Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
New York, NY
Level 5
122,004 Views

My kids bought us $300 in Airbnb gift cards as our Christmas gift, knowing that we will be making a trip soon with my sister-in-law and her husband.  We selected an Airbnb  and my sister-in-law booked the unit, paid her share, and set it up allowing for split payment.  When I tried to pay my share with the gift cards, I was told they could see the money in my account profile, but I could not use it.  Only the person who makes the initial booking can use a coupon, but the system is set up so that it will not allow the second person in the group payment plan to pay with a gift card.  This is illogical; what is the difference between the first and second party that one user can use the gift cards and the other cannot?  They see the cash in my account.   Now my kids spent money for me to use towards my accomodations for my trip; Airbnb sees and acknowledges it, but won't let me use it.  This restriction is not divulged to the user.  Who knows what other limitations there are?  Now it is just sitting in my account until I book another trip; maybe in a year if I'm lucky.  It would have been a better gift if I just paid with my credit card and my kids reimbursed me.  If we had known this, they would have not bought it, or at the very least, I would have made sure I booked it instead of my sister-in-law. 

 

Do not buy Airbnb gift cards for yourself or anyone else!  There is no benefit to it!!!  Why let Airbnb hold on to your money?  Now I have lost the use of my kids' gift money.   We just gave it away to Airbnb to hold and use however they want indefinitely.  Regular credit card companies will send you a check if you have a credit balance in your account after a period of time.  I doubt that Airbnb will let me have my credit balance back ever.  What a gimmick.  Don't fall victim.

102 Replies

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

Good to know, @Dennis139.  While I can understand that the automatic system may not be able to accommodate the use of the gift, I do not understand why an Air BNB rep could not do it.

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
New York, NY
Level 5

I wholeheartedly agree.  That was my suggestion too, but no luck.  Hopefully my comments will inspire them to adjust the system, so others don't fall into this predicament.

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
San Diego, CA
Level 4

So because you weren’t able to use your gift card on 1 trip, and learned the method Airbnb expect users to utilize gift cards nobody should ever buy gift cards?

 

this is more of a reason to have gift card users book and do the split payment. 

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
New York, United States
Level 3

I was able to use gift cards for my initial depost, but it refused to use my gift card balance for my second payment.  It does NOT make sense.  

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
San Diego, CA
Level 1

Were you able to talk to them and get it resolved?

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Hillsborough, CA
Level 2

Had the exact same experience. Talked to the customer service but they said nothing they could do.

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Pearland, TX
Level 1

Going through the exact same issue as the original poster & am currently submitting  a claim to the better buissiness bureau in regards to it. Upon researching, I have found MANY people having these same issues & as stated above, its not logical! I also stopped gettiing responses from them after I was told via chat that "the next available specialist would be responding via the initial chat." 3 and a half hours later & still no response. Submitting photos of chat with my BBB complaint so they will be the ones to resolve bc apparently air b n b has no decency to resolve customer matters via their "24/7 customer service" team ( made possible by the ridiculous "24/7" non-refundable ' service fees' they charge us per reservation.)

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 1

Any update?

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Cameron, NC
Level 1

AIRBNB should be better than this....What a crock. 

 

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Petaluma, CA
Level 2

Having the exact same problem!  This is such a deceitful practice on Airbnb's part.  I'm not sure how it's even legal?!  And they have absolutely no customer service.  DO NOT BUY AIRBNB GIFT CARDS!  They're basically useless!

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Los Gatos, CA
Level 1

Same issue. I paid my first payment by giftcard, but unable to use the $178 balance for the second payment which is well over $178.  I can only use that $178 for a new reservation.  

Its a bit like holding my money hostage (free of interest), and the only way out is to buy more. 

 

Reporting to the BBB of California.

 

Many states including CA have a law, where a small balance on a giftcard must be refunded on request (for CA the gift card balance must go beliw $10), to help avoind companies just getting free money from people, or forcing people to buy more.

 

 

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 1

Any update or progress?

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
Long Beach, CA
Level 1

I just purchased Airbnb gift cards and have a number and PIN. How do I redeem the giftcard?  There is no option to select gift card as payment method.

Re: Reasons NOT to buy gift card for Airbnb

in
East Rochester, NY
Level 1

Exactly what I am stuck on right now.  When I called customer service, they said I needed to load the card into my account, and then apply the balance as payment. How did you end up working it out?


@Tri11 wrote:

I just purchased Airbnb gift cards and have a number and PIN. How do I redeem the giftcard?  There is no option to select gift card as payment method.


 

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