Chase Freedom Unlimited: Make the most of the Pay Yourself Back program

Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program helps certain cardholders redeem Ultimate Rewards points at higher redemption values, such as by requesting a statement credit. This feature can be particularly valuable with cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited which offer up to five percent cash back across rotating quarterly categories (such as dining and drugstore purchases receiving three percent back plus one percent on all other charges).

1. Use Your Card to Make Charitable Contributions

As well as offering 1.5% cash back on purchases, Chase Freedom Unlimited cardmembers have an opportunity to “feel the reward” by redeeming points earned with their card for charitable causes at 25% greater value than regular Ultimate Rewards point redemption (an Ultimate Reward point typically costs two cents), giving an effective earnings potential of 1.25 cents per dollar spent when donated charitablely.

This Pay Yourself Back feature was first implemented as part of COVID-19 measures in 2020 and remains active through December, 2023. To take advantage of it, simply charge any eligible charity on your Chase Freedom Unlimited card before redeeming points through Pay Yourself Back for a statement credit.

Pay Yourself Back redemption offers more flexibility in various situations. For instance, it allows you to transfer Chase Freedom Unlimited earnings over into another Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve(sm)* to get the maximum redemption value when booking travel through those cards’ airline and hotel transfer partners.

If desired, rewards can also be redeemed for cash equivalents, merchandise purchased via the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, and/or general merchandise – though redemption minimums may differ than when redeeming cash-back rewards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is an ideal solution for those who seek a straightforward rewards card that provides solid earnings across daily spending categories. While not as suitable for travelers seeking to maximize earnings by targeting rotating bonus categories, this card could work well when combined with premium Chase cards that provide higher rewards rates in those same areas. Keep in mind however, that due to Chase’s 5/24 rule most applicants may not qualify for this particular card.

2. Redeem Your Rewards for Gift Cards

Chase has expanded their Pay Yourself Back redemption options for cardholders. Now you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points not just for statement credits but also gift cards and merchandise from partners like Apple, Amazon and PayPal; redemption rates here tend to be higher than when redeeming points for generic statement credits.

To redeem, log into your Chase account, select Pay Yourself Back and choose eligible purchases. A countdown timer displays next to each item showing how many days remain until redemption of points can take place. When ready, check off the box stating their cash value before clicking Continue; your reward should appear on your statement during your next billing cycle.

Pay Yourself Back is available to all Chase Freedom Unlimited cards and some Chase Ink Business Preferred and Ink Bold credit card accounts. As redemption rate for Chase Ultimate Rewards gift cards is currently at 1.75% per dollar spent, using this feature is an effective way of increasing the value of your Chase points.

Though credit cards provide many advantages, it’s essential that you understand your spending habits in order to use them optimally. Consider selecting a balance transfer card with an introductory APR for savings on interest charges while consolidating debt; just remember to always pay your minimum monthly payment on time!

Though the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t feature a traditional signup bonus, it will match any cash back you earn during its inaugural year, plus up to $1.500 of that can be earned quarterly using rotating categories. For more details and eligibility requirements of this card read our review of it; good credit (670 or higher) will be necessary in order to qualify. Alternatively, compare other balance transfer credit cards that may provide more favorable introductory APR offers than this card may.

3. Redeem Your Rewards for Travel

You have several redemption options with your Chase Ultimate Rewards card: travel and gift cards are always popular options; but to maximize value from your points you could also redeem them towards eligible charities through Chase Pay Yourself Back program. First introduced during coronavirus lockdown to give cardholders additional redemption options and better value rewards, Chase recently extended this feature through Dec 31 2023 for certain cards including Freedom Unlimited, Ink family small business cards and certain co-branded cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can typically be redeemed by transferring them to one of Chase’s many airline and hotel transfer partners; however, during the coronavirus lockdown it was more attractive for some cardholders to redeem points for statement credits instead. Indeed, this was one of the best values available when redeeming Ultimate Rewards points outside of booking flights through the Chase travel portal.

As more people were staying home due to the pandemic, travel rewards no longer offered as much appeal for redemptions. Chase responded with Pay Yourself Back by providing additional redemption options like groceries and gas which could give up to 50% more value per point compared to its old rate of 1 cent per point.

At present, Chase Pay Yourself Back is only available with select cards. Holders of Chase Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, and Business Preferred cards can redeem rewards for travel through this program or donate them directly to charity through it; redemption value varies based on specific cardholder benefits and how points are redeemed – our internal point valuation estimates show it could range anywhere between 1.25 cents and 1.5 cents per point.

Chase is the first major card issuer to offer its Ultimate Rewards cardholders the opportunity to earn bonus points for donating rewards to eligible charities, hoping this initiative will encourage more users to utilize their rewards and increase charitable giving.

4. Redeem Your Rewards for a Statement Credit

Chase introduced its Pay Yourself Back option for cardholders of certain Ultimate Rewards earning cards in 2020 in order to provide better redemption value on certain purchases. Depending on the card and redemption type, redemption rates could reach as much as 1.25 cents per point. While this might not provide as great an value as transfer partners such as American Express’ Transfer Partners do, it provides an easy alternative if you simply need an immediate return or have points you don’t intend on using immediately.

Pay Yourself Back currently offers rewards in four categories, namely gas, groceries, home improvement stores and charity donations. Redemptions up to 50,000 points at once may be possible but their value may decrease after reaching this threshold. Checking the terms and conditions of your card can provide insight as some cards have various redemption limits.

Pay Yourself Back allows you to make purchases quickly and easily through Chase accounts. Simply log-in, select an eligible category you’d like to redeem your rewards in, click on “Redeem”, and make your selection. Choose either statement credit or bank deposit; minimum redemption amount of 1 point can be redeemed with redemptions beginning as low as $0.01. In addition, Chase also provides Access Experiences such as sporting events, concerts and dining experiences with its Rewards for Experiences service.

Ultimate Rewards points can only be redeemed through the Pay Yourself Back feature on purchases that appear in your account, including both credit and debit card purchases as well as eligible spending of any other kind. While you are limited to redeeming up to 50,000 points at one time, multiple redemptions may occur under one redemption transaction allowing for easier long-term use of rewards points. To maximize their use over multiple months or even years it’s wiser to divide them up among smaller redemption transactions to help maximize potential earnings over time.