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

Oct. 21, 2021
8 min read
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Booking through Airbnb is frequently my lodging accommodation of choice. Between the extra space you can stake out compared to an average hotel room, the comforts of home, and one-of-a-kind properties across the platform, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular option for vacationers.

Since you’re reading TPG, however, you must be wondering — is it possible to redeem credit card points for Airbnb stays? The answer is yes, it is. Let’s dive in to find out what your options are.

This magical Airbnb near Atlanta will bring all your childhood dreams to life. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)

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Redeeming points for Airbnb properties

Enjoy Santorini living in this picturesque Airbnb. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)

The first thing you should know is that, unlike many major hotel chains, Airbnb does not have a loyalty program. No matter how often you book through Airbnb, you won't earn a free stay directly through the platform. However, you can still leverage your credit card earnings and points to help offset the cost of an Airbnb booking. Here are some of the top strategies for doing so.

Limited time only: Use Chase Pay Yourself Back for Airbnb purchases

If you carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem your points through Chase's Pay Yourself Back (PYB) tool at a rate of 1.25 or 1.5 cents, respectively for Airbnb purchases — now through Mar. 31, 2022.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Pay Yourself Back is simple and easy to use. Pay for your Airbnb with your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Then the eligible transaction should show up in your Chase portal under "recent purchases within the past 90 days." Enter the number of points you'd like to redeem, and you should receive a statement credit within three business days.

Thanks to this option, using PYB for an Airbnb purchase is pretty similar to redeeming Chase points directly through the issuer's travel portal, and the advantageous rates you get with either the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve make this a really attractive option for saving money on a stay.

Use 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 or Amex Travel.

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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. In these cases, you should be able to use the travel portal of your choice to book the property and redeem points in your account.

Eat, pray and love in this secluded villa in Bali. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)

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.

Simply search for properties through the Chase portal and then opt to use points rather than paying money when you check out.

Related: How to negotiate your Airbnb rate

Using points or miles to ‘pay’ for an Airbnb purchase

(Screenshot courtesy of Capital One)

(Screenshot courtesy of Capital One)

Another option to use your credit card points or miles for Airbnb is to simply pay for the purchase with your card and then “redeem” your points for a statement credit against the charge. 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. On the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can eliminate travel purchases directly from your statement within a few clicks.

Use points to buy Airbnb gift cards

Use your Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1 cent each for gift cards such as Airbnb. (Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

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 terrible 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

Check out this gorgeous Airbnb Luxe stay in Barcelona. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)

While not exactly using points, if your card comes with a travel statement 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 up to $300 each account anniversary year, which 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 redeeming points for Airbnb stays, but there are cases where it can make sense. This includes using Chase's PYB tool, redeeming points to eliminate 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, such as the American Express® Green Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Then, I’d redeem those card points for airfare or other more lucrative travel options.

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.

Paying with cash? Consider these cards

It’s not often that you can say you’ve stayed in a castle. This property is located in the Loire Valley of France. (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 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the broad category of travel, which includes flights, car rentals, hotels, and home rentals (including Airbnb). 3x equates to a 6% return based on TPG valuations. You’ll also get 3x on restaurant purchases and 3x on transit, including ride-sharing services, 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 combined purchases each account anniversary year) or 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent when paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. That's a whopping 10% return on spending based on TPG's current valuations.

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 toward higher value redemptions.

However, if you’re sitting on a pile of credit card points, know that you can redeem them for Airbnb stays too, and that doing so might help you save money for your next adventure.

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

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Airbnb.)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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