Chase Makes Rate Adjustments to Pay Yourself Back Program
Early in the pandemic, Chase made a few changes to help their credit card customers get value from their cards even at a time when travel was halted. One of the most notable developments in this vein was the introduction of the Chase Pay Yourself Back program. With this feature, those with cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred could redeem their points for “everyday” purchases such as dining or groceries at the same enhanced rate they could for travel bookings. Now, as we head into 2023, the Pay Yourself Back program is seeing a significant change that could be disappointing to cardholders.
As Doctor of Credit and other sites have reported, Chase is now lowering the redemption rate for most Pay Yourself Back categories. For the Sapphire Reserve, the rate will fall from 1.5¢ per point to 1.25¢ while the Sapphire Preferred will lower from 1.25¢ per point to 1¢ per point. However, the category of “Select charities” is currently listed at the previous rates. With these adjustments, Chase has added the eligible purchase category of Groceries back to the program, albeit at the lowered rate. Furthermore, it appears that grocery transactions from the past 90 days are available for Pay Yourself Back.
In the case of the Preferred, the 1¢ per point rate puts the Pay Yourself Back program redemptions on par with the value cardholders could already get by redeeming points for cashback. Meanwhile, Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred customers will continue to be able to redeem points via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at rates of 1.5¢ and 1.25¢ per point, respectively. It’s also unclear whether more eligible categories could be added at various rates in the new year.
Although the Pay Yourself Back feature was originally intended to be a temporary offering, the option grew in popularity and was continually extended. Along the way, the eligible categories did evolve, while largely becoming more restrictive. Chase also seemingly experimented with making the program a brand promotion vehicle by including purchases from Away and Airbnb in iterations of the feature.
On the one hand, these updates to Pay Yourself Back are certain to be disappointing for cardholders. This is especially true for those with the Chase Sapphire Preferred as the 1¢ per point redemption rate makes the feature all but useless. That said, the fact that the program still exists at all is somewhat surprising given its initial purpose. Plus, with many questions remaining, there is a chance that Chase can still introduce some more brand-centric options at the enhanced rate, while still making more generic options available. With the new year mere hours ahead, hopefully Chase will reveal more details on their plans for this feature sooner rather than later.