Expat Essentials

The Airbnb edition: How to earn air miles without leaving the ground

Almost three years ago, I quit my job, sold my house, packed a suitcase and took off for Europe. Other than staying at my daughter’s house while I’m in Germany or the occasional hotel when I’m on another continent, I pretty much stay in various Airbnb apartments for weeks to months at a time.

So when I read an article about how I could have been leveraging my stays for airline miles through a partnership between Airbnb and Delta Air Lines, I wanted to kick myself.

Every dollar I had spent on housing since 2016 would have earned me a mile with SkyMiles. That’s thousands and thousands of miles I missed out on!

I don’t want you to have to experience the deep sense of regret that I did, so I’m sharing what I learned in hopes that fellow travelers and digital nomads in particular can benefit from my cluelessness.

To get the miles, you first need to join SkyMiles. Anyone can join—it’s not a requirement to have flown with Delta in the past. Then, simply use their dedicated link and enter your SkyMiles number when you book your Airbnb. The price for your stay is the same when you book through the Delta site as it is when you book directly through Airbnb.

Super easy, right?

And guess what? If you have a Delta credit card that gives you a mile for every dollar you spend on every-day purchases, you can book the Airbnb using the card and you’ll end up with double the miles!

Qantas/Airbnb deal

After investigating this concept a bit further, I found out that Qantas Airways does the same thing and you get 500 bonus points with your first booking. In this case, you earn three Qantas Points for every Australian dollar spent when using their dedicated booking site.

In order to receive the points you need to sign up for the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. The same concept of using a credit card from Qantas or one of its partner programs to earn double the points applies here, too.

ANA/Airbnb deal

With Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), you earn one mile for every 200 yen spent on Airbnb accommodations booked through their site. ANA is also running a special promotion through December 31, 2019 in which first time Airbnb guests in Japan get double miles and a discount coupon for their stay.

Since I usually book the cheapest ticket I can find, odds are against me being a passenger on Delta, Qantas, or ANA anytime soon, but they can be used on partner airlines as well. In addition, you can redeem them for things like gift cards, car rentals, and hotel stays.

Lesson learned.

If you know of any other ways to leverage your Airbnb bookings for points or miles, please let us in on the secret by posting a link to the information in the comments.


About the author:

Beth Hoke rejoined the expat life after spending her childhood in Europe and the United States, then settling in Chicagoland to raise two daughters.

Now an empty nester, she is roaming Europe, armed with a TEFL certificate and an online position teaching English for EF.

Beth has been traveling around Europe for two years. She’s filed posts for Dispatches Europe from at least seven countries including France, Italy, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey and Madeira, Portugal.

Read all of Beth’s Digital Nomad and travel posts here.

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