Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature gets even better with a new option
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Here at TPG, we value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece when maximized with transfer partners thanks to the program’s fantastic travel partners. In the past, I’ve transferred points instantly to United at a 1:1 ratio, then booked Lufthansa first class to Europe for 110,000 miles — a flight that would have easily cost over $10,000. United has since removed its partner award chart, so the new redemption amount will likely be higher, but options like that remain a (relatively) fantastic value.
Similarly, I’ve transferred 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points instantly to Hyatt for an award stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, when the cash rate exceeded $1,000 per night. In both cases, my redemption values far exceeded TPG’s 2-cent valuation of Ultimate Rewards points.
More recently, however, I’ve booked travel directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards, including flights and experiences — both at a lower redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point. With healthy frequent flyer and hotel program balances, I found those redemptions to be a good use of my Ultimate Rewards points at times.
During the pandemic, Chase introduced another option to redeem points at up to 1.5 cents per point in value even when you aren’t traveling via the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. It was introduced as a potentially limited-time pandemic feature with an end date, but that’s been extended.
Not only was the feature extended until Sept. 30, 2021, with most categories, but there’s a new option for using your points at that higher rate if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve — using it against your card’s annual fee.
Statement credit options
Chase has long offered the option to redeem points for a statement credit — 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||0.5 cents per point (1 cent with Citi Prestige® Card)||Citi Premier® Card, Citi Rewards+® Card|
|Capital One||0.5 cents per point||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.
What is Pay Yourself Back?
In 2020, Chase added a far better option for customers looking to redeem points for expenses outside the realm of travel. Cardholders with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom (no longer available), Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card (no longer available) and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card can use points at a higher ratio to cover the cost of some types of expenses. 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.
The program currently has different timelines and eligible purchases for each card type. Here are some current Chase Pay Yourself Back options:
|Card||Redemption value||Categories||Current end date|
|Chase Freedom Flex||1.25 cents per point||Select charities and fund vaccine ride with Lyft||Sept. 30, 2021 (Dec. 31, 2021, for charity option)|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||1.25 cent per point||Dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores, select charities, fund a vaccine ride with Lyft||Sept. 30, 2021 (Dec. 31, 2021, for charity option)|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||1.5 cents per point||Dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores, annual fee, select charities and fund a vaccine ride with Lyft||Sept. 30, 2021 (Dec. 31, 2021, for annual fee and charity options)|
|Ink Business Preferred||1.25 cents per point||Shipping, home improvement stores, select charities and fund vaccine ride with Lyft||June 30, 2021 (Dec. 31, 2021, for charity option)|
The way this would work is rather than receiving a statement credit 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. This is the same redemption rate offered on Ultimate Rewards Travel redemptions for that card.
As for customers with other cards, Chase Freedom (this card is no longer open for applications), Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents apiece toward donations made to eligible charitable organizations through Dec. 31, 2021.
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 Reserve Card.
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. And that’s it! 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?
It absolutely can make sense. Even TPG staffers who love to maximize their points for travel have done this in the last year with travel larger on the back-burner. For example, TPG Editorial Director Scott Mayerowitz cashed in over 300,000 Chase points in 2020 … for over almost $5,000 worth of meals and groceries. It’s hard to criticize keeping thousands of dollars in cash safely in your wallet, even if you could redeem them for a higher value towards travel later on.
But 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’re hoping to use your points for a premium-cabin trip in the not-too-distant future, it could certainly make sense to hold onto your points and transfer them to partners down the line. On the other hand, if you don’t plan to travel soon, or you’re worried about your financial situation, redeeming points at up to 1.5 cents each is surely preferable to carrying a balance or cutting back on essential spending.
Additional reporting by Summer Hull
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.