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Travel rewards credit cards are being hit hard in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many customers wondering if keeping those cards is worth it when travel is on hold. And that's especially true for premium cards with big travel benefits and even bigger annual fees.
So we've seen banks add new, temporary benefits and even reduce annual fees on some of their most popular travel cards. Earlier this month, we saw American Express roll out a number of new benefits to most of their travel rewards credit cards. This included credits for streaming and mobile phone services and even an expansion of existing credits.
Now, it's Chase's turn. The Points Guy first reported that Chase is adding new, limited-time benefits to two of their most popular cards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
New Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
Starting May 31 and running through September 30, Chase will allow Sapphire Reserve cardholders the ability to pay yourself back with points for purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining establishments.
Each point will be worth 1.5 cents (the same value they have when redeemed through the Chase travel portal). So 50,000 points would be worth $750 towards these expenses.
Per Chase's official press release, cardmembers will have access to the new Pay Yourself Back feature within Ultimate Rewards starting May 31, 2020. After making a purchase in an eligible category, cardmembers can simply log into Ultimate Rewards on desktop or through the Chase mobile app, select from recent transactions up to 90 days prior, and choose to redeem points for all or a portion of the purchase.
Additionally, the $300 annual travel credit the card provides is getting more valuable. Starting on June 1, any remaining balance will automatically be applied to purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through the end of 2020.
Finally, more cardholders will see reduced annual fees. Chase previously announced that cardholders set to renew between April and July 1 would get a $100 statement credit, dropping the annual fee to $450. Now Chase is simply reducing the annual fee to $450 for all renewals through the end of 2020.
All of these benefits are in addition to the existing benefits the card provides, including the ability to earn 5x points per dollar spent at grocery stores through June which was added earlier this month. Chase is trying to provide relief for travel benefits when travel is largely not possible.
New Sapphire Preferred Card Benefits
Starting May 31 through September 30, Chase will also allow Sapphire Preferred cardholders the ability to pay yourself back with points for purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining establishments.
Each point will be worth 1.25 cents (the same value they have when redeemed through the Chase travel portal). So 60,000 points would be worth $750 towards these expenses.
And again, starting May 31, 2020, cardmembers can simply log into Ultimate Rewards on desktop or through the Chase mobile app, select from recent transactions up to 90 days prior, and choose to redeem points for all or a portion of the purchase.
Again, all of these benefits are in addition to the existing benefits the card provides, including the ability to earn 3x points per dollar spent at grocery stores through June which was added earlier this month. Chase is trying to add something additional when travel is largely on pause.
It was clear that Chase needed to do more for cardholders when travel benefits were questionable at best. We had questioned whether Chase had done enough to keep their top tier Sapphire Reserve and Preferred cardholders happy – especially compared to all the changes American Express has made.
Personally, I think these are solid additions and should make it easy for people to use their points for non-travel purchases through September. Considering the “pay yourself back” feature typically only gives you 1 cent for each point, bumping this up to 1.25 cents or 1.5 cents for certain categories depending on the card you have is a savvy move and should be well received by some cardholders.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Which Card is Right for You
If you hold a Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred Card, you will have more options for redeeming points starting as soon as May 31. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get even more, with additional flexibility to use up that lucrative $300 travel credit and $100 off their annual fees through the end of the year.
Wait a sec, Nick…. I buy $200 worth of groceries on June 5th. Are you saying that, not only do I get a $200 credit from my csr, I also earn the 5x??
You will only get the credit if you decide to redeem your points. So with the CSR it would cost 13,333 points to remove it. And yes, you would also earn 5x on the purchase through the end of June.
Just wondering if you think there is any chance of getting the $100 credit if a Chase Reserve renewed on March 1st. Do you think it is worth a try or do you think they’ll hold tight so they don’t have to give back any more money than they have to?
Hi Julie, did you annual fee renew at $450 or $550?