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

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The pandemic brought about many changes for popular rewards credit cards, and the Chase Pay Yourself Back program is one of them. This dynamic rewards option allowed consumers to use their points for better redemptions in everyday categories, and it was especially helpful to Chase cardholders who had a ton of travel points they couldn’t use at the time.

While we are (hopefully) working our way out of the pandemic, Chase has generously extended their Pay Yourself Back promotion and added new categories several times. Most recently, the bank made it possible for cardholders with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® to get 25 percent to 50 percent more value for their rewards when redeeming for statement credits to cover purchases with Airbnb as well as Away (through awaytravel.com).

Cardholders with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can also use the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature for better redemptions. Read on to learn which categories currently work with this feature and how you can maximize this benefit.

As a reminder: Details of the Chase Freedom Unlimited

The main features of the Chase Freedom Unlimited are highlighted below, including the card’s sign-up bonus, earning rates, APR and more.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Earn $200 in bonus cash after spending $500 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Earn 5 percent cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5 percent back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5 percent back on everything else
  • No annual fee
  • Introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 24.74 percent

What is Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program?

The Chase Pay Yourself Back promotion offers another way to redeem your points for more value than you would otherwise. While this promotion lets cardholders get 25 percent to 50 percent more value for their points when redeeming for certain purchases, keep in mind that Chase cards always let you redeem for statement credits at a rate of one cent per point.

Chase credit cards that qualify for the Chase Pay Yourself Back promotion include:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Freedom® (no longer accepting new applicants)
  • Chase Freedom® Student credit card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Plus® (no longer accepting new applicants)
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Pay Yourself Back redemption rates for Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders

Pay Yourself Back lets cardholders with the Chase Freedom Unlimited get 25 percent more value for their points when redeeming within eligible categories. This means that, instead of getting 1 cent per point in value when redeeming rewards, cardholders get 1.25 cents per point in value in eligible categories.

What are the current Pay Yourself Back categories for the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

Currently, cardholders with the old Chase Freedom card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Freedom Flex get 25 percent more value when redeeming their points for contributions to eligible charities. This current promotion is being offered through Dec. 31, 2022.

Charities that qualify for this superior redemption rate include:

  • American Red Cross
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • Feeding America
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • International Medical Corporation
  • Leadership Education Fund
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • National Urban League
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United WayWorld Central Kitchen

How to Pay Yourself Back as a Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholder

Redeeming your rewards through Chase Pay Yourself Back is easy. If you have a rewards credit card that qualifies for this promotion, you can get started by logging into your online account management page at Chase.com and navigating to the Chase Ultimate Rewards section of your account. From there, take the following steps:

Step 1: Click on “Earn/Use” in your rewards account and scroll down to where it says “Pay Yourself Back.”

Screenshot of the Pay Yourself Back tab on the left side of the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

Step 2: You’ll be able to choose among charges you’ve made with eligible charities within the last 90 days.

Screenshot of Pay Yourself Back page on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website reading "Choose your recent purchases"

Step 3: Decide on the dollar amount you want to redeem through the promotion, keeping in mind that you can redeem your rewards for your entire charitable contribution or just part of it. If you donated $100 to the American Red Cross but don’t have enough points to cover the entire charge, that’s perfectly fine.

Screenshot of the Pay Yourself Back website featuring instructions on how the program works

Step 4: Confirm the amount you want to redeem through Pay Yourself Back and hit “Complete.”

Is using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program worth it?

If you plan to make charitable contributions to an eligible charity that partners with Chase for this promotion, then using your card to make that donation is definitely worth it. After all, you can get more value for your rewards when you redeem this way, and you may be able to donate more as a result.

However, keep in mind that the Chase Pay Yourself Back promotion is more generous with certain cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only is this card offering 50 percent more value when you redeem for Airbnb or Away purchases via awaytravel.com (through March 31, 2022), but cardholders can receive the same redemption rate for dining, select charities and even cover their annual membership fee.

The bottom line

If you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited and don’t have an immediate need for your points, you can donate to charity then reimburse yourself through the Chase Pay Yourself Back tool. Through Dec. 31, 2022, you’ll even get 25 percent more value for your points when you do.

This means that a $100 donation to Habitat for Humanity or the American Red Cross could be wiped from your credit card charges with just 8,000 points. If you want to give back more than you have in the past, this is a great way to do just that.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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