Using Chase Ultimate Rewards To “Pay Yourself Back” Instead Of Points Transfers

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Last summer Chase has introduced the “Pay Yourself Back” feature allowing Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cardholders to redeem their Ultimate Rewards at very favorable rates by offsetting restaurant and supermarket spend.

Through April 30, 2021 card holders can still benefit from an increased rate for the statement credit when using Ultimate Rewards points for cash instead of travel partner transfers.

Throughout this promotional period (which might very well be extended again) Pay Yourself Back offers a 25% bonus on the value of your points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, or a 50% bonus with the Chase Sapphire Reserve on the pre-assigned value for Ultimate Rewards points which is US$0.01.

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 April 30, 2021 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.

In my case as in the screenshot it lists 50% bonus because I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The site then lists the eligible purchases.

I have redeemed quite a few points this way since last fall:

I’ve now redeemed 30,000 points for a total cash reimbursement of $450 which exactly covers my annual fee that I paid for the CSR. That in combination with the US$300 travel credit that’s also applicable to grocery purchases until the end of June 2021as part of Chase’s pandemic relief policy.

Usually I’d just move my points to Hyatt but when I do the math I find that getting $150 cash per 10,000 points transferred is a better value as hotels are cheap right now and flying not really in the books, especially since I still have a good stack of airline miles.

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’s hard to justify keeping a credit card that costs $450 unless you can offset this fee somehow in a reasonable way. 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 of 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’ convincing 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.

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