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!
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 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 page. Just 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