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Travel

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.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The Bank of America content was last updated on March 22, 2021.

Many of us are avoiding travel during the pandemic.

But if you have to shelter in place under quarantine once you get to your destination, wouldn’t you rather do it in an environment that at least seems more within your control?

If the choice is between a hotel where you must trust your experience to a faceless corporation or a local host you can talk to through homestay sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, the latter may be the better option for these times (provided you don’t violate their party guidelines).

Whatever option you choose, credit card issuers now reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way they’ve long doled out rewards for and other hotel expenses.

These are the best cards on the market for homestays like Airbnb.

See related: Strategies for planning 2021 travel

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option

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 homestays like Airbnb and Vrbo.

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 all homestays – and transit being one of those prominent categories.

The card also charges 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 travel and transit purchases
  • 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in
  • 3 points per dollar spent on gas and rideshares
  • 3 points per dollar spent on select 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
  • 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus

Before the Wells Fargo Propel card debuted, Chase Sapphire Reserve was the go-to credit card option for Airbnb fans. It offers a 60,000-point introductory bonus when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of membership. Those points are worth up to $900 when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Though equipped with fewer spending categories offering 3X points (after earning your $300 travel credit) and carrying a large annual fee of $550, 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. And from June 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases count toward the travel credit.

Add to that a $100 credit covering the application to Global Entry/TSA Precheck every four years and the annual fee is almost completely offset in the first year.

Meanwhile, there are even more travel benefits:

  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth up to $900 in travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel (excluding purchases covered by the $300 travel credit)
  • 3 points per dollar spent on dining (including delivery and takeout) and travel; $1,000 in grocery purchases, including eligible pick-up and delivery services, from Nov. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021
  • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select Membership
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement

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

While the points per dollar offered by Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card on travel and Airbnb are 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 – you can get a rewards bonus of up to 75%.

Combine that with a generous sign-up bonus and the Bank of America Premium Rewards is one of the most potent rewards cards for Preferred Rewards clients.

The card includes:

  • Introductory bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days (worth up to $500 in free travel)
  • 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel purchases, including Airbnb and Vrbo
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else
  • Get up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards, including up to $100 in airline incidental statement credits per year and up to a $100 statement credit toward a TSA Precheck/Global Entry application every four years
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn up to 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

See related: Travel loyalty programs offer extended perks in pandemic

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles option

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is remarkably similar to Bank of America’s Premium Rewards card, right down to the $95 annual fee, but 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 100,000 miles after you spend $20,000 in purchases in the first 12 months, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months – equaling $1,000 or $500 in travel credit, respectively
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day
  • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases, including Airbnb
  • $95 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping

You may be wondering why the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is on a list highlighting the best credit cards for AirBnb, Vrbo and other homestays.

Shouldn’t this card be limited to the “best credit cards for online shopping” list? Not when 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 ($119).

Just purchase an AirBnb gift card from Amazon with the card, 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.

You’ll receive the following additional benefits:

  • 5% cash back on Whole Foods and Amazon purchases (with Prime membership)
  • 2% cash back on purchases at drugstores, gas stations and restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • A $100 Amazon gift card upon credit card application approval
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $500,000 travel accident insurance
  • $3,000 per passenger lost luggage reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance of up to $100 a day for three days
  • Extended warranty coverage for an additional year

See related: How to pay off Amazon purchases over time

Discover it® Miles: Best no-annual-fee option

Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list, Discover it Miles gives 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% 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 (matched at the end of the first year)
  • Miles can be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, including Airbnb, gas stations and restaurants.
  • Miles can be converted into cash at rate of 1 cent per mile 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, up to $40 thereafter
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR after that)

*All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express card 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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