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- Chase introduced Pay Yourself Back as a limited-time feature in response to the pandemic.
- Consumers continue to want flexible ways to redeem rewards that don’t involve travel.
- It makes sense for Chase to keep Pay Yourself Back as a permanent cardholder benefit.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.
The last 18 months have been a never-ending stream of change. At this point, nearly every medical and public health professional agrees that COVID-19 will become endemic, meaning like the flu or the
, we’ll never fully be rid of it.
Even if it were to magically disappear tomorrow, the consumer mentality has been permanently altered. People are placing a higher premium on flexibility, and are opting for more unique cultural and dining experiences close to home when long-distance travel may not be as realistic.
Like most major credit card issuers, Chase responded to this changing landscape by updating its credit card offerings, most notably by adding the “Pay Yourself Back” feature. Having already extended the expiration date of this limited-time offer multiple times, it’s time for Chase to make Pay Your Back a permanent feature of its credit card family.
What is Chase Pay Yourself Back?
Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature allows you to cash out your Ultimate Rewards points at fixed values to erase certain eligible charges off your statement, essentially giving you a cash-back option to consider instead of using your points to book free travel.
Read more: Chase Pay Yourself Back gets you up to 50% more value when you redeem points for dining, groceries, home improvement, and more — here’s how it works
Just like the redemption rates you’ll get when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, the Pay Yourself Back categories and rates vary based on what card(s) you’re holding.
As of now, here are the current options:
You’ll notice that for the Sapphire cards the cashout rate is the same as what you’d get booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, while for Chase’s no-annual-fee cards (the Freedom family on the personal side and the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card on the business side), the 1.1-cent rate for eligible Pay Yourself Back categories is actually a better value than you would’ve gotten cashing your points out before.
Read more: The best Chase credit cards of 2021
The actual redemption process is lightning fast and incredibly simple. Simply open up your Ultimate Rewards portal on either a computer or your phone, select the “Pay Yourself Back” category on the left, and you’ll see a list of charges made in the last 90 days that fall into one of the eligible categories.
If you have enough points you can erase the entire charge, or you can do a smaller amount, but once you use any amount of points against a charge you won’t be able to come back and redeem for that charge again.
Why Pay Yourself Back needs to stay
While you can usually get a better value from your points when you transfer them to airline and hotel travel partners instead of redeeming them for a fixed value, Chase’s transfer options have become less competitive over the years. With the exception of World of Hyatt, they don’t have many unique transfer options that provide a worthy value.
Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Even before COVID, I found myself transferring more of my Amex Membership Rewards points and Capital One miles to partners, and redeeming a lot of my Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1.5 cents each through the Chase portal (including to score a great deal on round-trip business class tickets to Europe!).
So much has changed over the last year and a half. Where I once would’ve been eagerly looking forward to a weekend getaway, now I’m relishing the ability to safely eat outside with my friends and family. But I still want to use my points!
We form some of our strongest memories over food, and whether it’s a date night with my girlfriend or picking up groceries to cook at home, Pay Yourself Back has been the main reason that my Chase Sapphire Reserve® has stayed relevant to me this year, and in a bigger sense, one of the main reasons that I’ve still continued to spend on my Chase cards to earn Ultimate Rewards points when my travel plans were up in the air.
Read more: I’m underwhelmed with recent changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve — has it lost its luster?
Big picture, one of my favorite things about Chase has always been the simplicity of its cards. From broadly defined bonus categories to a travel credit on the Sapphire Reserve that automatically applies to eligible purchases, Chase is a notable departure from some of its competitors, where you’ll need an advanced spreadsheet to make sure you’re using all your benefits.
Extending the same cashout rate that it’s willing to offer on travel to other categories like dining and groceries is a logical jump, and I’m hoping Chase responds to the demand and makes this benefit permanent.
3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months
$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening