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Best credit cards for Airbnb

If you choose a homestay for your pandemic-era travel, these cards can help you earn extra rewards and cut your trip expenses

Summary

Credit card issuers reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way they’ve long doled out rewards for hotels and other travel expenses. These are the best cards on the market for homestays like Airbnb.

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After two years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps you decide it’s finally time to take a vacation. Of course, the idea of exploring new sites and attractions also begs the question, where will you stay?

If the idea of staying at a hotel, where you must trust your experience to a faceless corporation, unnerves you, you may prefer homestay sites like Airbnb and Vrbo (provided you follow their party guidelines). In fact, credit card issuers now reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way they’ve long doled out rewards for other hotel expenses.

So, what are the best credit cards to use for for Airbnb? Issuers are becoming more generous with homestay benefits and rewards but not all travel credit cards have them. Don’t worry – we’ve scoured the scene to provide this list of the best cards for Airbnb.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express card: Best for high rewards

Why we picked it: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card* includes arguably one of the highest rates of return on points for some of the most popular redemption categories out there. Best of all: Its travel category includes homestays like Airbnb and Vrbo, which you can earn year-round and with no spending cap.

The greatest advantages of this card, besides earning 3 points for each dollar spent on popular spending categories – dining, travel, transit, gas station purchases and select streaming services – are that there are no point limits or expirations, no annual fee and no rotating categories that you have to remind yourself to activate.

Pros

  • 20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months
  • No annual fee
  • Flexible redemption options
  • Access to Amex presale tickets where available

Cons

  • Cannot transfer points to travel partners
  • Must redeem flights through Go Far Rewards

Who should apply: Wells Fargo loyalists will like this card. Anyone who wants to earn high rewards specifically on Airbnb purchases should also apply.

Who should skip: If you want to earn travel points with a more well-established loyalty program, you should steer clear of this card. Those who are into travel credit cards and like to transfer points to travel partners are also not good candidates for this choice.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus

Why we picked it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card remains a mainstay in the travel card space. Its notable sign-up bonus of 60,000 points (when you spend $4,000 in your first three months) is worth $900 when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

The card’s biggest Airbnb benefit is its $300 annual travel credit that applies to most travel purchases, including Airbnb. After you’ve used it up, the bonus travel categories will kick in. The card earns great rewards – 10X points on hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 5X points on Chase Ultimate Rewards airfare, 3X points on travel and restaurants and 1X on general purchases.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass Select membership (access 1,300+ lounges worldwide)
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck (every four years)
  • Numerous travel insurances (baggage delay insurance, trip delay insurance, etc.)

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Lower rewards value for merchandise

Who should apply: Cardholders who’ve been eyeing premium travel cards: This is your sign to apply for this card. Anyone who wants to earn serious rewards, especially the valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and doesn’t mind the annual fee, won’t be disappointed.

Who should skip: If you don’t consider yourself a frequent traveler and you’re already wincing at the annual fee, you should consider a different card.

Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card: Best for bonus rewards

Why we picked it: While the points per dollar offered by Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card on travel and Airbnb are fewer than those mentioned above, the sign-up bonus and up to $200 in annual statement credits make it a decent option.

For existing Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients, this card should absolutely move to the top of your list. That designation automatically increases your return to higher than what the other credit cards offer on travel and dining – you can get a rewards bonus of up to 75%. Other than the welcome bonus, the card gives 2X points on travel (including Airbnb) and dining and 1.5X points on other purchases.

Pros

  • Up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards (for airline incidentals and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck)
  • Various travel insurances (baggage delay insurance, roadside dispatch, etc.)
  • Flexible redemption options

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Cannot transfer points to travel partners

Who should apply: Current Bank of America account holders should definitely apply for the up-to-75% rewards boost. If you like traveling with lots of insurance benefits (just in case), this card could be a great fit.

Who should skip: Anyone with checking, savings or investment accounts with other banks may find this card’s rewards too low. If you want travel points with more redemptions options (like transferring to other loyalty partners), you should also look elsewhere.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for cash back

Why we picked it: Yes, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card* seems like it should stay on the best credit cards for online shopping list. However, Amazon offers Airbnb gift cards and the Amazon Prime Rewards card gives you 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases as long as you have a Prime membership, which essentially acts as the annual fee ($139).

Just purchase an Airbnb gift card from Amazon with the card (Amazon offers gift cards up to $500), and it’s as if you are getting 5% cash back for your Airbnb stay when you apply the gift card towards it. It’s the highest rate on this list, Amazon or not.

Pros

  • 5% cash back on Whole Foods and 2% cash back on restaurant, gas station and drugstore purchases
  • $150 Amazon.com gift card upon approval
  • Perks like car rental insurance, purchase protection, etc.
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • $139 per year for Amazon membership

Who should apply: Current Amazon Prime account holders will love this card for its high cash back rate on Amazon.com purchases. Though a bit indirect, it earns the highest rewards on Airbnb purchases on this list, so Airbnb enthusiasts may enjoy it.

Who should skip: If that annual cost for an Amazon membership feels out of range, you can opt for other cards. Infrequent Amazon customers will also not find a lot of value with this one.

Discover it Miles: Best no-annual-fee option

Why we picked it: Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list, the Discover it® Miles gives you much more freedom in how you can manage your points and account. You’ll earn 1.5X miles on all of your general purchases.

You can redeem miles in any quantity, your miles don’t expire even after you close your account and you can earn an unlimited number of points. The Discover it Miles’ sign-up bonus is also hard to beat – it matches all the miles you earn at the end of your first year. Essentially, you’ll earn 3X miles on all your spending during your first year.

Pros

  • Flexible redemption options
  • May credit past travel purchases to your account
  • Cashback Match at end of first year
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Cannot transfer miles to airline loyalty programs

Who should apply: Occasional travelers who don’t feel compelled to join a major loyalty program will enjoy the card. Anyone who likes the convenience of earning flat-rate rewards, as opposed to keeping track of any rotating or bonus categories, should also apply.

Who should skip: Cardholders looking for a card that brings great value beyond the first year should skip. If you’d prefer to earn higher rewards at a faster rate, you can skip this one.

Comparing the best cards for Airbnb

Based on the cards on the list, Airbnb benefits come in all sorts of forms: points, miles, cash back and the like. Here are all the cards and their respective Airbnb benefits side by side.

CardAirbnb rewardsAnnual fee
Wells Fargo Propel American Express card3X points on travel$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve3X points on travel$550
Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card2X points on travel$95
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card5% back on Amazon.com purchases (including Airbnb gift cards)$0 ($139 Amazon Prime membership required)
Discover it Miles1.5X miles on general purchases$0

How to choose an Airbnb credit card

Of course, many cards with bonus travel categories may offer rewards on Airbnb purchases, but how do you go about choosing the right one for you? Ask yourself the following questions to help make your decision easier:

  • Can you fit an annual fee in your budget? If the answer is yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will provide generous rewards and perks that typically make up for the annual fee. If not, the other no-annual-fee credit cards on this list will also provide great rewards on your Airbnb purchases.
  • Which do you prefer, points or miles or even cash back?  The debate between points or miles or cash back is a tale as old as time, but in the end it comes down to preference. Deciding which rewards type you prefer will help narrow down which card suits you best.
  • Do you travel often? If you spend more time in Airbnbs than your own place and make travel purchases often, one of the more luxurious cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, will suit you better. If you don’t travel much (more than once a year), one of the no-annual-fee cards like the Discover it Miles card or the Wells Fargo Propel card will still earn you solid rewards during the times you stay home.

Bottom line

No matter what card you choose from this list, you’ll gain some rewards from your Airbnb purchases. For Airbnb fans, we recommend one of the more premium travel cards to truly maximize your purchases. For casual travelers, one of the flat-rate earning cards will bring you rewards quicker than you think.

*All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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