Late last year, United Airlines added Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) to its list of hotel partners at an earning rate of 3 United Miles per dollar spent. The earnings do not require you to pay with a United Airlines credit card, meaning you can still earn points on different card or pay with a VRBO gift card (if you can find one).
While 3x isn’t mindblowing, the ability to earn the United Miles while double-dipping on transferrable points is an easy win…especially with the prices of vacations rentals right now.
- Earn 3 United Miles per dollar on rental charges when renting a vacation property through VRBO.com. (must book through United Partner site)
Terms and Conditions
- This offer is available to one Eligible Participant per booking.
- An Eligible Participant is a person aged 18 or over who is a member of United Airlines MileagePlus Program and is the primary traveler on the booking.
- To be eligible for this offer, Eligible Participants must make their reservation on the Vrbo/United site and enter their MileagePlus membership number in the “Please enter your UnitedAirlines MileagePlus membership number (8 digits) to earn miles” field.
- MileagePlus miles are awarded after the stay has been completed and will not be awarded if the Eligible Participant’s last name used in the booking as the primary traveler does not match the last name associated to the United Airlines MileagePlus membership number provided.
- For every $1 spent on the cost of the vacation rental, an Eligible Participant will
receive 3 MileagePlus award miles after the completed stay.
- MileagePlus miles will be awarded on the cost of the rental amount only excluding the relevant taxes, cleaning fees, property damage protection and any other service fees or other fees applicable to the booking, including without limitation, extra person, phone, parking and other charges. Such fees and charges do not count toward the spending requirement for this offer and will not earn miles.
- New bookings only.
VRBO is the OG of direct vacation rentals, even though it has undoubtedly taken a back seat to AirBnB over the last several years. It was acquired by Home Away in 2006 and then both were purchased by Expedia in 2015. It still operates as a unique rental site and many properties list on both AirBnB and VRBO. I always check each one when looking for rental as the fees, and even nightly rates, on the same property can sometimes be significantly less on VRBO (but not always). That said, I find it much easier to find discounted AirBnB gift cards than VRBO.
It’s worth noting that, unlike AirBnB, VRBO sometimes codes as “Real Estate Services,” meaning it won’t trigger category bonuses for travel or for the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit. It seems to vary on whether or not you’re renting from an individial owner or a property management company, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to determine how it will code in advance. I’ve read some success stories of Chase manually adding the points as a courtesy, but that’s a PIA and a definite YMMV. To be safe, it’s might be best to use a 2x everywhere card like the Citi Double Cash, Amex Blue for Business or the Capital One Venture X/Venture Rewards.
Also worth noting that the Capital One Venture Rewards cards have a 5% off VRBO statement credit when clicking through the VRBO offer on their merchant portal and paying with a C1 Venture card. Some folks have been able to trigger both the credit and a portal bonus by clicking through the Venture Merchant Portal and then finishing the booking (on the same browser) with an airline portal and paying with the C1 card. YMMV, obviously.
It appears that the “partner site” is just the normal VRBO site with a landing page that shows the United Logo. I did several searches using the partner site in comparison to the standard Vrbo site and didn’t find any variance in fees, rates or available properties. It is worth noting that, even if you click through United’s web page, you will sometimes be taken to the normal VRBO storefront and not the partner site (I’m assuming because of caching). You will know you’re in the right place because the top left corner of the partner site shows the United Logo:
You will also know you’re on the right site when you checkout as there is a place to add your United Mileage Plus number that isn’t there on the normal site:
The T&C is pretty straightforward, although it exempts all additional charges outside of actual rental fees. Charges for cleaning and additional occupants can be a substantial portion of the final bill with vacations rentals, so that does hit the earnings somewhat. I have no idea how accurately that’s enforced, however.
You can earn miles on VRBO through a plethora of other airlines and airline shopping portals, but the United 3x is by far the best currently. As always, check Cashback Monitor before booking just in case.