To inspire travel after over a year of staying at home, Airbnb has gathered the top wish-listed destinations by guests that they want to return to after the pandemic is over. According to their survey, 76% of Americans say that “just thinking about future travel has helped their mental health during the pandemic.”
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Airbnb users picked destinations ranging from Los Angeles to Bali. As countries are reopening to vaccinated travelers, now’s the time to think about your first destination since the start of the pandemic.
Here at TPG, we often praise the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as the best travel rewards credit card on the market. It even won a Reader’s Choice TPG Award in 2020 as the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card.
There’s never been a better time to apply with the chance to earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening and up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery story purchases within your first year of account opening.
That amounts to a whopping $1,650 in value, according to TPG valuations. Since each Chase Ultimate Rewards point is worth 2 cents each when redeemed for travel, this card can help you book your first post-pandemic trip — for (almost) free.
When it comes to Airbnb purchases, your Ultimate Rewards points will be worth 1 cent each — more on that later. You’ll typically get the most value from your points when transferring to Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel loyalty partners, but for those who don’t want to embark on complex transfer options, your 80,000 points are simply worth $800 if using for Airbnb.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 wanderlust destinations (as defined by Airbnb) and how you could use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to maximize and unlock (almost) free travel.
Related: A top travel card contender: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
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How to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred for Airbnb
What we like so much about the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the amount of flexibility and value you get when it comes to travel.
The Sapphire Preferred’s earning rate is easy to remember: 2x on dining and travel. While dining is self-explanatory, Chase defines travel broadly as it encompasses everything from the obvious (flights and hotels) to the less obvious (Ubers and parking garages). This means you’ll get a solid 4% return on these purchases — including Airbnbs — which quickly adds up over time.
Related: Best credit cards for Airbnb stays
Airbnb Experiences include group or private tours, classes, and other related activities — both in-person and virtual. These will also count as travel purchases, so you’ll also earn 2 points per dollar or a 4% return.
While you can’t book Airbnbs on Chase’s travel portal, you could use your points to redeem for Airbnb gift cards if you’ve found a property you’re eager to stay at. You can redeem your gift cards for 1 cent each, meaning that you could get $800 of Airbnb gift cards through the sign-up bonus alone.
Another option is to leverage your points to redeem at 1 cent each for a statement credit or just get pure cash, which can be used for Airbnb or virtually anything. Note that another lucrative option is Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature for a limited time at an elevated rate (until Sep. 30, 2021) of 1.25 cents and 1.5 cents, respectively, for dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores, select charities or fund a vaccine ride with Lyft with the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve.
Los Angeles, California
The entertainment capital of the world, many Airbnb travelers are actually looking forward to visiting Los Angeles to get some rest and relaxation. That’s because of the temperate Southern California climate and the proximity to beaches and mountains.
The Architect’s House
This two-bedroom guesthouse offers an eclectic vibe in the bohemian beach town of Venice Beach, Calif. There’s enough room for four guests to fit comfortably in this modern house. At $333 per night, you could pay for two nights’ accommodation with your Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus.
Related: The best times to visit Los Angeles
Americans have turned to road trips and domestic getaways since the pandemic, and we’ll continue to see these destinations rise in popularity. Sevierville is located near the Great Smoky Mountains, beautiful every season, with no shortage of hikes and waterfalls here. Plus, famous country singer and American treasure Dolly Parton is from here, meaning you’re just a quick drive to the Dollywood theme park.
This log cabin truly has a ‘wow’ factor to it. From rocking chairs to a hot tub to a charcoal grill, you’ll be sure to feel cozy all year round. Sleeping six people comfortably, this cabin is affordable at just $174 per night — meaning four “free” nights with your points.
Related: A beginner’s guide to visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Seoul, South Korea
Gallery: The Cost To Book Last-Minute Summer Travel to Top US Destinations (GOBankingRates)
I’m biased (all of my extended family lives in South Korea), but I think Seoul is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. It seems like South Korea has got it figured out — from the food, rich history, great music and nightlife — it’s definitely at the top of my list once the country opens back up for visitors.
Traditional Hanok (Korean House)
What Airbnb users love is the number of unique stays you’ll find on the platform, and this traditional Korean hanok is no exception. Although it’s in the center of a busy city, you’ll find a haven here. It can accommodate up to five guests, perfect for a small family vacation. Best of all? It’s incredibly affordable at just $86 per night, stretching your sign-up bonus to nine nights here.
Related: How to get to South Korea on points and miles
Growing up in the South, I enjoyed my family road trips to Atlanta — a big city vibe with an unbelievable amount of history and culture to uncover. Top attractions include the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, the Coca-Cola Factory and the Georgia Aquarium.
Located under a half-hour drive from downtown Atlanta, retreat into a treehouse that’s pretty as a picture. This treehouse offers two full bedrooms (ideal for four guests), exciting both the children and the adults in the group. At $289 per night, the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus covers a two-night stay here.
It’s not surprising that destinations like Paris (and the whole country of France) that have been closed off to tourists due to the pandemic are at the top of mind when it comes to wanderlust travel. Whether you believe that Paris is the city of love or the city of lights, travelers will soon be reunited with the sights, smells and sounds to discover here.
This elegant loft is located in the heart of Paris near the Luxembourg Gardens, capturing the Paris aesthetic in one apartment. There’s a spiral staircase that leads to another bed upstairs, fitting up to four guests in this stay. Stay here for four nights at the price of $195 per night.
Related: Paris is reopening June 9 – here’s how to fly there for just 45,000 miles round-trip
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If you love being outdoors, Rio should be on the top of your travel list. Discover beaches and mountains or take a Brazilian Samba class. While Brazil is closed off to tourism right now, there’s no reason why you can’t daydream about visiting this wonderful country in the coming years.
This stylish apartment is in an ideal location, steps from the beach and delicious restaurants. It’s a perfect place for couples — wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee every morning on the patio. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced at $85 per night, giving you the chance to stay here for eight nights.
When you think of Bali, you can’t help but think of paradise. Whether you’re looking for a meditation retreat or want to explore the remarkable beaches (why not both?), you’re never going to want to leave this island.
Bamboo Hut Village
If you have a large family or like to travel with a group of friends, you should consider booking this entire bamboo hut villa that can accommodate up to eight guests. You’ll have your own swimming pool, cabanas and a private garden. The price is reasonable, too — you’re looking at $300 per night or two nights by taking advantage of your Chase Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus.
Mexico City, Mexico
Skip the tourist destination of Cancun and make your way down to Mexico City. The capital has so much to offer, whether exploring the food scene or the ancient Aztec ruins. Mexico has also been open to tourists, so you could potentially take a visit sooner than you think.
This vibrant townhome has recently been renovated and is beautifully decorated. Fitting up to five guests, there’s a variety of textures to find and appreciate. Plus, it’s the most affordable option on this list. For just $49 per night, you could stay here for up to 16 nights.
Related: 13 things every tourist must eat (and drink) in Mexico City
Cape Town, South Africa
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or interested in being at the heart of wildlife and marine conservation, there is an endless number of experiences in Cape Town. You’re at an all-around iconic destination to explore culture and history.
This Cape Town apartment has one of the most magnificent panoramic views of the Helderberg mountains. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city (only 15 minutes away) but more than enough to feel immersed in nature. This apartment is the ideal size for two, meaning you can book eight nights as it costs just $96 per night.
Related: 4 reasons why you should visit Cape Town, South Africa
London, United Kingdom
London’s calling and this city offers an impressive number of historical and architectural wonders to uncover. You’ll cross off all the bucket list items by visiting Big Ben or Buckingham Palace.
Located in the Angel district in Central London, you’ll not only love the location but the furnishings of this beautiful loft. It comfortably fits four people but can accommodate up to six people if needed. Stay here for three nights at a nightly rate of $213.
Related: Planning on crossing the pond this summer or fall? Here’s what award availability to London looks like
The Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards you exactly how you want to travel — even if it means booking an Airbnb over a hotel. This popular card is a must-have in any traveler’s wallet, made even more appealing with a tremendous sign-up bonus.
Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred available with a sign-up bonus of 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Featured photo by Airbnb
SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.
And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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