Do I Get a Full Refund If I Cancel My Airbnb Rental?

By Nadya JosifovLast Updated May 24, 2020 11:53:33 PM ET
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Airbnb is a popular brokerage site that matches travelers with hosts and lodging options in locations all throughout the world. As anyone who travels for business or pleasure knows, plans don't always work out the way you expect them to. For this reason, many travelers find themselves wondering if Airbnb offers refunds if they cancel their stays. The short answer is that you may receive a refund, depending on a few circumstances.

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Airbnb hosts can choose between a number of cancellation policies set up by Airbnb, ranging from "Flexible" to "Super Strict." Each one takes into consideration qualifiers such as how far in advance you cancel. Airbnb also has a policy for extenuating circumstances, which includes the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

Cancellations Related to COVID-19 and Other Extenuating Circumstances

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb created a new rule under its extenuating circumstance cancellation policy for all reservations made before March 14, 2020. It applies to stays between March 14, 2020, and June 30, 2020. Under this new rule, both hosts and guests can cancel those reservations and receive either a travel credit or refund from Airbnb without penalty. However, if you made your reservations after March 14, 2020, the host's original cancellation policy stands.

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Beyond COVID-19, hosts and guests can cancel without penalty for other extenuating circumstances. These include the death of a guest or host or the death of one of their immediate family members. To receive a refund, you may need to provide proof of the death, such as a death certificate, a police report or an obituary. Unexpected serious illnesses, injuries, government-mandated obligations, unforeseen property damage or maintenance, natural disasters, transportation disruptions, safety and security threats, utility outages and changes to passport or visa requirements are also covered under this policy.

Flexible Cancellation Policies

Airbnb hosts can choose to offer most of the company's cancellation policies to their guests, starting with the "Flexible" plan. Under this plan, guests have until 14 days before their stay to cancel for a full refund, though if you booked the lodging within 14 days of your stay, you can cancel within 48 hours of booking as long as it's at least 24 hours before your stay. This plan also allows you to cancel up until 24 hours before your stay, but you won't receive a refund for your service fee.

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If you cancel with fewer than 24 hours to go before your stay, you must pay for the first night and the service fee, but you will receive a refund for any remaining nights. And, if you decide to leave early, you'll receive a refund for any nights you don’t spend at the location 24 hours after you cancel.

Moderate Cancellation Policies

The "Moderate" cancellation plan is similar to the "Flexible" one in that guests can cancel and get a full refund up to 14 days before their stay. Also, if you booked fewer than 14 days away from your stay, you can cancel up to 48 hours after booking. Otherwise, you can cancel up to five days before your stay, but you'll only receive a refund for the nightly rate and cleaning fee, not the service fee. If you cancel fewer than five days from the start of your stay, you must pay for the first night, and you'll receive a 50% refund on any remaining nights.

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“Strict” and “Super Strict” Cancellation Policies

Hosts can also choose from three different "Strict" policies. The first one allows you to get a refund if you cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 14 days before your stay. If you cancel after 14 days and before seven days, you receive a 50% refund for the nightly fee, a full refund for the cleaning fee and no refund for the service fee. If you cancel fewer than seven days in advance, you will not receive a refund.

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The "Super Strict 30 Days" policy is only available by invitation to select hosts. It allows guests to cancel up to 30 days before their stay and receive a 50% refund of the nightly fee, a full refund of the cleaning fee and no refund on the service fee. Cancellations made within 30 days of the stay are not refunded. The "Super Strict 60 Days" policy is similar, but guests must cancel at least 60 days before their stay to receive the 50% refund of the nightly fee.

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Long-term Cancellation Policies

A long-term Airbnb stay is considered 28 nights or more, and it’s subject to a host’s individual cancellation policy. You may receive a full refund for long-term stays as long as you cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 28 days before your stay. If you cancel after 48 hours from booking, you must pay for the first 30 days of your long-term stay, but you will receive a refund for the remainder of booked days you canceled.

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