I love new partnerships between companies I use!
And although this one isn’t new, it’s great. AirBnB is a fantastic option for lodging while you’re travelling. Usually the cost comes in low, and it offers a bit more local flair to your journey. We’ve used AirBnB in Peru, and then again in Mexico (twice!). All three times, I’ve been happy with the process, and with our hosts.
If you’re keeping up with travel hacking news, you’ve been able top earn Virgin America points on AirBnB bookings for the past year or so. Using my recent Mexico bookings, I decided to figure out the process, and a time frame for it.
Here’s what I did:
Since I booked two stays for Mexico, I used the Virgin America + AirBnB combo twice.
With a New AirBnB Account
The first time, I clicked through the Virgin America booking page for AirBnB to create a new account, using a new email address. According to the information on that page, I should get 1,500 Virgin America Elevate points for creating a new account and completing an eligible booking. At the moment, an eligible booking is one that is booked and completed by November 1st, 2017, and is over $150 with a new account.
I booked a $170 AirBnB stay with the new account through the Virgin America link on Saturday May 27th, for a stay August 26th-29th. Now, I should have seen a $20 credit for being a first time user. However, I do have the $27 referral credit from a friend’s referral. I’m willing to bet that the referral credit “overrode” the Virgin America first timer credit, and that you can’t duplicate. Can’t be sure, but I think it’s a solid assumption.
The 1,500 Elevate points did work out though! For booking with a new AirBnB account, I got those points credited to my Virgin America account on October 18th.
…and on the Existing AirBnB Account?
For the second booking, I used the Virgin America page to link to my girlfriend’s existing AirBnB account. Note though, that I used my Virgin America account still. She doesn’t have one. There are no eligibility requirements for the basic 1 Elevate point/$1 spent on AirBnB, other than having an existing Virgin America Elevate account.
I booked the second stay a little later. Using my existing (girlfriend’s) account on Sunday June 5th, I chose a great spot in Valladolid for two nights – on August 29th-31st. The total was $75 charge. Sadly, no referrals or other credits I could use this time.
Sure enough, on October 18th, 75 Elevate points showed up right next to the 1,500 from the other booking.
So, we’ve (theoretically) learned a few things:
- Virgin America Elevate points from AirBnB seem to take about two months to post, after completing the stay.
- The name on your AirBnB and your Virgin America account do not have to match. I’m not sure if they have a solid way of verifying this anyway. Lucky for me, I tend to be the travel agent for my family!
- You cannot stack a referral credit with a Virgin America first timer credit (I think!).
This is great news for folks that use AirBnB frequently, especially if they have some use for Virgin America miles. There’s no other portals for AirBnB as far as I know, so this is at least an option. Since Elevate is a revenue based flyer program, just like Southwest or Jetblue, you can find some flights for pretty cheap. If you live on the West Coast, even a handful of Virgin America points can be useful!
From Boston? Well, I guess I’ll just have to save mine up.
You can also stack the Virgin America miles with extra savings from strategically buying AirBnB gift cards. Gift cards are now carried by a number of stores, which means you can pick which category you want to spend in. Have a card that earns high cashback on groceries? Look for an AirBnB gift card at your local store.
I, for one, will be buying them at Amazon with 5% back on my Discover it for this quarter. 5% back, Virgin America miles, and cheaper than a hotel?
Don’t mind if I do!
I’ll continue to use the Virgin America method to book AirBnB stays, so I’ll update this in the future, as I get more data points. I encourage you to do the same! If you’re planning on booking with AirBnB, go through the Virgin America landing page, and let me know how long it takes to get your points in the comments!
Note, I had this post prepped earlier this week. About 2 minutes after finalizing it, I saw a Doctor of Credit post detailing a new agreement between AirBnB and Delta. There’s also a landing page for Qantas miles on AirBnB purchases, which I haven’t gotten to use yet.. The MPX option is currently unavailable, I’m unsure if that’s permanent or if we’ll see AirBnB gift cards back on the MPX app at some point.