Airbnb has long held one of the most convoluted cancellation policies in the hospitality industry, mostly due to the fact it acts as a third-party broker between hosts and guests.
Generally, for all of its refunds in the past, the Airbnb fee has not been refundable. In a rather silent change they made earlier this March, they have added one exception to the rule, not unlike the airline industry's 24-hour refund policy: Airbnb guests may be entitled to a fee refund if the reservation is cancelled 48 hours after booking.
There are conditions. The fine print states:
The Airbnb service fee is refundable, up to 3 times per year, within 48 hours of booking. Separately, if a guest cancels a reservation that overlaps with any part of an existing reservation, we won’t refund the Airbnb service fee if they decide to cancel.
It's important to note that though the fee would be refundable, the host cancellation policy would still apply.
The following is a a quick rundown of Airbnb's current cancellation policies:
- Strict: half refund (50%) at least seven (7) days in advance from check-in time
- Moderate: full refund (100%) at least five (5) days in advance from check-in time
- Flexible: full refund (100%) at least one (1) day in advance from check-in time