Chase Sapphire Cards Boost Benefits for Limited Time

Erin HurdMay 28, 2020

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Chase is giving holders of its Sapphire-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.

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 May 31 and running through Sept. 30, 2020:

  • Holders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can redeem points for statement credit against spending at grocery stores, restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores 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 at a value of 1.5 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 Sapphire 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?"

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.

Additionally, from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, purchases at gas stations and grocery stores will count toward the $300 annual travel credit on the card for the remainder of 2020.

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 earlier this month of heightened grocery bonus rewards on many cards for a limited time, 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 Sapphire 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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