Chase introduces new Pay Yourself Back categories on Sapphire card lineup
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Editor’s note: This guide has been updated with the latest information. Pay Yourself Back categories have changed as of Oct. 1, 2021.
Last year, as travelers stayed at home during the pandemic, Chase introduced another option to redeem points at up to 1.5 cents per point in value via the Pay Yourself Back feature.
In fact, Pay Yourself Back won our 2020 TPG Award for “Most Innovative Card Benefit.” But now that travelers are back on the road, where does the program stand? “Pay Yourself Back was intended to be an ongoing redemption option within Ultimate Rewards to give cardmembers another choice in how they can redeem, with categories and redemption values that will continue to evolve over time.,” a Chase spokesperson told TPG.
Unfortunately, many of the previous eligible categories have been stripped away, but it’s not all bad news. Today, Oct. 1, 2021, is the start of new Pay Yourself Back categories on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Airbnb and Away purchases) and Chase Sapphire Reserve (Airbnb, Away, and restaurant purchases).
Here’s everything that you need to know.
What is Pay Yourself Back?
In 2020, Chase added a far better option for customers looking to redeem points for expenses outside purely the realm of travel. Branded as “Pay Yourself Back,” Chase’s new program lets you use your Ultimate Rewards points to offset certain purchases at a much more favorable rate.
Here are the current Chase Pay Yourself Back options:
|Card||Redemption value||Categories||Current end date|
|Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited||1.25 cents per point||Select charities||Dec. 31, 2021|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||1.25 cent per point||Airbnb and Away (through awaytravel.com) and select charities||March 31, 2022|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||1.5 cents per point||Airbnb and Away (through awaytravel.com), dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and select charities||March 31, 2022|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||1.25 cents per point||Shipping, internet, cable and phone services and charitable contributions.
New categories will also include: Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
|Dec. 31, 2021|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||1.1 cents per point||Internet, cable and phone services||Dec. 31, 2021|
As you can see, Chase has shifted the categories on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred significantly. Gone are the wide swath of purchases of dining, grocery stores, and home improvement stores. Now, eligible transactions are much more limited.
Let’s say you had an eligible purchase on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Instead of $100 when redeeming 10,000 points, if redeeming against an eligible Pay Yourself Back charge, a Chase Sapphire Reserve customer would receive a credit of $150 for the same redemption amount (through March. 31, 2022). This is the same redemption rate offered on Ultimate Rewards Travel redemptions for that card.
Statement credit options on other purchases
Chase has long offered the option to redeem points for a statement credit — that’s now new. Simply log into your Ultimate Rewards account, hit the drop-down menu and select “Cash Back.”
You’ll be presented with an option to enter the amount you’d like to redeem and where you’d like your rewards deposited. All cash-back redemptions are fixed at 1 cent per point, only half of TPG’s valuation for Ultimate Rewards.
Even so, Chase’s traditional cash-back option is more generous than what you can expect from some other issuers. Here’s how it breaks down for some of the most popular programs and cards:
|Amex Membership Rewards||0.6 cents per point||American Express® Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||1 cent per point||Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards||1 cent per point||Citi Premier® Card, Citi Rewards+® Card, Citi Prestige® Card|
|Capital One||0.5 cents per mile||Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card|
The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Requesting a credit
Simply log into your relevant Ultimate Rewards account via mobile app or desktop and select the “Pay Yourself Back” option in the sidebar.
Next, you’ll see a list of eligible purchases you can redeem points for. Points can be redeemed for purchases as far back as 90 days, at a rate of 1.5 cents each for Sapphire Reserve cardholders and 1.25 cents if you have the Sapphire Preferred. The example below is based on redemption rates for a Sapphire Preferred Card.
As you can see, I had one Airbnb purchase on my Sapphire Preferred in the last 90 days. Simply check off the purchases you want to redeem and proceed to the next page.
You can choose to offset the full purchase amount, assuming you have enough points to cover it, or you can redeem a smaller amount if you prefer.
From there, you can confirm the redemption value and amount and choose to complete the transaction. Your statement credit should post within three business days.
Does it make sense to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at up to 1.5 cents apiece towards non-travel charges, which is at least 25% shy of TPG’s 2-cent valuation?
Ultimately, that decision comes down to how you plan to use your points, how many you currently have with airline and hotel programs, and whether or not you’d benefit significantly from the statement credits.
If you want to use the Pay Yourself Back feature on the Chase Sapphire Preferred (1.25 cents per point) and Chase Sapphire Reserve (1.5 cents per point), the categories have now changed. While this is not nearly as useful as the previous categories of dining (although still available on the Reserve), grocery stores, and home improvement stores, I can’t fault Chase for shifting categories at a time when people are traveling once again. Plus, if you stay at Airbnb listings on occasion when traveling, you can now redeem up to 1.5 cents per point towards your beach house, condo or cabin rental, which may be appealing for some.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon, Summer Hull, and Zach Honig.
Featured photo courtesy of Airbnb.
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