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I’m an avid travel rewards collector with over a dozen travel credit cards. But since the pandemic hit in March of last year, I haven’t even thought about redeeming my airline miles and hotel points. Thankfully, there’s one travel rewards program that’s proved itself to be extremely useful, even though I’m not traveling: Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The most popular ways to use Chase points are to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or transfer your points to one of Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners (only available with certain cards). Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire as long as your account is open and in good standing, so there’s no rush to redeem your points.
But if you’re not hitting the road any time soon, there are plenty of other ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points, and some of them will even net you more than 1 cent per point.
There are still plenty of great ways to redeem points and miles without traveling. Programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards that offer flexible credit card points make it easy to redeem your rewards for both travel and cash back. Here’s every way to use your Chase points for non-travel redemptions.
Use Pay Yourself Back to cover grocery, dining, and home improvement purchases
Until April 30, 2021, Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program lets you use your Ultimate Rewards points toward statement credits for grocery, dining and select delivery services, home improvement, and eligible charity purchases when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
You can effectively “erase” any of these purchases made in the last 90 days at a rate of 1.25 cents per point (with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card) or 1.5 cents per point (with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®), making this redemption method both high-value and flexible. Depending on how many points you have, you could easily save hundreds, or even thousands, on your credit card statements with this redemption method.
Simply log into your Ultimate Rewards account and choose “Pay Yourself Back,” and you’ll be taken to a page that shows all your eligible transactions from the last 90 days. Select the purchase(s) you want to pay yourself back for, and then you can choose to redeem enough points to reverse the entire transaction or pay yourself back for a portion of it. I’ve used this feature several times since it was announced — it’s particularly great for scaling back your credit card bill in months when you end up spending more than you’d planned.
Redeem for Amazon and Apple purchases
You can easily redeem your points with Amazon and Apple for any merchandise you wish to purchase. All you have to do is add your eligible Chase credit card to your Amazon account, and you should see the option to pay with points at checkout. For Apple, you can shop directly through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Unfortunately, neither of these options presents a great value. While the Amazon redemption method is easy and versatile, you’ll only get 0.8 cents per point when you use your points this way. You’ll get a slightly better value buying Apple products at a rate of 1 cent per point.
If you simply want to use your points for cash back, Chase makes it very easy. You’ll log into your Ultimate Rewards account and select cash back, at which point you’ll be able to choose how many points you want to redeem as a statement credit or direct deposit into your bank account.
You’ll get 1 cent per point through this method with any Chase Ultimate Rewards card, including the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. This isn’t bad for a cash-back option and is better than what many travel rewards programs offer for cash back.
In addition to redeeming your points for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point, you can also redeem them for gift cards from pretty much every major retailer at the same rate. There are always sales on featured gift cards that can get you a slightly better rate — often 10% off.
Popular merchants on the Chase gift card site include Apple, Lowes, Macy’s, Best Buy, Door Dash, Grubhub, REI, and more. If there’s a 10% discount promotion, this gets you about 1.1 cents per point, which isn’t bad as far as gift card redemptions go.
Use Chase points for dining experiences and takeout orders
Chase recently introduced a new “Dining” redemption option that lets you use your points to cover exclusive dining experiences and takeout orders. These include live virtual cooking lessons, primetime reservations at some of the country’s finest restaurants, and takeout from your favorite local restaurants.
Through April 30, you’ll get the same value per point with this option as you would booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, so Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders get 1.25 cents per point and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders get 1.5 cents per point. This makes the new Chase Dining option one of the highest-value redemptions.
Through the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature, you can also redeem your points for statement credits to cover select charitable donations. Not all donations are eligible though, so don’t rely on this being an option when you donate.
According to Chase, you’ll need to donate directly to the charity’s parent organization rather than a local chapter for your donation to be eligible for Pay Yourself Back. You’ll get the same 1.25 cent per point rate with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, as well as with the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem this way.
It’s fairly easy to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, thanks to the many Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards and the fact that they tend to offer very generous sign-up bonuses and rewards rates.
Here are some of the best cards for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points — with these cards, you’ll have the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners and redeem points at a better rate through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is great for dipping your toes in the world of travel credit cards thanks to its modest $95 annual fee.
The card comes with a hefty welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus, you’ll earn 2x points on all dining and travel purchases, and get a value of 1.25 cents per point on Chase travel portal and Pay Yourself Back redemptions.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
A favorite of travel enthusiasts, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is loaded with lucrative rewards and handy benefits that help make up for the card’s $550 annual fee. You’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, plus 3x points on all dining and travel purchases (after the $300 travel statement credit).
The card also comes with up to a $300 annual travel credit that can also be applied to gas station and grocery store purchases until June 30, 2021, complimentary airport lounge access, up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits in 2021, and a number of other perks, including some of the best credit card travel insurance on the market. This card gets you 1.5 cents per point on Chase Travel Portal and Pay Yourself Back redemptions.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
If you’re a small-business owner or a freelancer, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is one of the best business credit cards for earning travel rewards.
You’ll earn a whopping 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, plus 3x points on travel, shipping, advertising, internet, phone, and cable purchases up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year (then 1x). Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, this card gets you 1.25 cents per point on Chase travel and Pay Yourself Back (charitable donations only) redemptions.
Elizabeth Aldrich is a finance writer specializing in credit cards and loans, retirement planning, investing, economics, and small business. She’s an avid credit card points collector and perpetual traveler.