Travel Planning

TIL – AirBnB Redeeming Referral Credit Gotcha

UPDATE (Dec. 2, 2015): Isaiah from AirBnB responded to my inquiry and pointed me to another web page where the verbiage states “A qualifying reservation typically has a total value of $75 USD or more, excluding guest fees and any taxes. These amounts may vary during promotional periods. How convenient and pathetic of AirBnB. To add insult to injury, the current promotional period states that the minimum trip cost is set at $200 till May 03, 2016. According to their terms, they can easily set this minimum as high as $5,000 if they see fit. In lieu of that, I WILL NOT BE REFERRING ANYONE TO AIRBNB ANYMORE.

Original Brief:

AirBnB, the beloved accomodations platform, has a generous referral program that gifts $25 in travel credits for every single referral that led to a completed booking of at least $75 (before taxes and fees). A big thank you to my friends Dammy and Karra who recently completed stays while using my referral link, netting me $50 to use for my next AirBnB booking.

My family and I are headed to the beautiful Puerto Princesa in the Philippines for a short trip for my birthday. Ah-ha! Why not use my $50 travel credit! If only it was that easy as I later found out. I found a wonderful place to stay and began the request to book for 2 nights. As I went through the checkout process, I noticed my $50 travel credit didn’t apply which lead me to reach out to their support team via twitter at @AirBnBHelp for help. That’s when the fun began.

At first, the twitter AirBnB representative said it was strange that the coupon didn’t apply because my reservation did indeed qualify and even offered to apply the discount retroactively. I thanked the rep for their time and said I would think about it first because I could potentially use it towards another future reservation. After a few days of contemplation, I went back and DM’ed @AirBnBHelp and asked for my travel credit to be applied to my upcoming reservation. In a complete bi-polar reversal, the twitter representative said that my reservation did not qualify for the credit and thanked me for my understanding. Apparently, only reservations of at least $200 and greater can redeem travel credits. Huh? How asinine is that?

I sat and stewed on it for a week or so and then went on a Sherlock Holmes-esque investigation, combing through the Terms and Conditions for the referral program which lead me to stumble upon this gem:

Travel Credits will automatically appear as a coupon on the checkout page, and must be used on a Qualifying Reservation within one year from the date they are issued.

A Qualifying Reservation must have a total value (excluding guest fees or taxes) of at least $75 (or its local currency equivalent* if we support it). It must be booked and paid for via the Airbnb platform, and the referred friend must complete the stay before the Airbnb User can receive Travel Credits.

 My upcoming AirBnB reservation
My upcoming AirBnB reservation

As you can see, based on the verbiage from their T&C, my reservation should qualify! What’s gives, AirBnB?

Back to twitter I went and I immediately got an email from Sasha C. from customer support, to who I explained my situation yet again.

I’m still awaiting a response. Stay tuned!

Overall, what an incredibly frustrating experience so far. I sat at a panel during SXSW 2015 with one of their senior designers touting the significance of a positive user experience in their product. I’m chalking this up as an user experience failure in my books! I’ll be honest, I will continue to use AirBnB in the future simply because they don’t have any viable competitors, but not without a sour taste in my mouth.

Would this have pissed you off as much as it did me?

Let me know by leaving a comment below or connecting with me on Twitter, Instagram or Email!