There are many benefits to booking an Airbnb over traditional hotels, including the comfort of staying in a home, the option to cook meals in a kitchen, the private space away from other travelers, and the experience of living like a local.
For travel hackers and brand loyalty program members, booking an Airbnb has historically been less appealing because of the lack of rewards programs. Travel hackers love earning miles, points, free flights, and free stays. Even after 14 years in the travel business, Airbnb still doesn’t have its own rewards program. Sadly, there are also no co-branded credit cards to earn Airbnb rewards.
Did you know there are ways you can still earn miles when booking an Airbnb?
In this article, I’ll take you through the different Airbnb partner rewards programs and what you can earn through each. I’ll teach you one of my favorite travel booking hacks to earn free flights. The travel hacks I outline in this article are especially useful for digital nomads and remote workers who stay frequently in Airbnbs.
I’ll show you how just a single Airbnb booking can earn you a free one-way flight.
As a bonus, I will show you how stacking your rewards for the maximum miles and points on a single Airbnb booking can earn you TWO free one-way flights.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and there are no affiliate links in this article. The details and calculations in this article have not been verified by the respective rewards programs so some inaccuracies may exist. Terms and conditions of each reward program change with time so make sure to check your program’s website to verify current details. Read the terms and conditions on all travel rewards programs to decide if they are right for you and your travel plans.
How to earn miles when booking an Airbnb
Are you ready to travel hack? There are four main ways to earn miles, points, or cash back when booking an Airbnb.
1. Earn miles on Airbnb stays through airline loyalty programs
You can earn miles on Airbnb stays through several airline loyalty programs including ANA Mileage Club, British Airways Avios, Delta SkyMiles, and Qantas points. You must be a member of the selected loyalty program in order to earn miles, but luckily joining is free. The vacation properties are exactly the same price when booked through an airline portal so why not get the points for your booking?
Your miles will be credited between 2-3 months after your stay. I describe these programs more in detail below.
**Make sure to read the terms and conditions for your airline loyalty program since the terms may have changed since the date of publication of this blog post.
2. Book your Airbnb with a travel rewards credit card
Book your Airbnb with a travel credit card that rewards you with the highest miles or points per travel dollar spent and you can really boost your miles earned! Check out Nerd Wallet’s comparison of the best travel credit cards you can use to book your next Airbnb.
3. Purchase Airbnb gift cards from office supply stores with a rewards card
Purchase Airbnb gift cards from an office supply store using a credit card that offers 5% cash back for shopping at office supply stores. The Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers 5% cash back at office supply stores up to $25,000 per card membership year. Use those gift cards to book your next Airbnb stay.
Unlike with the airline loyalty programs you earn rewards on the taxes and fees you pay for an Airbnb in addition to the base cost of the vacation rental.
You can keep your reward as cash back but you also have the option to transfer those points to Ultimate Rewards if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Those converted points are now more valuable when you use them to book travel via Chase.
You can also transfer your points to 11 airline miles programs and three hotel programs. Keep an eye on The Points Guy’s transfer bonus announcements to increase your miles earned just by timing your transfer right.
4. Purchase Airbnb gift cards from U.S. supermarkets
Purchase Airbnb gift cards from U.S. supermarkets with a credit card that offers 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (like the American ExpressGold Card). Use those gift cards to book your next Airbnb stay. The American Express Gold Card offers 4x points on up to $25,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets per calendar year. You can redeem your points through American Express or transfer them to one of their hotel or airlines patterns.
**To avoid any red flags with American Express some people on Reddit recommend buying gift cards in increments of $100-200 at a time rather than all at once. Make sure to check the terms and conditions of your credit card to ensure that gift card purchases are allowed for bonus points.
Travel hacking tip: You can stack your rewards – use a rewards credit card to purchase Airbnb gift cards as outlined in #3 and #4. Use the gift card to book through the dedicated airline loyalty program Airbnb portals to earn more miles.
New Airbnb users earn even more points on their first booking
New Airbnb users can earn double points per dollar spent with ANA Mileage Club and British Avios. On the Qantas portal, new Airbnb users can earn 500 bonus Qantas points when they make their first booking. With the ANA portal, ANA members also get a $26 coupon to apply to their first Airbnb booking.
Summary Table for Earning Miles on Airbnb Bookings
|Rewards Method||Miles/Points for Airbnb Rental||Miles/Points for Airbnb Experience||First time Airbnb users|
|ANA Mileage Club||1 mile per $1.76 spent||N/A||First time Airbnb users in Japan earn 2 miles per $1.76 spent on rental plus a $26 Airbnb coupon|
|Delta SkyMiles||1 mile per $1 spent||N/A||No special rate|
|Qantas||1 mile per $0.72 spent||N/A||First time Airbnb users earn 500 bonus Qantas points|
|British Airways Avios||2 Avios per $1 spent||3 Avios per $1 spent||First time Airbnb users earn 6 Avios per $1 spent on rental|
|American Express Gold Card to purchase Airbnb gift cards at grocery stores||4 points per $1 spent||4 points per $1 spent||No special rate|
|Ink Plus Business Credit Card to purchase Airbnb gift cards at office supply stores||5% cash back or 5x points when converted to Ultimate Rewards||5% cash back or 5x points when converted to Ultimate Rewards||No special rate|
|Stacking rewards (Ink Plus Business Credit Card + British Airways Avios portal)||7 Avios per $1 spent on base Airbnb cost plus 5 Avios per $1 spent on fees and taxes||7 Avios per $1 spent on base Airbnb cost plus 5 Avios per $1 spent on fees and taxes||11 Avios per $1 spent on base Airbnb cost plus 5 Avios per $1 spent on fees and taxes|
Earning Miles on Airbnb with ANA Mileage Club
ANA and Airbnb have teamed up for the “Live There” Promotion to offer a new way to travel in Japan. The promotion is for themed accommodations such as treehouses, log houses, forest cottages, and solo holidays staying with a host. ANA Mileage Club members earn 1 mile per $1.76 spent (JPY 200) on the base cost of the Airbnb (excluding taxes and fees). New Airbnb users earn 2 miles per $1.76 spent (JPY 200).
To earn miles you must select an accommodation theme on the ANA portal and then enter your ANA Mileage Club membership number. Next, select your desired listing on the linked Airbnb website. When you get to the Airbnb payment page, you enter a coupon code provided on the ANA portal.
ANA promises that your earned miles will be credited to your ANA Mileage Club account 2-3 months after the stay. Canceled reservations are not eligible.
Link to ANA Airbnb portal
Earning Miles on Airbnb with Delta SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles Members earn 1 mile per $1 spent on Airbnb stays (not including taxes and fees). There is no minimum spend requirement. There is no additional bonus for first-time Airbnb users. As with the other programs you must enter your SkyMiles number on the Delta portal website. You must also have cookies enabled on your browser in order to get credit so Delta can track your booking. A SkyMiles number cannot be added to an already completed booking.
Delta SkyMiles will credit your miles within 6-8 weeks after completion of eligible stay.
Link to Delta SkyMiles Airbnb portal
Earning Miles on Airbnb with Qantas
With the Qantas Airbnb portal, you earn 1 mile per $0.71 spent (approximate exchange rate for 1 AUD) on the base cost of the Airbnb. As with the other programs, you must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. You must enter your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number when booking through the portal. You can’t earn points on canceled or refunded bookings.
Qantas Points will be credited to your account at least 8 weeks after check out. You only earn Qantas miles on the base rental charge and not on additional fees, charges, or taxes.
Link to Qantas Points Airbnb portal
Earning Miles on Airbnb with British Airways Avios
British Airways offers 2 Avios per £1/€1/$1 spent on Airbnb rentals. First time Airbnb users collect 6 Avios per £1/€1/$1 spent.
Unlike the other programs, British Airways also offers rewards for purchasing Airbnb experiences. Airbnb experiences are in-person or online activities designed and hosted by local experts that go beyond typical tours or workshops to provide a more personalized experience. You can earn 3 Avios per £1 spent on Airbnb experiences.
To earn Avios you must start on the dedicated British Airways Airbnb portal. Click “Book Now” on the Avios portal where you will be asked to enter your British Airways Executive Club Number. You can then book your chosen accommodation. You must separately click “Book an Airbnb Experience” on the British Airways portal in order to get credit. Cookies must be enabled in your browser for British Airways to track your booking.
British Airways promises to credit your Avios within 60 days of your completed Airbnb stay or experience. Canceled reservations are not eligible.
Link to British Airways Airbnb portal
Travel hacking tip: Of all of the Airbnb portals, the British Airways portal gives the highest reward for booking an Airbnb for both new and seasoned Airbnb travelers.
How a single $1500-1600 Airbnb booking can earn you a flight on British Airways
Here’s how this works…
British Airways has a distance-based award chart in which you can earn a free one-way ticket for flight distances under 1151 miles within North America (for example Denver to Chicago) for as few as 9,000 Avios one-way. This is as compared to the 12,500 American Airlines miles required for the same flight. British Airways and American Airlines are partners and codeshare many of the same flights in North America so it is essentially the same flight but for fewer miles.
Make sure to check the British Airways site for their latest redemption rates since these do change from time to time and their rules have become more complicated.
To earn enough British Airways Avios for a free flight you will take advantage of Visa and Mastercard payment networks that classify Airbnb purchases as travel. This will allow you to earn points on Airbnb stays when using a rewards credit card.
Now let’s imagine you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to book an Airbnb through the British Airways Avios portal.
If the single booking is $1600 (before taxes and fees) or $1950 after services, fees, and taxes then you can earn 3200 Avios by using the portal (2 Avios x $1600) plus 5850 Chase points (3 x $1950) by using your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You then transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio to British Avios and you earn a total of 9050 points for the booking.
You’ve scored enough points for a one-way British Airways ticket for a flight under 1151 miles within North America.
2 Avios x $1600 (before taxes/fees) = 3200 Avios
3 Chase points x $1950 (after taxes/fees) = 5850 Chase points
Total Avios after 1:1 transfer of Chase points to Avios (3200 + 5850) = 9050 Avios
9000 Avios = Free one way British Airways ticket under 1151 miles flown within North America
How to earn a one way ticket even if you don’t have a travel rewards credit card
Even if you don’t have a travel rewards credit card you could earn a flight just by being a new Airbnb user. Let’s do the math for a first-time Airbnb user. By booking through the British Airways Airbnb portal new Airbnb users earn 6 Avios per $1 spent. So on a single $1500 booking (before taxes/fees), new Airbnb users earn 9000 points! That is enough Avios for a one-way flight under 1151 miles within North America earned with a single Airbnb booking.
6 Avios x $1500 (before taxes/fees) = 9000 Avios
9000 Avios = A one way British Airways ticket under 1151 miles flown within North America
How to stack your rewards to earn TWO one way British Airways (and American Airlines) flights for a single Airbnb booking
This travel hack that earns you enough Avios for two one way tickets on a single Airbnb booking (at $1950 including fees and taxes) requires two conditions:
- You need to be a first time Airbnb
- You need to have the Ink Plus Business Credit Card
Using the Ink Plus Business Credit Card with 5X points at office supply stores, you would purchase $1950 in gift cards from a qualifying office supply store. We’ll use the same example from above of an Airbnb with a rental base cost of $1600 (or $1950 after taxes and fees).
$1950 (with taxes and fees) x 5 points at office supply stores = 9750 Chase points
Then use the option of 1:1 transfer to British Airways Avios
You then use the gift cards to book your first Airbnb through the British Airways Avios portal as detailed above. Here it is again:
6 Avios x $1500 (before taxes/fees) = 9000 Avios
Total Avios after 1:1 transfer of Chase points to Avios (9000 + 9750) = 18,750 Avios
If it was your first Airbnb booking that would be 18,750 Avios or TWO one-way flights on British Airways under 1151 miles in distance within North America! That’s equivalent to a round-trip flight from Denver to Chicago.
Alternatively, one-way flights in North America under 2000 miles are 11,000 Avios so you could book a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Chicago instead.
How to always get the MAXIMUM miles or points when booking an Airbnb
1. Find your preferred property on Airbnb and calculate the cost including taxes and fees (but don’t book yet).
2. Use a Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card to purchase sufficient gift cards from an office supply store to cover that amount (5% cash back or transfer to Ultimate Rewards for 5x points per $1 spent).
Alternatively, you can use your American Express Gold Card to purchase sufficient gift cards from a U.S. supermarket (4X points per $1 spent). You can redeem your rewards through the respective rewards program or transfer them to partner airlines or hotels.
3. Use the British Airways Avios portal to make your Airbnb booking (2x Avios miles per $1 spent, excluding taxes and fees, or 6x Avios miles if its your first Airbnb).
Use the Airbnb gift cards you purchased in step 2 to pay for the base rental cost, taxes, and fees on the Avios portal.
While the lack of a loyalty program may make Airbnb less appealing to travel hackers, I hope I have convinced you there are ways to earn great rewards when booking an Airbnb. Whether you are a digital nomad spending most of your time in vacation and short-term rentals, or simply planning your yearly vacation, there is a definite benefit to learning how to earn rewards when booking an Airbnb.
If you’d like to learn more tips, tricks, and travel hacks for saving money on your next Airbnb, check out my article here.
Also, don’t forget to check out my article on the Pro Tips You Should Know Before Booking Your Next Airbnb.