Airbnb: Rack up rewards on your stays using these credit cards
Host of the podcast Speech Bubble
Hotels can be expensive and don't always give you the true flavor of a given destination the way staying at a residence might.
This is why Airbnb is so popular and credit card brands have started recognizing that popularity, incorporating Airbnb into their travel reward schemes in the same way they do for hotels and flights.
It probably won’t be long before Airbnb develops its own credit card with unique rewards, but until then, these cards are the best way to maximize your Airbnb stays.
See related: Best travel credit cards
Top Airbnb rewards-earning options
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
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, including Airbnb.
The greatest advantages of this card – besides earning 3 points per dollar spent on some popular spending categories – are that there's no point limit or expiration, no annual fee and no rotating categories that you constantly have to remind yourself to activate. You get three times the points in the relevant categories all the time without restriction.
With travel – including Airbnb stays – and transit being one of those prominent categories, the card makes sure there's also no foreign currency conversion fee, so buying things abroad is less expensive.
If that weren't enough, here's what you also get:
- 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in.
- 3 points per dollar spent on popular streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Sirius XM and Spotify Premium.
- 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else.
- No annual fee.
- No points limit or expiration.
- Premium access to presale tickets, offers and protections from American Express.
Tip: “Getting 3 points per dollar on Airbnb stays is essentially a 3 percent rebate on your lodging when you redeem your points, which is top of the market on Airbnb stays for a no-annual-fee card,” says Adam Jusko, founder and CEO of ProudMoney.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Before the Wells Fargo Propel AmEx card debuted, Chase Sapphire Reserve was the go-to credit card option for Airbnb fans.
Though equipped with fewer spending categories offering three times the points and carrying a large annual fee of $450, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card are more specifically geared toward frequent travelers. At the same time, that large annual fee is offset by a $300 annual credit that will reimburse any travel expense – including Airbnb.
Add to that a $100 credit covering the application to Global Entry/TSA Precheck and the annual fee is almost completely offset in the first year and then only $150 after that when factoring in the annual travel credit.
Meanwhile, there are even more travel benefits:
- 3 points per dollar spent on dining and travel.
- Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select Membership.
- Primary car rental insurance.
- Roadside assistance.
- Lost luggage reimbursement.
Bank of America Premium Rewards card
While the points per dollar offered by Bank of America Premium Rewards on travel and Airbnb are one fewer than the credit cards above, the sign-up bonus and up to $200 in annual statement credits make it a decent option, even with less flexibility on what qualifies as a credit than the credit cards above.
This card should absolutely move to the top of your list if you are already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. That designation automatically increases your return even higher than what the other credit cards above offer on travel and dining – nearly a whopping 4 points.
Combine that with a generous sign-up bonus and Bank of America Premium Rewards is one of the most potent rewards cards for preferred rewards clients.
- Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days ($500).
- 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel purchases, including Airbnb.
- 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else.
- Get up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards, including $100 for incidental spending and $100 toward a TSA Precheck/Global Entry application.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn up to 3.5 points per $1 on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per $1 on all other purchases.
- $95 annual fee.
Tip: “I travel the globe for a living, and so booking trips with a flexible card that helps me earn maximum rewards is always one of my highest priorities. My top choice is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card,” says Lee Abbamonte, international travel expert and the youngest American to have visited every country in the world, plus the North and South Poles.
High rewards-earning options
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards is very similar to Bank of America's Premium Rewards card, right down to the $95 annual fee (although it doesn't kick in until after the first year) without the additional benefits afforded to Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients.
However, Capital One Venture Rewards offers 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase, not just travel and dining.
- Earn 50,000 travel miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months – equaling $500 in travel credit.
- Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day.
- Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases, including Airbnb.
- No annual fee for the first year, $95 after that.
- No foreign transaction fees.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard also offers 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, with a slightly lower annual fee and a larger sign-up bonus.
One aspect that sets it further apart from its competition is the fact that you get 5 percent of your miles back every year every time you redeem, so the end is never quite the end for your previously spent miles for gift card cards, merchandise and statement credits.
In addition, you also get:
- 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, including Airbnb.
- 60,000-mile sign-up bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days ($600).
- Miles can be redeemed at 1 cent per mile for a statement credit.
- Minimum redemption starts at 10,000 miles ($100).
- $89 annual fee.
Discover it® Miles
Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list, Discover it Miles does give you much more freedom in how you can manage your points and account.
You can redeem miles in any amount, your miles don't expire even if you close your account and 1 percent of your miles can be converted directly into cash for your bank account.
Discover it Miles offers:
- 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on every purchase (doubled in the first year).
- Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, including Airbnb.
- Miles can be converted into cash at rate of 1 mile per cent, and transferred directly into your bank account.
- Redeem miles in any amount.
- Miles never expire and you don't lose them even when you close your account.
- No late payment fee or penalty APR on your first late payment.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- No annual fee.
Tip: “New applicants for Discover it Miles also get an unlimited match of points during their first year of card use, which is extremely lucrative,” says Ernest Shahbazian, founder and owner of Trip Astute.
- Rewards cards target sharing services, and their millennial fans – As millennials embrace the sharing economy, card issuers are rolling out new cards or upgrading their rewards programs to offer benefits for using such services ...
- Yours, mine and ours: How and when to share credit card rewards – Sharing assets may be essential in a relationship, but it’s not always easy, especially when it comes to sharing credit card rewards ...
- How to upgrade your travel experience with luxury hotel collections – Luxury hotel collections associated with certain travel credit cards offer perks like free room upgrades and meals or late checkout. Here's how these hotel collections work and what cards you can use to unlock their benefits ...