It was already a giant, but Airbnb is trending again. The sharing economy megastar was one of the last to sunset its flexible Covid-19 cancellation policy and during the last crazy couple years, it’s become more of a go-to for more people than ever.
Travelers want more space, longer trips, private pools, space to cook and the things that hotels don’t easily cater to. Many Airbnb’s can be cheaper than hotel options, but that’s not always the case — and when it’s not, options to settle the tab are helpful.
There have long been clever ways to earn airline miles and other points when booking Airbnb’s, but there haven’t been nearly as many great options for paying for them with points. That’s changing — fast — and there are a couple options worth knowing about.
Chase ‘Pay Yourself Back’
If you have a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards Points, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, Chase offers a really solid way to use points to cover some, or all, of an Airbnb purchase. Well, for now — hopefully, forever.
Through June 30th, 2022, and hopefully later, cardholders can login to their Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts and choose ‘Pay Yourself Back’, where Airbnb currently offers a 25-50% bonus when you use points to pay for these Airbnb purchases you’ve already made.
So yep, you’re paying full price for the Airbnb like normal, but then after it hits your account, you can use points to cover some of the purchase, or all of it. For this limited time, the rate you get when you cash in — is really solid.
A Sapphire Reserve cardholder would be able to redeem points at 1.5 cents per point, meaning 100,000 points would cover $1500 of Airbnb. Smaller or larger increments are fine too.
A Sapphire Preferred cardholder would achieve a rate of 1.25 cents per point, meaning that same 100,000 points would cover $1250 toward Airbnb. Again, you can use much smaller amounts, or larger amounts to cover some, or all of the previous purchase.
Chase Travel Credit For Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers a $300 annual travel credit, which greatly helps to justify the $550 annual fee. It’s really simple. Spend on anything that codes as travel when your fee resets, and get up to $300 back each year.
I regularly time an Airbnb purchase around the date that the $300 travel credit resets, so not only can I save $300 on the purchase, but I can then use points from the card at 1.5 cents per point (current rate) to cover any of the rest of the purchase later on.
Capital One Credits + Purchase Eraser
For anyone who signed up for the Capital One Venture X card prior to March 14th, 2022, an enticing extra was included. The card offered an additional $200 statement credit for any purchases made with Airbnb or VRBO.
In case you are one of those people and happened to forget about this little gem, there’s your reminder! You’ve got $200 that will automatically get wiped off any Airbnb purchase of $200 or more.
For everyone else, Capital One has a simple but effective way to pay for Airbnb and other travel purchases, in the form of ‘Purchase Eraser’ — which does what it sounds like it would.
When you make an Airbnb purchase using a Capital One Venture, or Venture X Card, you can later come back to the purchase once it hits your account and “erase” it, or at least erase some of it. Your points work at a 1.0 cents per point value, so 100,000 of your Venture Miles would cover $1000 toward Airbnb.
Now that Capital One has so many fantastic 1:1 airline partners, this is not the best way to gain optimal value, but it’s an excellent option people who don’t deeply care about luxury flights, or would rather just offset Airbnb costs.
Even after cleverly haggling on your Airbnb, you may still want to use some points to soften the expense.
Save On Airbnb Purchases From The Start
Airbnb regularly sells gift cards online for less than the value of the gift card, and gift cards can also be purchased using points via most credit card rewards programs. The latter isn’t going to offer great value, but its an option.
Buying Airbnb gift cards for less, such as a $100 gift card for $90 can help offset costs from the start, and at scale can be really lucrative.
If you own or operate a business, the Chase Ink Business Cards offer 5X at office supply stores where gift cards can be purchased, which means you could win on both ends.
Purchasing $1000 of Airbnb gift cards at 5X earning, you’d earn $50 off that purchase with the cash back from the card earning rates right off the top.
Making The Most From Airbnb Purchases
Every step counts when booking an Airbnb. Even better, every booking step offers an opportunity to save.
Airbnb hosts have dished on the best ways to haggle, there are so many ways to earn points when booking an Airbnb the right way and now, a few great ways to use points to cover some of the purchase, after the fact.
If you’re using all these tricks to your advantage, this mega company without a loyalty program can certainly lead to you earning lots of loyalty points, alongside those travel memories.