At the beginning of this year, Chase extended its popular Pay Yourself Back program. While that’s an overall positive, the negative aspect was a reduction in value for many redemptions.
In January, we also saw the addition of the first credit card outside the Chase Ultimate Rewards points family, allowing for Pay Yourself Back redemptions with the Aeroplan Credit Card.
Now, Chase has further expanded this program to Southwest Airlines credit cards, including both personal and small-business cards, as first reported by Frequent Miler.
Here’s everything that you need to know about using Pay Yourself Back.
What is Pay Yourself Back?
In 2020, Chase introduced Pay Yourself Back as an ongoing redemption option within Ultimate Rewards to give cardmembers another choice in redeeming points. The categories have evolved over time, with the removal of options such as grocery and home improvement stores.
In short, the Pay Yourself Back option allows cardholders of many Chase cards to use points at a redemption value similar to booking travel. This won’t give you maximum value for your Ultimate Rewards points; however, it could be a good choice if you’re looking for a simple return or are sitting on a pile of points with no immediate use for them.
Related: The best Chase credit cards of 2023
What purchases are eligible for Pay Yourself Back?
These are the current categories eligible for Pay Yourself Back:
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|Card||Redemption value||Current end date|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Charities: 1.5 cents per point.
Gas stations, groceries and cardholder annual fees: 1.25 cents per point.
|Charities: Dec. 31, 2023.
Other categories: March 31, 2023.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Charities: 1.25 cents per point.
Gas stations and groceries: 1 cent per point.
|Charities: Dec. 31, 2023.
Other categories: March 31, 2023.
|Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom||Charities: 1.25 cents per point.||June 30, 2023.|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Ink Plus (no longer available)||Internet, cable, phone services and shipping: 1.25 cents per point.||March 31, 2023.|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||Internet, cable, phone services and shipping: 1.1 cents per point.||March 31, 2023.|
|Aeroplan Credit Card||Travel purchases in the past 90 days: 1.25 cents per point.||None, but there will be an annual limit of 50,000 points redeemed from 2024 (there is no limit in 2023).|
|Southwest Airlines credit cards||Cardholder annual fees: 1 cent per point.
Dining: 0.8 cents per point.
|Annual fees: None.
Dining: March 31, 2023 (plus a limit of $200 in redemptions).
The information for the Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Plus cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The ability to use Pay Yourself Back with charitable donations is available on the Sapphire and Freedom cards. If you’re interested in using your points to make a difference in Ukraine, the following four options directly support humanitarian efforts there:
- International Medical Corps.
- International Rescue Committee, Inc.
- UNICEF USA.
- World Central Kitchen.
The additional list of charities for Pay Yourself Back includes:
- American Red Cross.
- Equal Justice Initiative.
- Feeding America.
- Habitat for Humanity.
- Leadership Conference Education Fund.
- NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
- National Urban League.
- Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
- United Way.
Let’s say you had an eligible donation on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Instead of receiving a $100 statement credit when redeeming 10,000 points, a Sapphire Reserve customer would receive a credit of $150 for the same number of points when used for an eligible Pay Yourself Back charge. This matches the rate offered on Ultimate Rewards Travel redemptions for that card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers can also use Pay Yourself Back for their annual fee, which we also saw in 2022. However, there are significant changes worth highlighting.
Redemption values for non-charity redemptions on the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred categories have decreased. Last year, you could receive a 1.5 cents-per-point value on all Pay Yourself Back categories, but now that value only applies to the charities categories. Other redemptions return only a 1.25 cents-per-point value. Similarly, redemption values on the Sapphire Preferred decreased in every category except charities, dropping from 1.25 cents to 1 cent when using Pay Yourself Back.
In short, the value to be obtained with Pay Yourself Back is less in 2023 than in 2022.
Cobranded cards added in 2023
Unlike cards earning cash back or Chase Ultimate Rewards, redemptions on cobranded credit cards are different.
The Aeroplan card offers redemptions at a value of 1.25 cents each toward any travel purchase — not restricted to Air Canada — within the past 90 days. In 2023, there is no limit to the number of points you can redeem for Pay Yourself Back with the Aeroplan card. Starting in 2024, there will be an annual limit of 50,000 points redeemed.
Additionally, this is a permanent feature of the Aeroplan card and has no end date, unlike Pay Yourself Back categories on other Chase credit cards.
Pay Yourself Back has been expanded to Southwest credit cards, offering two redemption categories: dining and annual fees on the cards. Unfortunately, neither offers great value.
You can redeem your points for your credit card’s annual fee at a 1 cent per point, which seems to be a permanent option. Redemptions for dining purchases (limited to transactions in the past 90 days) provide a value of just 0.8 cents per point — roughly half of TPG’s valuation of Southwest points at 1.5 cents apiece. Dining redemptions with Pay Yourself Back also have a limit of $200 in total value. The end date for this category is listed as March 31.
Requesting a credit
Requesting a credit through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program is relatively straightforward. Log in to your Ultimate Rewards account via the mobile app or desktop and select the “Pay Yourself Back” option in the sidebar.
Next, you’ll see a list of eligible purchases for which you can redeem points. Points can be redeemed for purchases as far back as 90 days.
Here’s an example of a redemption I made last year. At the time, I had nine eligible internet, cable and phone purchases (three shown) on my Ink Plus card. To redeem points, check the box next to the purchases for which you want to redeem points and proceed to the next page.
You can choose to offset the full purchase amount, assuming you have enough points to cover it, or you can redeem a smaller amount if you prefer.
From there, you can confirm the redemption value and amount of points required and then choose to complete the transaction. Your statement credit should post within three business days.
Statement credit options on other purchases
Chase has long offered the option to redeem points for a statement credit — that’s not new. To do this, log into your Ultimate Rewards account, hit the drop-down menu and select “Cash Back.”
You’ll be presented with an option to enter the amount you’d like to redeem and where you’d like your rewards deposited. All cash-back redemptions are fixed at 1 cent per point, only half of TPG’s valuation for Ultimate Rewards and lower than any of the above Pay Yourself Back options.
Related: Points of View: Can I cash out my points, and is it worth it?
Even so, Chase’s traditional cash-back option is more generous than what you can expect from some other issuers. Here’s how it breaks down for some of the most popular programs and cards:
The information for the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature provides valuable flexibility for many cardholders, but its value is less this year than in past years. That value is even lower with some of the redemption categories for Southwest Airlines cardholders.
Even if the redemption categories provide value for you, it’s worth considering whether it makes sense to redeem points this way. Are you satisfied with using your points for less value than TPG’s average valuations?
Ultimately, that decision comes down to how you plan to use your points, how many you currently have and whether or not you’d benefit significantly from the statement credits.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong, Stella Shon, Summer Hull, Zach Honig and Ryan Smith.