CHASE ultimate rewards: pay yourself back program

As an avid traveler, I held on to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card for its reward program. I believe it had the best benefits for travels. Even with their high annual fee ($550), it was still worth it because of all the rewards and perks.

Their perks included:

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit: If you spend $$ on travel, you can receive up to $300 in statement credit per year
  • No foreign transaction fee: A MUST!!! for international travelers
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck Fee Credit: Receive up to $100 every 4 years for application fee
  • Complimentary Airport Lounge Access: Enrollment through Priority Pass for access to their lounges

As for points, when using the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you would get 3 points on travel and dining and 1 point on every $1 spent on anything else. And every 100 points is worth a $1(1 cent per point) if we converted to cash.

However, you get even more bang for your buck when booking your travel through the Ultimate Rewards website using the points. 50% more! This was one of the biggest perks for me. But since I’ve stopped booking my international trips, I’m not using my points and they were just sitting there.


Chase has a new program called Pay Yourself Back and you can use the points on certain purchases (like grocery and dining out) with the same extra value (So 50% more!) and receive a statement credit. This is literally the same value as traveling! So why not take advantage of this and use the points?

So how do you use your points for Pay Yourself Back? Here are the step by step.

First, go to your ultimate rewards point website. You can go here by logging into your chase account.

From the homepage, click on the 3 dash bars on the top left corner. You should see a drop-down menu. From the drop-down menu, click on Pay Yourself Back. (As you can see, it is a new program)

Once you click on the Pay Yourself Back, you should see a list of all the purchases that are eligible. Most of mine were groceries and dining out. Click on the check box for ones that you are interested in using the points and click CONTINUE at the bottom.

On the next page, they will ask you how much of the points you want to use. I clicked on the Apply Full Amt since I just wanted to use all my points.

At the bottom of the page, it will tell you how much statement credit I would be getting back and how much points I used (and the balance). Without the Pay Yourself Back program, I would be spending around 60,000 for $600 but with the program, I’m saving so much!

And after clicking on Comfirm & Submit, BOOM! I’m getting $$$ back.

With the COVID-19 crisis, I was on the verge of cancelling my card since I am not traveling but with this new program, I feel that I’m still getting some value from it. Plus, this program will help a lot of people save money on things that are necessary like grocery. You are still getting the same/maximum point value. This is to be a limited time program so please go use it!

Past Travels: A list of Countries

I wasn’t planning on writing about my past travels because we live for the future. But a friend of mine told me that I should at least do a recap of my past travel experiences for my own sake. She told me that at least I can look back and see what I’ve done and maybe think about if I would do it again/go again.

Ok. That sounds pretty reasonable. As I stated in my first post, my dad was the one was who all about travels in our family. I think he believed that traveling also has immense educational value and wanted to give us that first hand. I won’t list all the places I’ve been with my family because most of it is from road travel within the US. I’ll make a separate list for US States I’ve hit in the future. Instead, I’ll list all the countries I wanted to visit and have gone to. I will also exclude Korea because it would come up too often.

So here is the list:

2009 – England (London) and France (Paris)
2010 – China (Beijing), Vietnam (Halong bay and Ho Chi Minh City), and Cambodia (Siem Reap)
2011 – China (Kunming)
2012 – (grad school years)
2013 – (grad school years)
2014 – Philippines (Cebu and Bohol)
2015 – Japan (Fukuoka, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka)
2016 – Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Uji, Okinawa) and South Africa (Rustenburg)
2017 – Canada (Toronto), Japan (Tokyo), and China (Hangzhou, Shanghai)
2018 – Iceland (Reykjavik to Hofn), Mexico (Cancun), and Japan (Ise, Nagoya)

Wow… Now that I’ve written it down… That is a lot… More than I remember! Most of them were short trips put together but wow. That is a lot. And a lot of Japan. That is because every time I went to Korea, if I had time, I would do a 3 day trip to Japan. Mostly weekend trips.

Alright. Now that I have the list, I’ll try to go back and find photos and write a post. I might do them backwards to make it easier for myself. I know I can find pictures of Iceland, Mexico, and Japan easily but for the earlier trips, I might need to do some digging. I really should keep all my photos together somewhere… (Time to buy another external hard drive)

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us on our travels!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


1st post. I have always loved traveling. And I think I got this from my dad. Every summer, he would take us on roadtrips across the US and stay at campsites for days. We would play in the woods, the rivers, the mountains.. The world was our oyster.

My family came to the US because of my dad’s education so most of our budget went to his tuition and we were always on a tight budget. But my parents always made the most of it. They taught me to love traveling, regardless of what budget I was working with. Also, destination was important but also being in each other’s company was more valued. But there is one thing we differed in: our style of travel.

I’m a bit of an over-planner. I like to make sure I have a plan A, B, and sometimes, even C. Where as my parents were more free spirited. They only planned out the main portion of the trip like the destination but everything else was spontaneous. Sometimes, he didn’t even book a campsite. Even now, looking back, I’m not sure how my parents did that.

So as a over-planning traveler, I do a lot of pre-planning before the trip. Now, just because I love have plans, it doesn’t mean I won’t have breaks in between my plans. While I’m traveling, I follow my heart and body, and of course, my companion’s options. If I have something in the plans but I’m feeling a bit tired, I can take a break and move on to plan B. I also pencil in breaks in my schedule 🙂

So with this being said, I wanted to share my travel stories with you. This website will mostly be about travel plans and budgets, actual travel photos/videos, and lots of food photos. I usually pick my destinations on attraction and food. So you will soon find out that food is really important to me and I cannot wait to share all the information with you. And I hope it brings you closer to your journey.

2019- LA and Las Vegas (April), Peru and Bolivia (May), Europe? (tentative)
2018- Iceland (March), Cancun (April), Korea (Oct), Japan (Oct)
2017- Toronto (March), Korea (Oct), Shanghai (Oct)