Over the last couple of years, since COVID-19 began impacting the global travel industry, banks and credit card issuers started offering ways to keep their travel-focused credit cards relevant.
American Express worked to boost the value proposition of its cards by offering new statement credits. And Chase came out with its own set of benefits — one being particularly interesting.
Known as Pay Yourself Back, this feature is designed to increase the flexibility of your points by allowing them to be used to offset expenses. In this guide, we’ll dissect the program and examine the pros and cons of using your rewards in this way. We’ll compare this benefit to those offered by Chase’s competitors and determine whether it’s worth taking advantage of.
What Is Chase Pay Yourself Back?
Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature provides a way to use your Ultimate Rewards points to pay for existing purchases in select categories, effectively behaving as a statement credit to save on purchases. This option is in addition to the many other fabulous ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel.
What Can I Use Pay Yourself Back For?
The rate you can redeem your points through Pay Yourself Back varies depending on which card you hold. Let’s look at the rates and eligible categories for the cards that offer the Pay Yourself Back feature.
Donations to the following charities qualify for Chase Pay Yourself Back:
- American Red Cross
- Equal Justice Initiative
- Feeding America
- Habitat for Humanity
- International Medical Corps
- International Rescue Committee
- Leadership Conference Education Fund
- NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
- National Urban League
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund
- United Negro College Fund
- UNICEF USA
- United Way
- World Central Kitchen
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 logged in, click the Rewards button to be taken to the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Next, you may need to choose the card you’d like to redeem Ultimate Rewards points from. In this example, there’s only 1 card in the account. So, you can simply click the Earn / Use dropdown.
Click Pay Yourself Back from the list of options, and you’ll be taken to the Pay Yourself Back landing page.
On the Pay Yourself Back landing page, your eligible transactions will be displayed in a list. The list will show how many days you have to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for each eligible purchase.
Select the transactions you’d like to use Pay Yourself Back on by checking the box. Then click the Continue button.
Apply the cash value you’d like to use points for. If you want to use the maximum number of points possible, check off the box that says Apply Full Amount. Then click Redeem to use your points.
You can also perform this same process through the Chase Mobile app.
Hot Tip: Remember 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 that the points are so valuable and 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 Name
||Points Earned Per 1 Dollar Spent
|Chase Sapphire Reserve card
||10x (through March 2025)
|Car rentals, hotels, and dining (booked through Ultimate Rewards)
|Airfare (booked through Ultimate Rewards)
|Travel (not booked through Ultimate Rewards)
|All other purchases
|Chase Sapphire Preferred card
||5x (through March 2025)
|Travel (booked through Ultimate Rewards)
|Online grocery purchases
|Select streaming services
|Travel (not booked through Ultimate Rewards)
|All other purchases
|Freedom Unlimited card
||Travel (booked through Ultimate Rewards)
|All other purchases
|Freedom Flex card
||Rotating quarterly categories
|All other purchases
Is Chase Pay Yourself Back Worth It?
Typically, if you redeemed Ultimate Rewards points for a purchase, such as a restaurant meal, you’d get 1 cent per point at best. Ultimate Rewards points can also be redeemed at a value of 1 cent per point for cash-back.
However, with Pay Yourself Back, cardholders can get more value from their points.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, for example, get 1.5 cents per point, representing a 50% boost in redemption value. That means you’d use 10,000 points to cover an eligible $150 purchase instead of 15,000 points, resulting in a savings of 5,000 points.
Previously, the only way you could get up to 1.5 cents per point in redemption value was to redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. This is the best redemption value you can get without transferring Chase points to travel partners.
As 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 you’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
- $300 on all other purchases on the Freedom Unlimited card, earning 450 points at 1.5% (which you can convert to Ultimate Rewards points by holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve card)
You’d rack up 4,450 points after spending $1,400, which is worth $66.75 when using Pay Yourself Back. You’d therefore see 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 still earn points on purchases for which you use Pay Yourself Back!
For example, if you use the 4,450 points worth $66.75 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 you’ll earn around 200 more points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card!
According to our valuations, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth around 2.0 cents apiece, which means that your overall return on spending will be about 6.6%! Plus, your return on spending 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 typically 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 your bill, earned as ThankYou Points) 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 could get from Chase Pay Yourself Back.
You can leverage Bank of America Preferred Rewards to earn up to 3.5% cash-back on your spending, but this comes with a requirement to have at least $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.
Alternative Redemption Options
How does Chase Pay Yourself Back compare to other Chase Ultimate Rewards redemptions? Let’s take a look.
Airline and Hotel Partners
If you’re a points enthusiast, 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.
Here are the 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
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue|
|British Airways Executive Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant
|Emirates Skywards||1,000||1:1||Almost instant
|Iberia Plus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|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
To give you an idea of how valuable your points can be, you can book a ticket from New York (JFK) to Singapore (SIN) via Frankfurt (FRA) with a stopover in Singapore’s A380 First Class Suites for 132,000 Chase points transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer.
These tickets routinely sell for around $8,500 one-way, which nets you 6.4 cents per point in redemption value.
These kinds of redemptions will give you the best value for your points. However, if you don’t foresee international travel plans coming to fruition, it may not make sense to use points like this at this time.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Amazon when checking out, but they’ll be worth just 0.8 cents apiece (meaning 100 points get you $0.80), which is a terrible value.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Apple as well — you’ll earn a fixed 1 cent 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 fixed 1 cent per point, and you can choose to request a statement credit or deposit your cash-back straight into a U.S. checking or savings account.
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 curated and offered to cardholders, ranging from sporting events to concerts and even high-end restaurant reservations.
Points redeemed for experiences are worth a fixed 1 cent apiece.
There’s a wide variety of gift cards for which you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points, including The Home Depot, Fanatics, Top Golf, iTunes, Chili’s, Safeway, Subway, Airbnb, DoorDash, and much more.
Most of the time, you’ll get 1 cent per point in value for purchasing gift cards. But, sometimes, sales bump the redemption value to 1.1 to 1.3 cents per point.
If you’re looking to book flights and want to avoid paying cash, or if you 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 card, your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece, and if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, they’re worth 1.25 cents apiece.
Chase has given its cardholders yet another fantastic way to redeem Ultimate Rewards points. With travel recovering towards pre-pandemic levels, cardholders can still use points at a high value for non-travel purchases.
And it is a great value, too. When comparing it to other redemption scenarios for Ultimate Rewards points — and even some of the top cash-back cards on the market — Pay Yourself Back demonstrates its utility as a high-value use of your hard-earned points.
The information regarding the Chase Sapphire® Card, Chase Freedom®, and Ink Business Plus® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.