How to Use Credit Card Points on Airbnbs
In most cases, Airbnb stays are more affordable than hotels. Still, it certainly helps to have accompanying discounts to reduce your stay’s overall cost. If you can use credit card points for Airbnb stays then you will save money in the long run
Below is a detailed explanation of how to spend Airbnb travel credits and access benefits with certain credit cards.
Using a Credit Card Travel Portal
Booking plane rides and hotel accommodations through your card’s travel portal can earn you some points (including miles). Later, you can utilize these air miles and hotel points to gain special perks, like gift cards or discounted stays.
Because Airbnb isn’t an actual hotel, your travel portal’s point-gain system doesn’t directly apply to it. This means you can’t book an Airbnb through your card’s travel portal. Hence, you won’t get any points when you pay for an Airbnb stay.
However, you can still find ways to pay for your Airbnb stay using previous points earned through travel portal spending.
Using Points to ‘Pay’ for an Airbnb Purchase
Again, since Airbnb doesn’t count as hotel accommodation, you can’t use your points to secure a discounted stay. This distinction doesn’t mean you can’t use your points towards an Airbnb stay—it just complicates the process.
One way to get around this barrier is to look into alternative platforms that also offer the exact property that’s listed on Airbnb. As long as this alternate platform is listed in your card’s travel portal, you can easily use points to pay for your stay.
Another great way to pay for an Airbnb with points is by ‘erasing’ your Airbnb-related purchase through a statement credit offer. This will allow you to erase the purchase and pass it off as a statement credit, which can be paid off in points. Just be sure to follow things up through online banking after the purchase, or else your point payments might not apply.
To use this option, you will have to make sure your credit card supports statement credits. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card, for example, has a handy ‘Pay Yourself Back’ option that’s easy to use. Through the card’s program, you can purchase Airbnb gift cards using points.
Best Credit Cards of March 2024
Using Points to Buy Airbnb Gift Cards
Let’s take a deeper look into the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit card option. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best cards to use for purchasing Airbnb gift cards.
Each point will grant you 1.5 cents off of an Airbnb gift card purchase with this credit card. For example, you’ll need 13,332 points for a $200 Airbnb gift card. That’s because $200 amounts to 20,000 cents. So, if each point grants you 1.5 cents, you’ll only need 13,332 points for 20,000 cents.
Another popular option is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This card will allow you to redeem 1.25 cents for every point spent. The discount is less than what the Reserve card would get you, but it is still an excellent option for Airbnb discounts.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is another popular option. This card will grant you 1 cent per point.
Remember that points only work at a select range of gift card stores. Target is one of the more common retailers that accepts points, but you can always conduct a quick Google search for convenient alternatives.
Grocery stores are a great option because they are listed as official ‘Pay Yourself Back’ partners. Most grocery shops sell Airbnb gift cards. So, if you find a suitable grocery store nearby, it will be easy to buy an Airbnb gift card with your credit card points.
Using Your Card’s Travel Credits
While your card’s travel portal doesn’t offer discounts on Airbnb stays, some cards come with pre-loaded travel credits that can be spent on Airbnb accommodation.
Again, the Chase Sapphire Reserve grants the best privileges here. On your annual account opening anniversary, you’ll be granted a travel credit worth $300. You can spend this amount on various travel costs. Luckily, this includes Airbnb stays across the world.
Should You Redeem Points for Airbnb Stays?
So, you definitely can redeem points for Airbnb stays. However, this doesn’t mean you necessarily should. In most cases, using points for an Airbnb stay is not the most practical use of your points.
Many travelers prefer to spend their points to get discounts on air travel. Airbnb rates can be negotiated, but the cost of plane tickets cannot.
Try to get a discount on your Airbnb without having to spend points. Then, you can use the travel credit not applied to Airbnb on airfare and related services.
But, if you’d like to trade in points for an Airbnb stay, go for the gift card option. Or, if you’d rather pay in cash for your stay, consider investing in a card that provides benefits on Airbnb purchases. The American Express Green Card is a popular option. Of course, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is, too.
Paying with Cash? Consider These Cards
Here are some excellent card options to consider for your Airbnb expenditures:
Using the Amex Green Card can earn you three times the membership rewards points per dollar when you spend on Airbnb. This is because Airbnb stays fall under the “home rental” category of this card’s policy.
Ultimately, you’ll benefit from a 6% return. Remember that you’ll also be paying a $150 annual fee for this card. So, it may only be worth it if you know you are going to be making lots of Airbnb stays to rack up the points.
The Chase Ink Business Cash card doesn’t allow you to earn points directly for making Airbnb reservations. Instead, you’ll need to buy an Airbnb gift card to get the points and discounts.
But, there is a high reward for the extra hassle. You’ll get 5x Ultimate Rewards points through this method. The same applies to Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.
If you’re only using the Chase Ink Business Cash card, you can qualify for a 5% cashback bonus. This offer is valid for up to a $25,000 expenditure per year. Note that the year starts on your account opening anniversary.
Having the right card can earn you points and allow you to use points for your Airbnb stays. However, most cards don’t include Airbnb in their travel portal. So, you’ll need to purchase Airbnb gift cards with points instead. Depending on your credit card and travel habits, this extra effort may be worth it and make your travels more affordable.
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