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 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, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Each card has different categories for which you can use Pay Yourself Back as well as different end dates for its expiration.
What Can I Use Pay Yourself Back For?
Ink Business Preferred card holders, meanwhile, can redeem their points for Pay Yourself Back towards shipping, internet, cable, phone services, select charities, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines through December 31, 2021.
Those who have either of Chase’s 2 other business credit cards, the Ink Business Cash card or the Ink Business Unlimited card, can redeem for internet, cable, and phone services through December 31, 2021.
Keep in mind the rate at which you’re able to redeem your points with Pay Yourself Back vary depending on which card you hold.
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.
Choose the card you’d like to redeem Ultimate Rewards points from.
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.
Scroll down and click Pay Yourself Back under Gift Cards and above Transfer to Travel Partners.
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.
Scroll down and click Continue.
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.
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:
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
You’d rack up 4,450 points after spending $1,400, which is worth $66.75 when using Pay Yourself Back. You’d therefore snag a whopping 4.8% 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 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.
Hot Tip: In 2022, the Chase Aeroplan® Credit Card will also allow you to use Pay Yourself Back to redeem your Aeroplan points at a rate of 1.25 cents each towards travel.
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
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 Partner||Min Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
(Chase > Airline)
|Aer Lingus AerClub||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|British Airways Executive Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM||1,000||1:1||1 hour|
|Emirates Skywards||1,000||1:1||Almost instant|
|Iberia Plus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|United Airlines MileagePlus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point.
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.
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.