Renting a home this summer? Here’s your guide to redeeming credit card points for Airbnb

Jun 18, 2020

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Booking a place through Airbnb is frequently my lodging accommodation of choice. Between the extra space, comforts of home and unique properties across the platform, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular option for vacationers. 

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As the coronavirus pandemic lives on, it’s easy to find properties that have enough personal space in our era of social distancing. Since you’re reading TPG, you must be wondering — is it possible to redeem credit card points for Airbnb stays? The answer is yes, it is. However, using points for Airbnb isn’t something I typically would recommend. 

Let’s dive in to find out what your options are. 

In This Post

Redeeming points for Airbnb properties 

A view from an Airbnb near Joshua Tree National Park (Photo by Chris Dong / The Points Guy)
A view from an Airbnb near Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. (Photo by Chris Dong / The Points Guy)

The first thing that you should know is that unlike all of the major hotel chains, Airbnb does not have a loyalty program. No matter how often you book through Airbnb, you will never earn a free stay directly through the platform. However, you can still leverage your credit card earnings and points. 

Related reading: Best credit cards to book Airbnb stays

Using a credit card travel portal 

Airbnb is a platform — not an actual accommodation — so it usually isn’t possible to use credit card points to directly book an Airbnb through a travel portal such as Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel or Amex Travel

However, some individual Airbnb properties are actually listed on other websites besides Airbnb. For instance, you can often find some homes and boutique hotels listed by professional property managers via online travel agencies, including the major credit card travel portals. 

Related reading: How to negotiate your Airbnb rate

In this case, you’ll be able to use the travel portal of your choice to book the property and redeem points that are in your account. 

For Chase fans, when you book travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal using your Chase Sapphire Reserve, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, each point is worth 1.25 cents each. The information for the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit 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.

Using points to “erase” an Airbnb purchase

(Image courtesy of Capital One)

Another option to redeem your credit card points for Airbnb is to simply erase a purchase as a statement credit. This can be a valuable option for many fixed-point value credit card programs. 

For instance, while you can transfer miles to airline and hotel partners, Capital One also makes it easy to redeem miles for travel purchases up to 90 days after they are made. With just a few clicks, you can erase travel purchases directly from your statement. 

Related reading: Best Capital One cards 

Using points to buy Airbnb gift cards

Some credit card programs feature Airbnb gift cards as a potential redemption option. For Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s a 1 point for 1 cent conversion for gift cards. This isn’t a bad redemption opportunity, but your points could be worth more when transferring to airline and hotel partners — or with some cards, by using the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Using your card’s travel credits 

Airbnb in Sri Lanka (Photo by Chris Dong / The Points Guy)
An Airbnb in Sri Lanka. (Photo by Chris Dong / The Points Guy)

While not exactly points, if your card comes with a travel credit, don’t forget that you may be able to use it for Airbnb stays. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve, for instance, comes with a travel credit of $300 each account anniversary year and is automatically applied to an extensive range of travel costs, including Airbnb stays.

Should you redeem points for Airbnb stays? 

Generally, I wouldn’t recommend it, but there are cases where it can make sense. This includes using points to erase a purchase or booking an Airbnb property that you can find through a credit card travel portal. 

Personally, I’d prefer to pay in cash and use a card that gets you a category bonus for Airbnb purchases, including the American Express® Green Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card.

Then, I’d redeem those credit card points for airfare or other more lucrative travel options.

The information for the Wells Fargo Propel 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.

Paying with cash? Consider these cards

(Photo courtesy of Airnbnb)
(Photo courtesy of 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. 

My preferred card for Airbnb purchases is the Amex Green Card. You get 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar on the broad category of travel which includes things from flights, car rentals, hotels, and home rentals (including Airbnb). Those 3x points equate to a 6% return based on TPG valuations. You’ll also get 3x on restaurant purchases and 3x on transit including ride shares, subway swipes, and tolls. The card comes with a $150 annual fee (see rates and fees). 

Another great option is to buy Airbnb gift cards from an office supply store with the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card. Going this route will earn you 5% cash back (on the first $25,000 in purchases each account anniversary year) or 5x Ultimate Rewards points when paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.  

The information for the Chase Ink Business Cash has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

While it is possible, redeeming credit card points for Airbnb stays isn’t the most lucrative way to use your hard-earned rewards. If you have points with a transferable currency — such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards — it may make more sense to transfer and use those points towards higher value redemptions. 

However, if you’re just sitting on a pile of credit card points, know that you can redeem them for Airbnb stays too.

Featured photo courtesy of Airbnb

For rates and fees of the Amex Green, please click here.

2019 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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