Which Credit Card Reward Programs Let You Use Points Through PayPal?

AmEx, Cap One, Chase, Citi and Discover offer the option, but doing so may mean you get less-than-optimal value for your points.

Funto OmojolaNovember 12, 2020
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PayPal’s "Pay with Rewards" program allows holders of eligible credit cards to redeem their rewards through PayPal, wherever that service is accepted at checkout online.

If you're a frequent PayPal user, then linking your card to the service can make it easier and more convenient for you to access and use those rewards, especially if you have a leftover handful of points that you can't otherwise spend elsewhere. And in some cases, point values will be higher when redeemed through PayPal than they would be if redeemed for direct cash back.

But for most of the credit card rewards programs that work with this feature, it won't be the most valuable use of your points, compared with other redemption options.

Below is a summary of point values with each program.

Credit card reward program

Point value, in cents

American Express Membership Rewards

0.7

Capital One cash back

1

Capital One miles

0.8

Chase Ultimate Rewards®

0.8

Citi ThankYou Rewards

0.8

Discover

1

PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

1

PayPal Extras Mastercard®

0.83

1. American Express Membership Rewards

For American Express credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points, 10,000 of those points can be redeemed for $70 when used for PayPal payments. This means points are worth 0.7 cent when redeemed this way — well short of what Membership Rewards can be worth when redeemed for travel (usually at least a penny per point, and in some cases much higher).

But it's worth noting that the PayPal option is a slightly better deal than the 0.6-cent-per-point value you'd get if you redeemed for a direct statement credit.

Some of the most popular American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards include:

To redeem rewards this way, cardholders must first link their eligible Membership Rewards-earning card to their PayPal wallet. Terms Apply.

2. Capital One

For eligible Capital One cash-back cards, $1 in cash rewards will be worth $1 when you check out with PayPal.

Points are worth a little less for Capital One travel cards: One mile is worth 0.8 cent when redeemed this way. Miles are typically worth a penny each when redeemed toward travel, so opting to redeem them through PayPal would lose you some value. However, redeeming them this way gets you more than the 0.5 cent per mile that they’d be worth if you redeemed them for cash back directly.

Eligible Capital One cards that can earn points through PayPal include:

In order to redeem your cash back and miles, you must link your eligible Capital One card to your PayPal account.

3. Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 0.8 cent each when redeemed through PayPal.

When redeemed for cash, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are typically worth 1 cent per point. And depending on which Chase cards you have, points could be worth as much as 1.25 to 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel via the Chase portal. To this end, redeeming rewards through PayPal is not the most valuable use of your points.

Some popular Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards® points include:

Eligible cardholders can link their Chase card to their PayPal wallet to start redeeming points this way. Once linked, you can select to use your Ultimate Rewards® points wherever you check out with PayPal online.

4. Citi ThankYou Points

Citi cards that earn ThankYou points are eligible for PayPal redemption. Additionally, cash rewards earned on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer can be converted to ThankYou points to be used through PayPal. When converted, $1 in cash rewards is equal to 100 ThankYou points.

ThankYou points are worth 0.8 cent each when redeemed through PayPal. This is higher than the 0.5 cent per point you would get if you redeemed for cash, but still a poor points value compared with other redemptions options such as travel. ThankYou points are typically worth an average of 1 cent each, although value varies depending on how you chose to redeem your points and which eligible card you have.

Popular Citi cards that earn ThankYou points include:

To redeem your ThankYou points this way, you must have an eligible Citi card linked to your PayPal account. Once linked, you can automatically use your points to pay whenever you check out with PayPal. You can also manually link your ThankYou points to your PayPal wallet online.

5. Discover cash back and miles

Cash back and miles earned from eligible Discover cards can be redeemed through PayPal when making a purchase. Redeeming your points this way won’t lose you any value: $1 earned in rewards is worth $1 that can be used via PayPal. The same 1:1 value applies to miles earned: 100 miles is equal to $1.

Eligible cards include:

To redeem cash back and miles this way, you’ll have to link your eligible Discover card to your PayPal account. Once your card is linked, you can use your rewards to pay whenever you check out online with PayPal.

6. PayPal-branded credit cards

PayPal has two co-branded credit cards, both issued by Synchrony, that earn rewards you can redeem for PayPal credit or as a deposit directly to your PayPal account.

  • The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® is a cash-back card. It earns 2% back on all purchases, which can be redeemed in any amount as a deposit into your PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account.

  • The PayPal Extras Mastercard® earns points instead of direct cash back. You'll get more redemption flexibility, but generally lower point values. For example, you can opt to redeem points for cash back credited to your PayPal account, but you need 6,000 points for that first, which gets you a $50 credit. That's a value of only 0.83 cent per point. You can also redeem for things like gift cards, merchandise and travel, but minimum point thresholds also apply to those options.

Both cards require you to have a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account in order to apply and redeem points this way. If you have one of these cards, you cannot have the other.

All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, the American Express® Green CardChase Freedom®, the Chase Sapphire® Card, the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, and the Citi Prestige® Card have been collected independently by NerdWallet. They are no longer available through NerdWallet.

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