Chase Sapphire Cards Add Limited-Time Perks and New Ways to Redeem Points

by Lyle Daly | Updated Sept. 2, 2021 - First published on June 1, 2020

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Chase has been making its travel credit cards more versatile, bringing changes to their perks and how cardholders can redeem points.

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Since the coronavirus pandemic has brought travel bookings to record lows, many of the features that travel rewards cards offer aren't exactly useful right now. If you've decided to hold off on travel until the pandemic is over, you'll probably have a tough time using your travel points or credits. You might question whether you should even keep your card, especially if the annual fee is coming due.

Credit card companies have been adjusting their travel credit cards on the fly to address these issues. Chase is one example, as it recently made groceries a bonus category on several of its credit cards through the end of June. It hasn't stopped there, either. The card issuer also just announced several updates to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® cards.

New features of the Chase Sapphire cards

Here's a look at the changes to both Chase Sapphire credit cards, including the latest updates and the bonus rewards on grocery purchases that have been in effect since the beginning of May. 

It's worth mentioning that Chase has also made some updates to the invitation-only J.P. Morgan Reserve®. They're identical to the changes made to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Pay Yourself BackSM: As of May 31, you can redeem rewards at a value of $0.015 per point as a statement credit toward purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores through Sept. 30, 2020. That's 50% higher than the previous rate for statement credits -- and equal to the rate you get per point on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • More ways to redeem travel credit: From June 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, this card's $300 annual travel credit will also apply to purchases at gas stations and grocery stores.
  • $100 off annual fee: Cardholders who paid the $550 annual fee between April 1 and July 1, 2020, will receive a $100 statement credit. On annual fees processed between July 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, the amount charged will be $450.
  • 5 points per $1 on grocery purchases: This bonus rate applies to up to $1,500 in purchases, including both in-store and online through grocery delivery services, and lasts through June 30, 2020.

The best change to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is that the $300 annual travel credit will also cover gas station and grocery store purchases through the end of the year. That ensures the credit doesn't go to waste if you don't travel this year.

The Pay Yourself BackSM feature gives you another way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points without traveling. However, it's often possible to get more than $0.015 per point when you transfer your points to Chase travel partners. If you think you'll book travel within the next year or so, you may want to hold on to your points until then.

It's hard to get too excited about $100 off the annual fee, considering Chase raised the annual fee to $550 at the beginning of 2020. With this change, you get to pay the original amount for another year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Pay Yourself BackSM: Starting May 31, you can redeem rewards at a value of $0.0125 per point as a statement credit toward purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores through Sept. 30, 2020. That's 25% higher than usual and equal to the rate you get per point on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 3 points per $1 on grocery purchases: This bonus rate applies to up to $1,500 in purchases, including those made both in store and online through grocery delivery services, and lasts through June 30, 2020.

The only new change to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the Pay Yourself BackSM feature. But because this card gets you a lower value per point, you should use this feature only if money's tight. Otherwise, you'd be better off saving your points for a transfer to a travel partner.

Chase's updates are a mixed bag

These limited-time updates to Chase credit cards could be useful for some cardholders. Unfortunately, you have a limited time to take advantage of them. After the end of June, you'll earn bonus points only on travel and dining purchases.

Chase has so far made a decent effort to keep its cardholders happy, but it may need to do more if travel bookings remain low in the coming months.

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