With fewer Americans traveling during the pandemic, many premium travel rewards cardholders are amassing significant rewards with nowhere to go.
If you’re a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder who has accumulated a lot of points but doesn’t want to use them for travel, Chase has a temporary alternative. The "Pay Yourself Back" feature is a new redemption option that might be worth it for some Chase cardholders.
Here’s what you need to know about this limited-time offer.
What Is Chase Pay Yourself Back?
Now through Sept. 30, 2021 Pay Yourself Back lets you redeem points for statement credits applied toward purchases at:
Grocery stores (includes eligible delivery services).
Restaurants (includes takeout and eligible delivery services).
Home improvement stores.
Select charitable organizations.
Only transactions made within the prior 90 days will qualify. You can choose to apply points toward the entire purchase cost or a portion of the transaction.
How much will you get when you Pay Yourself Back?
Depending on the type of Chase Sapphire card you have, the redemption rate is worth 50% or 25% more than the standard 1-cent-per-point rate. Through April 30, 2021 Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem points through Pay Yourself Back at a value of 1.5 cents each, applied as a statement credit. Members with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card who redeem points through Pay Yourself Back will get a value of 1.25 cents per point applied as a statement credit.
For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can redeem 10,000 points for statement credit worth $150 for eligible purchases. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and you redeem 10,000 points toward eligible charges, you will get a statement credit of $125.
» Learn more: Chase Ultimate Rewards®: How to earn and use them
How to request a statement credit
To request a Pay Yourself Back statement credit, log in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards® online account.
Click on the left-hand drop-down menu and scroll to “Pay Yourself Back.” If you don’t see the Pay Yourself Back option and have more than one Chase rewards credit card, make sure you’ve selected an eligible Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Chase automatically generates a list of eligible purchases that were made within the last 90 days. On this page, you’ll also see how many days are left to pay yourself back for each purchase. It’s best to select the oldest transactions first so you maximize your opportunities for the statement credit.
Next, check each transaction you’d like to apply your points toward and click “Continue” at the bottom of the page.
Each purchase you select will be listed on the next page. From here, you can either check “Apply Full Amt” so your points cover the entire transaction, or you can manually enter another dollar value into the blank box.
After entering your selections, the page shows you the total statement credit you’ve requested, the amount of savings you’re receiving through this feature, the total points you’re redeeming and your remaining points balance.
When you’re ready to submit your request, click “Confirm & Submit.” It can take up to three business days to see the statement credit post on the account from the time your request is submitted, and one to two billing cycles to see this credit reflected on your statement.
Combine points to Pay Yourself Back even more
If you have one of the Chase Sapphire cards and a Chase cash-back card like the Chase Freedom®, you might be able to combine the power of both cards to get even more out of the Pay Yourself Back feature. For example, the Chase Freedom® offers 5% cash back on select quarterly categories. After effectively earning 5% cash back in the form of points with your Freedom card, you can transfer those points to your Sapphire card’s balance. With your combined points, you’ll have even more points you can use to pay yourself back.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best cash back credit cards
The bottom line
Whether this limited-time feature is worth it for you depends on your financial priorities. If you’re not planning to travel anytime soon, this can be a valuable way to use your points — getting a statement credit on some essential purchases at a comparable value to redeeming points for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. Plus, it gives you the option to redirect your cash toward other necessities or financial goals.
The information related to the Chase Freedom® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card