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The Airbnb Cancellation Policy: How It Works for Hosts and Guests

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If you’re somebody who loves traveling and often finds yourself planning intrepid trips away, you’re probably well aware of Airbnb.

This vacation rental platform is an extremely popular way to find homely, budget-friendly accommodations while out on an adventure.

Whether you are a frequent Airbnb user or just thinking about giving it a try, it’s important to be familiar with all the different cancellation policies that Airbnb has.

If something goes wrong and you need to cancel the booking, you wouldn’t want any charges surprising you.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down the important Airbnb cancellation policies to help you prepare for your next trip. We’ll talk about:

  • Different types of cancellation policies
  • Guest cancellations
  • Cancellations for special situations
  • The impact of cancellations on a host’s ratings
  • Ways to change your reservation.

Let’s jump right in.

Types of Cancellation Policies

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Surprise: Airbnb has several different types of cancellation policies for its hosts. Knowing your host’s policy will make it easier to adjust your own plans if something goes wrong.

Here are some of the most common policies you’ll likely come across:

1. Flexible Cancellation Policy

As the name suggests, the flexible policy is the least stringent of the bunch.

In a nutshell, this policy means guests receive a full refund if they cancel more than 24 hours before the check-in time. However, if the cancellation is less than 24 hours before check-in, guests will have to pay for the first night.

If guests cancel after their arrival time, they’ll only pay for the nights they spent in your Airbnb plus one extra night.

2. Moderate Cancellation Policy

The moderate cancellation policy is a step up from the flexible policy. It’s a bit stricter and is the one that many Airbnb hosts like to adopt because it helps to prevent last-minute cancellations.

With this policy, guests will need to cancel at least five days before the check-in date to receive a full refund. If guests cancel when it’s less than five days before check-in, they’ll pay the first night of their stay and a booking fee.

Let’s say you change your mind once you’ve arrived. If you cancel during your stay, you’ll pay for the nights spent in the Airbnb. Will you still get a refund? Yes, but only 50% for the nights you didn’t spend in the Airbnb.

3. Strict Cancellation Policy

If your host follows the strict policy, you need to meet two conditions for a full refund.

First, your cancellation can’t be more than 48 hours after you booked the Airbnb. Secondly, you won’t be able to cancel without some kind of penalty when there are fewer than 14 days before your check-in date.

If that’s not possible, you can still cancel if you have at least 7 days prior to check-in. However, in this case, you’ll only receive a 50% refund on your stay as well as a full refund on cleaning fees. There may also be no refunds available for service fees.

You should only book properties with strict policies if you’re 100% certain about your plans. If you can’t cancel at least 7 days before your check-in, you won’t be able to receive a refund at all.

4. Super Strict Cancellation Policy (30 Days)

Is your host following a super strict 30-day policy? This is an exclusive policy that’s only available to select hosts.

With this one, keep in mind that there are no full refunds available. You’ll need to cancel at least 30 days prior to check-in to receive a 50% refund.

If you aren’t able to do that, you won’t receive any refund at all. The same policy applies even if you cancel during your stay.

5. Super Strict Cancellation Policy (60 Days)

The super strict 60-day policy is just like its 30-day cousin. It’s another exclusive policy available only to select hosts.

The only difference is that you need to cancel 60 days instead to receive a 50% refund. If you cancel after that, you won’t receive any refund at all.

6. Long-Term Cancellation Policy

Are you planning a longer vacation? If you’re booking for longer than 28 nights, you’ll follow the long-term cancellation policy. This special policy applies even if your host has a different policy in mind.

There are two types of Airbnb long-term cancellation policies: firm and strict.

Firm Long-Term

With the firm long-term policy, you should cancel at least 30 days before check-in for a full refund. If you can’t, the fees are very expensive.

If you cancel when there are less than 30 days left before check-in, you’ll pay for the nights you stayed in the Airbnb plus 30 extra nights.

You’ll also pay up if you cancel during your stay. If you do so — and there are less than 30 days left on your reservation — you’ll pay for all of the remaining nights.

Strict Long-Term

If your host is following a strict long-term policy, two things need to happen for a full refund.

First, you need to cancel less than 48 hours after you make your booking. Secondly, your cancellation should be at least 28 days prior to check-in.

If you don’t cancel under those conditions, you’ll also pay for the nights you stayed in the Airbnb plus an extra 30 nights.

And if you only have 30 days left on your booking, you’ll need to pay for them all too.

Guest Cancellations

Having to cancel plans is a tough call, and here are some things to remember when doing so:


Because you could face expensive fees, you should time your cancellation well. Knowing what cancellation policy your host follows is very important in this case.

With more relaxed policies (such as flexible or moderate versions), you can freely cancel just a few days before check-in. However, that’s not the case for stricter policies.


Are you fine with not getting all your money back? Or do you really want a full refund?

Different policies have different refunds, and depending on when you cancel, you’ll be able to get at least some money back. Some policies won’t allow any refunds at all.

That’s why it’s important to know how much you’re willing to let go when deciding to cancel.

Service Fees

Like many online platforms, Airbnb also charges a service fee when you book. You might be wondering whether you can get this back in the event of a cancellation.

Again, this depends primarily on your host’s cancellation policy. Generally, if you cancel during the full refund period, you’ll also receive your service fee back.

Your host can also decide to give you your service fee back even if you cancel after the full refund period. Make sure to check in with them about this.

Host Cancellations

What happens if your host cancels the booking? It’s very frustrating, but Airbnb has your back.

A host who cancels a booking will be charged depending on a lot of different factors. These include the cancellation date, the days left before check-in, and how many cancellations the host has already made.

These fees will range from $50 to $1,000 and will be taken from the host’s next payout.

Extenuating Circumstances Policy

There are special situations where Airbnb will make cancellations more flexible for both guests and hosts. These situations include events like natural disasters, travel restrictions, and public health emergencies.

If this happens, you can cancel your reservation and receive a refund, travel credit, or something else. For hosts, they can also cancel bookings scot-free.

For more details, check out Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy here.

Impact of Cancellations on Host Ratings

If your host cancels the booking, Airbnb will post an automatic review on their profile.

This review states that the host canceled the reservation and it can’t be deleted. In response to this, hosts are able to write a public reply to explain why they needed to cancel.

Unnecessary cancellations can also negatively affect a host’s ratings thanks to reviews and guest feedback. However, if the host has a valid reason for canceling, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Changing a Reservation

You can change your Airbnb reservations either before your trip or during your stay. However, be aware that many of the changes you request will depend on your host’s discretion.

For changes made before the trip, such as adjusting the number of guests, your host can choose whether to accept them or not.

If you make changes during your stay (like extending for a bit longer), your host will also decide whether to accept the request. Added fees for this change will then show up on your bill.

Wrapping Up

When talking about canceling your Airbnb booking, you’ll first want to know what policy your host follows. That’s because there are a lot of differences between these policies, both for you and your host.

To avoid surprise fees, always check your booking’s cancellation policies before you go ahead. Keep yourself (and your wallet) safe, and happy travels.

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