Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
Whether you’re a budget or luxury traveler, Airbnb is a very useful travel website or app that almost everybody uses. If you want to get the best deals on it, we’ve listed down ten Airbnb tips that might just help slash a few bucks off your travel expenses.
However, if you haven’t heard of it, let’s give you a quick overview of how it works.
Airbnb works like an online travel booking platform where you can look for vacation rentals, homes, and experiences. The only difference is that the listings on the site come from thousands of hosts around the world. And it’s not just the places that make the site great, but the added personal touch given by the hosts.
From quaint bed and breakfast homes to luxurious villas, Airbnb has all sorts of options that will make your vacation or staycation a memorable experience. Now, let’s get back to the money-saving Airbnb tips, shall we?
1. Get $44 Off Your First Trip Through An Affiliate Link
If you don’t have an Airbnb account, you can get up to $44 off your first trip if you sign-up through a referral link.
Ask your family members, friends, or anyone who has an existing Airbnb account to send you their link. Or you can use our referral link instead!
The travel credit was $35 before but they’ve upped it. Who knows? Airbnb might feel generous and add few more bucks in the following years.
2. Earn Travel Credits Through Referrals
After signing up for an account, share your own referral link to other people to earn travel credits. You’ll get $16 if a referred person completes a stay and $8 if the person completes an experience.
One way of maximizing this offer is to have a travel companion sign-up through your referral link and have him or her book a reservation for both of you. It’s a win-win situation for the both of you since you’ll both get travel credits.
If you’re not traveling with someone, you can try asking a friend or family member to create an account using your referral link and have them book a reservation for you. Just tell them to inform the host that the booking is under your name.
Some people do attempt to create duplicate accounts to take advantage of the referral system. We don’t recommend you doing this since it’s against Airbnb policy. While some people do get away with it, you might get banned if you get caught.
3. Purchase Airbnb Gift Cards
You can purchase Airbnb gift cards from your local stores or online for a cheap price to save a few bucks on your bookings. There are times when you can buy a $50 gift card for only $35.
Another Airbnb tip is to use your credit card when you buy a gift card on Amazon.com. Rewards credit cards like the Chase Freedom Flex or Amazon Rewards Card let you earn points when you purchase on Amazon.com. You can use your points in the future to redeem rewards or statement credits.
There’s been some talk going around in the travel community that it’s been difficult for them to use gift cards. Just make sure to book your reservations a few months in advance so you have enough time to resolve issues with customer care.
4. Look For New Hosts or Listings That Don’t Have Reviews
Your first instinct is to search for listings with lots of reviews, and that’s understandable. However, don’t scroll away on the ones that don’t have any.
As a matter of fact, you should be on the lookout for those nice looking properties that don’t have reviews, since most of them usually have discounted rates.
The reason why is because Airbnb asks new hosts to offer discounts to their guests. In exchange, the platform would put their listings on top of the search tab to have a higher chance of getting booked and obtaining new reviews.
5. Longer Stays Means Bigger Discounts
Most hosts typically have a one or two-night minimum stay. For example, this lovely Boho style California home costs $40 a night. It’s a decent price but it can go lower than that.
If you’re staying at a certain destination for a long period of time, you can usually good rates from hosts. Sometimes the discounts are set ahead of time so the prices would show automatically on the checkout tab.
You can see that in the photo above, the prices dropped down by 10% if it’s for a monthly stay. There are tons of listings that offer bigger discounts and sometimes the prices drop even more especially on off months.
6. Look For Calendar Gaps
You can get gap dates at a cheaper price since most travelers don’t really book these dates due to schedule conflicts. Sometimes the hosts would opt to lower their prices on gap dates instead of getting nothing at all.
The highlighted dates are below are examples on what gap dates would look like.
These Airbnb tips are a win-win situation for both parties. You just need to be flexible enough to make changes to your itinerary. What you can do is to look for gap dates from one host and then look for gap dates from another host.
7. Pay Using The Local Currency
Airbnb is a global platform and this means that it caters to all people with different economic standing. If you’re using a currency from developed countries, there’s a big possibility that you’ll be charged a few extra bucks.
Let’s say you’re from Europe who has businesses in Singapore and wants to book a nice vacation rental in the country. If you have a Singaporean credit card and used it to book the reservation, you’ll be charged lesser as compared to using your European card.
However, not all of us have the luxury of having foreign accounts so an alternative would be to ask a relative or friend to book the reservation for you. You can just pay them when you arrive at your destination.
8. Use A VPN When You Book
A VPN or virtual private network allows users to transfer data with their devices across networks as if they were connected to a different location.
If you live in the U.S, you can change your location to any country in the world with the use of a VPN. You can get cheaper rates this way because you can set your location to the country you’re going to.
9. Only Pay For Your First Night
Airbnb makes money through the transaction fees incurred for every booking, which is fine since they have costs running the platform.
However, you can’t deny the fact that these fees do add up and can cost a lot, especially if you stay long-term.
A really helpful Airbnb tip is to book the place for the first night only, so you will pay lesser fees. You can then ask the host if you can pay him or her upfront (without the Airbnb fees) when you arrive at the place.
10. Negotiate Prices
If all of these Airbnb tips won’t work, you can always contact the host directly and negotiate for prices. You’ll see a “Contact Host” button on the booking page where you can ask any type of question about the listing.
Hosts can give you special prices aside from the discounts provided on the page. Asking politely always does miracles. Send the hosts a personalized message about why you want to stay with them and what you love about their place. In fact, you can even ask them if they offer local tours and agree on a travel package.
Thoughts From Points Panda
When it comes to getting great travel deals, you need to mix your strategies up from time to time. If you’re a points hacker, you can definitely use these Airbnb tips and your credit card rewards alternately to save more money. And if you need credit card or award booking assistance, we offer unlimited travel consulting for one full year through our travel concierge.