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Airbnb doesn’t have its own loyalty program, but frequent travelers can still earn and redeem points for their stays. It’s just not the conventional route that you might expect from a more traditional hotel.
That said, using Airbnb can be a bit of a shift for loyalty program members who are hoping to earn and burn rewards on overnight stays. For starters, there’s no such thing as an Airbnb credit card — despite most other major hotels having branded credit cards. However, there are plenty of excellent credit cards to use for Airbnb that don’t actually carry its brand name.
Despite Airbnb not having a loyalty program at all, an Airbnb stay still offers plenty of ways to spend or earn points and miles from the travel credit cards you might already have. Here are the best ways to earn and redeem points on Airbnb stays.
How to redeem points and miles on Airbnb stays
If you already have a nice collection of points and miles accumulated, good news: You may be able to redeem them for Airbnb stays. Some rewards credit cards allow you to book Airbnb nights (which count as travel purchases) with your credit card points.
Capital One rewards for Airbnb stays
With the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, for example, you can book a stay on Airbnb and pay with your card, then redeem points for a statement credit, effectively erasing all or part of the cost from the bill after the charge posts to your account.
Chase Ultimate Rewards® for Airbnb stays
Though you aren’t able to book directly with Airbnb using Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you can use those points for statement credit using the Pay Yourself Back feature.
This redemption option was rolled out in the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic to offer Chase Sapphire cardholders more flexibility to redeem their points when they weren't traveling, but now it offers statement credits for certain purchases including Airbnb.
Through Sept. 30, 2022, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem points through Pay Yourself Back at a value of 1.5 cents each, applied as a statement credit. Members with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card who redeem points through Pay Yourself Back will get a value of 1.25 cents per point applied as a statement credit.
So you can book on Airbnb and get cash back as a statement credit — not a bad deal. Though keep in mind that these points can be worth from 2.6 cents to 1.9 cents by strategically transferring to Chase partners (based on our most recent valuations), so you're sacrificing some value for the simplicity of cash back.
Airline miles for Airbnb stays
Want to use airline miles to book? There aren’t a lot of options, as most airlines prefer to partner with hotels, but if you have United MileagePlus award miles, you can use the MileagePlus X app to buy an Airbnb gift card in any amount from $25 to $500 (including the exact amount of your booking) using a credit card or award miles. The e-gift card will be available to use immediately. If your plans change, the cancellation policy states that any refund due will go back on the e-gift card.
While using points on gift cards isn't often a great use of points in terms of value, it may be right for you compared with other options, like if you don’t plan on doing air travel anytime soon.
» Learn more: 3 ways to pay for Airbnb with credit card rewards
How to earn points and miles on Airbnb stays
If you want to earn points and miles instead of spend them when booking on Airbnb, there are multiple ways to do just that, starting with your favorite airline or frequent flyer program.
Leverage airline partnerships
Several airlines offer miles for Airbnb bookings made through their dedicated platforms.
Delta: Earn 1 mile per $1 spent with Airbnb on all qualifying stays worldwide.
British Airways: Collect 2 Avios per £1/€1/$1 spend. If you’re new to Airbnb, you'll collect 6 Avios per £1/€1/$1 spend as a welcome bonus. You’ll earn even more when you book Airbnb Experiences, accruing 3 Avios for every £1/€1/$1 spent on Airbnb Experiences.
To earn miles, book directly through the booking platform of the airline you’d like to earn with, type in your frequent flyer number and book your Airbnb reservation.
Spend on a smart travel credit card
Prefer to focus on credit card points instead of airline miles? Start with a travel rewards card to earn points on every purchase. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, offers 2x points on all travel purchases, including Airbnb bookings.
Save by purchasing discounted Airbnb gift cards
To earn even more, look for cards that offer bonus spending categories at places that sell Airbnb gift cards, like grocery stores or office supply stores. With some cards, these are permanent categories. The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, for example, offers 5% or 5x points at office supply stores and the American Express® Gold Card offers 4x points at U.S. supermarkets year-round. Terms apply.
If you purchase Airbnb gift cards at these types of retailers instead of charging your booking directly to a rewards card, you could earn more points. Other reward cards, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠, feature revolving bonus categories that change throughout the year and usually include grocery stores and other retailers.
If you hold the Target REDcard™ Credit Card, you’ll get an automatic 5% discount at checkout on all qualifying purchases, which includes gift cards. Since Target typically sells Airbnb gift cards, that’s a straightforward way to only pay $95 for a $100 gift card.
Time it right with promotions
And some of these stores even sell discounted gift cards. During certain times of year, you might find them sold at a 10% discount. If you can pair credit cards that offer bonus rewards at those retailers with an already discounted gift card, you could see big savings.
Be sure to double-check the terms and conditions of the credit card to ensure that gift card purchases are allowed for bonus points.
United flyers have more ways to earn points
You can occasionally double the number of points and miles you earn by purchasing an e-gift card on the United MileagePlus X app. You’ll earn 2x United MileagePlus miles for every dollar you spend on Airbnb gift cards on the app, plus, if you use a travel rewards card, you’ll earn points on it, too.
Extra bonus? If you have a United co-branded credit card like the United℠ Explorer Card, you’ll automatically earn 25% more United miles on every in-app purchase. You can use the digital gift card right away.
You can stack some of these methods to earn even more points and miles. For example, use a travel rewards credit card to purchase an Airbnb gift card, then use the gift card to book on Delta’s, Qantas’ or British Airways’ dedicated shopping portals.
Final thoughts on Airbnb + rewards
If you’re opting for Airbnb stays instead of hotels for upcoming travel, know that there are still ways to pay for your nights using points and miles — and even more ways to earn them.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card