Birchbox vs Ipsy: The points systems

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Birchbox has had their rewards system in place since around the time it launched. Now I wasn't around when it first launched and began my subscription May 2011 but every month since I've been a subscriber I've always been able to review the items in my box and receive 10 points per item. Ipsy, formerly MyGlam, only recently launched their own Ipsy Points system which while similar to Birchbox's is very different.

Birchbox Ipsy
Review Point Amount10 points 10 points
Referral Point Amount50 points 250 points
Monetary Value$1 per point (via purchases)
10¢ per point (via referrals/reviews)
Redemption Amount100 points 1000 points
Redemption Value $10varies*
see below
Earn points from signing up?
Note: one time only
Amount earned from becoming member10 points on a monthly account
110 points on a yearly account
100 points
Can be stacked?Yes No
Can be used with promo codes?Yes No
Can be used to pay for subscriptionNo*
see below
Expires?Yes, after 1 yearYes, after 1 year

Essentially for every 100 Birchbox points you accumulate you earn a $10 credit that can be used in their online store. You can accumulate these points ("stack") up to a year and be combined with Birchbox's promo codes and deal for fantastic items. I recently redeemed 1100 points on an order with a retail value close to $180 and paid 32 cents out of my pocket. Birchbox's points system is THE BEST of ALL the beauty subscription services out there. The only downside is you can't use your points to purchase a quarterly, six month or yearly subscription but YOU CAN pay for a gift subscription for someone else using your points. I know people who buy themselves a gift subscription using their points to have essentially a free second account where they still earn points from reviews and referrals on that second account however you can't directly pay for a subscription with points at this time.

Ipsy recently revamped their system. Until August if you made two referrals the previous month you would earn a free bonus item in that current month's bag. NOW it essentially will take FOUR referrals (250 points each) to redeem for one item. It's no longer automatic, you have to choose (or not choose if you don't want the bonus item that month), which item you want to redeem your points on. Here's why the new system is terrible and too many people dislike the system as it currently stands.

The items available for point redemption the last few months have been a $7 Nicole by OPI bottle of polish or a $12 eyeshadow palette from NYX cosmetics. At this time it takes 1000 points to redeem for one of those two items. Keep in mind it now takes four referrals (earning Ipsy $40 from those referrals) or 100 item reviews. Also keep in mind it will take about 20 months to earn 1000 points if the average Glambag contains five items per month. Factor in the fact that there is an expiration on those points after one year so you can NEVER earn 1000 points simply from reviews. So for the average person who doesn't refer people there is no way for them to earn 1000 points to redeem on one item. This is what has people upset because you can't accumulate the points before the points expire and the value of the products is far less than the redemption value.

Had Ipsy gone the route of Birchbox and made an item redemption be between 100 points (to 200 points at most) it would have allowed the average person to be able to accumulate and redeem their points. If the average Glambag contains five items and all five items are reviewed the Ipsy subscriber would earn 50 points for the month and it would take two months (100 points redemption) to four months (200 points redemption). As I mentioned above 1000 points at 50 points earned per month would take 20 months to accumulate which the average person who does not do any referrals would never be able to accumulate.

At this time a person can only choose ONE bonus item PER MONTH so even if a person refers multiple people and earn 250 points per referral they are still restricted to only ONE bonus item per month. There is no logical reason, at least none to me, for Ipsy to have the redemption value so high and essentially out of reach of the average person. To me the current Ipsypoints system is unfair to the average person.

Worst yet, Ipsy has reto-applied points to past bonus items; items we didn't ask for or get to choose such as a Baublebar bracelet. I didn't request that bonus item but it was sent to me in June (before the current system) and thankfully Ipsy didn't apply 1000 points but only 500 (two referrals) for it. I think that Ipsy should have had the Ipsypoint system in place BEFORE adding and removing points on past items  since they have stated they "cannot retroactively add points to your account" but apparently they can retroactively remove points for past bonus items.

I'm hoping the folks at Ipsy realize how unfair the new system currently is and reduce the redemption amounts from 1000 to a more fair redemption point. If a bottle of polish is retails for $7 then it shouldn't take 1000 points to redeem for it but more like 100 points. I just don't see how 1000 points is worth $100 on Birchbox but no more than $12 on Ipsy. Granted, if the average person on Ipsy doesn't refer people to Ipsy then they might not on Birchbox BUT at least on Birchbox you STILL have the chance to redeem your points after two months unlike Ipsy where it would take you 20 months and even then it'll never happen because points expire after 12 months.

Hands down: Birchbox wins in my book as having the BEST reward system in place.

Disclaimer: Referral links. Not affiliated with Birchbox or Ipsy.


  1. Thanks for this! I actually considered subbing to Ispy because of the new point system, and now that it's spelled out I've definitely reconsidered. No where close to the level of Birchbox points, and as an "average" subscriber ispyPoints would not do me any good. I also think this is a cheap shot at those of you who do refer multiple clients, since they are essentially "upping" the amount of referrals you have to get in one month. And retroactively "taking away" points is silly when you can't retroactively add points. Ehh. If you are going to do something, at least do it well.


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