Chase “Pay Yourself Back” Feature Expected To Be Extended, May Feature New Categories?

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

Through September 30 Chase has a feature on its Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® called “Pay Yourself Back” which lets you redeem points against purchases you’ve made on the card.

Historically you could transfer points to travel partners, redeem for rewards like gift cards, redeem for cash at 1 cent apiece, or redeem to pay for travel directly through Chase’s travel portal (currently served by Expedia) at a premium over cash.

And of course if you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards you can transfer those into one of these premium cards to then move the points into airline miles or hotel points, or redeem them through the Chase travel portal at either 1.25 or 1.5 cents apiece depending on the card you have.

The “Pay Yourself Back” feature lets you use points at the higher ‘travel portal’ rate against charges at grocery stores, home improvement stores and restaurants (including take-out and delivery services).

This is brilliant because it keeps rewards relevant while people aren’t traveling as much. It also encourages cardmembers to use their cards for grocery stores, home improvement stores and restaurants in order to have eligible charges to redeem their points against.

Miles to Memories reports that Chase has confirmed to him that “Pay Yourself Back” will not end September 30, though the categories could change. That would be another brilliant move, rotating categories to encourage cardmembers to use their cards on a variety across a variety of different merchant types – to keep the card top of wallet – to gain maximum value for their points.

The Chase PR team confirmed via email that the program will last longer than September 30th, when the promo was scheduled to end. They said it will likely be revamped with new categories at that time. It may also roll out to other cards (currently only the Sapphire products).

I haven’t used the Pay Yourself Back feature. For sure, anyone using their points through the Chase travel portal (at 1.25 or 1.5 cents apiece) should do so, because cash is better than purchasing future travel witih Expedia. I still save my points for future premium cabin airline award redemptions and Hyatt suite redemptions.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I’ve done very well with the Pay Yourself Back program over the last two months, but I have a problem. I’m one of the many here who signed up for the CSR in August 2016 when it was first released, so my $450 renewal is coming up on September 1. Unfortunately, Chase has a bad habit of not announcing bonus categories and other deals until the last possible moment. That means I’ll have to make my renewal vs downgrade decision without knowing such things as the 4th quarter 5% bonus categories, the 4th quarter Pay Yourself Back categories, or what categories will satisfy the 2021 travel credit. Unless Chase is forthcoming with more information, I’ll downgrade my CSR to a no-fee Freedom Unlimited. You would think that Chase would realize that September 1 has the greatest number of cards up for renewal of any month and would act accordingly. By the way, unless groceries works for 5% earnings, for Pay Yourself Back, and for the travel credit, the card won’t work for me.

  2. @Charlie – you do have some time from when the fee posts before making a decision to downgrade. Somewhere around 37bdays I think, which would give you enough time to see the Q4 categories. That being said, it sounds like the CSR won’t work for you since 5x groceries likely won’t return to that card any time soon.

  3. Hey Gary. I am the Admin for the Travel Rewards Warrior Facebook group. I confirmed with Chase that the Pay Yourself Back Tool would be extended past September 30th. I notified Miles to Memories so they could write their article. Could you please have a link for both my group and Miles to Memories in your article?

    I think that would be fair.

    Keep up the great work.

    Travel Rewards Warrior link:

  4. @Doug – happy to have your comment here, and your Facebook group link. I read about this at Miles to Memories. He sourced a private facebook group, your link takes me to a page I cannot see without joining. And since I’m not familiar with the group and can’t read it I couldn’t really source to it.

  5. If the category was to “rotate”, the question is, what other major expense categories do we have in a shelter-in-place situation, other than groceries? Rent/mortgage payments? I just don’t see what else would be majorly helpful…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *