Is Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” Feature Worth It? [Detailed Guide]

Chase Sapphire Reserve card brewery

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world of travel to its knees. With such a drastic plummeting of travel, many banks and card issuers have struggled to keep their travel-focused credit cards relevant during these tough times.

American Express has responded by offering new credit card statement credits to boost the value proposition of its cards, and Chase has recently responded with its own set of limited-time benefits.

Of note, Chase has added a new benefit designed to increase the flexibility of using your points to offset expenses, known as Pay Yourself Back.

In this guide, we’ll be dissecting the ins-and-outs of this brand-new program. We’ll be comparing this benefit to those offered by Chase’s competitors, and we’ll be making a judgment call on whether it’s worth it.

What Is Chase Pay Yourself Back?

Chase’s proprietary points program is known as Ultimate Rewards, and there are tons of fabulous ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel.

Since global travel was pretty much halted to a complete standstill with the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase began evaluating other ways to give cardmembers new options to use points for excellent value.

The result? Chase Pay Yourself Back, which provides new ways to use Ultimate Rewards points to pay for existing purchases in select categories, effectively behaving as a statement credit to offset purchases.

According to the initial press release, Chase’s goal was “continuing to give our customers choices so they have the flexibility to use their points in the most meaningful ways for them.”

This program was launched on May 31, 2020, for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Since then, it has been extended to include the Ink Business Plus® Credit Card, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, and the Freedom cards (Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, and the Chase Freedom® card).

Currently, this perk is available for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card through April 30, 2021. Ink cardholders will have access to Pay Yourself Back from October 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Freedom cardholders will be able to redeem points via Pay Yourself Back with no end date announced.

What Can I Use Pay Yourself Back For?

Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can use Pay Yourself Back for grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining, including restaurants, takeout, eligible delivery services, and eligible charities through April 30, 2021. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, your points are worth 50% more when redeemed for everyday purchases in certain categories. For Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders, your points are worth 25% more. This effectively translates into a 1.5 cents per point or 1.25 cents per point redemption value under Pay Yourself Back.

For Ink cardholders, for online advertising, shipping purchases, and eligible charities through December 31, 2020, you can use Pay Yourself Back to receive 25% more value, or 1.25 cents per point.

Freedom cardholders can redeem points via Pay Yourself Back at a 1 cent per point value with no end date announced. Your points will also be worth 25% more for donations made to eligible charitable organizations through December 31, 2020.

Some examples of eligible charitable organizations are:

  • 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
  • World Central Kitchen

How Pay Yourself Back Is Different From Other Chase Ultimate Rewards Redemptions

Previously, the only way you could get up to 1.5 cents per point in redemption value was to redeem them at the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Now that travel isn’t an option for many of us, Pay Yourself Back empowers you to get solid redemption value on non-travel purchases.

This is the best redemption value you can get without transferring Chase points to travel partners. Ultimate Rewards points can still be redeemed at a value of 1 cent per point for cash-back; that has not changed.

Now, you can get outsized redemption value on some of the most essential purchases in the wake of COVID-19!

How Do I Use Pay Yourself Back?

The easiest way to use Pay Yourself Back is by logging into your Chase Online account using your Username and Password. 

Once you’re logged in, scroll down and click the Ultimate Rewards button to be taken to the Ultimate Rewards Portal.

Chase Ultimate Rewards 1
Image Credit: Chase

Choose the card you’d like to redeem Ultimate Rewards points from.

Choose Card Ultimate Rewards
Image Credit: Chase

Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a ≡ symbol on the top-left corner next to the Earn / Use button. Click the hamburger icon (), and you’ll see a banner appear on the left-hand side.

Ultimate Rewards dashboard
Image Credit: Chase

Scroll down and click Pay Yourself Back under Gift Cards and above Transfer to Travel Partners.

Pay Yourself Back Button
Image Credit: Chase

You’ll be taken to the Pay Yourself Back landing page. Your eligible transactions will be displayed in a list.

Select the transactions you’d like to use Pay Yourself Back on.

Pay Yourself Back
You can view all of your eligible Pay Yourself Back purchases on its landing page. Image Credit: Chase

Scroll down and click Continue.

Continue Pay Yourself Back
Once you’ve selected all your Pay Yourself Back transactions, scroll down and click Continue. Image Credit: Chase

Apply the cash value you’d like to use points for. If you want to use the maximum points possible, check off the box that says Apply Max Value. Click Confirm & Submit to use your points.

Pay Yourself Back Set Your Amount 1
Image Credit: Chase

You can also perform this same process on the Chase Mobile app.

Hot Tip: Keep in mind that you only have 90 days after your purchase posts to use Pay Yourself Back. 

Best Ways To Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

One of the best aspects of Chase Ultimate Rewards is the points are so valuable, yet so easy to earn!

As we’ve mentioned in our guide on the best credit cards for each bonus category, you’ll find that you can earn bonus points on most of the main spending categories out there.

These include, but are not limited to:

Credit Card NameSpending CategoryPoints Per Dollar Earned
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardDining3 points/$1
Travel3 points/$1
Lyft10 points/$1
Grocery3 points/$1 on up to $1,000 on grocery purchases per month from November 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardDining2 points/$1
Travel2 points/$1
Lyft5 points/$1
Grocery2 points/$1 on up to $1,000 on grocery purchases per month from November 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021
Freedom Unlimited cardTravel (Through Chase Ultimate Rewards)5 points/$1
Dining3 points/$1
Drugstores3 points/$1
All purchases1.5 points/$1
Freedom cardRotating quarterly categories5 points/$1
Ink Business Preferred cardOnline advertising3 points/$1 on the first $150,000 points in combined purchases each anniversary year
Internet, cable, and phone services3 points/$1 on the first $150,000 points in combined purchases each anniversary year
Shipping purchases3 points/$1 on the first $150,000 points in combined purchases each anniversary year
Ink Business Cash cardOffice supply store purchases5% cash-back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each year (equivalent to 5 points/$1 if you transfer points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards)
Internet, cable, and phone services5% cash-back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each year (equivalent to 5 points/$1 if you transfer points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards)
Gas stations2% cash-back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each year (equivalent to 2 points/$1 if you transfer points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards)
Restaurants2% cash-back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each year (equivalent to 2 points/$1 if you transfer points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards)
Ink Business Unlimited cardAll purchases1.5% cash-back (equivalent to 1.5 points/$1 if you transfer points to an account that earns Ultimate Rewards)

Is Chase Pay Yourself Back Worth It?

Normally, if you redeemed Ultimate Rewards points for an essential purchase, such as a grocery store transaction, you’d get 1 cent per point at best. However, with Pay Yourself Back, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders now get 1.5 cents per point, which represents a 50% boost in redemption value.

That means that you’d use 10,000 points for an eligible $150 purchase instead of 15,000 points, netting you a savings of 5,000 points.

As we mentioned above, the real power is when you consider how easy it is to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

To provide an example, let’s say we’ve spent:

  • $100 on Lyft rides on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, earning 1,000 points at 10x
  • $1,000 on dining on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, earning 3,000 points at 3x
  • $100 on your phone bill on the Ink Business Cash card, earning 500 points at 5x
  • $300 on all other purchases on the Freedom Unlimited card, earning 450 points at 1.5x

You’d rack up 4,950 points after spending $1,500, which is worth $74.25 when using Pay Yourself Back. You’d therefore snag a whopping 4.95% return back on your spend! This dominates any of the other conventional cash-back rewards cards.

But Wait, There’s More!

You will earn points on purchases you’ve used Pay Yourself Back on!

For example, if you use the 4,950 points worth $74.25 from the example above on restaurant purchases, you will also earn either 3x points when using the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or 2x points when using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card!

This means that you’ll end up earning around 223 more points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or 149 more points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card!

According to our travel points and miles valuations, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth around ~1.95 cents per point, which means that your overall return on spend after all is said and done will be around 5.55%!

Plus, your return on spend could increase depending on which spending categories you use, which merchants you use Pay Yourself Back on, and more.

This is about as good as it gets, especially when it comes to transferable rewards points.

How Does Chase Pay Yourself Back Compare to Other Cards?

Usually, the best cash-back credit cards earn around 2% cash-back at best. Some cash-back credit cards earn up to 5% cash-back, but they usually come with restrictions, such as maximum spending thresholds.

For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 2% cash-back (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay) with no limits. However, the value of those points is typically around 1 cent per point, which is a ~33% reduction compared to the value you get from Chase Pay Yourself Back.

You can leverage Bank of America Preferred Rewards to earn up to 3.5% cashback on your spending, but this comes with a requirement to have $100,000 in assets with Bank of America.

Chase offers a seamless and frictionless way to get excellent redemption value on purchases within flexible categories. Therefore, Chase Pay Yourself Back is an excellent supplement to the rich Ultimate Rewards ecosystem.

Chase Pay Yourself Back is a welcome addition to an already tremendous list of redemption options.

Alternative Redemption Options

How does Chase Pay Yourself Back compare to other Chase Ultimate Rewards redemptions?

Let’s find out what other redemption options there are.

Airline and Hotel Partners

Singapore Airlines new A380 First Suite Double Bed
Singapore Airlines’ new A380 Suites, bookable with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, feature a double bed and separate lounge chair. Image Credit: Greg Stone

If you’re a points enthusiast, then you probably already know that transferring flexible rewards points to airline partners to book the top international first and business class flights is one of the highest-value redemption options you can make.

As we’ve gone over in our best ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value, booking dream travel is easy with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Here are Chase Ultimate Rewards’ transfer partners:

Chase Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Chase > Airline)
Transfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub1,0001:1Almost Instant
British Airways Executive Club1,0001:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
1,0001:11 hour
Emirates Skywards1,0001:1New, pending reports
Iberia Plus1,0001:1Almost Instant
JetBlue1,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1,0001:11-2 days
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1,0001:1Almost Instant
United Airlines MileagePlus1,0001:1Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1,0001:1Almost Instant
Chase Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer RatioTransfer Time
World of Hyatt
1,0001:1Almost Instant
IHG Rewards Club1,0001:11 day
Marriott Rewards1,0001:12 days

Just to give you an idea of how valuable your points can be, you can book a 1-stop flight with a stopover from John F. Kennedy-New York (JFK) to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) via Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on Singapore Airlines in its A380 First Class Suites for 132,000 Chase points transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer!

This is effectively an $8,500 ticket one-way, which nets you a 6.4 cents per point redemption value.

In general, the best way to get mind-boggling redemption value is to book premium cabin award tickets. However, if you don’t foresee international travel plans coming to fruition, it may not make sense to use points in this way.

Amazon

You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Amazon when checking out, but your points are only worth 0.8 cents per point (equivalent to using 100 points for $0.80), which is terrible value.

Apple

You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Apple as well.

This is a decent redemption because you’ll receive a 20% bonus on redemption value until the earlier of June 18, 2020, or while supplies last.

This means that instead of earning 1 cent per point in redemption value, you can earn 1.2 cents per point in redemption value towards virtually all Apple products, such as iMacs, iPad, iPhones, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, Apple Music, and Apple accessories.

Cash-Back

Earning cash-back is the easiest way to redeem your rewards. There are no restrictions, no gimmicks, and no catches.

Your Ultimate Rewards points are worth a flat 1 cent per point, and you can choose to request a statement credit or deposit your cash-back straight into a bank account.

The only condition is that you can only direct deposit your cash-back into most U.S. checking and savings accounts.

The minimum redemption amount is 1 point, or $0.01. Cash-back redemptions may take up to 3 business days to post to your account.

Experiences

Chase Experiences are exclusive events that are curated and offered to cardholders.

These events range from sporting events to concerts and even high-end restaurant reservations.

Your points are worth a flat 1 cent per point in value.

Gift Cards

There is an assortment of gift cards that you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for. These include The Home Depot, Fanatics, Top Golf, iTunes, Chili’s, Safeway, Subway, Airbnb, DoorDash, and much more.

Most of the time, your redemption value is 1 cent per point. Sometimes, sales are occurring that can increase your redemption value up to 1.1 to 1.3 cents per point.

Travel

If you’re looking to book revenue tickets and want to avoid paying cash, or if you just can’t seem to find award availability, then you may want to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents per point.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Business Preferred, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point.

Final Thoughts

Chase has blessed the points community with yet another fantastic way to redeem Ultimate Rewards points. With travel basically grinding to a complete halt, cardholders now have another effective, highly valuable way to redeem points.

Cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card can now use the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature to offset purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores, eligible charities, and dining — including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services — at a value of up to 1.5 cents per point through April 30, 2021. Ink cardholders can use Pay Yourself Back to receive 1.25 cents per point for online advertising, shipping purchases, and eligible charities through December 31, 2020, and Freedom cardholders can receive 1 cent per point (for the time being) and 1.25 cents per point for eligible charities through December 31, 2020.

We’ve discussed in detail how to actually use this function and demonstrated how easy it is to get outsized value, thanks to the numerous ways you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Lastly, we compared this program to other redemption options, both internally in Chase and externally with other cash-back credit cards.


Frequently asked questions

What is Chase Pay Yourself Back?

Chase Pay Yourself Back is a new rewards feature that gives cardholders of select credit cards more options to redeem Ultimate Rewards points.

You can redeem points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred card at a 1.25 cent per point value and from your Chase Sapphire Reserve card at a 1.5 cent per point value.

You can also redeem points via Pay Yourself back if you have a Chase Freedom card. Your redemptions are worth 1 cent per point in general but are worth 1.25 cents per point for donations made to eligible charities through December 31, 2020.

Lastly, if you’re a business owner, you can redeem points via Pay Yourself Back for online advertising, shipping purchases, and eligible charitable donations at an enhanced 1.25 cents per point rate through December 31, 2020, if you hold an Ink Business Plus card or an Ink Business Preferred card.

Pay Yourself Back represents an increase of 25% or 50% in redemption value received for select category purchases.

How long is Chase Pay Yourself Back available?

Chase Pay Yourself Back is available from May 31, 2020, to April 30, 2021, for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

It is available until further notice for Freedom cardholders and available until December 31, 2020 for Ink Business Plus or Ink Business Preferred cardholders. Furthermore, the enhanced 25% bonus on eligible charitable donations from Freedom cardholders is available through December 31, 2020.

Is Pay Yourself Back worth it?

Pay Yourself Back is certainly worth it in many situations.

You’ll redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for 25% to 50% more value on many new categories instead of just travel through Chase Travel Portal.

What purchases does Pay Yourself Back qualify on?

With Chase Sapphire cards, Pay Yourself Back works for purchases at grocery stores, dining, home improvement stores, and eligible charitable donations.

With Ink Business Plus or Ink Business Preferred cards, Pay Yourself Back works for online advertising, shipping purchases, and eligible charitable donations to get a 25% bonus on redemption value.

With Freedom cards, Pay Yourself Back works for all purchases, but only eligible charitable donations will receive a bonus value of 25%.

Which cards can I use Pay Yourself Back on?

Currently, you can use Pay Yourself Back with the following Chase cards with Ultimate Rewards:

  • Chase Freedom® card
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Chase Freedom® Student Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire® (no longer open to new applicants)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
  • Ink Cash® Credit Card (no longer open to new applicants)
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Plus® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • J.P. Morgan Reserve Card

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

13 comments

  1. Just got statement credit for $600 of Door Dash deliveries. It’s practical but not as much fun as my usual free flights for 2 on Southwest with companion pass. SW points I’ve heard are worth about 1.5 cents and with companion pass, I feel like that doubles to 3 cents. But I have lots of SW points from lots of canceled trips. My wife doesn’t want me to do any more statement credits for now as we also like Hyatt UR point redemptions. I’m tempted to take the cash now instead of hoarding points. What is your take?

    Reply

    • Hi Lawrence,

      It all really just depends on your own situation. If you prefer to have the cash in hand now, I say go for it! On the other hand, if you have some travel in mind for the future where you know you’ll get much better value out of those points then you might be much better off waiting.

      Either way you really can’t go wrong!

      Reply

  2. How about this scenario. I have a zero balance but decide that I want to use my points for a previous $500 purchase. I get the credit and now my account shows a credit of $500. Will Chase let me call in and ask for a check for that credit? I’ve done this with other accounts when I’ve overpaid.

    Reply

    • Hi Patrick,

      Yes, you should be able to call and ask for a check for that credit. Or you can have the credit applied to any of your other Chase cards that have a balance.

      Reply

  3. I have the Chase Reserve and Freedom Unlimited cards. Can I use Pay Yourself Back for grocery purchases on my Freedom Unlimited card or just grocery purchases on the Reserve card?

    Reply

    • Hi MZ. The “Pay Yourself Back” feature is only available on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards for grocery, home improvement, and restaurant (including take-out) purchases.

      Reply

  4. How do you determine if a store will fall into the “home improvement” category? We are wanting to use this towards appliances at a local shop, not a big chain like Home Depot. I can’t find anything making me confident it will work towards a small mom and pop appliance store.

    Reply

  5. Just cashed in 500K+ for an over $7500 statement credit, figured – why not as no travel likely until 2021.

    Reply

  6. Curious, will the “pay yourself back” credit be considered a taxable reward whereas a travel redemption would not be 1099’d?

    Reply

    • Hi Keith,

      Great question.

      We’re not legal experts here, but the main consensus is that any time you’re getting a rebate on activity, such as earning $200 cash back after spending $1,000 or earning 3 points per dollar spent, you will not receive a 1099 and it doesn’t count as a taxable reward.

      If that is the case, the Pay Yourself Back benefit should not be a taxable activity, since you are receiving a percentage of your existing spending as a reward back to you.

      If you’re referring a friend and get a referral bonus, this is a taxable reward because you are not making any purchases or transactions, nor are you getting a rebate on said purchases or transactions.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply

  7. Great insight. You mentioned the best return is for first class and business class but what about for someone who only does budget flights and doesn’t care to spend more on upgraded seats? How do economy flights through say jetblue compare to the pay yourself back feature in terms of redemption value? I may take a few trips mid-2021 and I’m trying to determine if it makes more sense to use pay yourself back or hold the points for a possible jetblue transfer.

    Reply

    • Hi Noah,

      JetBlue points have a fixed value and are generally worth around 1.3-1.4 cents towards economy seats on JetBlue flights, and around 1.1 cents per point on Mint seats. So, in this case, I would recommend using the Pay Yourself Back feature to get 1.5 cents per point in value.

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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