Most travellers are familiar with the accommodation service Airbnb. It offers the option to bypass traditional lodging options like hotels for a more ‘local’ experience staying in an apartment or house (or treehouse, igloo, caravan and so on.)
In this guide
Airbnb doesn’t have its own dedicated loyalty program but instead has generally chosen to team up with other partners to offer loyalty perks.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that just by clicking through a dedicated link, you can earn frequent flyer points on every dollar spent on Airbnb stays.
How to earn frequent flyer points with Airbnb
Here are the frequent flyer program partners and earn rates:
|Frequent flyer program||Earn rate|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1 Qantas Point per AUD spent|
|British Airways Avios||3 Avios per USD/EUR/GBP spent|
|Delta SkyMiles||1 SkyMile per USD spent|
Based on our points valuations and the AUD:USD exchange rate at the time of writing (June 2019), I would value the Avios earn opportunity at more than triple the others (4.5% cashback). Qantas would give you an effective cashback of 1.4% and Delta 1.2%.
In detail: how to earn Qantas Points with Airbnb stays
The regular earn rate doesn’t compare well when looking at the base return for booking via Qantas Hotels, which starts at 3 Qantas Points per dollar and is often increased during promotional periods.
However, this isn’t comparing apples to apples. Airbnb is a totally different product and experience to booking a hotel, and you usually would know which you’d prefer to get the most from your travels.
- Start your Airbnb accommodation search and booking via the Qantas/Airbnb portal, ensuring you are logged in with your frequent flyer number or log in when prompted
- You’ll pick up 1 Qantas Point per AUD spent on the final value of the guest fees of your booking after credits or discounts
- The points will be credited to your account up to eight weeks after your stay
- You won’t earn points on cancelled bookings
- The name on the booking must match the name on your Qantas Frequent Flyer account
- If booking an overseas property where the price is not quoted in AUD, then the points earned will be calculated on an AUD exchange rate used by Airbnb
Given you are booking directly with Airbnb after clicking through from Qantas, you should find that pricing is the same. If you find this is not the case, please let us know in the comments.
Airbnb is an alternative to hotels for sure but, generally, you can decide whether the benefits and trade-offs of staying in an Airbnb are suitable, and would usually be more of a sway to your decision than whether you can earn points or not.
In 2018, our then Senior Content Producer Matt spent almost AU$6,000 with Airbnb, earning him about 6,000 Qantas Points. That means he got $114 worth of points just by clicking through the dedicated portal every time he booked (which he still forgot sometimes).
In brief: how to earn Avios or Delta SkyMiles with Airbnb stays
The method to earn British Airways Avios or Delta SkyMiles is essentially the same as above. Simply start your Airbnb accommodation search through the British Airways or Delta portals, ensuring you are logged into the respective frequent flyer account.
Follow the steps to book your Airbnb property as usual. Be aware that each program will have different terms and conditions on how the Avios or SkyMiles are awarded after the stay.
Alternative: earn United MileagePlus miles on Airbnb stays
A ‘bonus option’ (so to speak) is the ability to earn United MileagePlus miles on Airbnb stays. However, this process is the most convoluted of all. You’ll collect around 1 MileagePlus mile per US$1 spent on Airbnb gift cards through the store, but this earn rate can change periodically.
Do note that the MileagePlus online store regularly changes which retailers it partners with, so this option may not always be available.
Why might you consider this option? MileagePlus offers good-value First and Business Class redemptions to Asia on Star Alliance carriers, which may appeal to certain Point Hackers.
Here are the steps:
- Make sure you have a MileagePlus account (sign up for one for free here).
- Head to the MileagePlus Shopping page and search for ‘Airbnb’.
- Airbnb gift cards may appear. At the time of writing, it was sold by Staples, earning 1 MileagePlus mile per USD$1 spent.
By simply clicking through a dedicated Airbnb portal with a frequent flyer program, rather than visiting the Airbnb website directly, you can earn frequent flyer points on your stays.
This appears to be the only easy way to earn additional rewards on Airbnb stays, as Airbnb does not have its own rewards program.
The current program links are through Qantas (1 point per AUD $1), British Airways (3 Avios pre GBP/USD/EUR 1) and Delta Skymiles (1 mile per USD $1). It’s also possible to buy Airbnb gift cards and earn United MileagePlus miles.
Hopefully, we will see more loyalty programs partnering with the accommodation service moving forward!
Supplementary images courtesy Airbnb and respective frequent flyer programs.