have weekends where you get 30,000 points back on your 95,000 point redemption.

In context, this means that $500 worth of cosmetics, electronics, groceries, and household supplies could net you:

What 95,000 points is worth.

Lancome Eyeshadow $54
Dior Addict Fluid Stick $36
benefit Gimme Brow $26
Dior Nudeskin $48
Revlon Balm Stain $10
Total $174 (Leaving you to pay $4 + the tax on $174).

Always save your points up to the $170 level.  It is a much better deal, and a great way to splurge on yourself.  Keep in mind that you still have to pay the tax on the $170 you "spend".

Points ---> Redemption
8,000---> $10
22,000---> $30
38,000---> $60


At Sephora every $1 spent works out to 1 point.  100 points can be redeemed for a deluxe sample, 250 for a mini perfume or phone case, and 500 for a gift set of 4-5 deluxe samples.  The recently launched their first 1000 point gift which is a Marc Jacobs full sized lipgloss and lipstick.  The best frame of reference I can give is that a deluxe sample is a mini mascara or something to that scale.

Recently Sephora has upped their point perk game.  Minis from beloved brands, and well curated sets have been gracing the display.  I have recently picked up a mini NARS lipgloss in Orgasm, a mini Tarte cheek stain, and a mini Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced.  There are usually more options online than in store.

Here is what $500 worth of make up looks like:

Mmmmm make-up

You would have to buy all of that to get:

5 of these:

2 of these:

Or this:

Point gifts change frequently.  These screen shots were taken today.

Not exactly the greatest deal.

Unless I love love love a 500 point gift I tend to opt for grabbing 100 point gifts that catch my eye.

When ordering online, due to the fact that items are shipped from the States, Canadian members only earn the American points on an item,  For example, a Glamglow mask is $76 in Canada.  In the US it is $67.  A Canadian ordering it online would only earn 67 points.  To remedy the situation one must call customer service and ask for your rightful points.

Sephora does not often have bonus point days.  Around Mothers Day you can earn 3x the points on fragrance.  Perhaps one week of the year is 2x the points for VIB and VIB Rouge.  At the end of last summer I racked up points quickly as it was 2x the points for BIs, 3x for VIB, and 4x for VIB Rouge.

Membership Tiers

Shoppers:  There are no membership tiers.  Only redemption levels.  Once you redeem your points decrease and then you start from the bottom again.

Sephora:  Members start as Beauty Insiders (BIs).  All members get a card and are able to earn points.  All members get a free birthday gift (usually 2 deluxe samples).  Spending $350 or more in a calendar year makes one a VIB.  A VIB gets 1 free makeover (normally free with any $50 purchase), a 10% off coupon good for one use, a silver card, and the pride of a job well done.  From time to time there are little bonuses.

Spend $1000 or more in a calendar year you become a VIB Rouge.  You get access to unlimited free makeovers, a red card, a small gift (this year is an exclusive Formula X red nail polish), unlimited free shipping on their website, exclusive items that only you can buy, and a heck of a lot of emails that say "Spend $35 and get this for free" where this is a deluxe sample, or a set of deluxe samples.  VIB Rouge also get an extra treat added to their birthday gift.

All "levels" are good for the remainder of that year, and all of the next year.  For example, if one became a VIB Rouge on August 7th, 2014 they would be a rouge until December 31, 2015.

Gifts with Purchase

Shoppers: Tends to have gifts with purchase for brands such as Lancome or Clinique.  No free samples, but will give you foil pack samples with purchases at the Beauty Boutique.

Sephora: Does not often have gifts with purchase, however they will give you free samples of products you are interested in even if you aren't buying something.  With purchases they will give you foil pack samples.  Online they often have a few "Spend $35 and get this deluxe sample".


I just wrote a novel on points system, all from memory.  All in all Shoppers has the superior points program.  Money to spend on full sized products wins over deluxe samples any day.  However, unless you are diligent enough to wait for bonus days, earning 95,000 points is a long, long path.  Keeping in mind that Shoppers and Sephora have different brands, I recommend participating in both.  If you can, buy groceries, household goods, and whatever make up you can at Shoppers, and the difference at Sephora. If there is not a bonus day, it is better to get your beauty needs at Sephora.  Also, consider if you have already earned your way to VIB Rouge for the year.  If you have, switch your spending to Shoppers/Murale for as much as you can until January 1st.

I love my deluxe samples from Sephora, but nothing beats a free, full sized product.  Also-- deluxe samples can be easily obtained through samplings services such as Ipsy.

What is your favourite point system?  Why?

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