Good evening everyone, I hope your week is going well. A few weeks ago, I started using my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card as my go to restaurant and grocery store card. Both categories earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on the CSR. That sounds pretty good until I explain that I could use my American Express Gold Card to earn 4x American Express Membership Rewards Points on those same categories. Why would I want to earn 3x instead of 4x? The answer is simple: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are much easier for me to redeem.
As you can see by these screenshots that I took today, I only have 1,235 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, compared to 364K Citi ThankYou Points and 479K American Express Membership Rewards Points. Let me dig a little deeper into the reasons why the points balances are so different.
In the last 12 months, I have redeemed a total of 144K Chase Ultimate Rewards Points in 25 redemptions. All 25 of those redemptions were with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back, which I wrote about here: Why I Redeemed 1/3 of my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points with the Pay Yourself Back Feature. My process is very simple. I transfer / combine all Chase Ultimate Rewards Points from my Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Plus, and Laura’s Chase Freedom to my Chase Sapphire Reserve, make a grocery or restaurant purchase with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, and then use Pay Yourself Back to wipe out the charge. Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are worth 1.5 cents per point when you use Pay Yourself Back on eligible purchases on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. 1.5 cents per point x 144K points = $2,160 in Pay Yourself Back redemptions in the last 12 months.
In comparison, Citi ThankYou Points does not have a great way to get more than 1 cent per point in value, unless you book travel with your Citi ThankYou Points (1.25 cents per point until April 10, 2021, then travel redemptions drop to 1 cent per point). My last Citi ThankYou Points redemptions were back in October 2020 when I transferred ThankYou Points to Sear’s Shop Your Way Points and bought gift cards. At the time, you could get 1.2 cents per points (or up to 1.3 cents per point if you had a Citi Rewards+ Credit Card). I’m holding onto my Citi ThankYou Points until I start travelling again and hopefully I can make some travel redemptions before April 10.
Last but not least, I have way more American Express Membership Rewards Points than I know what to do with. As you can see, in 2021, I earned 42K points and spent only 1K points (a small transfer to British Airways to keep my Avios from expiring). I have an American Express Business Platinum Card but not an American Express Schwab Platinum Card which would give me the ability to cash out American Express Membership Rewards Points at 1.25 cents per point to a Charles Schwab investment account. Like my stash of Citi ThankYou Points, I will hold onto these points until I start travelling again. But in the meantime, I am holding off on earning more points.
Do you agree or disagree with my logic that I should keep earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards Points with my Chase Sapphire Reserve and forgo earning more points on my AMEX Gold? Please let me know what you think in the comments section. Have a great day everyone!