The Downside of Airbnb’s Pay Less Up Front Option

by Lu
Airbnb Pay Less Up Front

We live in Airbnbs almost full time as we travel the world. This year, we noticed that Airbnb had started defaulting to its Pay Less Up Front option for personal trips. If you want to pay the full amount, you have to manually choose that option on a later page.

We recently opted for this split payment method, thinking why not? We often book Airbnbs well in advance. Not having to pay the full amount months before our stay is pretty attractive.

Well here’s why we’ll never do it again.

We recently had 2 hosts cancel on us, one in China due to government regulations and an upcoming one in Slovenia because the host simply decided to stay there himself.

For the Airbnb in China, we paid in full at the time of booking. When the host cancelled, we received a full refund plus a credit in the realm of 10% of the original booking price. In its notification email, Airbnb said this credit was to help us find a replacement reservation.

For our Airbnb in Slovenia however, we chose the Pay Less Up Front option. When the host cancelled, we got a full refund but noticed there was no extra Airbnb credit on top of that, so we called to inquire about this.

The Airbnb representative told us that bookings using the split payment method don’t receive an additional Airbnb credit when a host cancels.


Nowhere had this been publicized. I couldn’t find it in Airbnb’s terms or in any of the press touting Airbnb’s new Pay Less Up Front option. It’s simply Airbnb’s internal policy.

That’s why I’m sharing this. We are just one small, anecdotal sample size, but cancellations do occur and when they do, we’d rather get an automatic credit than have to call in and negotiate for it.

In short, we think it’s safer to pay in full upfront.

If you’ve experienced otherwise, please let us know!

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