Starting May 31, 2020, Chase added a new temporary benefit for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® members to “Pay Yourself Back.”
Note: The “Pay Yourself Back” feature is not available to the no annual fee Chase Sapphire card.
The Pay Yourself Back Program lets Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cardholders redeem Ultimate Rewards to offset select category purchases at a favorable rate.
Pay Yourself Back Categories:
The current promotion is valid through September 30, 2020, but it’s possible that it may be extended due to uncertain times.
[ March 30 Update ] Pay Yourself Back is extended until Sept 30, 2021.
Sign into your online Chase account and navigate to the Ultimate Rewards tab located on the bottom of the left column.
Select the card you’d like to access. If you have multiple Ultimate Reward earning cards, you can choose to pool points to the Sapphire card to redeem.
In our example, we choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Navigate to the left hand column and select the “Pay Yourself Back” menu item. Clicking the main promotional banner also works, as seen in the screenshot below.
The current categories for pay yourself back are: restaurant and grocery stores (including take out and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores, and select charitable organizations.
After each purChase posts, you have 90 days to pay yourself back. Check the respective box to select the purChase.
Enter the dollar amount you’d like to receive as a statement credit by using some or all of your available Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred redemption rate is 1.25 cents per point, and the Sapphire Reserve is 1.50 cents per point.
After setting the cash value, click “Confirm & Submit” to redeem!
One of the main benefits of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is that you can transfer them out to partners if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Ink Preferred.
You can view credit card offers by going to the "Credit Card Offers" tab. Find offers for the respective cards in "Travel Rewards Credit Cards" and "Business Credit Cards." You don't have to use our links, but we're grateful when you do. Thank you for supporting AskSebby!
Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a rate of 1:1. On average, you can get up to two cents per point when you use transfer partners.
If you're looking for the most value possible, then airline partners are the way to go for first class redemption. This also works well for last minute flights.
The way I redeem points for "best value" is hotels because everyone in your travel group can benefit.
For example, if I transfer my Ultimate Rewards points to United:
On the other hand, if I transferred my Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt:
For the cost of a round trip United Polaris flight to Asia, I can get four nights at a top tier Hyatt property.
IHG is not an ideal transfer partner because of the cost of the points, and you typically need more points for a redemption.
In my experience, Hyatt has the best redemption value for transfer partners. The Category 1 Hyatt properties start at 5,000 Hyatt points.
Category 1 = 5,000 Hyatt points / 5,000 Chase UR points
Check out the video below for more redemption ideas.
Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your trip.
Moraine Lake is less than a 10-minute drive from Lake Louise and well worth the detour. Be sure to visit before 9 am to get a parking spot. Once the small parking lot is full, you'll have to park in overflow and hop on a shuttle to see the lake.
Canoes are available for rent; $95/hour.
There is a free government parking lot located at Lake Louise. When you see the Fairmont Hotel, take a left and there will be a free parking lot with plenty of space. Lake Louise is a short 5-10 minute walk away.
Parking at the Fairmont is $33.
Enjoy lunch or a drink and take in the views of the stunning Lake Louise. We had the prime rib sandwich with a side of French onion soup.
Note: Some of the offers/products mentioned below are no longer available.
For our Bora Bora trip in July 2018, half of our stay was at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa. We reserved all of our nights using points and free night certificates. Here's how to book a trip to Bora Bora with the new Chase IHG Products.
[ Oct 2020 Update ] The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card currently has an increased offer of 140,000 points and the $89 annual fee is waived the first year.
The benefit of booking with points is that you'll avoid paying for taxes and additional charges out of pocket.
The optimal strategy for booking nights in Bora Bora is to use points + cash if you only have at least 100,000 points from the Chase IHG Premier bonus so you can reserve two nights. Choose the 50,000 points + 125 USD rate.
Ideally, you're in Player 2 mode so you can book a total of four nights if you both have the IHG card.
= 2 x Points + Cash
= 100k IHG + $250
= 2 nights x rack rate ($959.97)
= ~$1,920 in value
= ($1,920 value - $250 cash) / 100k IHG
= $1,670 / 100k = 1.67 CPP
By booking the IHG Bora Bora properties, you're getting at least 1.67 CPP in value.
The most frequently asked question we receive is.."theory is nice Seb, but how do we actually book the nights?" Finding availability for reward nights or points to use in Bora Bora is the biggest hurdle.
The first step to booking the IHG properties is to bookmark the landing page for the reward nights: https://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/find-hotels/hotel/list?qDest=Bora%20Bora,%20French%20Polynesia&qCiMy=72018&qCiD=19&qCoMy=72018&qCoD=20&qAdlt=1&qChld=0&qRms=1&qRtP=6CBARC.IVANI&qAkamaiCC=US&qSrt=sDD&qBrs=ic.ki.ul.in.cp.vn.hi.ex.cv.rs.va.cw.sb.ma&qAAR=6CBARC.IVANI&srb_u=1&qRad=30
For me, I checked my desired dates multiple times a day for a whole month to find reward availability.
Dates are usually released 4 months in advance. Don't be afraid to split your time between Le Moana and Thalasso.
If I had to do my trip again, I would spend half my nights in Le Moana and the other half in Thalasso. The benefit of Le Moana is that it's on the main island and you have access to more reasonably priced restaurants and food. The only con is that you are not guaranteed an overwater villa.
For Thalasso, you'll pay a premium for food, but you're guaranteed an overwater villa. If you need to take the IHG shuttle boat to Le Moana after 2:15 PM, you'll have to pay a 2770 XPF (as of July 2018) fee per person, per one-way ticket.
Al Maha is one of the best Marriott Bonvoy redemptions if you plan to visit Dubai. The all-inclusive resort is located one hour away from Dubai, and it’s an amazing escape from the city.
The resort is also a conservation reserve where they have on-site field guides and wildlife.
Al Maha is a Category 8 hotel, and the price ranges from 63,000-100,000 points depending on the season.
Search for availability on Marriott’s site: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dxbam-al-maha-a-luxury-collection-desert-resort-and-spa-dubai/
Be sure to check the box that says “Use Points/Certificates.”
Example of peak season pricing:
Off-peak season pricing:
The room-rate includes:
Desert Activities to choose from:
Etihad first class is one of the best flight experiences in the sky. The retail price starts at $6,000 and goes up depending on the route.
If you don’t want to shell out cash, the best way to book Etihad first class is with points. Booking Etihad first class isn’t for everyone, and some of the sweet spot routes are niche. We took a flight from Abu Dhabi to London using American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
Etihad Apartments are only available on flights to/from Abu Dhabi (AUH). The points price ranges 50,000 - 115,000 AAdvantage miles. You can book the award flight through AA.com.
The biggest hurdle is finding availability since you’ll need to check the site often.
For AA, these are the prices:
Aeroplan is currently an American Express airline transfer partner. In late 2021, Aeroplan will become one of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners.
Etihad Airways is an Aeroplan partner airline, so the partner airline rates apply in the redemption chart below.
How to Use Aeroplan Reward Charts
View the Aeroplan flight reward charts here: https://www.aircanada.com/content/dam/aircanada/loyalty-content/documents/flight-rewards-chart-en.pdf
A few booking examples:
US to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
JFK to AUH is 6,850 miles. Per the redemption chart below, the route falls under 6,001 to 8,000 miles category, and you’ll need to redeem 120,000 miles to book first class with a partner airline (Etihad).
IAH to AUH is 8,177 miles. You’ll need to redeem 130,000 points to book first class with a partner airline.
Europe to AUH
American Express has a wide variety of credit cards, co-branded credit cards, and charge cards.
One rule to be aware of is that American Express has a once in a lifetime rule, so if you receive a welcome offer for a card, you will not be eligible for another welcome offer for the same card again.
Regarding upgrade and product change options, I don’t recommend taking an upgrade offer unless you have previously received a welcome offer for the same card. Taking an upgrade offer first would disqualify you from receiving the welcome offer for the same product.
For example, if you currently have the Amex Gold card and you receive an upgrade offer to the Amex Platinum card (and you accept it), you will not be eligible for the Amex Platinum welcome offer. However, if you receive a welcome offer for the Amex Platinum first, you will also be eligible for the upgrade offer.
Some people might product change a card if they’re not getting positive expected value from an annual fee.
Downgrading a card is ideal to keep your credit history alive since you’re not canceling the card. I usually recommend doing this after having the card for 12 months if you’re not getting positive expected value in the second year to keep a good relationship with American Express.
If you cancel or product change a card before the first year, Amex has the right to claw back the welcome offer for “abusing the system.”
Watch the video below for an overview of product change options:
Bank of America is tightening the rules on their credit cards. In addition to the 2/3/4 rule, two new ones regarding signup bonuses were recently introduced.
There are two levels to the rule:
24 MONTH RULE: LEVEL 1
“This [card] will not be available to you if you currently have [card] UNLESS you have had that [card] for at least 24 months.”
TLDR: You can’t get the same card if you have had the product for less than 24 months. It seems to imply that you can have multiple of the same card, but you just have to wait 24 months before adding another one.
24 MONTH RULE: LEVEL 2
“This [card] will not be available to you if you currently have or have had a [card] in the preceding 24 month period.”
TLDR: You can’t get the same card if currently have or had it for less than 24 months.
Here is a chart that outlines the Bank of America products and which level of the 24-month rule applies to it: https://bit.ly/3JyD1Wx
Cards with “N/A” next it means that the 24-month rule was not found in the terms and conditions of the card.
It seems like business cards are not currently affected by the 24-month rule, along with some co-branded cards.
We recently took a trip to the Canadian Rockies in September. People often ask me how I plan my trips, so this is a step-by-step guide on how we planned our trip to Banff.
One of the main reasons why we wanted to take this trip is because Parks Canada is offering free admission to their national parks for their 150th anniversary.
2. Flights from SFO to Calgary
3. Car rental
I signed up for the Chase Fairmont card earlier this year for the two free night certificates. The card was discontinued in August.
Peak season rates for the Fairmont Lake Louise is usually $1099 CAD/night.
To book reservations using the Fairmont certificates, we had to call the reservation line on the back of the card. They don't have an online system, so the representative has to manually look through different dates.
On our first attempt, there were no consecutive dates available for Lake Louise. After doing some more research, we realized it was better to stay in Banff Springs because there are more attractions near the hotel.
We called a few weeks later and were able to secure two consecutive nights in September for Banff Springs. Another benefit was that we could use the suite upgrade certificate with the booking.
Bottomline, try calling the reservation line several times over the span of a few weeks to check for availability.
For the remaining hotel nights outside of the Fairmont certificates, I booked using Hotels.com. My goal was to spend less than $100 for hotels in Calgary. I booked the Marriott in downtown Calgary two weeks before the trip and found a deal for $97/night.
Pro-tip: Hotels.com has a 10% discount if you book using a mobile phone.
On the last night, we were supposed to drive back to Calgary, but we wanted to spend more time in Banff, so we canceled the hotel reservation. I booked a last minute hotel reservation at the Juniper Hotel in Banff and used my Hotels.com free night since I accumulated 10 stays.
The free night is equivalent to 10% of all your hotel.com stays, so my free night certificate was worth $119.77. I still had out of pocket costs to pay, which came out to be $68.65.
To book flights, I set up a Google Flights notification for deal alerts. I routinely check for flights on Tuesdays because that tends to be the cheapest day to book a flight.
Pro-tip: if you're planning multiple trips at the same time, set up a folder in your bookmarks bar to stay organized.
Flights to Calgary from SFO usually range from $350-$550, but we wanted to wait for a deal. We kept an eye out on Scott's Cheap Flights for a price drop. Luckily, a few weeks later, there was a deal alert.
The great thing about booking through the Chase Travel Portal is that discounted fares are also reflected. I used the Chase Sapphire Reserve and spent 15,872 UR points on a roundtrip ticket.
We booked a rental car using the Costco Travel Portal. From my experience, they usually have the cheapest rates and offer free upgrades or additional discounts at select locations.
I usually don't check anywhere else for rental cars unless the Costco rates are absurd. Since reservations are free to cancel, I typically make one at least a month in advance and then check what the prices are closer to the travel date.
Pro-tip: If you have to wait more than 20 minutes for a car, that usually means the rental agency ran out of cars, or they're slowly cleaning returns. Ask the agent nicely if they can do anything for you for the inconvenience, i.e., discount or free upgrades.
We waited an hour for the rental car, and the agent took off a day of rental and gave us a free tank of gas.
Here's the breakdown of the cards we used to book the trip:
Bank of America is enforcing new rules on credit card applications. H/t Doctor of Credit.
*months considered on a rolling basis
For example, if you apply for a card on August 1, 2017, that's considered card #1. If you apply for another card on September 1, 2017, then that's card #2.
If you try to apply for another card from September 2-30, then it will result in an automatic rejection because of the "2 cards in 2 months" rule.
If you apply on October 1, 2017 (or afterward), then the application will pass the "2 cards in 2 months" rule, but it's still subject to the "3 in 12 months" and "4 in 24 months" rules.
When the application is "approved in error," the card won't show up on your credit report.
Bank of America's rules doesn't seem too bad compared to other banks. The rules only apply to Bank of America branded cards. Once you factor in Bank of America's card selection, most people won't have to worry about the rules because they don't have the best travel credit cards.
Note: Some of the offers/products mentioned below are no longer available.
If you’re like me and you have more than 10 credit cards, it can take up a lot of mental bandwidth. Remembering to use travel credits, minimum spend dates, and free anniversary nights can get confusing, especially if you have more than one premium travel card.
We created a spreadsheet to help you track the welcome bonus, statement dates, and travel credits for your cards.
Download a copy of the tracker here: http://bit.ly/2TLM4tF
The tracker currently has sample data in it, so feel free to fill in your own cards and dates.
The main sheet contains the primary tracker and the second sheet that says “Amex Gold” is an example of how to keep track of spending for a specific card.
In the “Amex Gold” sheet, I copy and pasted the line items from my credit card statement and to calculate how much spend was on the card. The “yes” represents spend I intend to keep, and the blank lines indicate that I might return the item. This total spend amount is also reflected on the “main” sheet under the column “spend confirmed.”
Feel free to create different sheets for each of the cards you have to keep track of minimum spend.
Most cards typically have a three month period to spend a certain amount to earn the welcome bonus. It’s safe to assume that the clock starts on the day you apply, and not the day you’re approved or receive the physical card.
If you have any doubts, be sure to send the bank a message to confirm the dates.
For cards that have annual fees, I wouldn’t count the annual fee or travel credits towards minimum spend. It would be unfortunate not to earn the bonus by a few hundred dollars.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like using auto-pay, then the payments section is ideal to keep track of all the card statement dates.
Pro-tip: I recommend changing all your card statements to close on the same date to keep it simple. I usually change my statements to be issued on the 1st / 2nd or 15th / 16th.
For example, you can send a secured message and request that all your Chase card statements close on the first of the month.
If you have multiple cards that offer a free night, it’s ideal to note the certificate expiration dates, so you don’t accidentally miss out.
Under the details, you can note the maximum point or category rewards the certificates can be redeemed for.
The “Days Left” column will get more green as the expiration date nears as a reminder to use the certificates.
Most premium travel cards come with some travel credit. Under “Credit Type” you can list if it’s a hotel resort credit, airline fee credit, or any other type.
Any other credits like the $100 Global Entry credit can be listed under “Other Credit.”
Watch the video below for complete instructions on how to use the tracker.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "Why do you have multiple of the same credit card?" In this post, we'll cover which cards you can have multiples of, the general policies, and the cards I have.
Yes, depending on the credit issuer. With most major issuers, it's possible to hold two of the same credit card. The main issue is HOW you obtain multiple of these cards.
In most cases, you'll need to product change a card to hold two of the same credit card.
Important: You do NOT receive an intro bonus when you product change a card.
For example, if you product change a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you do not receive a bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Some people obtain a second Chase Freedom Flex℠ card from getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred and product changing the card after the first year. You will not receive an intro bonus for the second Chase Freedom Flex.
For some credit issuers, if you currently have the card, you cannot apply for the same card. The application will automatically get rejected. Always check the card offer details and terms for the most accurate information.
Bank of America is more flexible with having multiple cards, but restrictions do apply for select products. You can have multiple Better Balance Rewards and Cash Rewards cards.
Be sure to read the Bank of America card application rules post to see if you qualify to apply for additional cards: https://www.asksebby.com/blog/bank-of-america-adds-24-month-rule-to-some-credit-cards
For example, the Bank of America Alaska card is not available to you if you currently have or have had the card in the past 24 months.
One product that is no longer available is the Better Balance Rewards card. The system allowed me to apply for multiple at the same time, and they were approved. However, Bank of America did close two of the accounts after enforcing their new application rules.
American Express lets you apply for the same product, but you will not receive the intro bonus again due to the "once in a lifetime" rule.
I don't recommend submitting multiple applications all at once; otherwise, the system may view them as duplicate applications and automatically reject them. Space the applications out by a few months.
Keep in mind that applying for a card is different from upgrading a card. When you upgrade a card, there are often upgrade offers after you spend "x" amount in "x" months.
I only recommend doing the product change if you currently have or had the card for the intro bonus in the past, otherwise, you might not qualify in the future.
Watch the video below for the Amex product change strategies.
Chase allows you to earn an intro bonus for a product once every two years, except for the Sapphire cards, which are once every four years.
However, it is possible to product change to a card you already have.
Reminder: You do NOT receive an intro bonus when you product change.
For example, you can sign up for a Chase Freedom card and earn an intro bonus. If you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred that you no longer get positive expected value from, you can product change the Sapphire to a second Chase Freedom card.
There are two main reasons for why I have multiple of the same credit card:
Rotating category cards are some of my favorite cards to have duplicates. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex card earns 5% on up to $1,500 in combined category purchases each quarter you activate.
There are some categories that I can easily maximize, so having a secondary card helps me earn more points.
Another example is the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card that earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases on office supply stores; internet, cable, and phone services.
Some office managers who carry the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card can easily maximize the $25,000 in combined category spend each year. Having a secondary Ink Business Cash® Credit Card would help earn points faster.
You can product change the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to a secondary Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. Business cards can only be changed to business products, and not personal cards.
The second group of cards is ones that have annual fees, but you don't need to spend a lot on the card to derive positive expected value.
The best example is the Amex Hilton Aspire that has a $450 annual fee and comes with a free weekend certificate and resort credits. Since I can redeem the free weekend certificate at high-value properties, I derive more than $450 in value each year.
The automatic Diamond status has also saved me hundreds of dollars on breakfast and executive lounge access.
Your mileage may vary depending on where you plan to redeem the free weekend night. I currently hold two Amex Hilton Aspire cards.
Having multiple of the same credit card isn’t for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a specific use case like maximizing spend categories or utilizing travel benefits.