Delta offers frequent flier credit for stays at Airbnb

Delta Air Lines is offering its SkyMiles members the opportunity to earn miles on Airbnb bookings, making the Atlanta-based carrier the only major U.S. carrier to partner with the accommodations provider.

Members of the airline’s frequent flier program can earn credit of one mile per dollar spent on Airbnb accommodations with they are reserved through

“This industry leading partnership enables us to provide a unique benefit to our SkyMiles members, enabling us to reward them for their lifestyle choices through the SkyMiles loyalty program,” Sandeep Dube, Delta Vice President - Customer Engagement & Loyalty, said in a statement announcing the partnership.

Airbnb officials were equally effusive.

“SkyMiles members can now enjoy the additional benefits of living like a local with authentic travel experiences on Airbnb in all global destinations that Delta services,” Lex Bayer, Airbnb’s Head of Business Development added.

Airbnb, one of the world’s largest accommodations providers, offers its customers the unique opportunity to “live like a local” in more than 190 countries with over 2.5 million homes around the world. Accommodations range from luxurious to funky, as represented by those pictured.

In addition to the mileage credit, SkyMiles members can earn up to 1,000 bonus miles and a $25 Airbnb coupon code toward a qualifying first stay for new Airbnb guests. Those who choose to become new Airbnb hosts can earn up to 25,000 bonus miles.

As of this writing, only one other U.S. airline offers its frequent fliers the opportunity to earn Airbnb miles. Members of Virgin America’s (NYSE:VA) Elevate frequent flier program can also earn mileage credit. Australia’s Qantas Airways also offers its frequent fliers the chance to earn miles for Airbnb stays.

In addition, travelers who charge their Airbnb stays to their airline affinity credit cards, such as Chase Bank’s (NYSE:JPM) United Mileage Plus Cards (NYSE:UAL), Citibank’s (NYSE:C) American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) AAddvantage Cards, or Bank of America’s (NYSE:BAC) Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) Mileage Plan cards, can also earn mileage credit.

Airbnb continues to grow in popularity and acceptance by the traveling public. A recent report by expense report software provider Certify showed that, while Airbnb stays only accounted for 0.31 percent of total hotel receipts and expenses, that represents a whopping 49 percent increase from 2Q16 to 3Q16, showing traction in its position as a viable alternative to traditional hotels.

“AirBnB’s impressive growth on the quarter is another indication of the changing tastes and preferences in business travel today," Bob Neveu, Certify's CEO, told TheTravelPro in an email. "We’re seeing in our data that corporate travelers are likely turning to AirBnB to find more of the comforts of home during extended trips, or for group lodging with multiple team members."

While the service is facing stiff opposition from the hotel industry and seeing legislation passed that prohibits or limits its services, such as the Rosenthal/Lanza bill signed by New York Governor Mario Cuomo, the imprimatur of well-established travel providers like Delta, Virgin America and Qantas can only serve to increase Airbnb’s acceptance as a mainstream lodging provider.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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Images provided by Airbnb and Delta
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