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You can do a lot with the rewards points you earn with your credit cards. You can turn those rewards points into free airfare, use them to book hotels or convert them into restaurant gift certificates.
You can use your points to buy the latest home electronics or cash them in to help pay for that dream cruise to the Carribean that you’ve always wanted to take.
Now, though, at least one credit company is allowing you to use your rewards points to pay for the purchases you make with your credit cards. This gives consumers an easy way to cover their recent purchases. But before you use your rewards points in this way, make sure to read the fine print.
Pay Yourself Back Program
Chase credit card holders have the opportunity to use their rewards points to pay for their purchases through the company’s Pay Yourself Back program.
Under the program, you log onto the Pay Yourself Back page to access a simple online form. You’ll have to fill in the cost of the purchase you made the date on which you made it. You then click on the “Calculate Total” button to find out how many points are needed to pay for that particular purchase.
If you decide to use your ponts to pay for the purchase — and you have enough points to do so — you then click on the “Place Your Order” button to officially use your points to cover the cost of the purchase.
There is some fine print, though. You must redeem at least enough points to pay for $20 worth of purchases. That comes out to 2,000 points. The credits you get through this program can take from five to seven business days to process, and once you place your Pay Yourself Back order, you can’t cancel it. Your rewards points are also not applied toward your monthly required minimum payment.
Before you use your Chase rewards points in this way, make sure to do the research. It might make more financial sense to use your rewards points on other purchases and to pay off your recent credit purchases with your own cash.
Chase’s Ultimate Rewards online shopping center boasts discounts and special offers during the year. You might, for instance, be able to purchase an iPod or iPad at a 5 percent discount. Maybe you’ll have access to a discounted hotel stays or lower-cost dinners at high-end restaurants.
If you want to maximize your rewards points, you should be hunting for these bargains on a regular basis. And by cashing your points in for discounted travel or merchandise, you’ll get more bang for your rewards points than you might for simply using them to pay for that flat-screen TV you just charged.