I made a reservation for a family trip with a total cost of around $1,500. I benefitted from purchasing gift cards in advance so used my balance for the initial payment. Recently, I added a night to my reservation which created an immediate charge of $267. I was surprised that my PayPal account was charged even though I had enough gift card balance to pay for the modification.
I called Airbnb customer support. The agent couldn’t explain why the gift card balance was not used for this transaction. He went on hold for about ten minutes and came back referring to the gift card facts page. He texted me the link. Buried in the page is the policy that gift card balances will only be used for the initial payments and not for modifications nor the final payment.
Please note that there is no reference on the Airbnb gift card packaging that states that gift cards will be used only under certain circumstances. It says that it will be used “when you book your next trip.” Is that a clear statement of Airbnb’s gift card policies?
I asked the Airbnb agent her honest opinion as to why this gift card policy exists as it makes no logical sense to me. She said she could think of no reason why my gift card balance isn’t used.
I am now stuck with a $900 gift card balance and will be required to use my PayPal to pay for $900 with the recent modification and the upcoming second payment. I guess VRBO will be my preferred option in the future.