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Frequent travelers — especially those who play the points and miles game — are familiar with Chase Ultimate Rewards. The points can be acquired via an array of Chase credit cards and then redeemed at a high value for all kinds of travel-related things, from flights to hotel stays. However, with travel down and cardholder expectations and spending habits shifting due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chase has decided to extend the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, with a new Pay Yourself Back feature. 

Chase credit cards include no annual fee and travel reward options. Photo by Chase

What is the Pay Yourself Back Feature?

The Pay Yourself Back feature, according to a release issued by Chase, will allow cardholders to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for their existing purchases across a few categories and receive a statement credit. Initially, the categories include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Dining (including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services)

The feature is currently available for Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders. 

Chase claims the new feature boosts Chase Ultimate Rewards points’ value by 25 or 50 percent when cardholders use the feature to pay for these purchases.

Related: Best Credit Cards For Eating At Home

How Does the Pay Yourself Back Feature Work?

If you’re a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you should be able to go into your Ultimate Rewards account online and see the new Pay Yourself Back feature now. After making a purchase in one of the eligible categories, select your chosen transactions (up to 90 days ago) and then redeem your points for all or part of that purchase. You’ll receive a statement credit for the desired amount within three business days. 

It’s expected the feature will be available through the end of September 2020 as part of the Chase bonus benefits in response to COVID-19. The new feature is in addition to Sapphire Reserve and Preferred cardholders’ ability to earn 5x or 3x points on grocery store purchases through the end of June. Additionally, Chase plans to add the Pay Yourself Back feature to more cards through the summer.

According to Chase, “Sapphire Reserve cardmembers can apply 10,000 points to pay themselves back on a $150 purchase — a 5,000 point savings compared to a typical cash back redemption.”

“Now more than ever we know our cardmembers want options to get the most value from their rewards,” said Chase’s Matt Massaua, head, Chase Ultimate Rewards and loyalty solutions. “We’re continuing to give our customers choices so they have the flexibility to use their points in the most meaningful ways for them.”

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

chase pay yourself back
The Chase Pay Yourself Back tool is an easy way to use your points. Photo by Chase

Is the Pay Yourself Back Feature Worth Using?

At first glance, the Pay Yourself Back Feature looks to be a great deal. Previously, if you had redeemed your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for statement credits, you’d get only $0.01 for every one point you redeemed. Now, Preferred cardholders will receive $0.0125 for each point, while Reserve cardholders will receive $0.015 for each point.

Before, you would have only received this point valuation if you redeemed your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel purchases. This is part of the reason why the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is so appealing to points and miles travelers. 

Chase Card Trifecta

While the feature is currently only technically available with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cards, don’t forget that Chase does allow you to combine Ultimate Rewards points earned across an array of cards. What does this mean?

If you have one of these two Sapphire cards, you can take Chase Ultimate Rewards points you also earned from these other eligible Chase cards:

Points earned from the Sapphire cards can be combined with these select cards for use with the Pay Yourself Back Feature. This is sometimes known as the Chase credit card trifecta.

Unfortunately, there is one instance where you may not find it quite worth it to use the Pay Yourself Back feature: if you prefer to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to an airline or hotel partner versus using your Ultimate Rewards points to pay for travel within the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Many points and miles travelers find this option to be preferable. You can make your Ultimate Rewards points go even further with some airlines and hotels, bumping up the point valuation to $0.017 in some cases. 

Related: Guide to Chase Sapphire Application Rules

The Bottom Line

Like with many credit card features and perks, how you use Chase’s new Pay Yourself Back feature and whether or not it’s worth it to you will all come down to your individual spending habits and travel goals. 

If you don’t foresee yourself traveling much in the near future due to the coronavirus pandemic or other factors, you may not really want to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to a hotel or airline partner. You may just want to redeem your points for the spending you’re currently doing just to get through everyday life — buying groceries or summer lawn equipment or dinner. 

Regardless of how you look at it, one thing’s for sure. It’s nice to see credit card providers like Chase adapting their offerings and perks to suit today’s cardholders. 

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