How I Get My Dior (for Free)

by PJ on Thursday, November 29, 2007

in -Boots,-Dior,makeup,stash focus,What do you think? Beauty topics and thoughts

(My Boots Advantage Card…and what it got me.)

When it comes to shopping for cosmetics, living in the UK has crucial disadvantages. Things are more (or much more) expensive, and, once opened, they can’t usually be returned and refunded.

But there are a few positive things. One of them involves one of my favorite drugstores (which we call chemists in the UK), Boots.

Boots runs a loyalty card called Boots Advantage Card in the UK and some other countries. The customer reward system has often been accurately described as “generous” by the UK press.

Anyone can apply for the card for free. For every pound spent on anything in store, 4 points is earned on the card. Each point is worth 0.01 pound, so every 100 points is worth 1 pound (about 2 USD).

Customers can use their points to get anything sold in any Boots store for free (but not on and the points never expire. For example, 500 points are worth any 5-pound product in a Boots store.

I know this doesn’t sound very exciting. But it is all the extras that make the system more than generous:

1. There are usually 200 extra points for a transaction over 25 pounds, as long as I remember to print out the voucher at a kiosk in the store before paying for the items.

(or in this case…300 points)

I always try to do my Boots shopping either once or twice a month (instead of many small purchases). I make sure I go into the store knowing the amount I will be spending. If I plan to spend more than 50 pounds, I print out two vouchers and pay for them in two lots. (A calculator is always handy for a Boots visit.)

Extra points earned this way during a year: 3000

2. Both drugstore and premium brands sold in Boots stores do point giveaways. Each brand runs the giveaway several times a year. For example, LancĂ´me gives 1000 points for 2 skincare purchases, Clinique gives 1200 points for 3 skincare products, and Estee Lauder gives 750 points for 2 makeup products. (Dior, YSL, Clarins also run similar promotions.) Also, different promotions are run in store and on-line.

(a typical Boots promotion on premium brands)
(image from

I have noticed that each promotion is run at about the same time during the year, so I plan my purchases accordingly to get the maximal points. (Shopping for me is a highly-organized activity. I am like Monica in Friends. The more organized, the more fun…)

Extra points earned this way during a year: 2000

3. Several times a year, there are triple-point weekends. 12 points are given for each pound spent instead of the usual 4.

Extra points earned this way during a year: 250

4. There are Boots magazines in store and occasional mailed newsletters with extra-point vouchers.

(a Boots extra-point voucher,
from Boots Health & Beauty Magazine Nov/Dec 2007)

Extra points earned this way during a year: 250

5. My favorite is Boots Christmas Shopping Evening. They are run two to three times before Christmas. Each Boots store advertises its own dates, which are well advertised in advance. In these events, 1000 points are given for each transaction over 50 pounds. This is usually on top of all the other extra-point offers mentioned above.

Extra points earned this way during a year: 2000

Total extra points during a year: 7500
This plus 4 points for every pound spent: about 10000
Cash equivalent: 100 pounds (200 USD)

These points are usually more than enough for me to use on what I want to have from Dior during a year. What is left would just keep accumulating and would not expire.

I have always been an extremely loyal Boots customer. (Apart from the point scheme, they have great customer services.) Whatever I want (general toiletries, premium cosmetics, electronics, exercise equipments, cell phone credits, light snacks), if it is available in Boots, I won’t buy it anywhere else.

But one strict rule that I do have for myself is never to buy anything just for extra points. Otherwise it would just be a waste of money.

One negative point I have come across about the Boots Advantage Card system is that it is a way for Boots to analyze a customer’s purchasing habits. The system helps Boots come up with new products as well as take on or stop stocking a certain brand of products. Some people don’t like their shopping habits to be monitored, and I perfectly understand that. But their system is essentially like any other loyalty card system in any other store. (London’s high-end department store Harrods started a similar but much less generous one earlier this year.) Overall, systems like this work for or against customers, and it all depends on one’s point of view.

I do enjoy getting and using my points and the reward system is more generous than those of any other drugstore, supermarket and department store I know in the UK. I think this is why a Boots card is quite an usual thing to have for people living in the UK. As long as customers (like me) enjoy planning purchases ahead of time, points can roll in quite quickly and we can use them on virtually anything sold in store. I am sure there are many people who save up their points to get more pricey items like digital cameras or MP3 players.

I could be wrong, but, in the US, Boots’ own brand products are sold in stores like Target and Boots doesn’t have its own free-standing stores carrying other drugstore or premium cosmetics brands. So maybe this is why Boots is not running the same system in the US. But things might change. We’ll see!

Related Posts:
(Some of the items I got with my Boots points)

Dior Pretty Charms

Dior Detective Chic and Diorissime Palettes

DiorLight Jewelled Necklace

Dior Addict Ultra-Nude Lipstick in Undressed Mauve