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Credit Cards

The best credit cards for booking Airbnb, VRBO and more: Get rewarded for your next vacation rental

Vacation home rental sites rarely have useful loyalty programs but you can still save money with the right credit card rewards.

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Westend61 | Westend61 | Getty Images

Vacation home rentals through sites like Airbnb and VRBO are great options for large groups, families, budget travelers or anyone who needs accommodations in remote locations.

Short-term rental sites aren't known for having rewarding loyalty programs like hotels. So if you want to maximize your rewards, you'll want to use one of the best credit cards for booking with Airbnb or VRBO.

With the right card, you can earn bonus travel rewards or cash back on your vacation home rentals. And since there are no complicated loyalty programs to navigate, redeeming points for home rentals is straightforward.

Best credit cards for Airbnb and VRBO bookings

Best overall

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's secure site
  • Rewards

    5 Miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every 4 years

Cons

  • No introductory APR
  • There’s a $95 annual fee

Who's this for? The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a no-nonsense card with a flexible, yet easy-to-navigate rewards program and a reasonable $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Standout benefits: You earn at least 2X miles on every purchase, which includes not only Airbnb and VRBO bookings but also vacation rentals booked through smaller sites — as well as all other everyday spending, such as groceries and household supplies. The card also comes with various travel protections, a statement credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® membership.

How to redeem rewards: You can transfer Capital One miles to a long list of airline and hotel partner programs. You also have the option to use your miles to offset recent travel purchases at a rate of one cent per mile. This option is a great way to cover the cost of a home rental booked in the last 90 days.

Learn more: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review: For frequent travelers in search of luxury benefits with a low annual fee

Best for travel benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase’s secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    22.49% - 29.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Priority Pass™ Select lounge access at 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Travel℠
  • Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership

Cons

  • High annual fee, but it can be offset by taking advantage of all the card’s perks
  • No introductory APR
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,469
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $3,346

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a top-tier travel credit card with a strong suite of travel protections, useful benefits and an excellent rewards program. The card has a hefty $550 annual fee but its benefits can easily offset this cost.

Standout benefits: Airbnb and VRBO bookings earn 3X points with the Sapphire Reserve. Also, every year, you'll get an up to $300 travel credit, which can be applied toward Airbnb and VRBO stays. To make your journey to and from the rental more comfortable, this card comes with airport lounge access and up to $100 in credit toward your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. The card also has other benefits that can come in handy when you're at home or on vacation, like a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership (at least 12 months free when activated by December 31, 2024), 12 months of Instacart+ and an up to $15 monthly Instacart credit and up to $10 in GoPuff credit each month.

How to redeem rewards: You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for statement credits at a rate of one cent per point. And you'll get 1.5 cents per point when you use points to book travel through Chase Travel℠. To book flights and hotels, you can also transfer Chase points to a number of valuable airline and hotel rewards programs, like World of Hyatt, Air Canada Aeroplan and United Airlines MileagePlus.

Learn more: The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with an annual $300 travel credit and perks from Lyft, DoorDash and Peloton—helping you offset the $550 fee

Best for no annual fee

Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Fair/Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

Who's this for? If you like to keep things simple, you'll love the Citi Double Cash Card. It has no annual fee and earns a flat 2% cash back everywhere (1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay off the charge).

Standout benefits: The Citi Double Cash Card is a very straightforward card so you don't have to put much effort into maximizing its benefits or spending categories. That doesn't mean it's not a valuable card, though, as getting 2% cashback on your vacation rental is a pretty good deal for very little effort. Plus, if you forget to pay your bill, Citi will waive your first late fee — though we don't recommend getting into the habit of this.

How to redeem rewards: As its name suggests, the Citi Double Cash Card offers cold hard cash back. If you have certain other Citi credit cards, like the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees), you can transfer your rewards to various Citi ThankYou® travel partners.

Learn more: Here’s why the Citi Double Cash Card is the best way to earn cash back—without paying an annual fee

Best for cash back

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

  • Rewards

    3% on a category of your choice and 2% on grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category and grocery stores purchases) and 1% on all other eligible purchases. However, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase if you're a Preferred Rewards member.

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    Introductory 0% APR for your first 15 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening.

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 28.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of 3% of the amount of each transaction make with 60 days of account opening. After that, 4% of the amount of each transaction

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction made in a foreign currency

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Introductory APR period on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 billing cycles
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus
  • Have a choice of 6 different categories you can change monthly

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Can't receive a greater cash-back rate unless you're a Preferred Rewards member

Who's this for? The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards card is ideal for anyone who loves cashback and wants to maximize their return across a wide range of purchases. And it's even more rewarding if you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member.

Standout benefits: Cardholders earn 3% cash back in a category of their choice, which can be travel or any of the following: gas, online shopping, dining, drug stores and home improvement and furnishings. You'll also earn 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and the 3% or 2% bonus cash back applies to the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter, then you'll earn 1%.

You can boost the cash back you earn with this card by 25% to 75% if you qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. Your rewards tier is determined by how much money you have deposited in your Bank of America deposit and Merrill investment accounts, including retirement accounts. To earn the 75% rewards bonus you'll need to reach the Platinum Honors tier, which requires a three-month average daily balance of $100,000 or more. But at that tier, you'll earn a massive 5.25% cash back in the bonus category you choose each month, like travel which includes bookings with Airbnb or VRBO.

How to redeem rewards: You can redeem your cash back for a statement credit, check or as a deposit into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account.

Learn more: Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards review: A credit card that lets you choose the bonus categories

Best for small businesses

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • Free employee cards
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase TravelSM
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Generous welcome bonus worth up to $1,000

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% financing offers for purchases or balance transfers

Who's this for? Small business owners (including freelancers or anyone with a side hustle) who want to earn travel rewards should consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. It earns bonus points in a range of categories including shipping, advertising and travel (Airbnb and VRBO bookings included).

Standout benefits: Cardholders earn 3X points on travel purchases, including home rentals with Airbnb and VRBO (on up to $150,000 a year in combined purchases in travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising). The Ink Business Preferred also comes with generous cell phone coverage, purchase protection benefits and primary car rental insurance.

How to redeem rewards: The Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you earn with this card can be redeemed for one cent each as a statement credit or for gift cards and 1.25 cents per point when you pay for travel through Chase TravelSM. You can also transfer Chase points at a 1:1 ratio to 14 partner travel programs, which can greatly increase the value of the travel you can book.

Learn more: Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review: A top-notch business card with a 100,000-point welcome bonus

FAQs

Should you get a credit card for your Airbnb or VRBO booking?

Unless you're a frequent traveler who regularly stays at Airbnbs or VRBOs, it might not be worth opening a new credit card just to book a single homestay. However, it is worth using whatever travel rewards credit card you have to pay for your vacation rental as earning some rewards is better than earning no rewards.

Depending on how many credit cards you're comfortable having, it may be worth opening a credit to pay for your vacation rental because you can earn a valuable welcome bonus at the same time. Then you can use that bonus to book your next vacation. You'll just want to make sure it's a card that's useful for more than just booking vacation home rentals.

How to choose a credit card for home rental purchases

When choosing a credit card for your vacation home rental spending, consider what cards you're likely to qualify for and which ones are the most rewarding for you.

The top travel and rewards credit cards typically require you to have good credit or excellent credit. If you're in the process of rebuilding your credit, you may need to start with a secured credit card or another card that's designed to help you repair your credit score.

Credit card rewards generally fall into two categories: intro bonus and ongoing benefits. Sign-up bonuses are typically the most valuable credit card benefit, but they are one-time bonuses. The rewards for your purchases and other ongoing perks should make the card worth it for you over the long haul and justify the annual fee if there is one.

How to earn extra rewards when booking Airbnb rentals

In addition to the rewards you can earn with a credit card, Airbnb has partnerships that allow you to earn extra frequent flyer miles on your bookings.

You can earn 1X Delta SkyMiles on Airbnb stays when you book through Delta and 3X Avios points on Airbnb stays and experiences when you book through British Airways. Before you make these bookings be sure you have cookies enabled in your browser, otherwise, the purchase won't track property and you won't receive the bonus miles.

How to redeem credit card rewards for vacation rentals

Redeeming credit card rewards for vacation rentals is easy because it doesn't require you to understand how to maximize a complicated rewards program. Instead, you can use your credit card rewards to offset the bookings you make at sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

How you redeem your credit card rewards depends on what specific card you have. Cashback is straightforward and can be used to simply offset the cost of your home rental. You can usually redeem flexible travel rewards to pay for travel purchases at a rate of one cent per point, but this isn't universal. So you'll need to research how your specific cards work. If you have a cobranded airline or hotel credit card, you typically won't have a way to directly redeem the points and miles you earn for a vacation rental.

Bottom line

Booking a vacation home rental with sites like Airbnb or VRBO is a great option for family vacations or anyone who wants extra space or access to unique amenities that aren't available at hotels. But vacation rental sites don't offer the same level of rewards (if any at all) you can earn with hotel loyalty programs.

If you want to earn or redeem rewards for your vacation home rental, you'll need to find the right credit card for the job. The best credit cards for booking with Airbnb and VRBO earn bonus rewards on these types of purchases and allow you to use your rewards to pay for bookings.

Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value for vacation rental bookings, CNBC Select analyzed over 230 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including, the credit card's rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

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Information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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