Beginning January 13, 2023, a new “Pay Yourself Back” feature will become available on the Chase Aeroplan Card.
Pay Yourself Back refers to the ability to redeem Aeroplan points towards any travel purchase at a rate of 1.25 cents per point (USD). This gives cardholders another option for redeeming their points, although it may not be the best use of Aeroplan points.
Let’s take a look at this new card feature and examine whether it’s worthwhile or not.
If you have the Chase Aeroplan Card, you’ll soon be able to redeem Aeroplan points earned with the card directly towards travel purchases at a rate of 1.25 cents per point (USD). There is no limit on the number of Aeroplan points you can redeem this way through to December 31, 2023, although it may be capped after that point.
Pay Yourself Back is Chase’s feature for redeeming points directly towards statement credits at a fixed value. Usually, this is only for certain categories of spending, and doesn’t apply to all purchases.
For example, cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can redeem points for charity donations at a rate of 1.25 cents per point (USD). For gas stations and groceries, the Pay Yourself Back value is a slightly lower, at 1 cent per point (USD).
On the more premium Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, cardholders can redeem points at an elevated rate of 1.5 cents per point (USD) towards charities and a lower 1.25 cents per point (USD) when redeeming against purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, or the annual fee.
For all cards that earn Ultimate Rewards (UR), you’re also able to redeem at the optimal rate of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point (USD) when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Of course, an even better way to capture value from UR points is to transfer them to one of the many travel partners, such as World of Hyatt, at a 1:1 ratio.
With Pay Yourself Back, cardholders can redeem Aeroplan points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point (USD) towards any purchase that codes as travel. This should include flights, hotels, rental cars, attraction tickets, and more.
As it pertains to the Pay Yourself Back feature on the Chase Aeroplan Card, cardholders can redeem Aeroplan points for the best fixed value when used towards travel.
The most interesting part of this feature is that Aeroplan is a frequent flyer program and not a Chase-owned currency, so to allow members to redeem partner points towards purchases is quite unique.
Any time a new feature is available on a credit card, it’s worthwhile to consider how valuable or useful it can be.
On one hand, the debut of the feature on the Chase Aeroplan Card is a plus, because it guarantees a minimum value that you can get for your points. In the absolutely worst case scenario, you can be sure that you can redeem Aeroplan points at a value of 1.25 cents per point (USD).
At the same time, we value Aeroplan points at a much higher value of 1.6 cents per point (USD), so it can be argued that redeeming Aeroplan points at a lower value with Pay Yourself Back is indeed less optimal.
If you tend to only redeem Aeroplan points for flights in economy, you’ll likely achieve lower than 1.6 cents per point (USD) in value. In this case, you can cash out your points using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature at a reasonable value.
On the other hand, you can get significantly higher value from Aeroplan points by redeeming them for long-haul premium cabin flights. It’s not unusual to unlock 4, 5, 6, or even upwards of 10 cents per point (USD) by flying such products as ANA First Class, Etihad Airways First Class, Lufthansa First Class, or any long-haul business class route with Aeroplan points.
Therefore, in the majority of cases, it’s best to redeem Aeroplan points for long-haul, premium cabin travel whenever possible.
However, it’s also a good idea to consider past Aeroplan points sales. For a brief two-week period in November 2022, Aeroplan points were being sold for 1.22 cents per point (USD).
In this rare situation, it could’ve very well been worthwhile to redeem Aeroplan points towards any travel purchase at 1.25 cents per point (USD) each and replenish them at 1.22 cents per point (USD), thus earning an arbitrage of 0.03 cents per point (USD).
It goes to show that you should weigh out the many different factors when deciding to redeem Aeroplan points, as there is always a lot to consider. Of course, not everyone will use Aeroplan points for long-haul travel in premium cabins, so be sure to adjust your expectations according to your own travel style and goals.
As of January 13, 2023, the Pay Yourself Back feature on the Chase Aeroplan Card is available. With the new feature, cardholders can redeem Aeroplan points towards any travel purchases with a value of 1.25 cents per point (USD).
Generally speaking, it’s still better to redeem Aeroplan points for premium long-haul travel; however, Chase’s Pay Yourself Back provides a useful floor for your Aeroplan points by making them worth a minimum of 1.25 cents per point (USD).
Should Aeroplan have a great sale on buying points again, or if you primarily make low-value economy redemptions, it’s worth looking at whether you are better off spending your Aeroplan points on all your other travel purchases and acquiring Aeroplan points cheaply elsewhere.