Chase's Pay Yourself Back: What You Need to Know

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Originally rolled out as a temporary redemption option during the pandemic, Chase has made Pay Yourself Back a staple for redeeming Ultimate Rewards points.

Until recently, cashing out your Ultimate Rewards points netted you a poor 1 cent per point in value. However, Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature changes that for eligible purchases. Depending on which Chase card you have, Pay Yourself Back will net you more value: up to 1.5 cents per point.

Essentially this works similarly to how you redeem Chase points for cash back, but with a few key differences. Only purchases in a rotating list of categories are eligible and you’ll have to manually select the purchases you’d like to pay yourself back on.

Chase Pay Yourself Back Eligible Categories

Pay Yourself Back is available on all Chase Ultimate Rewards credits cards. That includes Chase credit cards in the Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink portfolios.

Of these, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem points at the highest rates and for the broadest categories.

All Ultimate Rewards-Earning Cards

While the eligible categories vary between Chase cards, there are two constants. All Ultimate Rewards-earning cards can redeem points with a 25% bonus for two types of eligible charitable donations:

  • Fund a Vaccine Ride with Lyft — through September 30, 2021
  • Designated charities — through December 31, 2022

Factoring in the 25% bonus, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. That means you'll only need 2,000 points to offset an eligible $25 donation. This is a 25% bonus over the 1 cent per point rate that you can cash out points. So, if you plan to donate to these charities anyways, Chase is effectively helping to subsidize your donation.

Eligible charities currently 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

Sapphire Cards

Your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 25% more with the Sapphire Preferred and 50% more with the Sapphire Reserve. For example, you can use 1,000 points to pay yourself back $12.50 or $15 on an eligible purchase with the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve respectively.

In addition to eligible charitable donations, three categories are eligible for Pay Yourself Back through September 30, 2021:

  1. Grocery stores (supermarkets like Whole Foods, Publix, etc)
  2. Dining (including delivery and takeout)
  3. Home improvement stores (Lowes, Home Depot, etc)

In addition, you can use Pay Yourself Back to offset your annual membership fee now through December 31, 2021.

Chase Freedom Cards

Chase Freedom-branded cards (Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom®) can currently use Pay Yourself Back to offset dining purchases.

Between July 2 and September 30, 2021, Freedom-branded cards can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for dining purchases through Pay Yourself Back with 10% more value. That's a redemption rate of 1.1 cents per point. There's a cap of $250 in eligible purchases (requiring 22,727 points).

Chase Pay Yourself Back Freedom cards

Ink Cards

Chase Ink-branded credit cards are also eligible for Pay Yourself Back. However, the eligible categories and rates depend on which type of card you have.

Now through September 30, 2021, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and Ink Plus® Business Credit Card cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point through Pay Yourself Back in three eligible categories:

  1. Shipping
  2. Home improvement stores
  3. Internet, cable, and phone services

Chase Ink Preferred Pay Yourself Back categories

Meanwhile, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card cardholders can only use Pay Yourself Back to get 10% more value on internet, cable, and phone services now through September 30, 2021. That's a redemption rate of 1.1 cents per Ultimate Rewards point.

Full or Partial Redemptions

You can redeem points for purchases up to 90 days via the Ultimate Rewards website or Chase app and redeem your points for the entire transaction. So a $150 grocery purchase will cost 10,000 points to Pay Yourself Back if you use the Sapphire Reserve.

However, you're not out of luck if you don't have enough points to cover a purchase in full or you don’t want to use too many points. For instance, say you can only spare 5,000 points, you’ll be able to Pay Yourself Back $75 on an eligible purchase using the Sapphire Reserve. That flexibility is awesome!

How to Use Chase Pay Yourself Back

First, log on to the Ultimate Rewards website and choose the card you used to make the purchase.

Then click on the menu button/toggle on the upper left-hand side and select “Pay Yourself Back”. Or, try clicking this link.

select Pay Yourself Back from the Chase Ultimate Rewards side menu

Then you’ll see a list of all of the eligible purchases. You’ll notice how things are listed based on how many days are left before each transaction is no longer available.

Chase lists all of the transactions eligible for Pay Yourself Back

Select a purchase. Once you select a transaction you’re given the option to enter a dollar amount that you want to get back and you’ll then see the corresponding amount of points that it’ll cost. You can also choose to pay yourself back for the entire purchase.

Use Pay Yourself Back to redeem points for a partial or full purchase

Click confirm and then you’re done! Congratulations! You just paid yourself back! Isn’t payback sweet?

Bottom Line

Pay Yourself Back effectively allows you to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points at the same rate as redeeming for travel through the Chase travel portal. So if you’re accustomed to booking travel that way, you’re getting the same value for your hard-earned points.

I think it's great that Chase is allowing people to have more options to redeem their points. With fewer people traveling these days and some questioning whether they should keep their travel cards, Pay Yourself Back allows cardholders to use their points in more relevant ways. People also aren’t going out as much and instead of spending more money at supermarkets, and home improvement stores so Chase chose the right categories to keep people interested.

Personally, I'm not using this feature as I always have a trip being planned, and I can easily get more value transferring to Ultimate Rewards travel partners instead. Regardless, I'm glad this option exists!

Are you redeeming Ultimate Rewards points through Chase's Pay Yourself Back?

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  • Regarding the charities, my understanding is that you have to donate directly from the charity’s website using your chase card. Donating through, say, Paypal or any other service – even if to the approved and listed charity – will void the Chase UR Pay Urself Back.

  • Chase is always one of the best at rewarding their card holders. Sometimes it easiest to pay yourself.

  • The only thing that concerns me with the pay yourself back is that I’ll somehow be banned or scrutinized by redeeming so many. The travel portal is useless, unfortunately, but I like seeing the ultimate rewards balance there, too.

    • There is nothing in the terms to suggest there is any limit on redemption, so you should free yourself from that particular concern. 🙂

  • Great option to have and one they have been lacking compared to AMEX for a long time…Chase is closing the gap on AMEX while maintaining their advantage in travel partners.

  • Hopefully, nothing will be downgraded and removed once the normality returns.

  • I hope this becomes permanent. Cashing out through the travel portal is a no go. Chase’s travel portal is NOT to be used.

    • JT Genter says:

      Why not? I’ve enjoyed the periodic redemption through the portal. Have you found it frustrating to use? Or is there another reason you wouldn’t recommend it.

  • I love redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents since our traveling is down this year with the pandemic and our new edition to the family.

  • Agree with the general sentiment here. It may not be the best value for me, since I plan trips. But kudos to Chase for not devaluing this option more than their travel portal option.