Best Credit Cards for Airbnb

Best Credit Cards for Airbnb

From earning 3X points on a no-annual-fee card to redeeming points for Airbnb purchases, here are the best credit cards for Airbnb.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Citi is an advertising partner

Despite having just launched in 2008, it feels like Airbnb has been a household name for years. In just over a decade in business, this vacation rental platform recorded more than 500 million check-ins. In March 2019, the site had more than 6 million listings. That's more than the number of rooms at the six largest hotel groups combined.

As many travelers are turning to Airbnb to escape home while limiting their exposure to others, we at ValuePenguin are wondering: What are the best credit cards for Airbnb? In search of this answer, we scoured the top issuers’ sites and rounded up the most rewarding options for a variety of travelers. Here are our top picks:

Best Airbnb credit cards 2020

Compare credit cards for Airbnb | How to choose | Tips for using a credit card on Airbnb | FAQs

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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Earn 2X points on travel purchases, including Airbnb.

Our thoughts

If you’re looking for a solid general travel card with a modest annual fee, it’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The $95 annual fee card earns 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.. The 2X earning rate does include Airbnb purchases.

While 2X points per dollar spent may not sound impressive, it’s hard to beat the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These points can be transferred to 13 different airline and hotel partners at a ratio of 1:1. Partners include favorites such as Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt. That means you can effectively earn 2X Southwest or Hyatt points for every dollar spent on travel and dining.

Alternatively, you can book flights, hotels, cars and more through the Chase Travel Portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point. Unless a flight is especially cheap, you’re usually going to get more value from Chase's Ultimate Rewards transfer partners.

Benefits

In addition to earning valuable points on travel and dining, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers excellent travel and shopping protection. From trip delay and baggage delay reimbursement to auto rental collision protection, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has you covered when you travel.

Drawbacks

While earning 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent is solid, other cards offer higher earning rates — as you’ll see below.

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$550

16.99%-23.99% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
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Earn 3X points on travel, including Airbnb.

Our thoughts

If you can get over the card’s hefty $550 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns its place high on the list of travel cards. You’ll earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. That 3X earning rate does apply to Airbnb purchases. Plus, cardholders get a $300 annual travel credit that covers a wide variety of travel purchases, including Airbnb, and offsets more than half the annual fee.

The broadly-defined travel credit is easy to use in a typical year, but 2020 certainly isn’t a normal year. An Airbnb stay may be the best way for grounded travelers to utilize this credit.

Benefits

While the earning rate and travel credit are the card headlines, there’s a lot to love about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Cardholders get a Priority Pass Select membership as well as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit and excellent shopping and travel protections.

Drawbacks

As you can see, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is an excellent card. However, the only downside is a big one: a $550 annual fee. Even if you’re able to utilize the $300 travel credit and the other valuable benefits of this card, the annual fee may be too large for some to stomach.

3. American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

$150

See Pay Over Time APR

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn up to $100 in annual statement credits to help you get through security faster with CLEAR®.
  • Earn up to $100 in annual statement credits to access 750+ airport lounges globally through LoungeBuddy.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Earn 3X Membership Rewards on travel purchases, including Airbnb.

Our thoughts

Another excellent general travel card is American Express® Green Card. Cardholders Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours. Even better, the card charges a reasonable $150 annual fee.

Being able to earn 3X points on Airbnb purchases is excellent for a card with an affordable annual fee. But, to get the most out of your American Express® Green Card earnings, you’re going to need to get to know American Express Membership Rewards.

Like Ultimate Rewards points, Membership Rewards are a very valuable currency. You can transfer Membership Rewards points to 19 airlines and hotels — including familiar names like Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue and Marriott Bonvoy. That means you can effectively earn 3X Delta miles per dollar spent at Airbnb. Plus, you can link your Delta and Airbnb accounts to earn another 1X mile per dollar spent.

Benefits

In addition to a solid earning rate on travel and restaurants, the American Express® Green Card enhances your travel with $100 per year in LoungeBuddy credits and $100 per year in CLEAR credits. Plus, you’ll get travel protection, such as trip delay insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance.

Drawbacks

Although transferring points to partners can provide a lot of value, there aren’t many other valuable ways to use your Membership Rewards points. So, you’ll want to know how to maximize your points through transfer partners.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

4. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Earn 3X points on a wide variety of purchases, including Airbnb.

Our thoughts

With the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, you Earn 3X points on eating out, ordering in and popular streaming services, 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases. That means you can earn 3X points on Airbnb stays. Best of all, the card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

The card’s 3X earning rate ranks the Wells Fargo Propel Card at the top of the list for return on spending in several categories. The points you earn can be redeemed for travel, gift cards or statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per point. So, cardholders can effectively earn 3% cashback on many travel purchases such as Airbnb.

Benefits

The highlight of this no-annual-fee card is the solid earning rate on a broad set of categories. However, the card also offers valuable perks like cellphone protection, travel protections (like car rental loss and damage insurance and roadside assistance) and shopping coverage (such as extended warranty and theft protection).

Drawbacks

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers the simplicity of redeeming points for statement credits or travel purchases at a fixed value of 1 cent each. While that’s all some travelers want, it doesn’t give you the potential upside that you have with transferable points. If you want to redeem points for extravagant first-class awards, you’re going to want to collect Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards points instead.

5. Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card

Earn 2X points on travel purchases, including Airbnb.

Our thoughts

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card earns 2X points on travel and dining — including Airbnb. Cardholders earn 1.5X points on all other purchases.

Points can be redeemed for a statement credit at a base rate of 1 cent per point. That means you’ll generally earn a 2% return on travel and dining purchases and a 1.5% return on all other purchases. That’s not bad, but there are other cards — like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer — that offer a higher return on all purchases.

The real power of the card comes in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Cardholders who have between $20,000 and $50,000 in assets in linked Bank of America or Merrill Lynch accounts earn a 25% bonus. That bonus increases to 50% for cardholders with assets between $50,000 and $100,000 and to 75% for cardholders with over $100,000 in assets.

After combining the 2X earning with the 75% bonus, “Platinum Honors” members earn 3.5X points on travel and dining purchases. That’s an unbeatable return on these purchases.

Benefits

For an already generous travel card with just a $95 annual fee, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card has an incredible benefit: an annual $100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit. You’ll automatically be reimbursed up to $100 for bag fees, upgrades, lounge fees and more. By utilizing this credit, you’ll get more than the cost of the annual fee back each year.

Drawbacks

The card easily justifies its annual fee through the ancillary benefits. However, unless you have a significant amount in linked accounts, other cards beat the 2% return on travel and dining purchases.

6. Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Earn 3X points on travel purchases, including Airbnb

Our thoughts

If you own a small business, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is an excellent way to rack up points. Despite a modest $95 annual fee, cardholders Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn. That 3X rate on travel purchases applies to Airbnb.

The ability to transfer points to 13 different airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio makes Chase Ultimate Rewards points valuable. The ability to earn 3X points on travel purchases makes the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card the top small business option — and one of the top overall options — for Airbnb purchases.

Benefits

As an alternative to transferring points, cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel through Chase Travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. If you set this as the base valuation of Ultimate Rewards points, you’re earning a 3.75% return on the card’s broad bonus categories: travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.

Drawbacks

The only real downside to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is the requirement to have a small business to get the card.

7. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Earn 2X miles on all purchases, including for Airbnb.

Our thoughts

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is great for those looking to save on travel who don’t already have a stash of points and miles to utilize. You earn the same rate on every purchase: 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. You can use the Purchase Eraser tool to redeem Capital One miles to “erase” travel purchases anytime within 90 days of the purchase. That means travelers can use the card on a trip and then use the points earned from that trip to retroactively wipe out some of those travel expenses.

Benefits

The beauty of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is its simplicity. You earn the same miles on all purchases. That means you don’t have to worry about a particular purchase being in the right category.

Drawbacks

Capital One miles can transfer to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners. However, the rate is generally 2 Capital One miles to every 1.5 airline miles. That makes Capital One miles less valuable than other transferable bank points, which generally transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

Compare credit cards for Airbnb

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How to choose the best credit card for Airbnb

Earning rate

As you saw in the card highlights above, the earning rate can vary widely from card to card. And the cost of some home rentals can add up. That means the earning rate is going to be a major factor in determining which card to use.

We are unaware of any cards that offer a category bonus specifically for Airbnb. So, you’ll want to look for a credit card that earns a solid return on travel expenses.

Sign-up bonus

Home rentals aren’t cheap. If you’re looking to maximize your return on an expensive Airbnb purchase, you may want to sign up for a new credit card offering a lucrative sign-up bonus. You can use the reservation — and other trip-related expenses — to earn the sign-up bonus. By doing so, you can bank points, miles or cash back to help you toward your next getaway.

Annual fee

Generally, the highest earning rates are on cards with the highest annual fees. However, it’s not always going to make the most sense for travelers to get a high annual fee card to maximize your earnings.

For example, if you don’t spend much on travel and dining, it’s not worth paying $550 each year for the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 3X earning rate. Instead, you may want to stick with the lower-fee Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Travel credits

Most credit card travel credits are limited to airline fees and other airline-related costs. However, some cards — like the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit — can be used to offset any travel purchase.

Redemption options

You’ll also want to look for redemption options that can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs for a home rental. For example, with the Capital One Venture Card’s Purchase Eraser, you can use Capital One miles to wipe out Airbnb purchases.

Foreign transaction fees

Airbnb gives you the option to pay using any currency you wish. And sometimes paying in the host’s local currency is the cheapest option. If you want to take advantage of this arbitrage, make sure to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Tips for using a credit card on Airbnb

When you’re ready to make a reservation, Airbnb will prompt you to enter a credit card or pay through a digital wallet such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal.

If you want to keep from having to enter your credit card information each time you book, Airbnb users have the option to store credit cards in their user profile. To get started, log in to your Airbnb account and browse to your Payments & Payouts page. Click “Add a Payment”, enter your credit card details and click “Done” to save the card to your profile.

By saving one of the credit cards we recommend above, you can be sure to use the best credit card when booking an Airbnb stay. If you have multiple saved cards, you can select one option as your default payment method. To do so, click “…” (triple dots) next to the payment method and select “Set Default”.

How do you change your credit card on Airbnb?

You can add or remove saved credit cards from your Airbnb profile on the Payments and Payouts page. To change the credit card for a particular reservation, go to your Trips page, select the reservation and select “Get receipts and manage payments” under Payment Details.

How do you remove your credit card from Airbnb?

To remove a credit card from Airbnb, browse to the Payments and Payouts page. Click the … (triple dots) next to the payment method and click “Remove”.

When does Airbnb charge your credit card?

Airbnb charges your credit card as soon as the host accepts your request — or upon booking for Instant Book reservations. Alternatively, guests have the option of choosing a payment plan to avoid having to pay the entire balance at booking.

Do you need a credit card for Airbnb?

For most reservations, you’ll need to pay using a credit card tied to a major payment processor (e.g. Visa, MasterCard, Discover). However, guests from certain countries have additional payment options — such as Alipay or WeChat in China, PayU in India and Postepay in Italy.

Is Airbnb considered a travel purchase?

Yes, Airbnb purchases generally count as travel purchases. However, to be sure, you’ll want to check the Merchant Category Code (MCC) for Airbnb if this is critical for your situation.

What credit cards does Airbnb accept?

Airbnb accepts most major credit cards — including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Additionally, Airbnb accepts certain digital wallets such as Apple Pay through the iOS app, Google Pay through the Android app while in the U.S. and PayPal in certain countries.

Can you book Airbnb with someone else's credit card?

Airbnb payment terms and conditions don’t require the guest to use their own credit card to reserve a booking.

Can you pay for Airbnb with two credit cards?

No, you can’t split the cost of a reservation across two credit cards. Generally, Airbnb guests must pay for a reservation using one payment type, unless you have Airbnb credits or a coupon. Note that Airbnb used to allow guests to split payments with other guests. However, Airbnb removed the Group Payment option in September 2018.

Does Airbnb charge a fee for using a credit card?

Airbnb doesn’t charge a fee for paying by credit card. However, Airbnb charges guests a Guest Service Fee of up to 14.2%, which helps the platform cover credit card transaction costs.

Can you pay for Airbnb with cash?

Airbnb considers cash payments — or other offline payments — a violation of its Terms of Service. A host or guest may be removed from Airbnb for trying to make such a payment. Airbnb points to security and fraud concerns for forbidding offsite payments.

The information related to Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

JT Genter

JT is a freelance writer who has written about credit cards and points & miles since 2015. He published over 2,000 articles on The Points Guy and can now be found writing for ValuePenguin, NerdWallet, Forbes Advisor, and AwardWallet. Since June 2017, JT and his wife have traveled full-time as digital nomads - using points, miles, and credit card benefits to drastically reduce the cost of living on the road.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).