With most travel on hold, Chase got creative last spring by rolling out a new benefit for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders called Chase Pay Yourself Back. It allows you to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to cover everyday purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and even food delivery platforms like Uber Eats and DoorDash.
After two extensions and additions of new categories and cards that qualify for Pay Yourself Back, this lucrative (and flexible) new benefit is currently set to expire April 30, 2021. While there's been speculation that Chase could make it a permanent benefit, the resumption in travel later this year combined with a published end date has some people wondering if Pay Yourself Back's days are truly numbered.
Fear not. Chase has confirmed to Thrifty Traveler that Pay Yourself Back is expected to stick around for good, and even hinted that new categories to redeem your Chase points to cover everyday expenses may be coming.
“Pay Yourself Back is intended to be an ongoing option for cardmembers within Ultimate Rewards,” a Chase spokeswoman said. “Categories and redemption values may be updated across cards on an ongoing basis.”
And that makes sense. Whether you're using your points to cover a grocery run or booking flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, it's all the same to Chase. The points are worth the same: Every point from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is worth 1.25 cents, while points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents apiece.
We'll have to wait and see whether Chase simply extends the current Pay Yourself Back categories again or mixes things up with new redemption options. Either way, it's comforting to know this new way to use your Chase points isn't going anywhere.
In the meantime, Chase has also introduced some new cards to the Pay Yourself Back fold. Chase Freedom cards like the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Flex, and Chase Freedom Unlimited could use cashback or points earnings to cover certain charitable donations from Oct. 1 through the end of 2020. The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and Chase Ink Business Plus were also able to use Pay Yourself Back on select business expenses over that same time period.
Current Chase Pay Yourself Back Categories
This creative new feature to use Chase points to cover everyday expenses had been set to lapse at the end of September. Then it was pushed out through April 30, 2021.
While Chase was expected to sub in new Pay Yourself Back categories at some point, things have largely stayed the same. You can continue redeeming Chase points to cover purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, food delivery services, and home improvement stores through April. Even some purchases at Target and Walmart are eligible!
But Chase has also added a dozen charitable organizations to the Pay Yourself Back Fold, including:
- American Red Cross
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Feeding America
- Habitat for Humanity
- International Medical Corporation
- Leadership Education Fund
- NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
- National Urban League
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund
- United Negro College Fund
- United Way
- World Central Kitchen
That means you could donate to one of these organizations, then go back to cover your donation with points.
If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, your Ultimate Rewards points will be worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed via Pay Yourself Back – the same rate you get when booking travel through the Chase Travel Portal. This means you would only need 60,000 points to redeem for $750 worth of value.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
And if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the points will be worth 1.5 cents each – also the same rate as they can be redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal. This means you would only need 50,000 points to redeem for $750 worth of value.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
As expected, this benefit is likely to stick around beyond April – perhaps with new categories that qualify to Pay Yourself Back.
“Categories and redemption values will evolve over time to continue to provide the most relevant and practical value for cardmembers,” Chase previously said in a statement.
Chase Freedom Cards Join the Fold
Initially, only the top Chase Sapphire cards were eligible to use Pay Yourself Back. That's changing.
Starting. Oct. 1, all three Chase Freedom cards can use cashback (or points) toward Pay Yourself Back – but only for charitable donations to the 12 eligible charities. It's unclear if that may change as time goes on.
But this lapsed at the end of 2020. And it's unclear what has happened since – and whether the Freedom cards will continue getting Pay Yourself Back perks down the road.
Read more: Why the new Chase Freedom Flex Card might be the best no annual fee card yet
There's little reason to fear that Chase Pay Yourself Back is going anywhere anytime soon. This new way to use Chase points for everyday expenses has proven popular – especially with the long freeze in travel during the pandemic.
While there may be ways to squeeze more out of your Chase points by sending them to transfer partners, this is a solid option that gives Chase cardholders more flexibility to use their points and still get some solid value. And stay tuned, as new Pay Yourself Back categories could be just around the corner as we head into the spring.