Airbnb: The Ultimate Travel Hack

airbnb, travel hack, miles, points

There’s no question that my wife and I love to travel.  We love to knock out cities, states and countries off our bucket list.  We travel by doing road trips, flying to places and, needless to say, we do it in the most frugal/cost efficient way possible.  Airbnb happens to be a frequent platform we use to book our stays.

This has lead to us performing extreme travel-hacking over the years, including Airbnb.  We wanted to share how we not only received credits with Airbnb, but also how to earn the most cash/miles/rewards back as possible on one single booking.  We try to maximize as much back as possible, that allows us to achieve our future goals of saving/investing and even more traveling.

The steps below are what we found to be the absolute best way to earn the most back when booking through Airbmb.  These are actual steps we used and does not take more than 15 minutes to accomplish.  Therefore and without further ado, here is our Ultimate Travel Hack for Airbnb!

#1 Sign Up for AirBNB

First, sign up for Airbnb through here.  You will receive a FREE credit of $40.00 once you sign up and register through that link!  In fact, once you sign up through the link, you receive the credit, regardless of even booking your stay.

airbnb, travelhack, travel

My wife and I recently registered and received the $40 credit instantly.  Then, we used the credit when we booked our stay and this reduced our cost HEAVILY on our Airbnb stay (see below).  We loved it and Airbnb’s filter options are amazing in finding the perfect place.  We chose to have a private place with a bathroom, wi-fi and free parking.

To receive the FULL travel hack, DO NOT  book your place just yet!  You have to check out the additional steps below, to really go deeper into the travel hacking/reward receiving/insane way to earn more back for staying at Airbnb!  After booking the place we wanted, here is our receipt with the $40 credit:

airbnb, travel


See: Sign Up at Airbnb to receive a FREE $40.00 credit toward your stay!

#2a Sign up for United Explorer Card

My wife and I signed up for The United Explorer Card. Of course, the card is easy to sign up for and took a few minutes. We received a plethora of Bonus Miles, free Global Entry/TSA Pre Check (they reimburse you for the cost), free checked bags when flying and free United Club Passes.  When we go to the next step in this guide, you’ll understand how having this card plays into your travel hack experience.  In short, this card will allow you to earn more back from when you plan on booking your Airbnb stay/festivities.  Further, why not earn 40,000 bonus miles to start?  That’s actually redeemable for a few flights domestically or potentially one international flight.

United Airlines, United Explorer Card

See: Sign Up to receive 40,000 BONUS United Miles!

See: Sign up for United MileagePlus

#2B Download and Use the United MileagePlus X APP

Alright, here we go!  So… United Airlines has an app called The United Mileageplus X App!  The app is available for download for Apple and Google.  What exactly does the application do? In short, from their app, “Your new app to earn United Airlines MileagePlus award miles on-the-go! Earning award miles for your everyday activities is now all together in one place. Look for ways to earn miles dining and shopping nearby and online. Or you can search for your favorite merchants to see all the current offers available across the entire app — and watch the miles pile up!”.

What do I do on here to earn miles?  I purchase gift cards at specific merchants, moments before I intend on using them.  In this case, you guessed it, we did this for Airbnb, as they are on there!  You earn 2 United Miles per dollar spent on a gift card, shown in the screen below.  You pay with any credit card that you have loaded onto your app, including the United Explorer card from above!

Question now is – why do you need the United Explorer Card?  Simply having the card allows you to receive 25% additional miles back on purchases through the Mileageplus X App.  Another HUGE positive here is – simply owning the card gives you the 25% additional miles, you do not have to use that card to purchase the gift card, in case you have another preferred card of use.  How does this work?  Your United Explorer Card is linked to your United Reward Profile, which is linked to this mobile application.

United MileagePlus, United AirlinesUnited MileagePlus, United Airlines, Airbnb

So what did we do?  We purchased the exact amount of our stay for Airbnb – $98.70 through this application and used our United Explorer Card. What did we earn?  See below.  You can see the 197 base points (98.70 x 2) + 49 (197 x 25%) miles being posted.  In addition, since we used the United Explorer Card on travel, we will also earn an ADDITIONAL 2 miles per dollar, as that’s part of their credit card program, for another 197 miles.

The total miles earned is 443 miles.  Guess what, the earning doesn’t STOP here.

#3 Redeem airbnb Gift Card from #2B at Delta AirBNB

 Delta, Delta Airlines, Airbnb, travel

Yes, the fun is not yet over!  Once you have performed the following:

– Registered/Signed up for Airbnb and received $40.00 credit

– Registered/Signed up for United Explorer Card for the Bonus Miles and 25% bump on the United Mileage Plus X App

– Downloaded and Purchased the Airbnb Gift Card for the exact amount on the United Mileageplus X App

Then, head on over to this website: DeltaAirbnb.  Make sure you have a Delta rewards profile, as well, first.  Once you are there, simply click on “Book Your Airbnb” and then it will prompt you to enter your Delta Rewards number.  Then, you will be re-directed to the Airbnb site, to which you can proceed with purchasing your stay.

Therefore, this was another 99 Delta miles earned from the booking!

**Key piece to keep in mind.  When using an Airbnb gift card, you MUST pay the FULL amount in order to use the full amount of the gift card.  You cannot pay 1/2 with your gift card now and then pay the last 1/2 with your gift card later when the date is closer to your stay.  Airbnb currently doesn’t allow it.  Just a heads up!

#4 Always Negotiate the Airbnb rate

Now, if you feel like you have already received a great rate, then awesome/nice job.  However, if you want to see if there is any more money to shave off of the price of the booking, I would recommend the following:

– Contact the owner and send a message

– Ensure the message contains how excited you are to travel to the destination, why you love their place so much and what you can do for the owner, to save them time and money, which will ultimately save you/the renter money.  This includes cleaning/ensuring a spotless place.  Leaving a bottle of wine and/or a gift for the owner.  You can also do a chore/errand for the owner, as well.  I have saved around 5-15% messaging the owner.

– The worst they can say is no but the best thing they can say is yes!

– Promise to leave the owner a 5 star review and to share their place on social media.

These are all great ways to save and see if there is any more cost to trim down.  I know the cleaning and service fees add up quite a bit, therefore, do your best in this area.

See – Frugal Tip: Asking for a Discount

Airbnb travel hack conclusion

In the end, you will save and earn as much back as possible, using the methods above.  In our case, on this two night stay, we saved $40.00, earned 443 United Miles (worth approximately 1.4 cents per mile) and received 99 Delta miles (worth approximately 1.2 cents per mile).  We did not message the owner to negotiate, as we felt the price was reasonable, but we will always keep that in mind for the next go-around.

Therefore, you definitely should use these steps when you book with Airbnb.  When my wife and I do this, it allows us to save money and provides value for potential future use.  In the end, we are able to visit places that we never thought imaginable and are able to use the savings for either tours, food, etc.. while traveling or boosting up the dividend income portfolios!

What are you waiting for, go travel-hack your way to your next destination!


6 thoughts on “Airbnb: The Ultimate Travel Hack

  1. Lanny,
    I like to travel myself on occasion. Kids have thrown a wrench into that, and I would prefer to travel with kids when they are a little older. You headed anywhere cool?
    – Gremlin

  2. I used Airbnb yesterday for the first time in my life when I booked a place in London. I should have read this article before that, but at least I have some tips for the future!

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