by Lyle Daly | Feb. 25, 2021
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Just because you're not traveling, it doesn't mean your Chase points need to sit around collecting dust.
Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points is a bit complicated right now. On the one hand, you have no shortage of options -- there are more ways to use Chase points than ever before. On the other, Chase points have always been best for travel, and that's something far fewer people are doing in the pandemic.
Fortunately, there are still several great ways to save money with your Chase points. If you've just scored a big Chase sign-up bonus you're dying to use, here are your top redemption options.
Through April 30, 2021, Chase Sapphire credit cards will give you more back when you redeem points toward grocery store purchases. This is courtesy of Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature, which was introduced early in the pandemic.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a 25% bonus on the standard cash back rate of $0.01 per point, for a new value of $0.0125 per point. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you get a 50% bonus for a rate of $0.015 per point.
Let's say you have 10,000 Chase points. You could use them to get a statement credit toward any grocery purchases made on your Chase card within the last 90 days. Those points would be worth $125 toward groceries with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or $150 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Dinner could be on your Chase points, because that's another way to use Pay Yourself Back.
Just as you can redeem points as a statement credit toward grocery purchases, you can also get a credit for dining purchases made in the last 90 days. Don't worry if sit-down dining isn't an option, either. Your points can cover takeout purchases and orders through eligible delivery services as well.
The terms are the same as they are for grocery purchases. Through April 30, Pay Yourself Back offers a 25% bonus on the value of your points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or a 50% bonus with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
A more pandemic-friendly alternative to the traditional vacation is a staycation. One fun way to do this is to book a room at a hotel that's within driving distance. You still get to stay somewhere new and enjoy hotel amenities as you would on a trip, but there's no flying involved.
Chase also happens to have one of the best hotel partners for a staycation, as Hyatt has hotels all over the United States. If you live in or near a major city, there's likely a Hyatt hotel nearby.
The other big Hyatt perk is that it offers a great value for your points on award stays. Most hotel award stays get you under $0.01 per point in value. Chase points can be much more valuable. If you transfer Chase points to Hyatt, you could get over $0.02 per point.
Most of us are spending much more time at home these days. It's natural to want to spruce things up and make a few upgrades.
Your Chase points can save you money on tools, supplies, and anything else you buy at home improvement stores. Purchases at those stores are eligible for the rates offered through Pay Yourself Back.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, points are worth 25% more ($0.0125 per point) when you redeem them as a statement credit toward purchases at home improvement stores. Purchases must be made within the last 90 days to qualify. Points are worth 50% more ($0.015 per point) if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
It's possible travel will start to pick up again toward the middle and end of the year, especially as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out more widely. If you'd like to get your travel plans in place early, you could use Chase points to book a trip.
I'd recommend using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. With the travel portal, you can redeem Chase points toward cash travel purchases. Points are worth $0.0125 apiece with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and $0.015 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
The pandemic obviously makes it more likely you may need to cancel your booking. That's why I think it's a better option to use the Chase travel portal. If you have to cancel and get a refund on a trip booked through the travel portal, you'll get your Chase points back.
On the other hand, imagine you transfer 25,000 points to an airline partner of Chase's and book an award ticket. You then need to cancel and get a refund. Assuming the fare is refundable, you'll get your 25,000 points back with the airline, but there's no way to turn those back into Chase points.
Chase credit cards offer several good value ways you can use your points right now. The Pay Yourself Back program works well for redeeming points toward everyday expenses. You could also turn your points into a luxurious Hyatt hotel stay or a future travel booking. And if you're still not sure, remember you can always hang on to those points and wait for the right opportunity.
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