Chase “Pay Yourself Back”

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In May 2020, Chase introduced a fantastic new benefit for select cardholders: “Pay Yourself Back”.  The basic idea is that you can exchange your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for statement credits against certain categories of purchases.  For example, currently you can redeem points, at full travel value, to offset certain categories of spend. Here’s the link to use this feature yourself.

Details by card

Sapphire Reserve

Redeem points for 1.5 cents each to pay back the following charges:

  • Dining (includes restaurants and food delivery service): Through 3/31/22
  • Airbnb: Through 3/31/22
  • Away (online luggage store): Through 3/31/22
  • Select Charities: Through 12/31/22
    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
  • Annual membership fee: Through 12/31/21
  • Expired Options:
    • Grocery: Through 9/30/21
    • Home improvement stores: Through 9/30/21
    • Fund a vaccine ride with Lyft: Through 9/30/21

Sapphire Preferred

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each to pay back the following charges:

  • Airbnb: Through 3/31/22
  • Away (online luggage store): Through 3/31/22
  • Select Charities: Through 12/31/22
    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
  • Expired Options:
    • Dining (includes restaurants and food delivery service): Through 9/30/21
    • Grocery: Through 9/30/21
    • Home improvement stores: Through 9/30/21
    • Fund a vaccine ride with Lyft: Through 9/30/21

Freedom Cards (Unlimited, Flex, Visa)

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each to pay back the following charges:

  • Select Charities: Through 12/31/22
    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
  • Expired Options:
    • Dining (includes restaurants and food delivery service): 7/2/21 to 9/30/21 [Up to $250 in dining purchases]. Redeem for 1.1 cents per point.
    • Fund a vaccine ride with Lyft: Through 9/30/21. Redeem for 1.25 cents per point.

Ink Business Preferred, Ink Plus

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each to pay back the following charges:

  • Shipping Services: Through 12/31/21
  • Select Advertising (Includes social media & search engine): Through 12/31/21
  • Internet, Cable, & Phone Services: 7/1/21 to 12/31/21
  • Select Charities: Through 12/31/22
    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
  • Expired Options:
    • Home Improvement Stores: Through 6/30/21
    • Fund a vaccine ride with Lyft: Through 9/30/21

Ink Business Cash, Ink Business Unlimited

Redeem points for 1.1 cents each to pay back the following charges

  • Internet, Cable, & Phone Services: 7/1/21 to 12/31/21

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each to pay back the following charges:

  • Select Charities: Through 12/31/22
    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

Expired Options:

  • Home Improvement Stores: Through 6/30/21
  • Fund a vaccine ride with Lyft: Through 9/30/21

A permanent new feature

Originally, Pay Yourself Back was offered only through September 30, 2020. Then it was extended through April 30, 2021. Now, though, the offer has been extended as far out as 12/31/22 for some types of spend.  My bet is that they’ll keep this feature long term and extend it each time the end date nears.  With each extension we’ll continue to see some changes such as which types of expenses can be used.

Why this is exciting

Previously, the best use for Ultimate Rewards points (besides transferring points to high value travel partners) was to book travel through the Chase travel portal.  Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 1.5 cents per point value this way.  Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred cardholders get 1.25 cents per point value.

The great thing about the Pay Yourself Back feature is that you can now get that same value for everyday purchases.  For example, if you’re a Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you can use your card at restaurants and later exchange your points to pay off those restaurant charges.  With the Pay Yourself Back feature Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 1.5 cents per point value and Sapphire Preferred cardholders get 1.25 cents per point value.

For those of us who spend enough within the eligible Pay Yourself Back categories, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards become more like super-charged cash back cards.  You’ll still have the ability to transfer points to travel partners, but you’ll now be able to easily cash out points for full value instead.

Keep in mind that points earned on other Chase cards can be moved to your Sapphire Reserve account in order to get more value.  So, if you consider that this feature makes it easy to cash out Sapphire Reserve points at 1.5 cents each, then we can calculate the cash back equivalent earnings of each Ultimate Rewards card by multiplying the earnings rate by 1.5.  For example, the Sapphire Reserve card earns 3X for travel & dining, so it now earns the equivalent of 3 x 1.5 = 4.5% cash back for travel & dining.  Similarly, the Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5X everywhere (in addition to its 3X and 5X categories), so it now earns the equivalent of at least 1.5 x 1.5 = 2.25% cash back everywhere.  Here’s a look at the cash back equivalent earnings for each currently available Ultimate Rewards card (assuming that someone in the household has a Sapphire Reserve card in order to be able to cash out at 1.5 cents per point):

Card Info Name and Earning Rate (no offer)
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Other
Earning rate: 3X travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year) ⚬ 5X Lyft
Chase Ink Business Unlimited
Base
Other
Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases ⚬ 5X Lyft
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Base
Travel
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Chase Freedom Flex
Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery
Other
Earning rate: 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q3 2021: 5X Grocery Stores & Streaming Services
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 5X Travel booked through Chase (2X all other travel) ⚬ 3X Dining ⚬ 3X Select streaming services ⚬ 3X Online grocery ⚬ 5X Lyft (through March 2022)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 10X hotels & car rentals booked through Chase ⚬ 10X Chase Dining ⚬ 5X flights booked through Chase ⚬ 3X Travel and Dining ⚬ 10X Lyft (through March 2022)

Pay Yourself Back Example

Note: This example is from the time when this feature first debuted.  Grocery & dining purchases were both valid categories at that time.

When I logged into my Chase account and browsed to Chase’s Pay Yourself Back page, I found a number of qualifying purchases.  I had a couple of DoorDash purchases and a few grocery purchases:

I selected each of the above purchases and then had the opportunity to enter how much of each purchase should be paid back with points.  In each case, I selected “Apply Max Value”.  I was a little concerned that it might be better to pick a round number to get full point value, but that concern was unfounded.  Chase rounded up the value of the points in my favor.  Take, for example, the $283.60 grocery purchase at Plum Market.  28,360 cents divided by 1.5 = 18,906.67.  One would expect Chase to round that up to 18,907 to determine how many points were required.  Instead, they rounded down to 18,906.  Cool.

Pay Yourself Back Q&A

Can we use this feature for purchases made before the eligible dates?

Chase’s Pay Yourself Back allows transactions from the past 90 days.

Do we earn points for purchases that are paid back with this feature?

Yes.  Erasing purchases does not cause Chase to pull back the points earned on those purchases.

Where can I find Chase’s FAQ regarding this feature?

Chase’s Pay Yourself Back FAQ Can Be Found Here.  The FAQ covers the following topics:

  • What is Pay Yourself Back?
  • How does Pay Yourself Back work?
  • How do I get to Pay Yourself Back?
  • What purchases are considered eligible for Pay Yourself Back?
  • How will I know if a purchase is considered “eligible”?
  • What are some examples of eligible purchases I can pay myself back for?
  • Is there a maximum number of eligible purchases I can select to pay myself back?
  • How long is a purchase considered eligible for Pay Yourself Back?
  • Can I apply points to an eligible purchase multiple times?
  • Is there a minimum amount of points required for a Pay Yourself Back redemption?
  • Is there a maximum amount of points you can use for a Pay Yourself Back redemption?
  • How long will it take to get my statement credit?
  • Will I need to pay my minimum payment on my monthly statement if I redeem for a statement credit?
  • Which Chase cards are eligible for Pay Yourself Back?
  • What if I don’t see “Pay Yourself Back” as an option on the Ultimate Rewards site?
  • What if I don’t see any eligible purchases listed on Pay Yourself Back?
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