Chase Sapphire, Freedom, Ink Cards Offer ‘Pay Yourself Back’ Feature

Erin HurdMay 28, 2020

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UPDATE Oct. 1, 2021: Further extensions and category changes of the "Pay Yourself Back" feature were announced.

UPDATE June 15, 2021: Chase announced that of July 2, 2021, Freedom cardholders will be adding an eligible category for "Pay Yourself Back."

UPDATE Apr. 7, 2021: Chase announced an expansion of its "Pay Yourself Back" feature. Below is our article from May 28, 2020, updated to reflect other cards that have been affected and new expiration dates of existing promotions.

Chase is giving holders of its Sapphire-, Freedom- and Ink-branded travel credit cards more flexibility in redeeming their points, reflecting the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought leisure travel to a near-halt.

About the Sapphire feature

For a limited time, cardholders can redeem points for statement credit on certain purchases at the same elevated values that they usually get only when redeeming for travel. Starting Oct. 1, 2021 and running through March 31, 2022:

  • Holders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can redeem points for statement credit against spending with Airbnb, Away and select charitable organizations (see below) at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

  • Holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can redeem points for statement credit against such spending for all categories above at a value of 1.5 cents per point, plus dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services).

Points on these cards are typically worth only 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back or a statement credit. Ordinarily, cardholders get 1.25 cents per point (with the Preferred) or 1.5 cents per point (with the Reserve) only when redeeming for travel booked through Chase.

Nerdy tip: Previous eligible "Pay Yourself Back" categories included grocery stores, restaurants and home improvement stores.

About the Ink feature

A similar "Pay Yourself Back" benefit will apply to two of Chase's Ink business-card products. Starting Oct. 1, 2021, and running through Dec. 31, 2021:

About the Freedom feature

Through Dec. 31, 2021 the "Pay Yourself Back" benefit will also be available on cards within Chase's portfolio of Freedom products, on an ongoing basis:

Holders of the Chase Freedom®, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can redeem points for statement credit against donations to qualifying charitable organizations at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

Donations to the following charitable organizations are eligible for statement-credit redemption through Pay Yourself Back. Chase notes that to qualify, a donation should be made to the national charity through links on Chase's website. Donations to local chapters may not qualify:

  • American Red Cross

  • Equal Justice Initiative

  • Feeding America

  • Habitat for Humanity

  • International Medical Corps

  • Leadership Conference Education Fund

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

  • National Urban League

  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund

  • United Negro College Fund

  • United Way

  • World Central Kitchen

For more information, visit Chase's Ultimate Rewards® portal, sign in and select your card. Click "Frequently Asked Questions" at the bottom of the page, select "Pay Yourself Back" and click "What are some examples of eligible purchases I can pay myself back for?"

COVID-19 benefit adjustments

The limited-time extra value on statement-credit redemptions for grocery store, restaurant and home improvement store purchases coincides with the launch of a new “Pay Yourself Back” feature on Chase cards. That feature allows cardholders to redeem points to cover the value of specific purchases, not just for general credit on their statement.

The new benefits follow Chase’s announcement in May 2020 of heightened grocery bonus rewards on many cards for a limited time (now expired), including on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Preferred cardholders are getting 3 points per dollar at grocery stores during the promotion period, and Reserve cardholders are getting 5 points per dollar; that's up from the usual 1 point per dollar on both cards.

Additionally, for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase has taken steps to blunt the impact on existing cardholders of an increase in that card’s annual fee.

Keeping cards in people’s wallets

With millions of would-be travelers stuck at home and thousands of restaurants closed, many cardholders have been spending more on groceries than they usually would. Chase's extra benefits can help cardholders recoup their annual fee and make up for the travel perks they can’t use.

American Express has also added benefits to many of its travel credit cards as a result of the pandemic, including boosted rewards for grocery spend and statement credits for streaming and wireless services.

The added benefits could be enough to keep many cardholders on board, but if you're thinking about ditching your travel card, here's what to consider when making the decision.

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