Is Chase “Pay Yourself Back” Worth It? (2022)

Is Chase “Pay Yourself Back” Worth It? (2022)

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In 2020 we saw card issuers add a variety of temporary perks, in light of circumstances. This has especially been the case on premium travel cards, given that people had to be able to justify paying these high annual fees.

Chase has done a great job with adding temporary perks to its credit cards, and the Chase “Pay Yourself Back” feature has been especially popular with consumers. Some of the best categories were set to expire on September 30, 2021, so what’s the latest with that?

Well, the Chase “Pay Yourself Back” feature has been extended on some cards, but not on others, and we’ve also seen some changes in which purchases qualify. In this post I wanted to go over the details of the latest.

Chase “Pay Yourself Back” basics

Perhaps it’s easiest to explain this in the form of an example for the card that has the best “Pay Yourself Back” feature. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most popular travel rewards cards. Historically there have been two ways to maximize the Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on this card:

  • You could transfer them to the Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners
  • You could redeem them for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase through the Chase travel portal

While there have been other ways to redeem Chase points (for example, at one cent each towards statement credits), those are by far the most efficient options.

This brings us to the “Pay Yourself Back” feature, whereby you can efficiently redeem points for non-travel purchases for a limited time. In other words, you can redeem points towards your daily expenses at the same rate you could redeem them towards travel.

Let’s break down this perk by card type, based on the updated bonus categories.

Chase Sapphire Reserve “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

With the “Pay Yourself Back” feature on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review):

  • Through March 31, 2022, redeem points at the rate of 1.5 cents each towards towards Airbnb, Away, and dining purchases (including takeout and eligible delivery services)
  • You can no longer redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards grocery store and home improvement store purchases (this ended on September 30, 2021)

While not quite as useful as before, it’s still great to be able to redeem points at 1.5 cents each towards dining, which is a big category for many.

Chase Sapphire Preferred “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

With the “Pay Yourself Back” feature on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review):

  • Through March 31, 2022, redeem points at the rate of 1.25 cents each towards towards Airbnb and Away purchases
  • You can no longer redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards dining, grocery store, and home improvement store purchases (this ended on September 30, 2021)

This is definitely hugely scaled back compared to what we used to see, which sure is a shame. Both Airbnb and Away are niche redemptions, and for that matter, they’re travel-related redemptions.

Chase Ink Business Preferred “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

With the “Pay Yourself Back” feature on the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review):

  • You can no longer redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards shipping, select advertising, internet, cable, and phone services purchases (this ended on December 31, 2021)
  • Through December 31, 2022, redeem points at the rate of 1.25 cents each towards select charities

These continue to be useful bonus categories for businesses, and in some ways are even improved compared to what we used to see.

Chase Ink Business Cash & Unlimited “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

With the “Pay Yourself Back” feature on the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review) and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review):

  • You can no longer redeem points for 1.1 cents each towards internet, cable, and phone services purchases (this ended on December 31, 2021)
  • Through December 31, 2022, redeem points at the rate of 1.25 cents each towards select charities

Chase Freedom Flex & Unlimited “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

The Chase Freedom FlexSM Credit Card (review) and Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) are offering the “Pay Yourself Back” feature:

  • Through December 31, 2022, redeem points at the rate of 1.25 cents each towards select charities

Chase “Pay Yourself Back” FAQs

The above covers the basics, though let’s answer some of the common questions about the “Pay Yourself Back” feature.

What can you redeem Chase points for?

With Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” feature, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for statement credits against purchases in the following categories (with the bonus categories varying by card):

  • Dining, including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services
  • Eligible charities
  • Airbnb purchases
  • Away purchases
  • Select online advertising and shipping purchases
  • Select internet, cable, and phone services purchases

How much value can you get per Chase point?

Keep in mind that you can combine Chase points between accounts, so the value you get per point depends on the most premium card you have:

  • If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each towards eligible purchases
  • If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25 cents each towards eligible purchases

In other words, if you have the Sapphire Reserve, then you could redeem points on any of the Sapphire, Ink, or Freedom cards, at the rate of 1.5 cents each towards dining (and other) purchases.

How long is this feature valid?

The “Pay Yourself Back” feature seems to be ongoing, though the offers are changing over time, and seem to be getting a bit worse. Currently the most lucrative offer is on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and that’s valid through March 31, 2022.

Note that the end date is based on when you request reimbursement, and not based on when a purchase was made.

How recent do purchases have to be for reimbursement?

With the Chase “Pay Yourself Back” feature, you can redeem points for any eligible purchases that posted to your account within the past 90 days.

Is there a minimum number of points you have to redeem?

Nope, you can redeem points with this feature for either all or part of the cost of an eligible purchase. For example, this means that you can:

  • Redeem 100 points to get $1.25-1.50 reimbursed
  • Redeem 1,000 points to get $12.50-15.00 reimbursed
  • Redeem 10,000 points to get $125.00-150.00 reimbursed

Which charities are eligible for this feature?

As you can see, the “Pay Yourself Back” feature on all cards is valid for contributions to charities. Here are the dozen eligible charities:

  • 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

Is this feature available on other Chase cards?

As of now the “Pay Yourself Back” feature is only available on Chase Sapphire, Ink, and Freedom cards, and I’d expect that to remain the case. I wouldn’t expect to see this on any co-brand credit cards, since rewards with those cards are typically earned with partners.

How does redeeming Chase points impact points earning?

Here’s an interesting — and perhaps unexpected — wrinkle to this redemption opportunity.

For context, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x points on dining and travel. Ordinarily if you wanted to redeem those points towards a travel purchase at the rate of 1.5 cents per point, then you’d be forgoing Ultimate Rewards points on that purchase.

In other words, if you redeemed 10,000 points towards a $150 travel purchase, then you wouldn’t also earn the 3x points on that $150, since you’re not actually “spending” $150, but rather are redeeming points.

However, anecdotally it would appear that you’re still earning points as usual when reimbursing Chase transactions through the “Pay Yourself Back” feature. At least that’s the case for the transactions I’m seeing. In other words:

  • Say you spend $150 on dining
  • You’d earn up to 3x points, meaning you’d earn 450 Ultimate Rewards points
  • You could then redeem 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points to wipe out that purchase
  • Chase doesn’t seem to reverse the 450 Ultimate Rewards points you earned, meaning your net “out of pocket” is 9,550 points for a $150 purchase, which is 1.57 cents of value per Ultimate Rewards point

At least that’s how it seems to be working as of now, though that can certainly change (and if anyone has conflicting data points here, please let me know).

How much are Chase points worth?

This is highly subjective, but personally I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each. This is based on the ability to transfer the points to airline and hotel partners, where I get outsized value (under normal circumstances) for first and business class flights and luxury hotels.

Step-by-step guide to Chase’s redemption feature

How does redeeming Ultimate Rewards points using Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” feature actually work? Just log into your Chase account and go to the Ultimate Rewards homepage, and then in the dropdown you’ll see the option for “Pay Yourself Back.”

On the next page you’ll see all eligible transactions, starting with those closest to 90 days ago (meaning the most recent transactions will be displayed last). You’ll also see the amount of each transaction listed, along with how many points it would take to wipe out the purchase.

When you select a particular transaction you’ll have the option of choosing how many points you want to redeem towards a transaction. You can redeem for anywhere from one cent to the entire purchase amount, depending on how many points you have and want to redeem.

Then the next day you should see your statement updated to reflect the statement credits for all the purchases.

Is this a good use of Chase points?

Let me focus specifically on the “Pay Yourself Back” feature on the Sapphire Reserve, since I’d argue this is by far the most lucrative opportunity.

For context, historically I’ve primarily redeemed my Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners, rather than redeeming them at the rate of 1.5 cents each towards travel purchases.

I think the “Pay Yourself Back” opportunity is a significantly better value than redeeming points for 1.5 cents each towards travel purchases for a few reasons:

  • It appears that you still earn points for the purchases with this redemption option, which you don’t when redeeming towards travel
  • I far prefer having purchases reimbursed after the fact, rather than having to book travel specifically through the Chase portal, which is restrictive
  • With so many schedule changes in the airline industry I’d generally avoid booking travel through an online travel agency (including the Chase portal) because it only adds another layer of complication if you need to change or cancel a flight

Bottom line

Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” feature is arguably the most lucrative redemption opportunity we’re seeing for non-travel redemptions on a travel credit card, in particular on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. This offer was largely supposed to expire on September 30, 2021, but has now been extended in a limited capacity.

While not quite as lucrative as before, being able to redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards dining purchase continues to be a good opportunity.

I’m not sure this is a slam dunk redemption option for those of us who usually transfer points to airline and hotel partners, though I do consider this to be a better option than redeeming points towards the cost of travel purchases, for the reasons outlined above.

If you usually redeem Ultimate Rewards points towards the cost of travel purchases, you should absolutely take advantage of this. If you usually transfer points to partners, then it’s perhaps a tougher decision.

What do you make of the “Pay Yourself Back” feature? Have you used it yet?

Conversations (6)
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  1. Alan Gold

    I had been using my Freedom Unlimited to pay taxes (1.99% fee, 1.5 points/$) and then using Pay Yourself Back with my CSR on groceries and dining thus earning .26% above the fee. With the removal of the grocery category I'll stop paying taxes this way as there is no advantage and I do not dine out often enough. Might even be time to downgrade the CSR.

  2. T Blood Guest

    Given the low cost of flights during the pandemic, I would suggest the value of Chase UR points is less than 1.7 cents. In that light, I think the PYB program is an excellent way to liquidate points.

  3. Steve Diamond

    Now that Chase removed the 1.5 on dining on the CSR there really is no point of the card anymore versus the CSP. I unloaded a ton of points yesterday as the final day for the 1.5 it was just too good of value to pass up, sorry i dont care about international first class anymore that hasnt been special in over 5 years.

    1. Anonymous Guest

      Actually, dining for the CSR is extended through March 31, 2022 but the dining redemption option is no longer available on the CSP.

  4. Da Guest

    In my experience, PYB has worked for dining exactly as you describe it, so you do effectively get a small rebate on the points you redeem. Arguably, this may be the strongest case for CSR over CSP (which no longer has dining as a qualifying category), setting aside any benefit you get from Priority Pass, since now you are getting a higher return on dining spend with CSR.

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Alan Gold

I had been using my Freedom Unlimited to pay taxes (1.99% fee, 1.5 points/$) and then using Pay Yourself Back with my CSR on groceries and dining thus earning .26% above the fee. With the removal of the grocery category I'll stop paying taxes this way as there is no advantage and I do not dine out often enough. Might even be time to downgrade the CSR.

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Anonymous Guest

Actually, dining for the CSR is extended through March 31, 2022 but the dining redemption option is no longer available on the CSP.

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T Blood Guest

Given the low cost of flights during the pandemic, I would suggest the value of Chase UR points is less than 1.7 cents. In that light, I think the PYB program is an excellent way to liquidate points.

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