Save on Travel and Make Money at the Same Time
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
Lots of folks get into the miles & points hobby to save money on travel. But what if you could travel for less and make money at the same time?
I have a friend who does this by hosting on Airbnb. She rents a spare bedroom in her home during the week. Or her entire house when she’s traveling.
This quick small business idea can help you generate extra income and grow your miles & points balances.
Hosting on Airbnb
Link: Become an Airbnb Host
You can get started as a host on Airbnb without a large upfront investment. Because you can list your current apartment or home. Airbnb gives you lots of flexibility to manage which reservations you accept. And there’s a review and verification system to help you screen guests.
And your listing doesn’t have to be a luxurious 10-bedroom vacation home. Some folks like Airbnb because you can choose from a range of options, including cheap private rooms in areas outside of the typical touristy hotel locations.
For example, I had a great Airbnb stay in the Upper East Side in New York City.
And while hosting on Airbnb in a popular travel destination might help get more reservations, your listing can be anywhere! Because folks might consider your place if it’s a stop along a road trip. Or if they’re visiting your area for business.
Note: Certain cities have restrictions on short-term rentals like Airbnb. So be sure to check local regulations before you create a listing.
If you’re interested in hosting, I’d recommend checking out the Airbnb community forum, which has information from experienced hosts around the world.
Extra income with Airbnb can definitely be attractive. But there are lots of other things to consider like:
- Time commitment
- Taxes you may owe
Just like the miles & points hobby, it’s best to start slow. Perhaps you can rent your place 1 or 2 times to see how it goes.
Extra Income as an Airbnb Host
I mentioned earlier my friend rents her entire home when she travels as a side business. So if she books a trip with miles & points, the income from the Airbnb rental is used as spending money or savings.
And sometimes she uses her Airbnb calendar to determine her travel schedule. For example, if there’s a reservation request for a long weekend, she can rent her home. And then book a trip!
If you decide to travel when renting on Airbnb, my friend recommends having someone close to your home on call in case your guests require assistance.
My friend also takes advantage of credit card perks to profit on Airbnb rentals.
For example, you can book a paid hotel stay with the Citi Prestige card and get the 4th night free. So you can potentially make a profit by renting your home for 4 nights and paying for a hotel stay on the same dates.
Let’s say your home rents for $200 per night. A 4-night Airbnb reservation would earn $800 in revenue ($200 per night X 4 nights). But if you can use the Citi Prestige 4th night free perk to book a hotel stay for less than $800, the difference will be your profit.
Of course, you’ll want to run the numbers to see if this makes sense in your situation.
Airbnb Hosts Can Earn Lots of Miles & Points
If you’re an Airbnb host, a small business credit card is a great way to keep your expenses separate while also earning points or cash back!
And there are many Airbnb host expenses that can go on a card, including:
- Cleaning products
- Bedding and linens
- Snacks and drinks for guests, like coffee, tea, or wine
- Breakfast foods
- Business services like cleaning or key handoff
- Cable, internet, and telephone service
- Kitchen appliances and dishes
- Rent and mortgage payments
Depending where you shop, many of these purchases can earn you bonus rewards if you use the right card.
My friend in the miles & points hobby is an Airbnb host. And she takes advantage of certain credit card benefits to profit on her Airbnb listing. For example, using the 4th night free perk with the Citi Prestige card to book a “staycation” while her home is rented.
Keep in mind, there’s a lot to consider before becoming a host, like the time commitment and demand for Airbnb listings in your area.
Do you host on Airbnb? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)