Airbnb Is Ending Its COVID-19-era Cancellation Policy — What to Know

Starting May 31, cancellations due to COVID-19 will no longer apply to Airbnb's policy.

Interior of an Airbnb Plus in Los Angeles
Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

Airbnb this month is ending its coronavirus-era cancellation policy that allows travelers to cancel a reservation for virus-related reasons, according to the company.

For reservations starting May 31, the home-share company will no longer honor COVID-19-related cancellations under its "extenuating circumstances policy," instead reverting to the host's own cancelation policy. Domestic reservations in South Korea will be an exception.

Known as its "Extenuating Circumstances" cancellation policy, the rule has applied to home and experience reservations since March 2020, allowing travelers to get out of a booking if they or the host contracted COVID-19. Under the policy, guests who cancel were offered refund or travel credit options, and hosts were able to cancel without being charged or impacting their Superhost status.

"As we've seen the heroic effort of health authorities and medical advancements around the globe, almost two thirds of the world's population have received at least one dose of a vaccination against COVID-19. And many countries have now implemented living with COVID-19 plans, as it becomes part of our world," Airbnb wrote in a statement released Friday. "As a result of this new way of living, beginning 31 May, we are updating our Extenuating Circumstances policy to no longer cover COVID-19 related circumstances as a reason for a refund for bookings made on or after this date."

When reached by Travel + Leisure, an Airbnb spokeswoman noted other travel industry businesses "stopped this type of policy months ago" or "didn't provide one at all."

Airbnb typically allows hosts to set their own cancellation policies, which can be flexible — like allowing guests to cancel at least five days before check-in to receive a full refund — or not. Airbnb said nearly two-thirds of active listings on the site "offer a moderate or flexible cancellation policy."

Going forward, Airbnb noted the company is working on a guest travel insurance product that will be available to customers in certain countries. And beyond cancellations, the company also introduced a new set of cleaning standards in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which remain in place.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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