A guide to the best credit cards for Airbnb stays
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Many have started taking to the skies and roadways to popular getaway destinations as the world opens up. The inevitable question then arises — where to stay?
Home rentals are increasingly popular, and you may be considering an Airbnb for your next trip. While the topic of the best credit cards for hotel stays gets a lot of attention, it’s a different matter for Airbnb stays. That’s especially true when you consider that hotel chains have their own credit cards, yet Airbnb does not.
If you’ve decided to go the Airbnb route, which travel rewards credit card should you use to make the purchase? Let’s take a closer look at your best options.
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What is Airbnb?
If you’re not familiar with Airbnb, the site offers a wide variety of lodging options when you’re traveling. In many cases, Airbnb will provide you privately owned rooms, apartments, houses, boathouses, hotel rooms and more. All of them are available for both short- and long-term stays.
While prices are sometimes more affordable than equivalent hotel rooms, it should be noted that Airbnb is not exactly a hotel on-a-budget. There are tradeoffs: things such as room service, daily housekeeping and other full-service amenities aren’t usually found. However, if you are on the hunt for unique accommodations — or want the feeling of being in a home while away from home — Airbnb could be a good option. Groups and those traveling with others also tend to prefer Airbnb, since it’s easy to reserve multi-bedroom lodging.
Beyond stays, Airbnb offers experiences. These can include tours, outdoor activities like whale watching, cooking classes or even a great photographer to snap photos for your Instagram during your next vacation.
Airbnb doesn’t have a loyalty program, so the best way to make the most of these types of purchases is by using the right credit card.
Related reading: How to find the best Airbnb
Which credit card is best for Airbnb stays and experiences?
- American Express® Green Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
You may see some familiar names among the cards listed above. That’s because several of the best credit cards for Airbnb are on our list of the best credit cards for travel.
The information for the Amex Green Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card have been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Earning rates on the top cards for Airbnb
|Card||Earning rate||Earning currency|
|American Express® Green Card||3 points per dollar.||Membership Rewards points.|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||3 points per dollar.||Ultimate Rewards points.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||2 points per dollar.||Ultimate Rewards points.|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||3 points per dollar.||Ultimate Rewards points.|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||2 miles per dollar.||Capital One miles.|
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||2 miles per dollar.||Capital One miles.|
|Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card||5 points per dollar (if purchasing gift card through Amazon).||Cash back.|
A closer look at the best credit cards for Airbnb
Airbnb typically codes as “travel” on your credit card statement. This means it will trigger any bonus points or annual credits offered in the travel category. Here’s a deep dive into the best cards for Airbnb.
Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)
Welcome offer: Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchase in your first six months of card membership.
Earning rates: You’ll get 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on restaurant purchases, 3 points per dollar on transit including ride shares, subway swipes, tolls — and most importantly for Airbnb — plus 3 points per dollar on the broad category of travel, which includes things from flights, car rentals, hotels and home shares (yes, including Airbnb). You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Why we like it: Other cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card, both have more limited travel categories that don’t go beyond the scope of airfare and hotels. While the Platinum card has a higher bonus earning on airfare (5 points per dollar), it only applies to airfare booked directly with airlines or through the American Express Travel Portal (and the bonus earning potential is limited to the first $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year). In the Platinum’s case, you’ll also get 5 points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel.
The Amex Green is the most flexible of the bunch when it comes to earning 3 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent on Airbnb. Those 3 points equate to a 6% return based on TPG valuations. If you’re flying to get to your Airbnb, you can also take advantage of an up to $100 Clear annual statement credit and a $100 LoungeBuddy annual statement credit. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Related: Best cards for airport lounge access
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Annual fee: $550
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Earning rates: Besides getting a $300 annual travel credit (that can be used toward Airbnb), you’ll get 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel — after using the $300 credit — and 3 points per dollar on dining at restaurants worldwide. Other bonus categories include 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and 5 points per dollar on flights booked in the portal. You can also earn 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Why we like it: First and foremost, you get to use the card’s $300 travel credit towards a broad range of travel purchases, including Airbnb. Earning 3 points per dollar on Airbnb makes this card is useful for earning maximum Ultimate Rewards on your purchases after exhausting your $300 travel credit. Those 3 points equate to a 6% return based on TPG valuations — the same as the Amex Green. Additionally, the 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus is worth $1,200 based on TPG valuations.
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel — which doesn’t apply to the card’s $50 hotel credit, though you must use this in the Chase travel portal, so Airbnb bookings aren’t eligible — and also earn 5 points per dollar on travel purchases in the Chase travel portal. You can also earn 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). Through March 2025, you can also earn 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides. Cardmembers earn 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Why we like it: Firstly, the card has a low annual fee while still possessing strong earning categories. This includes a broad range of travel purchases, such as bonus points on bookings made directly with Chase or Lyft rides, as well as 2 points per dollar with Airbnb. Those 2 points provide a 4% return based on TPG valuations. Additionally, the 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus is worth $1,200 based on TPG valuations.
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 of combined spend on the card each anniversary year in the following categories: shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; advertising with social media and search engines and — most importantly for this discussion — on travel.
Why we like it: This is another Chase card that earns a fantastic 3 Ultimate Rewards points on travel, including Airbnb stays. Although the huge 100,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus is a great perk, it’s important to note the card’s hefty initial spending requirement. While this isn’t a consumer card, getting approved for a business card may be easier than you think.
Related: Best business credit cards of 2022
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent on almost everything with no annual cap, which means you’re getting 3.7 cents (factoring in TPG’s latest valuation) in travel for every dollar in purchases.
Why we like it: The Venture card is an excellent choice for those who value a straightforward earning rate on all purchases, including vacation rental bookings and anything else you buy. In exchange for a $95 annual fee, this Capital One credit card earns you a flat 2x miles on every purchase you make, and you can even redeem your rewards to cover your Airbnb stay at a rate of 1 cent per mile. If you decide not to use your rewards for Airbnb bookings, you can use them to cover any travel purchases made with your card in the last 90 days or transfer them to its 17 airline and hotel transfer partners.
Plus, the card currently offers a 75,000-mile bonus offer worth $1,388, according to TPG valuations. Add in the fact that Capital One has made some exciting additions to its program, it’s no surprise that this card is still one of our favorites here at TPG.
Annual fee: $395
Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Earning rates: You’ll earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent on almost everything with no annual cap, which means you’re getting 3.7 cents (factoring in TPG’s latest valuation) in travel for every dollar in purchases. You can earn at higher rates when booking in the Capital One Travel portal, including 10 miles per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings and 5 miles per dollar on flights.
Why we like it: The Venture X card offers a straightforward 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases not booked in the travel portal, which includes a pack of gum or your next Airbnb booking. You can also redeem your rewards to cover your Airbnb stay at a rate of 1 cent per mile. If you decide not to use your rewards for Airbnb bookings, you can use them to cover any travel purchases made with your card in the last 90 days or transfer them to its 17 airline and hotel transfer partners. The card also provides numerous perks, such as a $300 annual travel credit, reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee and rental car elite status.
Additionally, if you applied for the card before March 14, 2022, you can redeem your $200 vacation rental credit toward Airbnb stays. This credit must be used within one year of your application date.
Annual fee: $0, but you must have an Amazon Prime membership
Sign-up bonus: $200 Amazon gift card valid for purchases at Amazon that is available as soon as you are approved.
Why we like it: How does the Amazon card make our list of best cards for Airbnb? Two words: Gift cards. Airbnb gift cards are available on Amazon, and you can easily get 5% back this way. First, use this card to buy Airbnb gift cards; then, use those cards to pay for your upcoming stay. You can redeem your 5% back on cash back, gift cards or travel rewards, and it’s all worth the same. Note that Airbnb restricts, in fine print, using gift cards for long-term stays (28+ days).
Maximizing your purchase
One of the most important factors in making the most of your everyday spending is choosing the best travel rewards credit card for every purchase. This isn’t always an easy task, as some cards earn valuable transferable points while others give bonus points for certain categories of purchases. Deciding what is more important is a personal decision.
For any Airbnb stay though, be sure to see if you can double dip. For instance, Delta and British Airways have their own Airbnb portal where you can earn additional miles on every stay, regardless of what credit card you use to book. And watch for bonus opportunities to rack up additional miles on Airbnb stays, such as this 50% bonus Avios on Airbnb bookings from British Airways.
These cards are all great options for Airbnb, but there are many others out there. For instance, if your local grocery store also sells Airbnb gift cards, you can use a card that earns bonuses at grocery stores to maximize your purchase. The same applies at office supply stores.
Since several credit cards offer annual travel credits, consider these as well. Using these credits can be a way to offset your travel costs when staying at Airbnb, since you can’t transfer your points to Airbnb for award bookings.
Airbnb is a great lodging option for trips, as the platform represents a nice alternative to traditional hotels. I’ve personally stayed in dozens of Airbnbs throughout my travels and usually favor it over a chain hotel.
In addition to the unique properties you can book, there are also some solid credit card options that allow you to earn a decent haul of points or cash back. Just remember to review each listing’s cancellation policy and reviews carefully before booking.
Additional reporting by Juan Ruiz and Ryan Smith.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, please click here.
Featured photo courtesy of Airbnb.
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