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How I used Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature to give my nephew the gift of travel

Oct. 24, 2021
4 min read
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I have a 10-year-old nephew and the similarities between us are unmistakable. He's a foodie. I'm a foodie. He likes sports. I like sports. We have similar physical features. A strong impulse plagues him to wanderlust. And well, you get my drift.

As his birthday was approaching, I struggled with what to gift him on his special day. What does a 10-year-old boy like? Video games? Legos? Sports?

Then, it hit me!

If the trend of resemblance continues with his uncle, my nephew would appreciate something that inspires the desire to travel. A meaningful gift that he can cherish for years to come. Something that will remain in his memory bank forever.

That's why I decided to purchase him a new piece of luggage. Not just any luggage, but a fancy Away carry-on bag to give my nephew the gift of travel (or at least inspire him to want to see the world). And I used points to cover the cost. Yes, that's right, I went against my own policy of never redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for less than 2 cents apiece — which TPG also values at the same amount — to put a smile on my nephew's face for his birthday.

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What is the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature?

Early in the pandemic, Chase introduced an alternative option (besides travel) for credit cardholders to redeem points at up to 1.5 cents per point in value via the Pay Yourself Back feature. The categories you could redeem points for would change a few times per year. For example, you could redeem points for purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and even funding a vaccine ride with Lyft.

On Oct. 1, 2021, Chase switched up the Pay Yourself Back feature categories to include Airbnb, Away and restaurant purchases (the latter category only for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders). Chase Sapphire Preferred Card members can redeem points at 1.25 cents per point toward Airbnb and Away purchases and Chase Sapphire Reserve (Airbnb, Away and restaurant purchases) can redeem at 1.5 cents per point.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

While I almost always try to maximize the use of my Ultimate Rewards to at least get 2 cents per point (or much more) on any redemption, sometimes the flexibility afforded by this transferable points currency makes me consider using points for non-travel items.

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Redeeming points using Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature

Once I decided I would use Chase's Pay Yourself Back option to cover the cost of my nephew's new Away bag, the process was simple. I purchased the bag directly on the Away website and waited for the transaction to post on my Chase Sapphire Preferred statement.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Once the Away purchase cleared, I logged in to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and clicked on the "Pay Yourself Back" icon.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

After that, as a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, I am given the option to redeem my points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. You can select to apply points to the "full amount" of the purchase or partially.

Once you've allocated the points to your purchase and clicked on "redeem," you can expect a statement credit to appear on your card within three days.

Bottom line

(Photo by Juan Ruiz)

The more I pondered using my points for an Away bag through Chase's Pay Yourself Back tool (against my usual strategy of maximizing each redemption), the more it made sense. Sometimes, you can't put a price on intangible items. Or, in this case, a happy 10-year-old.

Featured image by Getty Images/Cultura RF
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more