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Earn bonus points: VRBO home rentals now sometimes code as travel

Sept. 18, 2018
3 min read
Rent a Home
Earn bonus points: VRBO home rentals now sometimes code as travel
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When you're traveling with a family or a large group, it can sometimes be less expensive to book a whole home rather than multiple hotel rooms. In fact, for a big multi-generational ski trip that we have planned for this winter, we recently booked a home in Colorado rated for 21 people, as it was significantly cheaper than booking the six or seven hotel rooms per night that this group would have otherwise needed.

Home rentals can save large groups over individual hotel rooms. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

We made our ski vacation home booking through VRBO, but since HomeAway acquired VRBO years ago, the credit card charge posted as a $1,715 charge from HomeAway. I wasn't sure that the charge would code as travel, but I put it on my Chase Sapphire Reserve just in case.

Historically, VRBO/HomeAway charges did not code as travel, but instead coded as "real estate" or "property management". This means those charges previously did not earn 3 points per dollar on the Sapphire Reserve or 2 points per dollar on the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the travel bonus category, but instead would earn just 1 point per dollar.

I hadn't checked my online Chase account see how many points the home rental charge would earn until I was given a tip yesterday in the TPG Family Facebook Group. A traveler in the group noticed they were now earning 3 points per dollar on their Sapphire Reserve courtesy of a recent VRBO charge.

Sure enough, I checked my own recent VRBO/HomeAway charge and it also coded as travel and will award us 3 points per dollar, thanks to putting the amount on my Sapphire Reserve.

This recent change in how VRBO codes home rentals is great news for families who need more space (and like to earn bonus points) when they travel. Should you find the home you need via Airbnb, rest assured that those charges already coded as travel. If you're thinking about booking a home for your family's next trip, here are tips for booking home rentals.

Update: Based on the comments, it seems that some people are seeing their VRBO charges coded as travel, while others are not. Individual owners renting out their homes seem to charge as travel more frequently than property management companies who manage many rentals, so 'your mileage may vary'.