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