Airbnb $900 Coupon Magically Changes to $84

A few weeks ago, I booked a trip to Tahoe to go skiing with a group of six friends and coworkers. A few days before the trip, the host cancelled, so I received the cancellation refund and booked another place. On the day of the trip, around noon when half of the group was on their way up to Tahoe, that host cancelled the trip as well. So I spent about four hours that afternoon on the phone with several Airbnb customer service representatives trying to find another house that was available for the weekend, that could accommodate our group size, and within our budget. Finally after two more cancellations during that four-hour ordeal going back and forth with Airbnb representatives, we found a new place, booked it, and were confirmed that it was would be good. We left for the trip two hours behind schedule.

On our way up, we asked for check-in instructions from the host, but never got a response. After another several hours on the phone with Airbnb, we were told we could have a $250 hotel credit for one night. It was approaching 10:00 PM, and we were in Tahoe with nowhere to stay. We finally got into a hotel at midnight. Unfortunately, the hotel didn’t have any more availability beyond the one night or we would’ve stayed there the entire weekend. So throughout the next morning and afternoon, all seven of us would come off the mountain and start searching for Airbnb houses and asking Airbnb Customer Support to help us contact the host to ensure we’d be able to stay there. However, over the course of the day we booked and confirmed two or three separate houses, and then had them cancelled.

After the last house we saw a $900 coupon that effectively comped the price of the booking, and we thought: “Awesome, Airbnb is finally taking care of us.” Unfortunately, that host also cancelled, and we no longer saw the $900 coupon in our account. Again we called the Airbnb Customer Support line to ask where it went and how we could apply it to our next booking. After speaking with Customer Support, they assured me that if I went to the most recent cancellation email and clicked the link to “book another place,” the coupon would still be there. I did that, and it was there like she promised – in the Airbnb app, under the Payment Breakdown, a coupon of $900.

Since there were now no more places that could accommodate a group our size within our price range within the surrounding Tahoe area, we were forced to look at places beyond our budget. We found one of the cheapest and closest places for a total of $1,000/night for the two remaining nights, and we figured with the $900 coupon, it would even out to be about within our budget (excluding the difference of the hotel that we had to pay the night before that the $250 credit didn’t cover). Because Airbnb assured me that the credit was there, and I saw the $900 coupon in the Payment Breakdown of the house I was about to book, I thanked her and hung up so that I could book it. As I hit the “Book Now” button, the coupon changed from $900 to $84 and I was then charged the full $2,000 on my credit card.

I’ve been on the phone with several of the Airbnb Customer Support representatives since the booking to try and figure out why this has happened. After weeks of back-and-forth calls and emails, I spoke with someone who told me they would not do anything more for me other than providing a 10% refund on the Airbnb we booked. However, the problem is that we never would have booked that house in the first place had we not had a $900 coupon. They have refused to help me, but I will be calling their customer support this week and will edit this post if they decide to change their decision.