Many of us are avoiding travel during the pandemic.
But if you have to shelter in place under quarantine once you get to your destination, wouldnât you rather do it in an environment that at least seems more within your control?
If the choice is between a hotel where you must trust your experience to a faceless corporation or a local host you can talk to through homestay sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, the latter may be the better option for these times (provided you donât violate their party guidelines).
Whatever option you choose, credit card issuers now reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way theyâve long doled out rewards for hotels and other travel expenses.
These are the best cards on the market for homestays like Airbnb.
See related: Strategies for planning 2021 travel
Wells Fargo Propel American ExpressÂ® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option
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TheÂ Wells Fargo Propel American Express cardÂ includes arguably one of the highest rates of return on points for some of the most popular redemption categories out there, including homestays like Airbnb and Vrbo.
The greatest advantages of this card â besides earning 3 points per dollar spent on some popular spending categories â are that thereâs no point limit or expiration, no annual fee and no rotating categories that you constantly have to remind yourself to activate. You get three times the points in the relevant categories all the time without restriction, with travel â including all homestays â and transit being one of those prominent categories.
The card also charges no foreign currency conversion fee, so buying things abroad is less expensive. If that werenât enough, hereâs what you also get:
Before the Wells Fargo Propel card debuted,Â Chase Sapphire ReserveÂ was the go-to credit card option for Airbnb fans. It offers a 50,000-point introductory bonus when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of membership. Those points are worth up to $750 when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Though equipped with fewer spending categories offering 3X points and carrying a large annual fee of $550, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are more specifically geared toward frequent travelers.
At the same time, that large annual fee is offset by a $300 annual credit that will reimburse any travel expense â including Airbnb. And from June 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases count toward the travel credit.
Add to that a $100 credit covering the application toÂ Global Entry/TSA Precheck every four yearsÂ and the annual fee is almost completely offset in the first year.
Meanwhile, there are even more travel benefits:
While the points per dollar offered byÂ Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card on travel and Airbnb are fewer than the credit cards above, the sign-up bonus and up to $200 in annual statement credits make it a decent option, even with less flexibility on what qualifies as a credit than the credit cards above.
This card should absolutely move to the top of your list if you are already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. That designation automatically increases your return even higher than what the other credit cards above offer on travel and dining â you can get a rewards bonus of up to 75%.
Combine that with a generous sign-up bonus and the Bank of America Premium Rewards is one of the most potent rewards cards for Preferred Rewards clients.
The card includes:
Travel loyalty programs offer extended perks in pandemic
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardÂ is remarkably similar to Bank of Americaâs Premium Rewards card, right down to the $95 annual fee, but without the additional benefits afforded to Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients.
However, Capital One Venture Rewards offers 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase, not just travel and dining.
You may be wondering why the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is on a list highlighting the best credit cards for AirBnb, Vrbo and other homestays.
Shouldnât this card be limited to the âbest credit cards for online shoppingâ list? Not when Amazon offers Airbnb gift cards and the Amazon Prime Rewards card gives you 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases as long as you have a Prime membership, which essentially acts as the annual fee ($119).
Just purchase an AirBnb gift card from Amazon with the card, and itâs as if you are getting 5% cash back for your AirBnb stay when you apply the gift card towards it. Itâs the highest rate on this list, Amazon or not.
Youâll receive the following additional benefits:
See related: How to pay off Amazon purchases over time
Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list,Â Discover it MilesÂ gives you much more freedom in how you can manage your points and account.
You can redeem miles in any amount, your miles donât expire even if you close your account and 1% of your miles can be converted directly into cash for your bank account.
Discover it Miles offers: