Chase Ultimate Rewards “Pay Yourself Back” – A Good Alternative To Travel Award Redemptions?

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Chase has rolled out the “Pay Yourself Back” redemption option some time ago, allowing Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cardholders to redeem their Ultimate Rewards at very favorable rates by offsetting restaurant and supermarket spend.

The categories for pay yourself back are grocery stores and dining at restaurants (including takeout & eligible delivery services), home improvement stores and select charitable organizations and you have 90 days to apply points after the purchase posts to the account.

Usually the best way to redeem credit card points is by transferring them to a travel partner and then book a high value flight or hotel but in these times it might be worthwhile to look into other options, especially with large points balances and most definitely if one is under pressure to cut some spending.

You can access the Pay Yourself Back promotion on Chase’s website (see here).

Try a new way to redeem your points. Through September 30, 2020 your points are worth 50% more when you redeem for statement credits after using your card at grocery stores and dining at restaurants (including takeout & eligible delivery services), home improvement stores and select charitable organizations.

Currently, the categories for pay yourself back are: grocery stores and dining at restaurants (including takeout & eligible delivery services), home improvement stores and select charitable organizations. Redeem for purchases in these categories made with your Chase card with Ultimate Rewards.

After each purchase posts, you have 90 days to pay yourself back.

You’ll get 50% more value from your points when you pay yourself back for eligible purchases listed below.

The site then lists the eligible purchases:

You can select those transactions with the suitable points numbers and then have them applied as credit on the main account.

This process is very simple and the process easy enough as per the instructions above.

Right now this campaign is scheduled to end on September 30th even though Chase might extend it (no guarantees about that however).

The value varies by card type:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred gets 1.25 cents per UR point and
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve gets 1.50 cents per UR point

CSR has a slight advantage here and I’m not regretting having kept the card despite their initial announcement in January that they’ll put up the price (later, once C-19 hit they gave people a $100 statement credit or renewed at the old $450 annul fee rate).

This promotion could really be helpful especially to those who have to find a way to make ends meet these days while possibly having experienced financial shortfalls due to C-19. It would be nice if other credit card companies would do something similar.

Conclusion

The value one can get out of this is very decent. It’s a straight 1.5 cent per point when carrying the Chase Sapphire Reserve card so for every 10,000 points redeemed a $150 will go back on the credit card account. That’s cold hard cash right away instead some some travel currency in the future.

While it’s theoretically possible to get a higher value when redeeming points and miles for award travel that all depends on the real value of these trips and if you’d pay that price under normal circumstances. I’m not a fan of ‘feelgood redemptions’ telling myself that I’m traveling on a $10,000 ticket paid by miles when in reality you could get a similar flight for a $2500 saver fare and I’d probably not even pay that if I had a choice.

These are the Terms&Conditions for the promotion:

Pay Yourself Back℠ with Ultimate Rewards

  • Ultimate Rewards points may be redeemed for a statement credit to Pay Yourself Back for purchases made at select merchants within the 90 days before the redemption request date.
  • Currently, only purchases made with your Chase card with Ultimate Rewards at grocery stores and dining at restaurants (including takeout & eligible delivery services), home improvement stores and select charitable organizations will qualify. For information about Chase rewards categories and an example of eligible merchants, please see our FAQs.
  • To ensure your charitable donation purchase is eligible for Pay Yourself Back, please donate directly to the charity’s parent organization. Local chapters may not be eligible for Pay Yourself Back.
  • The following charitable organizations are currently eligible for Pay Yourself Back: American Red Cross, Equal Justice Initiative, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, International Medical Corporation, Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, United Way, and World Central Kitchen.
  • Categories, eligible merchants, and purchase transaction eligibility may change from time to time without notice.
  • Redemptions require a minimum of 1 point.
  • Each point you redeem for a statement credit towards eligible Pay Yourself Back purchases is worth $0.015, which means that 100 points equals $1.50 in redemption value. Chase has the right to change redemption values at any time.
  • Statement credits will post to the card account within 3 business days of a request to redeem and will appear on the monthly Chase credit card billing statement within 1-2 billing cycles.
  • Statement credits will reduce your balance but you are still required to make at least your minimum payment. Chase reserves the right to determine which purchases qualify for a statement credit.
  • You are responsible for any tax liability related to participating in this program. Please consult your tax advisor if you have any questions about your personal tax situation.
  • Even though a merchant or some of the items that it sells may appear to fit within a rewards category, the merchant may not have a merchant code in that category. When this occurs, purchases with that merchant won’t qualify for rewards offers on purchases in that category.

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