Booking With Airbnb? Here Are the Best Credit Cards for July

With summer in full swing, it’s time to book Airbnb accommodations for your next trip. Via Airbnb’s app or website, you can browse privately owned travel lodgings that suit your schedule and budget, with a wide variety of locations available. But between the stay itself, cleaning and other fees, the cost can add up quickly. Certain credit cards can help you stretch your Airbnb budget, however.

Though there aren’t any Airbnb-specific credit cards like there are hotel credit cards, we rounded up the best rewards cards to optimize your Airbnb bookings.

Best overall credit card for Airbnb stays

Intro OfferN/A

APR13.50% – 20.50% Variable

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good Credit

Reward Rates

  • Earn 2x points on every dollar spent
  • Earn 3x points on every dollar spent that entire year when you spend $15,000+ in a year
  • 4X points for 30 days for each friend you invite who gets the card

Annual FeeNone

Balance Transfer APR13.50% – 20.50% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee 2% of the amount of each transfer.

Penalty APR None

  • Earn 2x points on every dollar spent
  • Earn 3x points on every dollar spent that entire year when you spend $15,000+ in a year
  • 4X points for 30 days for each friend you invite who gets the card

Our Take

The X1 Card* has the highest potential rewards rate on Airbnb purchases, and it has no annual fee. The base rewards rate with this card is 2x points per dollar, but there are ways to earn more. You can earn 3x points on all your purchases for the year if you spend at least $15,000 in the year, and you can earn 4x points for 30 days for every successful applicant you refer. 

After you earn your points, if you redeem them for cash back, they’re only worth 0.7 cents per point. However, with Airbnb and a handful of other major brands, including United Airlines and Hotels.com, you can redeem them for 1 cent per point. This means you can earn up to 4% rewards on your spending to apply toward future Airbnb stays. If you don’t stay at Airbnbs often and can’t take advantage of these brand offers, a different card on this list may make more sense. 

Check out the full list of redemption partners and other benefits in our X1 review.

Use this welcome bonus toward Airbnb

Intro OfferEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

APR16.74% – 23.74% Variable

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Annual Fee$95

Balance Transfer APR16.74% – 23.74% Variable

Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Foreign Transaction Fees $0

Penalty APR Up to 29.99%

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Our Take

Airbnb stays can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. So if you use this card to book your next Airbnb, the total cost can help you meet the spending threshold ($4,000) to earn this card’s particularly good welcome bonus within the first three months from account opening. You can then use the welcome bonus, 60,000 bonus points, as a $600 statement credit toward your next Airbnb vacation — or as $750 to book supplementary trip accommodations through Chase Ultimate Rewards, Chase’s travel booking portal, for your daily excursions and car rentals. 

Plus, you’ll get a 2x rewards rate on all your travel purchases with this card, and that includes Airbnb bookings.

For more information about this travel credit card, see our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Intro OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

APR16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR

Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening

Recommended Credit Excellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Annual Fee$0

Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers

Balance Transfer APR16.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% Variable APR

Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5

Foreign Transaction Fees 3%

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is the only card on this list that offers an introductory APR, which gives you more time to pay for your trip over time without incurring interest charges. Just make sure you can cover the minimum payment on time each month and pay off the balance in full by the end of the promotional period.

The Active Cash is also best if you don’t want to think about rewards categories and strategizing around your Airbnb booking. You get a competitive flat rewards rate of 2% on Airbnb and other purchases, along with a decent welcome bonus — $200 cash rewards welcome bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s pretty nice for a credit card with no annual fee.

For more details, check out our full Wells Fargo Active Cash review.

Use your rewards toward flights

Intro OfferEarn 45,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months

APR17.49% – 24.49% Variable

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • 3X points on transit including trains, buses, ferries, subway, and more.
  • 3X points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, and more.
  • 1X points on other purchases

Annual Fee$150

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR See Rates & Fees

  • 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • 3X points on transit including trains, buses, ferries, subway, and more.
  • 3X points on travel including airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, and more.
  • 1X points on other purchases

Our Take

Instead of earning rewards to front the cost of your Airbnb rental, you can also use a credit card to pay for your Airbnb stay that will net you the best rewards on airfare and other traveling costs to your Airbnb destination. The American Express® Green Card earns you 3x points on travel purchases — including Airbnbs — and can be redeemed at 1 cent per point when you book flights through amextravel.com or directly with an airline. 

This is a 3% return on Airbnb purchases toward eligible flights, a rewards rate equivalent to general travel purchases with the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, yet without spending as much on the annual fee. If you prefer straight cash back, the Green Card’s 0.6 cents per point statement credit redemption rate isn’t worthwhile. Instead, try the Wells Fargo Active Cash card.

Read More: How Much Are Amex Membership Rewards Points Worth?

FAQs

Can you cancel an Airbnb reservation and get a refund?

Each Airbnb listing has its own designated cancellation policy ranging from “flexible” to “super strict.” More flexible policies allow for a risk-free cancellation closer to the reservation date. Moderate policies may only give you a partial refund as your reservation date gets closer, while the strictest policies require full payment upfront with no refunds. Airbnb cancellation policies are also listed on its website.

When is your credit card charged for Airbnb reservations?

You have 24 hours to cancel your booking before your credit card is charged, regardless of the host’s chosen cancellation policy. How much you’ll be charged upfront depends on the listing’s cancellation policy and whether or not you opt for a payment plan. For moderate listings, you may be charged for some of the reservation cost after 24 hours, and the remaining balance will be charged as you get closer to your stay.

Does Airbnb offer any interest-free financing?

For some trips, Airbnb offers a payment plan. There are a few eligibility requirements, but the main ones are that your trip is at least 14 days in the future, is not longer than 28 days (longer reservations will require an upfront charge) and is not for work. You can choose the payment plan option at checkout, and choose between two and 12 equal monthly installments to pay off your booking cost beyond your trip date. Alternatively, the best 0% introductory APR credit cards may offer longer promotional financing terms.

Our approach to credit card evaluation

CNET reviews credit cards by exhaustively comparing them across set criteria developed for each major category of cards, including cash-back, welcome bonus, travel rewards and balance transfer. We consider the typical spending behaviors of a range of consumer profiles with the understanding that everyone’s financial situation is different — as are the designated functions of different credit cards. 

*All information about the X1 Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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