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As Americans adapt to the changes brought by COVID-19, credit card companies are moving to accommodate new trends in consumer spending. Major card issuers, such as American Express, Chase and Citi, have updated their travel rewards card benefits to adjust for the fact consumers aren't traveling as much during COVID-19.
For anyone with a card in the Chase Sapphire family, this means changes to how you earn and redeem Ultimate Rewards points. In addition, some who have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® card may see a reduced annual fee and new allowances for spending the annual $300 travel credit for a limited time.
If you have a Chase Sapphire card, read on to learn more about the updated policies and how they could help you save.
Chase Announces New "Pay Yourself Back" Feature
Chase recently announced a new "Pay Yourself Back" feature, which allows Chase Sapphire cardholders to use their Ultimate Rewards points for everyday purchases in eligible categories.
Effective May 31 through September 30, 2020, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points will be worth 50% more, or 25% more if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, when you redeem points with the Pay Yourself Back feature. Currently, purchases made at eligible grocery stores, home improvement stores and for dining (including restaurants, takeout and some delivery services) are eligible.
Pay Yourself Back allows cardholders to apply Ultimate Rewards points to a portion or all of an eligible purchase made in the 90 days prior to the redemption date. After you've made an eligible purchase, you can log in to your Ultimate Rewards account, select the desired transaction(s) and redeem your points. You will receive a statement credit for the purchase within three business days, according to Chase.
Chase says it plans to add the Pay Yourself Back feature to more cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points over time. You can find more information on Pay Yourself Back by logging in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Updates
Chase's premium travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, is seeing the most change when it comes to cardholder benefits. Here is an overview of the limited-time changes Chase is making:
- Annual fee reduction: According to Chase, eligible existing cardholders will either receive a $100 statement credit if they paid the card's new $550 annual fee, or will be charged a reduced annual fee of $450, depending on when their card renews. The adjusted annual fee will be good through 2020. You do not have to opt in to this benefit; anyone who is eligible will automatically receive the credit or reduced fee.
This reduction comes after Chase increased the annual fee for this card earlier this year, raising it from $450 to $550. Because many benefits this card offers cannot be realized due to COVID-19, this reduction serves as a concession for cardholders unable to reap the benefits of their card as usual.
- More ways to earn the annual travel credit: This card comes with an annual travel credit of $300, which is triggered when cardholders make travel-related purchases. Since many cardholders can no longer travel as usual, Chase has expanded this credit to include purchases in the gas station and grocery store categories. This change will remain in place from June 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
- Expanded Ultimate Rewards points earning: From May 1, 2020, until June 30, 2020, cardholders will earn 5 points per dollar spent at grocery stores (including select grocery delivery services) up to $1,500 each month. Typically, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders earn 1 point per dollar in this category. Cardholders will continue to earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases during this time. You do not have to opt in to this benefit.
- Get 50% more value on Pay Yourself Back redemptions: As noted above, when used as part of the Pay Yourself Back feature, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders will be able to redeem their Ultimate Rewards points for 50% more in value.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Updates
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the sister card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, has also made changes to its benefits. Cardholders will see an adjustment to how they earn and redeem Ultimate Reward points:
- Expanded Ultimate Rewards points earning: From May 1, 2020, until June 30, 2020, this card will offer 3 points per dollar spent at grocery stores (including select grocery delivery services) up to $1,500 each month. Typically, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders would earn 1 point per dollar in this category. Cardholders will continue to earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases during this time. You do not have to opt into this benefit.
- Get 25% more value on Pay Yourself Back redemptions: When used as part of the Pay Yourself Back feature, Ultimate Rewards points are worth 25% more with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Why Now Might Be a Good Time to Get a Chase Card
If you've been considering getting a new credit card, now might be a good time to apply for a card from the Chase Sapphire family. With many of the temporary benefits offered by the cards, they are now even more valuable than usual.
If you already have one of the Chase Freedom credit cards, there are other benefits to adding a Sapphire card to your wallet. Experian's free CreditMatch™ tool can help you find out if you're matched to either of the Chase Sapphire cards based on your FICO® Score☉ .