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Are you planning to book your next vacation at an Airbnb? You can get the most out of your trip by using the best Airbnb credit cards to pay for your stay. Then purchase gas, call an Uber or pay for restaurants and entertainment with the best travel credit cards to earn cash back during your vacation.
Let our complete guide to Airbnb credit cards show you how to spend your travel rewards wisely and use the right credit cards to maximize your points during your trip.
Start strong by booking your Airbnb stay with top travel rewards cards
It might be a no-brainer to book flights using frequent flyer miles. But did you know you can use your favorite travel rewards credit cards to pay for your Airbnb stay?
You can’t redeem your travel rewards points directly for an Airbnb stay. But Airbnb is one of the only home-share platforms that most credit card companies consider to be part of the “travel” category when it comes to bonus points. VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and other private vacation rental services may not earn bonus points as part of the travel spending category.
Book your Airbnb stay with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and earn 2X miles. Redeem the points as a statement credit after you pay for the Airbnb, and it’s like getting part of your stay for free.
New cardholders may earn enough points to pay for their whole Airbnb stay – and then some. Venture Rewards gives you 50,000 travel miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. That’s equal to $500 in travel credit.
The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year with Capital One Venture Rewards, making it a great value for frequent travelers.
CapitalOne Venture Rewards isn’t your only choice in Airbnb credit cards. Consider these great travel rewards cards to earn bonus points on your Airbnb stays.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers 2X points on Airbnb stays, as well as other travel categories and restaurant spending. Like Capital One Venture Rewards, Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, and a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal $625, so the sign-up bonus is higher, albeit with a higher initial spend, than the Capital One card offers.
You may be tempted to use those rewards to purchase Airbnb gift cards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. That’s not the best use of your points though. You’ll only get $.01 per point.
Book your Airbnb stay with your Chase card to rack up those 2X points and redeem your rewards on airfare or an experience through the portal, instead.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Another great Chase Airbnb card is Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers 3X points on all travel purchases after earning $300 in travel credit, including Airbnb and Uber. You also get $300 in annual travel credits you can spend on any travel-related purchases, making this card a great value.
Boasting a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after $4,000 in purchases in the first three months, Sapphire Reserve is for big spenders, with a $450 annual fee.
However, if you take advantage of the Global Entry / TSA PreCheck credit (up to a $100 value every five years) plus the $300 travel credit, that annual fee is essentially reduced to $130/year. ($100 divided by five years = $20/year for Global Entry.)
You can easily earn that back with 3X rewards on Airbnb, Uber, and other travel-related purchases, as well as restaurants, and 1X in every other spending category.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Another Bankrate favorite, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® gives you 2X miles on your Airbnb stay, as well as restaurant purchases, and 1X in all other spending categories. There is an $89 annual fee, waived the first year.
The sign-up bonus is more generous than some competing cards, providing 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days. Redeem the miles for a statement credit to pay for your Airbnb stay and earn 5 percent of those miles back.
Be aware that the opportunity to redeem points as a statement credit expires within 120 days. If you plan to redeem your points for travel through the portal, they have no expiration date.
Read the full Airbnb listing to plan your purchases before you arrive
When you stay in a two-, three-, or four-star hotel, you can be reasonably certain you’ll have amenities like shampoo. Not so when you book an Airbnb.
Airbnb hosts are expected to provide clean towels, bedsheets and toilet paper. But you will most likely have to bring your own soap, shampoo and other toiletries, as well as food.
Read through the entire listing, as well as all the reviews, to determine what else you may need for your stay.
Then be sure to carry a credit card that will let you earn points for those purchases once you arrive at your destination, so you can pack light.
Blue Cash cards from American Express®
Blue Cash Everyday offers a generous 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases and then 1 percent. There is no annual fee, and you will also earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Blue Cash Preferred® has a $95 annual fee, but if you are a big spender at U.S. supermarkets, the card will quickly pay for itself with 6% back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent.
You only need to spend $1584 in U.S. supermarkets, or $132 per month, to pay for the annual fee. And don’t forget about the generous $200 bonus when you spend $1,000 on any purchases in the first three months of card membership.
Either American Express Blue Cash card is a great choice to carry on your vacation. You’ll earn 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores with the Everyday card and 3% with the Preferred– perfect if you realize you forgot to pack a clothing item you’ll need during your trip.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers a competitive 2 percent cash back at grocery stores. Purchases at wholesale clubs also earn 2 percent, so you can save when you stock up on items like snacks for your trip and still earn extra points.
You will also earn 3 percent on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery store/wholesale club/gas purchases quarterly, making this a great card for travel or everyday use.
There is no annual fee and you can earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus if you spend just $500 within the first 90 days of opening the account.
Use Google maps to navigate the city even before you arrive
Most hotels are located close to tourist attractions in a given city. Airbnb locations, on the other hand, may be off the beaten path.
Scope out the neighborhood using the “street view” of Google maps to determine if the area looks safe and suss out what amenities are nearby, from tourist hot spots to supermarkets and restaurants.
Make sure you’re carrying the right cards, so you can continue earning bonus points throughout your vacation, whether you’re traveling by Uber or taking your own car.
In addition to the Amex Blue Cash cards and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards cards, which offer bonus rewards for gas purchases, consider these credit cards to help pay for your travel when you’re on the road.
Top travel rewards cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred remain some of the best to use for Uber purchases – and to pay for your dining and entertainment when you reach your destination for the night.
If you are the type who prefers to take the wheel, consider taking the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card for a spin.
Earn 3X rewards points on gas, as well as dining, and travel, including your Airbnb stays and any Uber rides, and 1X on all other purchases. Best of all, there’s no annual fee on this high-value credit card, and a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value.
Trust your host to guide you to the best restaurants and entertainment
Review websites like Yelp and voice searches through Siri or Alexa may help you find the best restaurants and entertainment at your destination. But you can skip the legwork and go straight to your number one local source for recommendations: your Airbnb host.
Ask your host for their favorite nightspots or day trips in the area, and then use one of these top-rated dining rewards cards to treat yourself.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
With unlimited 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment, 2 percent at grocery stores, and 1 percent on all other purchases, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is easily one of the best cards to carry for your Airbnb vacation.
Savor Rewards has a one-time $500 bonus when you spend $3,000 on any purchases within three months from account opening, and a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you prefer, you can forgo the annual fee with the SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card. You’ll earn 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment, as well as 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent on all other purchases.
Enjoy a one-time cash bonus of $150 after making $500 in purchases within the first three months.
Use the right card at the right time
Choosing the right cards for your Airbnb stay can help you rack up rewards. Some credit card holders use sticky notes to label their cards in their wallet, so they know which one to pull out for gas, groceries, or dining to maximize their points.
Unless you’re using a card with zero percent interest and you’re in that introductory period, make sure to pay off your balances at the end of the statement period so you don’t have your cash back bonuses erased by interest and fees.
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