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How I used Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature to give my nephew the gift of travel

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 10/24/2021 Juan Ruiz
a person standing next to a suitcase © Provided by The Points Guy
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I have a 10-year-old nephew and the similarities between us are unmistakable. He’s a foodie. I’m a foodie. He likes sports. I like sports. We have similar physical features. A strong impulse plagues him to wanderlust. And well, you get my drift.

As his birthday was approaching, I struggled with what to gift him on his special day. What does a 10-year-old boy like? Video games? Legos? Sports?

Then, it hit me!

If the trend of resemblance continues with his uncle, my nephew would appreciate something that inspires the desire to travel. A meaningful gift that he can cherish for years to come. Something that will remain in his memory bank forever.

That’s why I decided to purchase him a new piece of luggage. Not just any luggage, but a fancy Away carry-on bag to give my nephew the gift of travel (or at least inspire him to want to see the world). And I used points to cover the cost. Yes, that’s right, I went against my own policy of never redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for less than 2 cents apiece — which TPG also values at the same amount — to put a smile on my nephew’s face for his birthday.

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In This Post

What is the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature?

Early in the pandemic, Chase introduced an alternative option (besides travel) for credit cardholders to redeem points at up to 1.5 cents per point in value via the Pay Yourself Back feature. The categories you could redeem points for would change a few times per year. For example, you could redeem points for purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and even funding a vaccine ride with Lyft.

On Oct. 1, 2021, Chase switched up the Pay Yourself Back feature categories to include Airbnb, Away and restaurant purchases (the latter category only for Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders). Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card members can redeem points at 1.25 cents per point toward Airbnb and Away purchases and Chase Sapphire Reserve (Airbnb, Away and restaurant purchases) can redeem at 1.5 cents per point.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

While I almost always try to maximize the use of my Ultimate Rewards to at least get 2 cents per point (or much more) on any redemption, sometimes the flexibility afforded by this transferable points currency makes me consider using points for non-travel items.

Redeeming points using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature

Once I decided I would use Chase’s Pay Yourself Back option to cover the cost of my nephew’s new Away bag, the process was simple. I purchased the bag directly on the Away website and waited for the transaction to post on my Chase Sapphire Preferred statement.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Chase)  

Once the Away purchase cleared, I logged in to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and clicked on the “Pay Yourself Back” icon.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

After that, as a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, I am given the option to redeem my points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. You can select to apply points to the “full amount” of the purchase or partially.

© The Points Guy

Once you’ve allocated the points to your purchase and clicked on “redeem,” you can expect a statement credit to appear on your card within three days.

© The Points Guy

Bottom line

(Photo by Juan Ruiz) © The Points Guy (Photo by Juan Ruiz)

The more I pondered using my points for an Away bag through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back tool (against my usual strategy of maximizing each redemption), the more it made sense. Sometimes, you can’t put a price on intangible items. Or, in this case, a happy 10-year-old.

Featured photo by Marc Flury/Getty Images.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


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