Chase Sapphire Cards Launch New 'Pay Yourself Back' Categories

by Lyle Daly | Published on Oct. 7, 2021

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New options are exciting, but you may be disappointed to see the "Pay Yourself Back" categories that are leaving.

There are new ways to "Pay Yourself Back" if you have a Chase Sapphire card. From Oct. 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, you can redeem points for a statement credit toward purchases with Airbnb and Away through Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature.

It's not all good news. Some previous Pay Yourself Back categories have expired, with groceries being the most notable option that's not available anymore. If you have either of these popular credit cards, here's how this redemption method has changed.

A revamped Pay Yourself Back for Chase Sapphire cards

Pay Yourself Back allows you to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit toward previous purchases in select spending categories. You get a greater value for your points this way than you would on a typical cash back redemption, which offers $0.01 per point.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you get 50% more value, for a total of $0.015 per point. For example, you could redeem 10,000 points to cover a $150 purchase from Airbnb. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 25% more value, or $0.0125 per point. Those are identical to the rates you get when redeeming points for bookings through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Chase added two new spending categories where you can redeem your points as of Oct. 1: Airbnb and Away, a luggage and travel accessories store. After those additions, here are the current Pay Yourself Back categories and their expiration dates:

Category Expiration Date
Airbnb March 31, 2022
Away March 31, 2022
Dining* March 31, 2022
Contributions to select charities Dec. 31, 2022
Credit toward annual fee* Dec. 31, 2021
Source: Chase / *Only an option with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The following Pay Yourself Back categories lasted through Sept. 30 and are no longer an option:

  • Grocery stores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Funding a vaccine ride with Lyft

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card previously offered dining as a Pay Yourself Back category, but that option also expired after Sept. 30. It's still a valid category for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Changes make Pay Yourself Back less useful

Pay Yourself Back was a feature Chase launched so those with travel credit cards could use points even if they weren't traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chase has since decided to keep it around while changing the categories periodically.

Unfortunately, the latest change is a downgrade. Chase effectively replaced grocery stores and home improvement stores with Airbnb and Away.

Not being able to use Pay Yourself Back on groceries anymore is a big loss. Just about everyone buys groceries, so this was an easy way to cash in your Chase points. Home improvement stores were also a good category to have available, especially as people upgraded their homes during the pandemic.

The new options are more limited. Most cardholders won't spend money on Airbnb and Away every month like they would with groceries. While Pay Yourself Back started as a way for cardholders to redeem points on everyday purchases, it's now focusing more on travel.

In fairness, none of the Pay Yourself Back options were ever advertised as permanent. It's understandable that these Chase credit cards would start transitioning back to travel redemptions. If you're planning any trips in the near future, being able to use points for reservations on Airbnb and luggage with Away are nice perks.

It's a shame that some valuable Pay Yourself Back categories have expired. On the bright side, Chase points are still some of the best in the business when you redeem them for travel.

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