The Chase Sapphire Reserve got me 7.5% cash back on groceries and food delivery during COVID-19 — but I'm still not sure if I'll keep it

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  • Chase temporarily offered 5 points per dollar on grocery store and DoorDash purchases, which encompass all of my food-related costs in quarantine.
  • On top of that, Chase's new Pay Yourself Back feature lets me use my Ultimate Rewards points to cover grocery store and DoorDash purchases at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.
  • By using my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to buy groceries and DoorDash delivery and then redeeming my points to "erase" grocery store purchases, I'm effectively earning 7.5% cash back on all of my food purchases.
  • That being said, I'm not sure if I'll keep my Chase Sapphire Reserve® once these limited-time offers expire. It all depends on how comfortable I feel traveling by the end of 2020.
  • See Business Insider's review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve »

I've been using my Chase Sapphire Reserve® for all of my grocery store and food delivery spending, which has been pretty high since COVID-19 hit.

In April and May, Chase was offering 5x points on DoorDash delivery purchases, up to a $500 cap, to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders. I exclusively order delivery from the DoorDash app anyway because of the Chase Sapphire Reserve's DashPass benefit, which gets me reduced service fees and free delivery on qualifying orders.

Then, for the months of May and June, Chase offered 5x points on up to $1,500 in monthly spending at grocery stores, including select superstores.

This basically means that, for a while, I was earning 5 points per dollar on all of my food-related purchases. For every $100 I spent on groceries or delivery, I earned 500 Ultimate Rewards points.

With Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature, I was earning an effective cash-back rate of 7.5% on all of my food purchases

This is an excellent earn rate in and of itself given the high value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But what really puts it over the top right now is Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature. This redemption option, introduced in light of how difficult it is to travel right now, allows cardholders to redeem their Ultimate Rewards points to "pay themselves back" for grocery, dining, and home improvement purchases until September 30, 2020.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders get a 50% bonus on this option, meaning that if I chose to redeem my points this way, I'd be getting 1.5 cents per dollar. This is a pretty good value, especially when you consider that the higher-value methods of strategically transferring points to airlines and hotel chains aren't very useful right now.

Given that I don't think I'll travel seriously any time soon, I decided to take advantage of this Pay Yourself Back feature to redeem a good portion of my Ultimate Rewards points.

By getting 5 points per dollar on my grocery and food delivery purchases, and then redeeming those points at a rate of 1.5 cents each to "erase" those purchases, I've effectively been earning a cash back rate of 7.5% on all of my food costs with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

A $100 grocery store purchase, for example, nets me 500 points, and then redeeming those 500 points to cover that grocery store purchase (which you can do) at a rate of 1.5 cents per point saves me $7.50.

Even with these extended benefits, I'm not sure if I'll renew my Chase Sapphire Reserve yet

This is a better cash-back rate than even the best grocery store credit cards, which earn 5% or 6% back on groceries and don't come with the slew of extra benefits that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® does. Plus, Chase has announced that the $300 annual travel credit can be applied to grocery store and gas station purchases through the end of 2020.

That being said, the 5x bonus on groceries is over now. It's been replaced by new bonus categories including Instacart, gas stations, and select streaming services through September.

The Pay Yourself Back feature is also temporary, unless Chase decides otherwise. The $550 annual fee is steep on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and without being able to take advantage of all the travel-related benefits, the card might not be worth it when I'm no longer earning 7.5% back on groceries.

I'll stick it out for now, but if I don't feel comfortable traveling by the end of the year, and Chase doesn't announce any new non-travel benefits, it might be time to close my favorite credit card.

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