The 10 Best Credit Cards for Booking Airbnb or VRBO Stays [2021]

Airbnb

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Booking an Airbnb or VRBO stay? Both of these companies offer an online marketplace for vacation rentals as an alternative to hotel bookings. But in addition to short-term rentals, you can also book experiences or long-term rentals!

However you use Airbnb or VRBO, you’ll want to make sure you’re maximizing every dollar you’re spending. But since both of these don’t fall under traditional hotel categories, it can be a bit confusing to figure out whether or not your bookings would earn bonus points.

So in this guide, we’ll show you the best credit cards for booking Airbnb or VRBO stays.

What To Look for in a Credit Card for Airbnb or VRBO Stays

Airbnb and VRBO (as well as other competing platforms) almost never count as hotels, so the traditional bonus category of hotels, unfortunately, wouldn’t allow for bonus earnings.

So the first thing we need to do when looking for the best credit card is to find a card that offers the highest rewards on general travel. The definition of general travel is very broad and can vary from bank to bank.

There aren’t a whole lot of credit cards that offer bonus categories for general travel — so after these categories are exhausted, we look for the best credit cards for non-bonused spending.

After looking at rewards accrual structures, you should turn your attention to the best travel benefits for your needs, including travel and purchase protections.

With all of that in mind, let’s get into our best credit cards for Airbnb or VRBO stays. We’ll start off with the best personal cards. Then, we’ll walk you through the best business credit cards to use for Airbnb or VRBO stays should your business necessitate travel.

Best Personal Cards for Airbnb or VRBO Stays

VRBO families gathered outside
Vacationing with friends and family is more rewarding when you’re maximizing points and miles for the charges! Image Credit: VRBO

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

In our opinion, the best personal credit card to use for Airbnb or VRBO stays is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The biggest reason why this specific card is the best choice for Airbnb or VRBO is that it earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining and travel.

Chase defines travel very broadly, which means that your bookings on Airbnb and VRBO will count and earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers an awesome welcome bonus, a gigantic $300 travel credit (which can be used for Airbnb and VRBO stays), and numerous other benefits.

This credit card comes with a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, the ability to earn 10x points per dollar on Lyft purchases, a Priority Pass Select membership, access to The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection, elite hotel benefits at sbe and Relais & Châteaux, and a complimentary Lyft Pink membership.

Also, you’ll enjoy an annual DoorDash food delivery credit of $60, a free subscription to DoorDash DashPass, a free Grubhub+ and Seamless+ membership, and car rental privileges at Avis, National, and Silvercar.

It doesn’t end there because you’ll enjoy the best travel protections offered by a single credit card, consisting of primary auto rental collision damage coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, travel accident insurance, emergency medical and dental coverage, and emergency evacuation and transportation coverage.

As far as other card benefits, you can utilize roadside assistance, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty coverage, and even a $120 statement credit towards a Peloton all-access membership or digital access membership (through December 31, 2021).

Why We Like Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

At Upgraded Points, we are huge fans of Chase Ultimate Rewards points because they can be used for a variety of different redemptions. This includes statement credits and cash-back, gift cards, merchandise, and booking travel through the Chase travel portal.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you will receive 50% more value for travel booked through the Chase travel portal, which will net you a 1.5 cents per point value.

But our favorite way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to airlines and hotels for business or first class flights and luxury hotel stays. Indeed, transferring points to travel partners is one of the reasons why these points are some of the most valuable in the world, worth around 2 cents per point.

2. American Express® Green Card

The Amex Green card is one of our favorite cards because it offers rich rewards, unique travel perks, and more.

This premium card offers a great introductory welcome bonus to start your points accrual. The Amex Green card earns 3x Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide, transit, and on all eligible travel purchases.

This card is the only card from American Express that offers bonus points on travel as a broad category! It includes airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, and, of course, vacation rentals like Airbnb and VRBO.

It also boasts up to $100 in statement credits per year towards a CLEAR membership and up to $100 in statement credits per year on LoungeBuddy purchases. Other perks include a complimentary 12-month Uber Eats Pass subscription featuring discounts and free delivery (enroll by December 31, 2021).

If you’re looking for travel coverage, you’ll find tons of value in this card thanks to its trip delay insurance, secondary car rental coverage, and baggage insurance. Of course, you’ll find purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, which is common for these types of cards.

Why We Like Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points

The points you’ll earn on the Amex Green card are Amex Membership Rewards points.

Earning Amex Membership Rewards points is one of the most lucrative things you can do when it comes to rewards. In short, Amex has the most valuable transferable points, which can be used for incredible value when transferred to airline and hotel partners.

Other ways to redeem Amex points include travel booked through Amex Travel, gift cards, Amazon, cash-back, charitable donations, and more. However, we recommend transferring your points to airline and hotel partners.

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards in the world, and for good reason!

This card is one of the best “starter” rewards credit cards because of its incredible welcome bonus, access to Chase Ultimate Rewards partnerships, and of course, the ability to earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases. This includes Airbnb and VRBO, which is why this is one of our top choices.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also offers a complimentary subscription to DoorDash DashPass, a Peloton statement credit of up to $60 towards all-access membership or digital access membership (through December 31, 2021), and no foreign transaction fees.

For travel benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a card with better coverage. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has primary rental car insurance, complimentary travel delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, roadside dispatch, and travel and emergency assistance.

And as you’re making purchases on the card, you’ll rest easy with purchase protection and an extended warranty on all your purchases.

4. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

The CapOne Venture card is one of our favorite credit cards for simple transferable rewards. With the CapOne Venture card, you’ll earn unlimited 2x Capital One miles on your purchases with no caps!

Since you don’t have to worry about bonus categories, you can bet that Airbnb and VRBO stays will count!

This card also offers a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, a low annual fee of $95, and solid travel protections. These include secondary car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, lost luggage coverage, roadside dispatch, and more.

Plus, you’ll enjoy cardholder benefits like zero fraud liability, purchase security, and extended warranty coverage.

Why We Like Earning Capital One Miles

Capital One Miles is one of the major transferable currencies, which means that you can transfer your Capital One miles to airline partners for amazing flights in premium cabins.

You can also redeem your miles for statement credits, travel purchases, gift cards, and much more. However, we believe that the best way to redeem your Capital One miles is for airline partner transfers.

5. Citi® Double Cash Card

The Double Cash card is one of our favorite credit cards because it earns 2% cash-back. Specifically, you’ll earn 1% back when you purchase and 1% when you pay it off with no caps!

You can convert your cash-back to ThankYou Points, but what most don’t tell you is that if you also have a ThankYou Rewards credit card like the Citi Premier℠ Card, you can tap into the possibilities of amazing redemptions with Citi’s transfer partners!

That means that for your Airbnb and VRBO stays, you can potentially earn 2x Citi ThankYou Points with no caps if you also have a card like the Citi Premier card.

Other benefits include an enticing introductory APR offer, zero liability for unauthorized purchases, fraud protection, and more.

Why We Like Earning Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

Having the ability to earn 2x Citi ThankYou Points with no annual fee on Airbnb or VRBO is fantastic. And although you need to also have a ThankYou Rewards credit card to utilize the full catalog of transfer partners, it’s worthwhile to do so.

That’s because Citi ThankYou Points are worth around 1.6 cents each, according to our valuations. After you’ve converted your cash-back to Citi ThankYou Points, you can transfer them to travel partners and redeem them for flights like Singapore Airlines first class or Delta One Suites!

Best Business Cards for Airbnb or VRBO Stays

Airbnb Orum House
Airbnb has a variety of hosts with unique properties that are ideal for corporate retreats and team building. Image Credit: Airbnb

It’s easy to fall in love with any of the personal credit cards above and use them for Airbnb or VRBO stays.

But if you happen to be traveling for business, you’ll want to use a business credit card that can keep your personal and business expenses separate. So in this next section, we’ll show you our favorite business credit cards for Airbnb or VRBO stays.

1. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 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
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95

$2,000

Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.

Without a doubt, our favorite business credit card for Airbnb and VRBO is the Ink Business Preferred card.

This card offers a huge welcome bonus to start, worth around $2,000. And as you look deeper, you’ll find that you will earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on up to $150,000 every cardmember year in these bonus categories:

That means that you’ll experience the same exact earning structure for Airbnb and VRBO as you would with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The main difference is that the Ink Business Preferred card has a cap of $150,000 in combined purchases, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve card doesn’t have a cap.

The other big difference is that this card’s annual fee is just $95, which is just a fraction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s annual fee.

The Ink Business Preferred card also offers cell phone insurance, primary rental car insurance, trip interruption and cancellation coverage, trip delay coverage, purchase protection, extended warranty, and no foreign transaction fees. You can also add employee cards for no fees.

Hot Tip: Between the huge welcome bonus, the best-in-class 3x earning categories on travel (up to $150,000 across all bonus categories), the travel benefits, and the modest annual fee, it’s easy to see why the Ink Business Preferred card is our favorite business credit card for Airbnb and VRBO stays.

2. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Amex Blue Business Plus card is our runner-up choice for Airbnb and VRBO stays. This superb credit card earns 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchase, up to $50,000 spent every calendar year. Then, the card earns 1x thereafter.

This basically means that your first $50,000 in purchases every calendar year would earn 2x points, including Airbnb and VRBO.

This credit card has no annual fee and comes with benefits like purchase protection, extended warranty, and no-additional-cost employee cards (see rates and fees).

If you maxed out the $50,000 in bonus spending every year, you’d end up with 100,000 Amex points, worth around $2,200, according to our valuations. That’s equivalent to a 4.4% return on spend!

3. Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited card offers superb benefits with no annual fee. With this card, you’ll earn 1.5% cash-back with no caps on every purchase made for your business.

In addition, this credit card offers an awesome welcome bonus and a 0% introductory APR benefit.

If you have an Ultimate Rewards credit card, you can even convert your 1.5% cash-back to 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points.

The card also has purchase protection, zero liability fraud protection, extended warranty coverage, unlimited employee cards with no fees, primary rental car coverage when traveling for business, and more.

4. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

The CapOne Spark Miles card is a great business credit card that earns straightforward 2x Capital One miles with no cap for Airbnb and VRBO stays, which is similar to the CapOne Venture card above.

You’ll encounter a nice welcome bonus, the ability to earn 5x miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel (does not include Airbnb or VRBO), and a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

The CapOne Spark Miles card also has zero fraud liability, purchase protection, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, free employee cards, and roadside assistance.

5. Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

The CapOne Spark Miles Select card is the no annual fee variant of the CapOne Spark Miles card. Instead of earning 2x Capital One Miles with no cap, you’ll earn 1.5x Capital One miles with no cap.

The welcome bonus is usually lower than the CapOne Spark Miles card, but the card still offers zero fraud liability, transfer partnerships, 0% introductory APR, free employee cards, no foreign transaction fees, roadside assistance, extended warranty, purchase protection, and more.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of credit cards out there. Finding the best credit card for Airbnb and VRBO stays isn’t as easy as it looks.

In fact, there aren’t a lot of credit cards that offer bonus points for general travel, which Airbnb and VRBO both fall under.

The best personal and business credit cards for these purposes belong to American Express and Chase, though Capital One and Citi both offer decent options.

We hope you’ve found this detailed guide useful to help you figure out the best credit cards for Airbnb and VRBO stays.


The information regarding the American Express® Green Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.


Frequently asked questions

Is Airbnb considered travel for credit cards?

In general, yes. That means that if you find a card that offers bonus points on general travel, then you should be able to earn those bonus points on Airbnb purchases.

Do you need a credit card for Airbnb?

No, you do not. However, using a credit card is such a spectacular way to earn rewards on spending you’d be making anyway!

Which credit card is best for Airbnb?

We love the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the Amex Green card, the CapOne Venture card, and the Double Cash card for personal Airbnb purchases.

If you’re booking an Airbnb for business, the best cards are the Ink Business Preferred card or the Amex Blue Business Plus card. There are other cards available like the Ink Business Unlimited card, the CapOne Spark Miles card, and the CapOne Spark Miles Select card, but these generally don’t have excellent rewards like the Ink Business Preferred card would.

Can you use Chase points for Airbnb?

You can’t redeem Chase points for all Airbnb stays, but you might be able to do so at specific Airbnb properties that are listed on other websites and online travel agencies.

You can also buy Airbnb gift cards at a value of 1 cent per point, but your points could be worth more with other redemptions.

Does Airbnb charge foreign transaction fee?

Yes, they charge a 3% fee if the currency of the booking you’re making is different from your home currency. For example, if you’re based in the U.S. and stay in a property in France, you will pay a 3% conversion fee from U.S. dollars to euros.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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