Chase Sapphire cards make it easer to use annual travel credit and points into 2021

Mar 30, 2021

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The pandemic dramatically changed the travel and credit card landscape last year. As a result, Chase rapidly made adjustments as cardholders shifted their spending habits and priorities.

One of these adjustments was the Pay Yourself Back program, originally announced in May 2020. Via this initiative, Chase cardholders could use their points to offset certain everyday purchases at the same increased rate that they could use the points for travel purchases made via Chase Travel. While this new way to use points at favorable rates was introduced at the height of the pandemic, the redemption flexibility has been enjoyed by Chase cardholders even as travel begins to rebound.

Now, Chase has announced the good news that it is extending the existing Pay Yourself Back categories on both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve through Sept. 30, 2021. This was originally set to expire on April 30, 2021.

Related: Chase reveals best-ever 100,000-point offer for Sapphire Preferred and increased bonus for Sapphire Reserve

Additionally, the $300 annual travel credit on the Sapphire Reserve can now also be redeemed at gas stations and grocery stores through the end of 2021. This increased flexibility was originally set to expire on June 30, 2021.

Finally, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Reserve cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for Chase Dining purchases at a higher rate — and now, that too has been extended through Sept. 30, 2021, originally set to end on April 30.

Let’s take a closer look at all of these positive changes and extensions.

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The changes at a glance

Program Original end date New end date
Pay Yourself Back (grocery, home improvement, dining) April 30, 2021 Sept. 30, 2021
$300 annual travel credit on grocery and gas (Chase Sapphire Reserve) June 30, 2021 Dec. 31, 2021
Elevated Chase Dining points redemptions April 30, 2021 Sept. 30, 2021

Pay Yourself Back extension

Chase Sapphire Reserve customers can redeem points at 1.5 cents apiece while Chase Sapphire Preferred customers can redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 cents each to offset purchases made in the following categories:

  • Grocery stores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Dining establishments, including take-out and delivery services

Typically, you can redeem your points for statement credit at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point, which is only half of TPG’s valuation for Ultimate Rewards. (We value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents apiece thanks to valuable hotel and airline transfer partners.)

Now, Ultimate Rewards points will continue to be worth 50% (Reserve) and 25% (Preferred) more for purchases made in these three categories. 

(Photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images)


Here’s an example of how this works. Instead of receiving a statement credit of $100 when redeeming 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points on an eligible purchase in one of the above categories, a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder would receive a credit of $150 for the same redemption amount.

These rates match what is offered when using points for Ultimate Rewards travel portal redemptions. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 1.25 cents per point when redeemed through the portal while points in your Sapphire Reserve account can be redeemed at a rate of 1.5 cents each.

You can access the Pay Yourself Back feature by logging in to the Ultimate Rewards website.

Related: Maximizing cash back with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature

Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit extension

Even if you don’t travel this year, you can still use your Sapphire Reserve’s credit. (Photo of Park Hyatt Aviara by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit helps offset the card’s $550 annual fee. And it’s also one of the easiest to use credits since it’s applicable to a wide variety of travel purchases such as airlines, hotels, trains, parking, tolls, transit and more.

To ensure that every Reserve cardholder uses their travel credit, even if they haven’t yet returned to travel, Chase has made it even simpler by allowing purchases at grocery stores and gas stations to count towards the credit through Dec. 31, 2021. This was scheduled to end on June 30.

Related: Complete review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Dining redemptions extension

(Screenshots courtesy of Chase)

Last year, Chase began heavily investing in the dining experience in partnership with Tock. Cardmembers can engage with more than 4,000 restaurants and dining experiences as TPG tried out via a high-end to-go experience here.

You can currently redeem Ultimate Rewards points for Chase Dining purchases at a higher rate than most expenses — and now, that option been extended through Sept. 30, 2021. This was originally set to end on April 30.

Similar to Pay Yourself Back, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents apiece, while Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each.

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy

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