Nine months before our trip, as our lease was set to expire, we knew we couldn’t renew or sign a new one without facing early termination fees down the road. Our only option was to sublease an apartment, but we wanted the money we were spending on rent to actually work for us, to somehow contribute to free flights or accommodation along our journey. With the help of travel reward credit cards and a magnificent peer-to-peer accommodation service, Emily and I reached somewhat of a nonconventional solution. Below are 5 easy steps to saving on rent while racking up an enormous amount of flyer miles.
1. Wait till your current lease is about to end
We recommend waiting until your lease is 1-2 months away from ending before proceeding with steps 2-5.
2. Apply & obtain a travel reward credit card
As your current lease nears its end, it’s time to look into reward credit cards. For us, we signed up for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card & the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Both of these cards offer up a huge mileage bonus if you spend a specific amount of money within the first 3 months of ownership. The Chase Sapphire Preferred usually offers around 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and the United Explorer Card offers 30,000 miles after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months of ownership. We suggest you sign up for your new card at least 1 month before your lease ends (to allow enough time for the application to process and the card to ship).
3. Find your new place on Airbnb
While you await your new credit card, head to Airbnb.com/sublets and begin to look for your new place. It’s a brilliant website with a simple user interface, filled with open minded and hospitable users. In addition, Airbnb has created this new sublets section where you can rent a home from another user for a prolonged period of time. Type in your location, date range, and budget, then browse the many offerings in your area. When you find an affordable home in your area, negotiate a monthly rate with the landlord and establish your move-in date. Once you’re ready to commit, ask the home owner to send you a reservation request.
4. Pay rent with one of your new reward credit cards
Since all payments for your new place must be paid via Airbnb’s website, you can now pay your rent with a credit card (whoop!). Each and every month, your new landlord will send you a reservation request, allowing you to choose your method of payment. Once your rent is paid, simply pay off your credit card with the money you would’ve used for rent.
5. Rinse & repeat
After you’ve earned your 3-month introductory bonus, sign up for another travel reward credit card and repeat step 4. If you have a partner, allow him/her to also achieve their bonus miles via rent payments. In just 12 months, each partner could earn around 100,000 flier miles just from rent payments! That’s enough miles for about 4-5 one-way flights around the world.
Flyer miles earned after just 3 months of rent payment
40,000 (Bonus for spending $1,000-$3,000 in first 3 months)
+7,500 (Double points- based on $1,250 rent payment & use of Chase Sapphire Preferred card)
Additional Benefits & Tips
- Chase Sapphire Preferred offers double miles for any travel or dining purchases. Therefore, for every dollar you spend on Airbnb with this credit card, you earn double miles.
- You can transfer your earned Chase Sapphire Preferred miles directly to your United MileagePlus account. Every point equates to 1 mile. You can use these miles to book a flight with United or any of their affiliate airlines.
- When you book your flight using flyer miles, pay the service fee (typically $5) with your MileagePlus Explorer card. This will grant you 1 free checked bag.
- Each of these credit cards offer great travel insurance for flight purchases made on the card.
And there you have it. Five easy steps to saving on rent while racking up flyer miles.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line below.
Thanks for reading!