[Update: Categories Will Remain The Same Until May] Chase’s Awesome “Pay Yourself Back” Program Is Here To Stay, Making Chase Freedom Unlimited+Sapphire Reserve The Ultimate Card Combo

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Update: Chase has confirmed that pay yourself back for Sapphire Reserve and  Sapphire Preferred on dining, grocery store, home improvement, and select charity categories will remain in place at the current rate through at least 4/30/21!

Chase is also adding the 25% bonus pay yourself back program to the Freedom Flex Mastercard and Freedom Unlimited, but only for the select charities listed below. 


Originally posted on 8/23:

Chase tells me that Pay Yourself Back will be a permanent feature of the Ultimate Rewards program, and that they will add more cards and change the categories for the program in the future. This adds a ton of value to the Ultimate Rewards program as you can buy anything from those stores, even gift cards to other stores, and make them free by redeeming points at a value of 1.5 cents each. The ability to get that kind of value from your points even when you’re not traveling is outstanding.

Back in May, Chase added the ability to pay yourself back and redeem your Sapphire Reserve Ultimate Rewards points to offset any dining, grocery store, or home improvement purchases at a rate of 1.5 cents per point through 9/30.

They also added select charities to the program, which you can offset your donation with points. Those include American Red Cross, Equal Justice Initiative, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, International Medical Corporation, Leadership Education Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, United Way, and World Central Kitchen.

You can also redeem your Sapphire Preferred Ultimate Rewards points for those categories at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.

A great feature of the program is that you keep the original points that the purchase earned, even though you paid yourself back for the purchase. That means your points will be worth more than 1.5 cents each!

  • For example:
    • If you spend $300 on grocery or home improvement purchases, you can use 20,000 points to offset that purchase and make it free. Plus, you’ll still earn the 300 points for spending, so you effectively used 19,700 points to offset the purchase. That means your points were worth 1.52 cents each!
    • If you spend $300 on dining, you can use 20,000 points to offset that purchase and make it free. Plus, you’ll still earn the 900 points for dining, so you effectively used 19,100 points to offset the purchase. That means your points were worth 1.57 cents each!
    • If you spend $300 on Instacart, you can use 20,000 points to offset that purchase and make it free. Plus, you’ll still earn the 1,500 points for Instacart spending, so you effectively used 18,500 points to offset the purchase. That means your points were worth 1.62 cents each!

And you can even pay yourself back twice for purchases like Doordash, which have already been reimbursed by the card. In other words if you make a $60 Doordash purchase you’ll get $60 back automatically as part of the annual $60 Doordash credit, plus you can use 4,000 points to get another $60 credit, and you’ll still keep the 180 points from the purchase!

Meanwhile, the no-annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited has increased its signup bonus from 15,000 points to 20,000 points. Plus, you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on up to $12,000 of grocery spending in your first year, so you can earn another 60,000 points on your grocery spending!

These are marketed as a $200 signup bonus and 5% back, but you’ll actually get 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points for signing up and 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar which can be worth much more than 5% back by transferring them to a Sapphire card.

The Freedom Unlimited + Sapphire Reserve bifecta is pretty awesome. Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee ($450 this year for renewing cardholders), but that’s easily offset by the credits and benefits of the card.

  • Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit has always been flexible, but it can also be used to buy groceries and gas through 12/31/20.
  • Sapphire Reserve’s points can normally be used at a value of 1.5 cents each towards airfare, hotels, car rentals, and other travel. You can click here to redeem your points for statement credits against dining, grocery store, or home improvement purchases at an even better rate as explained above.
  • You can get $50 back on Instacart Express membership through 9/30.
  • Instacart purchases made until 9/30 earn 5 points per dollar on up to $3,000 in spending, plus they qualify for the $300 credit, and you can use points to offset them at a value of 1.5 cents each, and you keep the 5 points per dollar earned! You can stack all of these together!
  • Gas purchases made until 9/30 earn 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in spending, plus they qualify for the $300 credit, and you keep the 5 points per dollar earned! You can stack these together!
  • Select streaming purchases made until 9/30 earn 10 points per dollar.

Freedom UnlimitedSapphire Preferred is also a great combo and only has a $95 combined annual fee, but with that card your points are worth 1.25 cents each instead of 1.5 cents each.

Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. By transferring points from that card to Sapphire Reserve you can normally get a value of 2.25% towards paid travel, but now you will get 2.25% back as statement credits to offset for grocery, dining, and home improvement purchases. You’ll actually get more than that as you keep the points for the offset purchase, so you can effectively earn 2.28-2.43 cents per point everywhere by making everyday purchases on Freedom Unlimited and cashing out on Sapphire Reserve.

Freedom Unlimited now earns 3 points per dollar on drugstore purchases and dining. Plus it earns 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal!

Freedom Unlimited also has 0% APR on purchases for 15 months.

That’s quite a combo! When redeeming your points for a statement credit, you’ll effectively earn 2.28%-2.43% cash back on everything (1.5 points per dollar on Freedom Unlimited), 4.56%-4.86% cash back on drugstores, dining, and travel (3 points per dollar on Sapphire Reserve or Freedom Unlimited), 7.6%-8.1% cash back on groceries or travel via the Chase portal (5 points per dollar on a new Freedom Unlimited card), 7.6%-8.1% cash back on Instacart (5 points per dollar on Sapphire Reserve), and 15.2%-16.2% cash back on Lyft (10 points per dollar on Sapphire Reserve).

If you don’t have enough grocery, dining, and home improvement purchases to cash out your points you can always buy gift cards for those stores, Visa gift cards good everywhere, or gift cards for hundreds of other stores like Amazon. Plus many grocery stores even give free gas rewards for buying gift cards, on top of the 5 points per dollar, the $300 in credit, and cashing out your points at more than 1.5 cents each to pay for the gift cards!

You can also upgrade a card to Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of cashing out your points at 1.5 cents each for previous purchases.

If you, a household member, or an additional user business co-owner have points on other cards you can combine them together to redeem them with your Sapphire card.

You can do that by clicking here to go to the combine points pageJust click on the card you want to transfer points to and from or click to add a household card account.

Of course this all comes on top of other Sapphire Reserve benefits:

  • Ability to transfer all Chase points into airline miles and hotel points, where they can be worth even more than 1.5 cents each.
  • Reimbursement of Global Entry/Pre-Check fees.
  • $60 Doordash credit in 2020 and 2021, plus you can use points at a value of 1.5 cents each for statement credits even if the purchase was reimbursed.
  • Doordash Dashpass membership through 12/31/21, a $9.99/month value.
  • Priority Pass lounge membership with 2 free guests and unlike with AMEX cards, you can still use this for restaurant/food/drink credit.
  • Lyft Pink 1 year free membership, a $19.99/month value.
  • Free roadside assistance.
  • Primary rental car insurance worldwide.
  • $10K/item Purchase Protection for for items damaged or stolen within 120 days.
  • $10K/item Extended Warranty Protection
  • $500/item Return Protection
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Lost Luggage Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Reimbursement
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation due to injury or illness on a trip
  • Repatriation of Remains Insurance
  • Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit while traveling

Do you have a Freedom Unlimited + Sapphire Reserve or a Freedom Unlimited + Sapphire Preferred combo?

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95 Comments On "[Update: Categories Will Remain The Same Until May] Chase’s Awesome “Pay Yourself Back” Program Is Here To Stay, Making Chase Freedom Unlimited+Sapphire Reserve The Ultimate Card Combo"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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David

If I don’t travel except maybe once a year by plane (especially now), is it worth it to get the reserve or the preferred? Or should I just keep the freedom unlimited solo?

A

My annual membership fee is up for my Marriott Bonvoy card. With no plans on using that award night anymore, thinking of cancelling and just getting the chase freedom unlimited.
Do my Marriott points expire if I close the card?

@yungermanchik

After two years of non-use. But they have extended the award night expiry till 1/31/21 and froze the expiry of points.

You can try calling Chase for a retention offer. I got one that covers the AF.
You can also sell the free night.

Ari

Can you transfer the points from Marriott card to chase ultimate rewards?

aaron

Does this render the travel portal obsolete? Better to pay $300 for a flight – then “pay yourself back” than spend 20,000 points in the portal.

Mo Mo

“Pay Yourself Back” isn’t for all purchases. It doesn’t cover travel. It only works for select categories. Currently it is, “grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining, including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services.”

Zal

The pay yourself back feature does not currently cover travel expenses. So to get a 1.5 value for travel, one would need to use the portal.

Ari

Yes, but you are better off paying for the flight and getting that cash back using “Pay yourself back” feature on groceries if you can. I think this is what aaron is talking about.

Ravi Vohra

The below is confusing. What do you mean by paying yourself back twice exactly?

And you can even pay yourself back twice for purchases like Doordash, which have already been reimbursed by the card. In other words a $60 Doordash purchase will be free, plus you’ll get $60 back in automatic Doordash credit, plus you can use 4,000 points to get another $60 credit, and you’ll keep the 180 points from the purchase!

q b

“Primary rental car insurance worldwide.”
If I’m not mistaking, Chase sapphire covers rental car insurance for additional users too.

David

Just to clarify – this means that the ability to redeem UR points for groceries at a rate of 1.5 cents is not ending on September 30th, but will be made permanent?

dave

been using it since they offered it to me 1.5 value anytime is great! yes i may get better for traveling etc but anytime 1.5 for resturant and groceries is really good value!

yitz

When would you get better for travelling? Both travel and groceries is the same 1.5?

Grace

But if I spend on groceries with my Freedom Unlimited, I’ll ear 5 ppd, but that purchase doesn’t qualify for Pay Yourself Back.. because that’s only on purchases made with the Sapphire Reserve, no?…

moe8555

Haha, I thought I was the only one that contemplated that important detail. Many of us have cards that would earn more on those categories (heck, even a 2% cashback would be earning more…) – so there is still an opportunity cost to some degree.

Kevin

Not sure this is right:

“ Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. By transferring points from that card to Sapphire Reserve you can normally get a value of 2.25% towards paid travel, but now you will get 2.25% back as statement credits to offset for grocery, dining, and home improvement purchases. You’ll actually get more than that as you keep the points for the offset purchase, so you can effectively earn 2.28-2.43 cents per point everywhere by making everyday purchases on Freedom Unlimited and cashing out on Sapphire Reserve.”

If the grocery or home improvement spend is on the FU, presumably you cannot then redeem it on the pay yourself back on saphire. Am I misunderstanding?

Freecountry

In short it doesn’t make sense to use chase points for travel, your better off paying for the travel and then redeeming it as cashback. (Obviously except in cases where transferring to other programs)

List of stores

Can you please compile the stores and restaurants that are considered grocery stores. From my experience: empire kosher, and trader Joe’s work. Many restaurants however not all.
Walmart and target and amazing savings dont work.
Does Costco work?? Which kosher restaurants work ??

Question

I have the Amex Gold which gets 4 points per dollar at grocery stores so I’ve been conflicted about which card to use. I’m wondering your thoughts on this Dan? Thank you!

Sillypainter

What’s the excitement? There are tons of 2% cashbacks cards if that’s your route.

JoeSchmo

@Sillypainter you are correct , unless you plan to use those points for travel , there are much better deals on groceries .

farmbochur

Has Chase told you that they plan to preserve the redemption rate of 1.5 CPP for CSR?

Jake

This is awesome. I’ve always been annoyed that VRBO doesn’t qualify as travel. Now no biggie, I just payed myself back for the same 1.5 points value for other purchases. Was thinking of downgrading to preferred due to the increased annual fee ($550) but I’m probably going to keep it now.

uz

What about if you book your VRBO through Travelocity? Will it then be counted(billed) as travel?

Jake

Probably…but that would only work to get the 3 PPD, wouldn’t help for redemption since that has to be direct thru chase UR site.

Chaim friedman

In which store’s will work the buying gift cards?

Dave

I upgraded from CSP to CSR back in early June for the PYB feature. No sign of the CSR annual fee however, and i’m wondering if the fee will be $550 or $450. Anyone else who upgraded this year have their annual fee post yet?

thanks!

Steve

Why is this any better than just redeeming the points for cash into your bank account? Or even a statement credit?

JoeSchmo

Very nice. However, after enjoying 10% and 15% instant cash back via the cash app at grocery stores, Walgreens, Walmart, dolar general , I have accumulated enough gift cards to last me a long while. Top that of with Sofi bank giving 10% cash back at trader joes and wholefoods up to a spend of $500 , this summer leaves me with a nice stack without paying chases outrages yearly card fees.

Rena

“If you don’t have enough grocery, dining, and home improvement purchases to cash out your points you can always buy gift cards *for* those stores, Visa gift cards good everywhere, or gift cards for hundreds of other stores like Amazon.”
Should this say for or from?
Thanks

az

does freedom unlimited have a foreighn transaction fee?

shmo

Why do they make it so hard to select all purchases?

Eve

If I have a regular freedom card do I have to wait 48 months for a freedom unlimited bonus or is it considered a different card?

Ale

What are the tax implications?

Jay

What’s your opinion on the freedom and chase ink combo

Abraham cooper

Why go though all this hassle when you can get the no annual fee Citi double cash 2% credit card? Am I missing something?

Josh

Is there now any concern that Chase will eventually limit point sharing between card?

ilya r

Hey Dan,

I was reading the article you wrote about chase sapphire reserve 4th anniversary and how some of the first people to sign up will qualify for the sign up points bonus again. You recommended to downgrade the sapphire reserve card to a freedom or freedom unlimited. What if you already have freedom and freedom unlimited? Should I then close one of those cards or is there another way?

Sam

If I downgrade a card and it gives new card number does that count toward 5/24?

Ink

Any advantage of Freedom Unlimited over Ink Unlimited? Worth having if I already have all 3 ink cards?

Avi

I use credit cards for a lot of home improvements.
What’s better for every day spending using a 2% cash back card like citicards double cash.
or using chase freedom, transferring to sapphire reserve, and redeeming for the statement credit.

Melech

What I like about this is that even though the points are worth1.25 for travel as for groceries, on the ultimate rewards portal the “prices” of flights are sometimes more than elsewhere so that effectively reduces the value of the points, ma she’ein kein if you use them for groceries and just buy tickets elsewhere. Thanks r Dan for your clear and concise reports!

aaron

Thanks Dan, is there any recourse if Chase doesn’t categorize a restaurant correctly, causing me to not be able to use to pay myself back?

64bit

@Dan any update on how confirmed this is? General info still says 9/30…

64bit

@Dan any confirmation on this?

mr g

any idea if they are extending some perks? for example %50 off instacart express?

Kelly GC

Gift cards question: want to buy a prepaid cell with time, would pay with gift card so they cant replensih. does address on GC registration need to match shipping address?

Amy

Great discussion but what about Flex vs. Freedom Unlimited-which should I get. The Flex offers rotating 5% cash back categories vs. the 1.5% back on everything on the Unlimited

Chasing Chase

If i sign up for the preferred to get the 80k and then upgrade to the Reserve will I get the $300 credit?

ShloMo

Will Amex join chase and also offer a pay your self back option?

Berl

Chase is also adding the 25% bonus pay yourself back program to the Freedom Flex Mastercard and Freedom Unlimited, but only for the select charities listed below. 

Where are they listed ?

yy

Can I get the freedom and sapphire? Will it be one pull or two? How will effect my 5/24?

aaron

Any idea how long it takes for the credit to post ?

yman

how do you get $300=20,000 points?????

Scottie

If I have never had a Chase credit card, which one should I apply for first?

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