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With September ending and the last quarter of 2020 looming, we're faced with some good news and bad news. The bad news: after months of lockdown, traveling still isn't a viable option for many people. The good news: Chase sees this too, and is ensuring that your travel-centric credit cards continue to provide value as they did in the pre-COVID era (“P.C.E.”?). In response, Chase has extended its popular ‘Pay Yourself Back' feature, while also expanding it to include certain Ink small business credit cards and Freedom cards.
Chase ‘Pay Yourself Back' Overview
In May 2020, Chase unveiled the ‘Pay Yourself Back' feature in response to diminishing travel demand. It allows Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders to redeem points to offset purchases made at select merchant categories.
Initially, the categories included dining (including delivery and takeout), grocery stores, and home improvement stores. In July, Chase added select charities to the list of Pay Yourself Back-eligible transactions.
Points are worth 1.25¢ and 1.5¢ each for the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve, respectively. For example, if you buy $150 worth of groceries on your Sapphire Reserve, this feature allows you to use 10,000 points (within 90 days) to offset the purchase.
Chase originally announced that this feature would end on September 30, 2020.
Extended and Expanded
In addition to pushing back the end date, Chase has also introduced the feature to select Ink and Freedom cards, with new deadlines dependent on the card.
Pay Yourself Back on Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve
- Available — through April 30, 2021
- Eligible Merchant Categories — grocery stores, dining (including delivery and takeout), home improvement stores (including Lowes and Home Depot), and select charitable contributions*
- Point Value — 1.25¢ per point for Sapphire Preferred cardholders and 1.5¢ per point for Sapphire Reserve cardholders
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
- 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Pay Yourself Back on Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
- Available — … with no end date specified
- Eligible Merchant Categories — Select charitable contributions*
- Point Value — 1.25¢ per point
- New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- No foreign transaction fees
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- $95 Annual Fee
- 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
- 1X point per $1 on all other purchases
Pay Yourself Back on Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Available — starting October 1, 2020… with no end date specified
- Eligible Merchant Categories — Select charitable contributions*
- Point Value — 1¢ per point
*Current eligible charities include:
- 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
- Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
- No annual fee.
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
- Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
- Earn 1% on all other purchases
Overall, given its popularity, I'm not at all surprised that Chase has opted to extend ‘Pay Yourself Back'. The feature's interface and usability are fantastic, leading me to assume that Chase devoted a fair amount of resources to its development. All that effort for a short-term offering never made sense, which is why I expected it to stick around.
I am pleasantly surprised to see Chase sticking with the same 1.25$ and 1.5¢ point value for Sapphire cards. These rates match the value cardmembers receive when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. That gives grounded cardmembers a great way of cashing out points when hotel and airfare bookings aren't an option.
The expansion to Freedom cards is intriguing, although this new option doesn't provide any additional value. The notion of cashing in Ultimate Rewards for charitable contributions is nice, but the rate is at the same 1 cent per point cash-out rate that you can get for other purchases.
That leaves Ink Plus Card and Ink Preferred cardholders, who can offset select online advertising and shipping purchases. These are undoubtedly popular purchase categories among some small businesses—and for them, this feature could be massively valuable.
However, there are also many businesses that don't make a lot of online advertising and shipping purchases. Ergo, with limited categories, the value of this feature is equally limited for cardholders. But, maybe we'll see Chase adjust these eligible purchase categories more in the future.
How do you feel about Chase's ‘Pay Yourself Back' feature?
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