We live in Airbnbs almost full time as we travel the world. This year, we noticed that Airbnb rolled out a new Pay part now, part later option for certain reservations. This allows you to pay roughly half at the time of booking, and the rest later (about a couple weeks before check-in). If it’s available, you’ll be presented with this option on the Confirm and pay 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 seemed attractive.
Here’s why we’ll never do it again.
This year, we had two hosts cancel on us, one in Suzhou, China and one in Ljubljana, Slovenia, both on pretty short notice.
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 equal to 10% of the original price. In its notification email, Airbnb said this credit was to help us find a replacement reservation.
For our Airbnb in Slovenia however, we had chosen the Pay part now, part later option. When the host cancelled, we got a full refund but noticed there was no additional credit on top of that, so we called to inquire about this. An Airbnb representative told us that bookings using this 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 the press. That’s why I’m sharing our experience. Of course, we are just a single data point, but cancellations do occur and when they do, an extra 10% certainly helps with finding a new place closer in to your travel date, when there’s less inventory and frequently higher prices.
In short, we think it’s safer to pay in full upfront. If you’ve experienced otherwise, let us know!