Vacation rentals offer an attractive alternative to traditional hotels but many travelers don’t know there are multiple ways to earn United miles on vacation rental bookings just like with hotels.
I’ll take you through the different ways to earn United miles on vacation and short term rentals so you can add to your travel hacking arsenal.
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 United MileagePlus Miles on Vacation and Short Term Rentals
United MileagePlus has a number of options for earning miles on vacation and short term rentals through several partner companies including Vrbo. Hotels.com, booking.com, and Marriott Bonvoy all partner with United and offer vacation homes in addition to hotels.
Unfortunately, United does not currently partner with Airbnb, but there are still ways to earn United miles on Airbnb rentals if you know your way around the travel rewards programs.
|Miles per $1 spent for Vrbo rental||Miles per $1 spent for booking.com rental||Bonus Miles|
|United Mileage Plus Vrbo portal||3 miles per $1 spent||N/A||N/A|
|United MileagePlus Shopping portal||1 mile per $1 spent||2 miles per $1 spent||500 bonus miles if new to MileagePlus Shopping|
How to Earn United Miles on Vrbo Vacation Rentals
Vrbo, a brand of Expedia group, offers over 2,000,000 vacation rentals in over 180 countries. Their properties include vacation homes and apartments with a heavy concentration in Europe and North America. Expedia partner sites like Vacationrentals.com, Homeaway.com, Abritel.fr, Stayz.com, bookabach.com, and fewo-direkt.de redirect to Vrbo to consolidate their vacation rentals into one site.
Earn 3 miles per $1 spent on Vrbo
You can earn 3 miles per $1 spent on Vrbo rentals booked through the United MileagePlus X checkout page. If you book through the United MileagePlus Shopping portal you only earn 0.5 to 1 mile per $1 spent so it pays to use the regular MileagePlus page when booking.
Miles are awarded on the cost of the rental amount only, excluding taxes and any fees. You must enter your United MileagePlus membership number on the Vrbo/United site to get credit. Miles are credited to your account around 6-8 weeks after completing your Vrbo stay.
Earn bonus miles if you are new to MileagePlus Shopping
The MileagePlus Shopping portal occasionally offers bonus miles to new shoppers. The latest offer is 500 miles for spending $25. Keep an eye on these bonus offerings to time your booking if you are new to MileagePlus Shopping.
If you book a one night Vrbo stay at $100 (before taxes and fees), with the 500 mile bonus for spending $25 you would earn 600 miles on a one night stay.
Travel hacking tip: Stack your rewards. The Venture Capital One card is currently offering 5% back as a statement credit for Vrbo bookings. Plus the card earns 2 miles per $1 spent.
Calculated Rewards for a Vrbo Vacation Rental
Let’s see what this would look like for a $1000 Vrbo vacation rental (or $1200 with taxes and fees) booked through the Unite MileagePlus with a Venture Capital One card:
|Rewards Earned on Vrbo Vacation Rental|
|MileagePlus 3x miles per $1 spent (excluding taxes and fees)||3 x $1000 (excluding taxes and fees) = 3000 miles|
|Venture Capital One 2x miles per $1 spent||2 x $1200 (with taxes and fees) = 2400 miles|
|Venture Capital One 5% cash back per $1 spent||0.05 x $1200 (with taxes and fees) = $60 statement credit|
|TOTAL REWARDS EARNED||3000 United miles + 2400 Venture Capital One miles + $60 statement credit|
How to Earn United Miles on booking.com Vacation Rentals
Booking.com is a brand of of Booking Holdings company which also owns Agoda, Priceline.com, Kayak.com. They list over 6,000,000 properties in more than 223 countries and territories.
Earn a 10-15% discount with Booking.com Genius Rewards
Booking.com has it’s own free “Genius” loyalty program which gives 10-15% discount on certain properties depending on tier. There are some room upgrades and free breakfasts available as well. They have a wide variety of vacation rental property types including vacation homes and villas, boats, chalets, and apartments.
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Booking.com
You can earn 2 miles per $1 spent on booking.com vacation rentals booked through the United MileagePlus Shopping portal. These award rates do change from time to time so make sure to check the website for the latest rate. Miles are credited to your account 60 days after the stay has been completed.
Calculated rewards for a Booking.com vacation rental
Let’s see what this would look like for a Booking.com vacation rental totaling $1000 (or $1200 with taxes and fees) booked through the United MileagePlus with a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. This is presuming the booking.com Genius loyalty 10% discount reduces your base rental cost from $1000 to $900:
|Rewards Earned on $1000 booking.com vacation rental|
|booking.com 10% Genius loyalty discount||0.10 x $1000 (excluding taxes and fees) = $100 discount (reduces base rental cost to $900)|
|MileagePlus 2x miles per $1 spent (excluding taxes and fees)||2 x $900 (after 10% booking.com discount and excluding taxes and fees) = 1800 United miles|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x miles per $1 spent||3 x $1100 (with taxes and fees) = 3300 Chase points (can transfer 1:1 to United miles)|
|TOTAL REWARDS EARNED||$100 Genius discount + 1800 United miles + 3300 Chase points (OR total 5100 United miles after 1:1 transfer)|
How to Earn Maximum United Miles on Marriott Vacation Rentals
Marriott Homes and Villas is a member of Marriott Bonvoy offering mostly luxury vacation homes, villas, and condos. They list over 20,000 properties worldwide.
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on Marriott vacation rentals
You’ll need to book through the United MileagePlus/Marriott Bonvoy partner site to take advantage of their 2 miles per $1 spent offering.
Earn up to 17x Bonvoy points on Marriott vacation rentals
If you use a Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card you would earn up to 17x points on your Marriott vacation rental. Those points can be transferred to United at a 3:1.1 ratio. Here’s what that would look like if you spend $1000 on a vacation rental:
|Rewards Earned on $1000 Marriott Vacation Rental|
|MileagePlus 2x miles per $1 spent (excluding taxes and fees)||2 x $1000 (excluding taxes and fees) = 2000 United miles|
|Marriot Bonvoy Boundless 17x points per $1 spent (excluding taxes and fees)||17 x $1000 (excluding taxes and fees) = 17,000 Marriot Bonvoy points or 6233 United points after transfer at 3:1.1 ratio|
|TOTAL REWARDS EARNED||8233 United Miles|
How to Earn United Miles on hotels.com Vacation Rentals
Earn 1 free night on Hotels.com for every 10 nights you stay
While hotels.com is typically know for hotels, the site also offers vacation homes, condos and aparthotels. They also have their own loyalty program for discounted stays and free reward nights. For every 10 nights you stay you get a free night equal to the average cost of the 10 nights you stayed so you eventually earn rewards of 10%.
Travel hacking tip: If you are planning an extended stay over 28 days, you can submit your travel dates to hotels.com and let properties bid to get your extended stay. This can save you up to 60% on a vacation rental, condo or aparthotel.
Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on Hotels.com
You earn 1 mile per $1 spent on your hotels.com booking by going through the United MileagePlus Shopping portal.
|Rewards Earned on $1000 hotels.com Vacation Rental|
|Hotels.com Rewards free nights||1 reward night for every 10 nights you stay at eligible properties|
|MileagePlus Shopping 1x miles per $1 spent (excluding taxes and fees)||1 x $1000 (excluding fees and taxes) = 1000 United miles|
|Miles from your travel rewards credit card of choice||1-3x miles per $1 spent x 1200 = 2400 to 3600 miles|
|Total Rewards Earned||Variable|
Don’t forget to use your travel credit card to stack your rewards
1. Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points then transfer to United
By using your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card you can earn 3x the points on vacation rental bookings (including Airbnb). With a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card you earn 2x the points on vacation rental bookings. You can then use those points to book travel through the Chase portal or do a 1:1 transfer of your points to your United MileagePlus account.
Chase Points are in addition to any miles earned when booking through the Vrbo/United site or the MileagePlus Shopping portal.
2. Earn United miles with a United branded card
United offers several several branded cards like the United Explorer, the United Quest, the United Club Infinite, the United Club Business cards. By booking your vacation rental with one of these cards you can earn additional United miles on top of what you earn booking through the United MileagePlus X app or UnitedPlus Shopping.
3. Buy Airbnb gift cards with a rewards card
When you purchase Airbnb gift cards through the United MileagePlus X app you get 2 miles per $1 spent, plus a 25% bonus if you have a cobranded United card.
You can also purchase Airbnb gift cards at grocery stores with an American Express Gold Card that gives 4x points per $1 spent (to maximum of $25,000 spent per year). The Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card gives 5x points per $1 spent (to maximum of $25,000 spent per year) at office supply stores which may also sell Airbnb gift cards. You can transfer your Chase Ink Plus rewards to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and use your Chase Ultimate Rewards to book travel. Alternatively, you could then do a 1:1 transfer to United miles.
Once you have purchased your Airbnb gift cards you can earn even more miles by using them to pay for your booking through a portal with another mileage program. Delta, British Airways, ANA, and Qantas all have portals that reward you for Airbnb bookings. Check out my article on How to Earn Miles on Your Next Airbnb Booking to learn how to earn more rewards for Airbnb vacation rentals.
As you can see, between Vrbo, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Marriott Homes and Villas there are plenty of ways to earn United miles on vacation rentals. Stack your rewards by always using a travel card with the maximum rewards and you’ll see your miles grow exponentially. Happy travel hacking!