Is Chase’s “Pay Yourself Back” Feature Worth It?

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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We’ve seen card issuers add a variety of temporary perks, in light of current circumstances. This has especially been the case on premium travel cards, given that fewer people are traveling than in the past.

Chase has done a particularly good job with adding temporary perks to its credit cards, and in this post I wanted to take a closer look at the “Pay Yourself Back” feature. This has been extended and expanded since initially being introduced, and it’s arguably the best way to redeem any transferable points currency for a non-travel purchase.

Chase “Pay Yourself Back” basics

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

  • You could transfer them to the Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners
  • You could redeem them for 1.25-1.5 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:

Chase Sapphire “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

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

  • Redeem points towards non-travel purchases, including grocery stores, dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores, and eligible charities, at an improved rate
  • This feature is available through April 30, 2021

As a reminder, you’ll be able to redeem points at the following rates towards these purchases:

  • If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points earned on all cards for 1.5 cents each towards eligible purchases
  • If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points earned on all cards for 1.25 cents each towards eligible purchases

Chase Ink Business “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review), Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review), and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review), are all offering the “Pay Yourself Back” feature, though in a limited capacity:

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed towards select online advertising and shipping expenses, as well as contributions to a dozen eligible charities
  • This is valid through December 31, 2020

Chase Freedom “Pay Yourself Back” benefit

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

  • Points are worth 25% more (so 1.25 cents per point) when redeemed towards contributions made to a dozen eligible charities
  • There’s no end date for this

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 temporary “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):

  • Grocery stores
  • Dining, including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services
  • Home improvement stores
  • Eligible charities
  • Select online advertising and shipping expenses

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, 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 everyday expenses.

How long is this feature valid?

The most lucrative feature here is on the Chase Sapphire products, and for those cards the feature is valid through April 30, 2021. However, personally I’d expect this to be extended and expanded in the future, given how times have changed.

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 this feature is only available on Chase Sapphire, Ink, and Freedom cards. It’s not only possible that it will be added to more cards over time, but also possible that it will be extended and evolved on existing cards. I’d expect this feature to be around for a long time.

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, and for a limited time is offering 3x points on groceries, on up to $1,000 per month in spending. 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 groceries
  • 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 cards, since I’d argue this is by far the most lucrative opportunity.

Historically I’ve primarily redeemed my Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners, rather than redeeming them at 1.5 cents each towards travel purchases. I’m still not sure whether I’ll take advantage of this, though I do have a few thoughts.

First of all, I consider this to be a much better value on the Sapphire Reserve than Sapphire Preferred. That’s because with both programs you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to airline and hotel partners, while the values are different when redeeming to offset a purchase.

Second of all, I think this is a 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, in particular on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This is a straightforward and valuable option to offset your everyday expenses, especially during this tough time.

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?

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  1. Not sure I understand Eddie or DCS – Tons of Lucky’s readers redeem UR points via the travel portal at 1.5 cents. This is actually a better use than the travel portal because you actually earned points one the initial purchase.

    FWIW I have generally used UR points for Avios, Air France, Hyatt and travel portal redemptions. I am now splitting my UR between Hyatt and this promotion – I think it is actually a pretty good use of points. It would be even better if Chase added the option to redeem against travel purchases at 1.5 cents per point on a permanent basis.

  2. Had about 450k points and got a nice statement credit of over $6k. The travel partners aren’t very attractive to me as I live in a delta hub city and delta isn’t one of them. I have so many IHG and Hilton points from traveling that that isn’t worth it at all to me and then it really doesn’t leave much. To me this was valuable and I might consider switching to the Amex Platinum to get more out of Delta with lounge access and a transfer partner. The balance will refill itself either way and who knows it travel is going to be feasible and if business class will even be a good experience moving forward with limited service. In addition all airlines are selling miles to banks by the truckload – do you really think they’ll keep redemption rates where they are? That’s mileage inflation waiting to happen. I’ll enjoy my 6.5k and collect more points when business travel picks back up 🙂

  3. It’s a fantastic promo, and I’m extremely grateful to Chase for it.

    How anyone would rag on this is beyond me…we all have grocery bills, no??

  4. I’ve got 500K UR and will likely redeem about 300K for $4500 in recent home improvement spend.

    I think it’s a great deal. Not everyone thinks that the best way to redeem it is hunting for years on finding the one needle in the haystack redemption.
    I won’t transfer points to foreign airlines…often the rules are more complex, financial stability is uncertain, and if you ever have to cancel you are stuck with points in an airline I’m not likely to fly much.

    Therefore, my options to transfer are:
    Jetblue… these are worth ~1.3 cents and I have plenty
    Southwest…worth about 1.3 to 1.5 cents and I have plenty
    United…under a dynamic award price model, getting more than 1.5 cents is going to be rare.
    IHG…worth a fraction of a cent
    Marriott…worth less than a cent
    Hyatt… there could be value, but I have plenty and most of the time, it’s about 1.5cents of value.
    Redeeming through the portal wasn’t a great deal because the rates weren’t as good as my corporate discount or AAA discount, and you can’t get your elite benefits.

    I’ll take the cash please. Now I can shop around and just get the best value. I’ll keep some UR points in the bank, but most will get cashed out with this option.

    Plus, with the higher annual fee, I’m not sure its worth keeping in the long run.

  5. Data point – Chase rep confirmed to me you do indeed earn points on the purchases.
    And if it weren’t for the bloggers, I wouldn’t know about this. I haven’t seen Chase promote it, and the rep knew nothing about it when I called. She had to look it up.
    So contrary to your first two commenters, not worthless to me, thanks for mentioning it.

  6. In a democracy system, the first two commenters just got voted out.
    And redeeming at 1.5 might not be the best use of it but I say there are way worse redemptions out there and people still redeem at 1 all the time.

    So either democracy sucks or those two.

  7. Also, if you’re like me, and usually transfer to Hyatt (I can usually cover my flights with TYPs, MRs, or with miles already with the airline program), you have to factor in how depressed hotel prices are likely to be for the rest of the year (I am willing to travel, understand if you’re not). I’ve done some looking around at different locales (over peak travel dates, like Labor Day and July 4th), and I can’t find anywhere with Hyatt where I would get more than 1.5 cpp (much less 1.62 cpp) by redeeming with them. So maybe it makes sense to cash out and then use that cash to pay for the hotel. Then I don’t even have to worry about award availability and all that jazz. And I won’t be tied to Hyatt (but I’ll still stay there when possible).

    Even so, it’s still hard for me to bring myself to do that. That’s not why I got into this game and I’ve never even cashed out points through a portal. Not sure what I’ll do. I like my URs and it’s hard to part with them. Even though rationally, I know that’s the whole point.

  8. Brilliant, Ben. Thank you so much for figuring out the 1.62 angle (v 1.5 I normally redeem on the travel portal). Just wiped out 90 days of all my family’s expenses on the CSR at a great discount. Again, thank you, what outstanding value, too, for the next 3 months.

  9. Lucky, totally understand your hesitation on whether this is a good deal or not since you are a travel blogger(a very good one I might ad!). This makes you understandably biased towards premium class redemptions which you can then write a fantastic trip report on. I on the other hand have 2 kids at home and rarely travel so $5000 of Chipotle will really make my family happy!!!!!!

  10. @Anthony – It is exactly as I stated it. If you are short on money, then, sure, use your UR points.

    However, the calculus of points currencies is that they are worth a lot more when spent as points than when converted back and spent as hard currency. If you cash, then get a cash back card. That should be intuitively self-evident, but here’s a small example:

    — 95K HH points can get you a free night in a room that can cost more than $1,000/night.
    — Using an average redemption value of $0.005/HH point, 95K HH points convert back to roughly $475, and that is the cost of the most expensive room you’d be able to afford.


  11. Typical DCS typing in his monosyllabic none sense.

    While I would not redeem at this at come to the same conclusion, unless ones totally broke has nothing to do with it.

    Go buy some Hilton points.

  12. @Shawn — I have responded to provide my rationale, which you will see…as soon as the comment gets released from ‘moderation’ where it’s been now for over an hour despite having zero offensive word or phrase or sentence or even a hint of one

  13. Someone please show the math within UR points, especially if they think points cannot be compared across programs. Even when UR can be transferred across programs.
    😉 😉

  14. This is a good promo (even though I will still use mine for travel) – the people, who think redeeming $475 worth of points for one night at a hotel is worth it, is a very, very small minority.

  15. @DCS – I myself am not “short on cash.” I have already paid-off the restaurant charges I made in the last 90 days. I will now get a cc statement credit for those charges (at a 38% discount) that I will transfer to my Chase checking acct. 3 earned points x 1.62 = 4.86% cash back on dining charges – I cannot get that anywhere else.

  16. Smart promotion. I am sheltering overseas, so didn’t bother to figure out if I can use my Chase card at local supermarkets and get the 5x. I figured I already had enough Ultimate Rewards for the foreseeable future. But if I can redeem at 1.62c/dollar, that gives me 8x back on my grocery spending- worth working out what credits to that category overseas.

    So this will get me to move some of my spend back onto that card.

  17. @ Eskimo – The points vs. cash principle is the same for all points currencies.

    Hilton and pretty much every program offer members the option to use points as cash to purchase all kinds of items. It is how programs try to decrease the financial liability associated with points they already awarded but cannot claim the cash equivalent as revenue until the points have been spent, have expired or are simply forfeited.

    Points currencies are worth more as points than what they are worth when converted back to and used as cash.

  18. @Pam — YMMV then. I will not do it. I would first go “aspirationally big”, meaning that I would, e.g., book a 5-night award stay with points for what would cost $20,000+ if I paid cash and could never afford otherwise, before I convert points back for a cash credit or for cash to pay for “stuff”. The return on my points and , hence, on the cash spent to earn the points “for going aspirationally big” is off the charts.

    But then again, I may be better off than most…


  19. Sitting on hundreds of thousands of points for who knows how long, while the airline and hotel programs continue to devalue their programs doesn’t sound like a good strategy today. Most miles people caution against excessively hoarding points, so I’m all for this promotion, 1.5 cents/point is a decent rate of return and personally I’d rather have the cash in my pocket these days.

  20. I think this is a great feature that gives comparable value (maybe slightly less) to a Hyatt transfer. With so many people wanting to work on home improvement projects, I could see people using their points to help cover those costs. I could also see people using their points to save on groceries and using that saved cash to invest or just increase their emergency funds. Smart move by Chase. If they decide to keep these features permanently, this would really be the shot in the arm UR has needed since KE was removed as a transfer partner.

  21. 38% discount on 5x grocery purchases; points worth 5 x 1.62 = .08

    36% discount on 3x grocery purchases; points worth 3 x 1.57 = .047

  22. Not a good deal. Sure, better than cash back, but consider that you get 3 points per dollar on the CSR card for travel and dining and then you are only redeeming it for at most 1.5cents? Redeem with chase travel and it’s worth 4.5%.

  23. @ iamhere – Ben fleshed out ability to both keep 3 or 5 points earned but also redeem at 1.57 or 1.62 respectively, more than travel portal. Take the extra cash earned off groceries & dining point purchases to pay cash for travel.

  24. Credits posted to my CSR acct within an hr of applying points. SM’d to transfer to my checking acct. What a nice unexpected bonus.

  25. If I could get 1.5 cents towards Apple products I would do it in a second. I don’t expect to do much international travel over the next few years and the points are only going to devalue plus I have a bunch of airline points wasting away.

  26. Iamhere – redeeming for statement credits against grocery/dining gives you the exact 4.5% return on travel/dining spending that you get when redeeming through the travel portal. Slightly more when you factor in the points you earned on the original spend…

    – Spend $1,000 on dining in a month
    – Get 3,000 UR points
    – Those UR points are worth $45 when redeemed for grocery, dining, home improvement or travel via the portal

  27. This is the way I calculate it. Say you max out the 5x grocery spend in May and June. That $3000 grocery bill will generate 15000 points which you could use to wipe away $225 of the charge which is a 7.5% rebate on that portion.

  28. This is a great promotion, and I have already started to use it (along with the expansion of the travel credit to include groceries). I have not traveled since November 2019, and I’ve already cancelled all my 2020 bookings because of the coronavirus. I don’t see myself getting on an airplane or staying in a hotel until 2021, so this is a great use of points for me despite the fact that I am not suffering from any shortage of money. I just wish Chase would extend it to the end of the calendar year.

    I never go “aspirationally big,” even when travel is not hindered by the coronavirus, because I would rather take two (or sometimes three) trips to Europe in economy than one trip in business class for the same number of points. I may be better off financially than DCS, because if he were really as well off as he implies, he wouldn’t care about accumulating points and miles. People with the big money don’t waste their time with this decidedly middle-class hobby.

  29. Great promo, especially with being able to keep the points on groceries. Tested this on one line item to see how it worked and the credits posted by next day. Will definitely be taking advantage as a 7.5%+ return is hard to beat!

  30. @Ed: “Sitting on hundreds of thousands of points for who knows how long, while the airline and hotel programs continue to devalue their programs ”

    The travel industry has obviously taken a very severe hit. I’d expect them to become very competitive with their rewards programs as travel slowly resumes. Reward programs are devalued by travel providers when the economy is strong and travel is in high demand. When the economy is weak, they need to compete for your business, so they tend to add value to these programs.

    Yes, the general advice is to spend points and not hoard them. Keeping them is a risk, but I think Chase and Amex are pretty stable (well, at least Chase is). So I’m going to hang on to points (actually, I’ll continue to accumulate them) until it becomes safe to travel again. Then hopefully there will be some good mileage deals on premium class international travel.

  31. @Rich, go to a grocery store and buy a Amazon gift card or Visa/mc prepaid debit card and then use that to buy your Apple product and then redeem the grocery purchase from your chase card.

  32. @Charlie sez “I may be better off financially than DCS, because if he were really as well off as he implies, he wouldn’t care about accumulating points and miles. People with the big money don’t waste their time with this decidedly middle-class hobby.”

    Funny (all meanings of the word) comment.

    You may well be better off financially than I am, but that is often a relative concept. I said nothing about not being “middle-class.” I simply said that I might be better off than most, even within the middle-class. The reality, however, is more like this. While I make plenty of money on my day job now after climbing to the top of the academic ladder, things did not use to be that way, so I learned how to play the mile/point game to lower the cost of my leisure travel.

    Having learned the tricks of the trade for earning free trips on points when I was not as well off, what do you think I should do now? “Unlearned” all that and pay $20K+ for 5 nights in the Maldives because I am no longer “middle-class”? I think that would be vain, don’t you?

    Inquiring minds wanna know!

  33. This is a great deal.

    I have ~$17K worth of points and rarely have a good transfer opportunity for UR points. Points and miles are almost guaranteed to lose value in the long run (and are easy to replenish), while cash can be invested to generated additional value. That’s not going to change, even in this environment. Seems like a no-brainer to cash out 200K UR points.

  34. @DCS: “— Using an average redemption value of $0.005/HH point, 95K HH points convert back to roughly $475, and that is the cost of the most expensive room you’d be able to afford.”

    So, yet again, it’s okay when DCS says that an HH point is worth 0.5 cents, but it’s not okay when other people do it.

  35. There’s a second wrinkle to this, which is that points sitting in your Chase account don’t accrue interest, but money does. Granted, interest rates are *terrible* right now, but for anyone like me planning a big trip 9-12 months from now, I could still earn an additional 1.3% over the course of a year by cashing out now.

  36. This trolling stopped being tedious a long time ago to become pathological…

    Maybe someone can slooowly explain to this entity that DCS has always maintained that there was not nothing wrong with the peddled *average* redemption values of points currencies, which he uses in his illustrations all the time; but rather, the issue has consistently been the universal practice of comparing them across programs to claim one to be more “valuable” than the other?

    Considering what’s crawling out of the woodwork, this thread’s now closed for me.

  37. Actually DCS that’s exactly what you always say. Anytime a blogger states a Hilton point to be worth 3-5 cents per point you blow a gasket and call them self anointed travel gurus who don’t understand the redemptive value.

    Unlike many others in here I get your point and don’t disagree with you. It’s common sense that you spout off as some holy grail which only you have found the answer. You just explain it ass backwards and with an arrogant tone. Hopefully this is unlike what one would experience in your academia.

  38. @Shawn sez, likely with a straight face: “Actually DCS that’s exactly what you always say. Anytime a blogger states a Hilton point to be worth 3-5 cents per point you blow a gasket and call them self anointed travel gurus who don’t understand the redemptive value.”

    I cannot help you if your comprehension of simple English or simple math or both is limited, but you cannot attribute to me things I have never said. I am 100% sure that you believe I made that claim, and the reason I am sure is that it shows the same misunderstanding of the value of points currencies that bedevils pretty much everyone else. You believe that my beef with self-anointed “travel gurus” is that they value Hilton points too low. That has never been it, and those who pay attention know that I have indicated paying cash for stays instead of using points because I would get a redemption value of less than 0.4cpp (e.g., Hilton Singapore nearly every year). That is one of few things the *average* redemption values of points are good for — to estimate *within-program* redemption values in order to decide whether to pay cash or use points. They cannot be used to decide which points currency is more valuable among programs, which is my beef with self-anointed travel gurus. It is a HUGELY different claim.

    While bloggers believe that 0.4cent/HILTON point is a very low value, I know better, because that would be the same as getting 1.2cents/HYATT point. That confuses you, but it should sound familiar.

    The rest of your comment has as much merit as your misconception I just debunked for the Nth time. You never got my point or you would not have jumped in to attribute to me something I have never claimed.

    Anyway, I would not have commented here further if the ‘entity’ that initiated this ridiculous claim had followed up [it could be that it understood its claim was bogus and quit]. But I saw your comment as a perfect opportunity to, yet, again try to clarify the general misunderstanding of a trivial concept that trips up even the smartest in the lot.


  39. BTW, @ Shawn, you meant to write “0.3-0.5 cent/point” and not “3-5cents/point”.


  40. @Lucky

    Do you know if Chase has pulled the Southwest Biz Performance card? I try to apply and it says application not available due to system error??

  41. @DCS: “Maybe someone can slooowly explain to this entity that DCS has always maintained that there was not nothing wrong with the peddled *average* redemption values of points currencies, which he uses in his illustrations all the time; but rather, the issue has consistently been the universal practice of comparing them across programs to claim one to be more “valuable” than the other?”

    You mean, other than the time where you attacked people for assigning a point value to an Honors point with which you disagreed?

    “You probably would still complain that it was not worth more, because I am sure that you do NOT know the first thing about the ‘value’ of points currencies since most who complain the loudest generally don’t …” (June 12, 2019 – the person to whom this was directed assigned a value of 0.4 cents)

    “Do you really, truly believe that when they are converted to the same currency so that they are **directly** comparable, a Hilton point would be worth 0.2-0.3 **USD** cent compared to Marriott’s 0.7 **USD** cent or Hyatt **USD** 1.5 cents? If you do, then you must stop talking about the monetary “value” of points because you have no idea what you are talking about.” (also June 12, 2019, with the response setting forth a value of 0.2 to 0.3 cents per point)

    “Please stop walking around with your head in the sand, and, instead, do the actual work that’s necessary to get your facts straight, before making claims such as those that you just made, which won’t stand to objective scrutiny, also known as reality.

    Please do this: (a) Search for Hyatt awards within 10 miles of downtown NYC (list the search results by distance); (b) dummy book as many as you can, and then calculate their respective nominal redemption values as [member rate in cash/award cost in points]; and, lastly, (c) report to let us know what you find.

    Hint: You’ll find many Hyatt awards yielding redemption values of 1 cent/Hyatt point (cpp) or less, corresponding to redemption values of 0.3cent/Hilton point or less. Go on, do it and so that you can disabuse yourself of the fantasy of how you’ve “found much more attractive opportunities with World of Hyatt, consistently”, after you dummy book an award stay at Grand Hyatt New York and get a redemption value of about 0.75cpp, corresponding to Hilton redemption value of ~0.25cpp.” (February 25, 2020, where the claimed value was between 0.3 and 0.4 cents)

    In fact, it’s also worth noting in these last two examples that DCS directly and completely contradicts everything he has tried to argue over the last couple of years that the currencies cannot be directly compared, because he does it himself in both of these examples.

    Yet again, we’re reduced to another episode of “do as I say, not as I do” from DCS.

  42. @DCS: “…the issue has consistently been the universal practice of comparing them across programs to claim one to be more “valuable” than the other?”

    @DCS: “While bloggers believe that 0.4cent/HILTON point is a very low value, I know better, because that would be the same as getting 1.2cents/HYATT point. That confuses you, but it should sound familiar.”

    Translated, it’s not okay for other people to compare the values of Hilton and Hyatt points, but it’s okay for me to do it.

  43. Permanent Titanium Marriott. 5 days with Marriott Zurich – 230,000 includes 1 free night. Reserve UR 108,000. So much for 1:1 points.

  44. @DCS – I already have over a million of your coveted HH points so all good on stays at WAs when the time is right.

    And I already use 95k points/FN certs on rooms as you are also doing. You (likely), however, are also spending some actual cash at props with $20k rooms. This is an ideal time to cash-in points at a premium to use on that portion of travel inevitably not covered by points.

  45. Can’t let this opportunity to ridicule go to waste.

    Would someone kindly and even more sloooooowly this time tell this ‘entity’ that all the texts that it has wasted an *inordinate* amount of time digging up and quoting simply make my point, which is that:

    “[Average values of points] cannot be used to decide which points currency is more valuable among programs, which is my beef with self-anointed travel gurus. It is a HUGELY different claim.”?

    While every one of my quoted comments supports that same point, the ‘entity’ completely fails to comprehend what is the crux of issue (slooowly): *direct* comparisons of average redemption values of points currencies that are done constantly among programs are UTTERLY MEANINGLESS. People are doing such comparisons all the time and they can keep doing them. It is a free country. The issue is that the comparisons are WRONG, and I am here to point that out.

    Thus, quoting me when I show why the comparisons are meaningless and asking I can do the comparisons and no one can’t is *UTTERLY STUPID.*

  46. @DCS: “The issue is that the comparisons are WRONG, and I am here to point that out.”

    Except for the fact that they are not wrong, and the only thing you keep doing (aside from insulting people who disagree with you) is, yet again, proving the point of the people who point out, for example, that a single Hyatt point is worth more than a single Hilton point.

    What all of this really comes down to is the fact that you fly into a narcissistic rage every time that someone makes these comparisons, because you think that people pointing out that a Hilton point is worth less than another program’s point is an insult to your beloved Hilton (and, therefore, a personal injury to you). You, I, and everyone else knows that the earning and purchasing power of each program’s points essentially offset each other, so that there really isn’t a fundamental difference between the programs – yes, a Hilton point is less valuable and you need a lot of them to redeem for an award, on average, but they’re a whole lot easier to earn in bulk than Hyatt points.

    The reality is, though, no matter how many times you keep repeating the same thing about how it’s impossible to compare them, you’re wrong. Your message, in my estimation, is that you shouldn’t do it, only because of the perception that results – i.e. because they’re worth less due to the structure, it means that they are somehow inferior.

    Most people here understand, despite what you may think, that the difference in values – of the points themselves, of the relative ease of earning, and the relative ease of redemption – are inherent in the programs, and are fundamentally no different than comparing different foreign currencies. It’s, as I’ve pointed out before, no different than comparing value differences between the South Korean won and the Canadian dollar – the latter is worth more than the former, but the former is far easier to earn in bulk than the latter, so the differences end up equalizing in the end. But none of that changes the fact that, when directly compared between the two, one Canadian dollar has more value than one South Korean won.

    And don’t let DCS tell you that you can’t do direct comparisons (even though he claims that he can), because it’s possible to do direct comparisons. I’ve pointed it out previously (which only led to the usual personal attacks from DCS rather than an actual rebuttal), but his claim that such comparisons cannot be done because of the $/point designation is completely wrong.

    To summarize, DCS has claimed that, because WoH point values are designated as $/Hyatt point, and Hilton point values are designated as $/Hilton point, the two cannot be compared because of the differing denominators. Back on May 4, I explained how this was wrong, because the equations can be converted to make the comparison between the common terms – the assigned dollar value.

    As I pointed out there, if one assumes that one single Hilton point is worth $0.005, and one single Hyatt point is worth $0.015, DCS would insist that they should be written this way:

    $0.005/Hilton point
    $0.015/Hyatt point

    Where this falls apart for DCS, though, is that if these values are, indeed, correct, then the numerator (the dollar value) and the denominator (the point) should be equal to one another, which means the following are also true:

    $0.005/Hilton point = 1
    $0.015/Hyatt point = 1

    This means that you can multiply both sides of each equation by 1 point to express them the following way:

    1 Hilton point = $0.005
    1 Hyatt point = $0.015

    To go further, we can multiply each side of the first equation by three to get:

    3 Hilton points = $0.015
    1 Hyatt point = $0.015

    And finally, since the transitive property of equality says that if a=b and b=c, then a=c, then since 3 Hilton points equals 1.5 cents and 1 Hyatt point equals 1.5 cents, then 1 Hyatt point must equal 3 Hilton points, since the 1.5 cents is, fundamentally, the same 1.5 cents.

    At this point, I know that DCS is going to claim that I am wrong and that everything that I have written is fact-free, even though he will also claim that he didn’t read it, which is merely the symptom of his NPD that does not allow him to admit being wrong about anything. He is also probably going to claim that I am trying to receive his attention and approval, which is nothing more than projection on his part, as it is little more than delusion to believe that someone who is calling out your bullshit is doing so in order to receive approval or adulation.

    The whole point of this exercise is to yet again remind readers that these comparisons between the values of points currencies are not only not meaningless, but an inherent feature of the programs. Yes, it takes fewer WoH points to redeem for an award, which gives them a higher value (either perceived or actual, or both), but the fact that you earn fewer WoH points per stay, and purchases on the WoH credit card earn fewer points, makes them more difficult to earn. Thus, depending on how you earn and redeem, you might not be any worse or better off concentrating on Hyatt versus Hilton, because it’s all part of a larger equation.

    What I would bet on, though, is that none of these conversations would be happening here if the situations were reversed and a Hilton point had a higher value than a Hyatt point.

  47. @ DCS ~ every person’s “mileage” is actually exactly the same if they redeem points in an identical manner. I/o/w just because you cash in a Hilton FN cert/95k points on a $1k/nt room doesn’t mean I cannot do the same thing with my own cert/cache of points.

    What “varies” are the programs themselves & their inherent requirements, pricing, & limitations. You & I would both be hard-pressed to get $1k/nt of value on a Hyatt 15k point FN cert, but that’s mostly because of how Hyatt has decided to structure their program. Doesn’t mean, however, their tier rewards, promos, & other benefits might be otherwise superior to Hilton. And I don’t think you can decide for other people which of those are most important to them for any given program, incl Hilton.

  48. @Pam — What varies is how individuals make decisions on how they spend points or miles that would be worth the same as the next person’s ” if they redeem [them] in an identical manner.” But in the real world, people are not required to redeem anything in an identical manner. Exhibit A: the difference in our approaches to this Chase offer.


    Wishing you well in this space where some alien ‘entity’ has gotten so unhinged OMAAT might consider putting it out of its misery…at least for a while.

    See you ’round campus, @Pam! 😉

  49. @DCS: “Wishing you well in this space where some alien ‘entity’ has gotten so unhinged OMAAT might consider putting it out of its misery…at least for a while.”

    And yet again, instead of actually rebutting the argument, there is nothing but a personal attack, which is pathetic, yet predictable, from DCS.

    Also, given that you are the one who is openly insulting people and admitting to posting for the sheer purpose of ridiculing that entity (i.e. me), you have absolutely no room to talk here.

    In other words, grow up and get help.

  50. Can anyone clarify how to determine which stores will code as home improvement and, therefore, be eligible for Pay Yourself Back? Articles keep mentioning HD and Lowes, of course, but I live in rural Utah and would like to know which of my local businesses I would be able to pay with points. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to locate which merchant codes are on the list. Thanks

  51. Pay yourself back is how all chase travel should work. The chase portal via Expedia is frankly poor. Every time I book travel I have to go to the chase site and then go to the Delta site to upgrade seats etc. Every time I cancel or change a booking I have to call both Delta and Chase to get it done. There has been a lot of that lately. Why not get rid of all the chase booking overhead and allow me to book with Delta, Expedia, Hyatt or whoever and cancel out the expenses on the chase site as I see fit. Matthew Massaua are you listening? Pay Yourself Back is awesome make it work for travel.

  52. I I think its a decent promo. I dont have a ton of points but I have no near term travel plans. Also did not find the new Chase portal as good as it was pre-expedia. This reminds me of Capital one, in the ease of erasing the changes.

  53. 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 show 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 over paid.

  54. Great deal. There might be the occasional outsized value through an airline partner or maybe hyatt, it’s rare and a lot of work. I’ll take the cash, thank you.

  55. I actually am one of the few who love this promotion. It allows me to use my chase points to convert to disney for disneyland or a future cruise. There are very few ways to use points for disney (except maybe capital one). This allows me to buy gift cards for disney at the grocery store and use chase points to remove the charges. Additionally I get bonuses at the grocery store on gift cards and save money on gas which brings me close to the . 02 per point valuation anyway. The point is for me, I may lose a little in rewards but I can finally use them for disney cruises (far into the future I’m sure) so this promotion has value. Obviously I can get more value out of hyatt, but I can’t stomach paying cash for disney and this allows me to go. Plus there are so many other ways to get hotel and flights for free I just add this as one more tool in my belt.

  56. After people can travel again in 2 years and the airlines have devalued 2 or 3 times, people will be wishing they took advantage of this.

  57. Kudos to Chris for highlighting the real issue for many of us. We can’t travel right now (and many of us won’t for several years). So being able to transfer point to hotel and airline awards at a better rate is unfortunately irrelevant to many.
    So the Pay yourself option is a great deal. And if you have 500K points as many of us do, redeeming 10-20% of the stash doesn’t jeopardize your future use.

  58. Sorry but I fall closer to DCS on this one. I love travel. I truly miss it, both business and personal. We can’t do it now and quite frankly, would not want to but Covid is not forever and when it’s safe to travel and no longer a pain, I can’t wait to use my points and Elite status for Premium cabin air, free room or more likely a suite to treat myself and my Fiancé to a great, high end trip together while avoiding the $35,000.00 retail price, not because we could not come up with the money, but because doing it (close to) free is great. It’s not only the dollars saved. I truly enjoy the miles and points game…it’s like Chess.

    To each their own, but I prefer to get way more value from a truly experiential incentive even if we choose to wait. Anyone would treasure the memories of a First Class trip to Fiji and Australia over that last free tank of gas.

  59. I’m with Mark S. I’ve thought long and hard about this, because it has been heavily debated. I have been retired for about five years and during that time, points and miles have taken me around Asia, Europe, Australia, India, Central America, and a number of other places. Most of the long trips have been in J, but I’ll ride in the back if the deal is good enough. We’ve had many hotel suites and been in overwater bungalows in Tahiti, Fiji and Bora Bora. Patience and flexibility has given me a great yield on my points and miles, which has been far about what Chase is offering with this deal. Even during the pandemic, I was able to get over 4 cents per Hyatt point at a hotel this summer. If the “hobby” changes and I can’t get the value I want anymore, I will use up my points and switch to a cash back card, but I’m not there yet. Sorry, but I’m not in this to make 5% or 8% back on my grocery bill. I’m just not.

  60. This offer is not good. Consider how low you are cashing your points for. Transfer sucks too and should only be used if you need a few thousand extra points to clear out your account. Best redemptions are with Chase travel because of the 50% bonus for CSR members. Also, the customer support is there for you in the event that you have a problem with the flight or you are unable to flight (e.g. pandemic). I received successfully a refund for flights I couldn’t use due to the pandemic. You may have to often call for an update but the staffs do deal with the airlines on your behalf. 100% useful given how difficult it is to get ahold of many of the airlines and how the rules change so often nobody knows what is going on. Seems most don’t maximize their loyalty points.

  61. Yes. I’m not traveling anytime soon due to ridiculous travel restrictions/mask policies/govt. controls. I rather get value out of the points now. I would be hesitant to book through the travel portal given all the hassles people had with refunds and issues with hotel status/points. I like to book direct. Transfer partners are useless because I have come to realize I don’t want to be tied down anymore to award available and be subject to cancellations and downgrades that are less likely for paid tickets. Prices will be low for quite a while. I rather pay cash.

  62. What I don’t understand is the many commentators (here and on other sites), that seem to say that Pay Yourself Back at 1.5 cents is not a good value, but booking travel through the portal at 1.5 cents is a good value. It’s the same thing (with a slight edge to PYB as you can instead book direct with the travel provider for cash travel or book via a Chase Freedom Unlimited and earn 5x UR via the portal).

  63. @iamhere: “This offer is not good. Consider how low you are cashing your points for. Transfer sucks too and should only be used if you need a few thousand extra points to clear out your account. Best redemptions are with Chase travel because of the 50% bonus for CSR members.”

    So using PYB at 1.5 cents per point is “not good,” but using Chase travel at 1.5 cents per point is the best redemption value. That makes a lot of sense.

  64. I have the CSP and recently received the CFU. I put grocery purchases on the new CFU for 5% back. I know I can transfer the cash back points to UR, but can I PYB on the grocery purchases at 1.25 cents through the CSP? Or only on grocery purchases actually made on the CSP (which is currently 2x, not as good as the CFU 5x)?

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