How to earn maximum points for Airbnbs, Vrbo stays, hostels and more

Hostels, Vrbo rentals, campgrounds, and Airbnbs have become popular choices for travelers looking for unique and affordable lodging options. However, in recent years, these properties have become more expensive and rarely belong to points programs. Fortunately, there are a few options to earn points or get cash back when staying at these independent properties. In this article, we will explore different strategies to maximize your earnings and make the most of your stay.

Firstly, it’s important to pick the right portal when booking your lodging. Cashback Monitor is a website that simplifies the process of finding the best rewards portal for earning cash back or points on your bookings. It provides information on how much cash back or points you can earn using different rewards portals for a given website. One of the best portals is Rakuten, which allows members to opt for American Express Membership Rewards points instead of cash back. This effectively doubles your return if you value Amex points at 2 cents apiece. Rakuten works with over 3,500 retailers and offers a browser extension that notifies you of bonus offers and in-store deals.

When it comes to credit cards, there are a few options that offer bonus points on travel expenses, including Airbnbs, hostels, and campgrounds. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Green Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, and Wells Fargo Autograph Card are all great options that offer 3 points per dollar on travel expenses. These cards also come with additional perks such as travel credits, access to rewards portals, and purchase protection.

While there is no official loyalty program for Airbnb, there are several airline loyalty programs that allow you to earn miles on your bookings. All Nippon Airways Mileage Club, British Airways Avios, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, Qantas points, and United Airlines MileagePlus all offer miles for Airbnb and Vrbo bookings. Some of these programs also offer bonus miles for first-time users. By clicking through one of these programs, you can earn a decent return on your stay, even if you have previously used Airbnb or Vrbo.

If you’re looking to save money on your bookings, consider purchasing Airbnb gift cards through United’s MileagePlus X app. This will earn you 2 MileagePlus miles per dollar spent, plus a 25% bonus if you have a cobranded card like the United Explorer Card. Additionally, Chase and Amex consider Airbnb as a travel provider, so you can still earn 3 points per dollar using the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Green cards. is a popular site for alternative lodging options, offering a wide selection of independently run guesthouses, hostels, campsites, and more. While does not have a loyalty program, you can still save money by using shopping portals like Rakuten and TopCashback, which usually offer more than 4% cash back.

Finally, when booking stays on Hostelworld, it’s important to be aware of their cancellation policies. While they do offer refundable stays, you must cancel within the given time frame. If you’re looking to save money on your stay, consider booking non-refundable stays.

In conclusion, while hostels, Vrbo rentals, campgrounds, and Airbnbs may not belong to traditional loyalty programs, there are still ways to earn points or get cash back when staying at these properties. By picking the right portal, using the right credit card, earning airline miles, buying gift cards, and taking advantage of shopping portals, you can maximize your earnings and make the most of your stay at these independent properties.

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