INSIDER SECRET: Home rentals may be better for large groups or extended vacations. Hotel stays can be a better choice for business travelers or special occasions. 

To Airbnb or not to Airbnb? That is the question.

Factors like price, location and type of trip all play a part in the decision. It’s not an exact science, but I’ve outlined some situations when it makes sense to use a home rental or book a hotel.

Keep in mind that there are many types of rentals. The two main types are a standalone home or apartment, where you and your party will be the only ones in residence, or a rental where you may be sharing with roommates, a family or guests at a bed and breakfast.

The private pool at the Villa Syama I booked via Airbnb for a group of nine in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
The private pool at the Villa Syama I booked via Airbnb for a group of nine in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
I had a private room and bathroom at the Casa Colonial, a colonial mansion in Cuba booked via Airbnb, where I was able to get a feel for the neighborhood Vedado and chat with the amazing host Osmary about life in Havana. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
I had a private room and bathroom at the Casa Colonial, a colonial mansion in Cuba booked via Airbnb, where I was able to get a feel for the neighborhood Vedado and chat with the amazing host Osmary about life in Havana. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
There’s nothing like coming back to a perfectly clean hotel room like this one at the Kempinski Gold Coast in Accra, Ghana. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
There’s nothing like coming back to a perfectly clean hotel room like this one at the Kempinski Gold Coast in Accra, Ghana. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
The outdoor gym was an amazing amenity to have during a recent trip to the Ritz-Carlton Abama in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Lori Zaino)
The outdoor gym was an amazing amenity to have during a recent trip to the Ritz-Carlton Abama in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Lori Zaino)

If you’re booking a hotel: Use a co-branded hotel credit card to earn points associated with the hotel brand loyalty program. If you don’t book a brand hotel, you can still join the loyalty program at Hotels.com, which gives you one free night for every ten booked/stayed. Paying with your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and booking via Hotels.com/venture will earn 10 Venture miles per $1 spent. The card also offers perks like 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. And, the $95 fee is waived the first year.

If you’re booking a home rental: Use a flexible card that gives bonus points on travel, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The card gives you 2x points on travel (and dining) and 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening with an annual fee of $95.

Also, in order to snap up those bonus points, make sure to book your home rental on a site that codes as travel. Although Airbnb rentals always code as travel, VRBO didn’t used to code as travel; it reportedly now does. I’ve heard situations from some readers saying it sometimes still codes as a real estate transaction. To be safe, Airbnb may be your best bet if you want to score those extra bonus points.

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