Why I prefer to not use AirBNB when I travel

I was looking for a hotel in Auckland and was too frugal to drop 60K HH points on the Hilton. Plus with the $50 off $100 Amex Airbnb offer, I figured I’ll try Airbnb. I found a nice whole apartment that is located in the downtown CBD (Central Business District) area that was about $150 per night, which meant $75 per night post Amex offer. I had spent a good 2 hours finding just the right one and my criteria were – 1. Whole apartment – I didn’t want to share a room at someone’s house. 2. Good location. 3. Nice and clean looking. This apartment met all 3 criteria. 

I then emailed the host what the parking situation was since I saw some other posts had free parking. He said I’d have to park on the street or in an expensive lot (apparently parking in Auckland is very expensive.) He also told me I could park in a nearby neighborhood and take a train in. That’s when I said SCREW IT! I’m booking the Hilton. 

Although the parking situation was really a minor one in the grand sceme of things, what hit me was the reason why I travel – I know some of you travel for the sights and sounds and don’t care about luxury. For my wife and I, since we only take 2 big trips a year and we try a new location every time, we want it to be the best possible experience. Plus I have millions of points and can’t burn them fast enough so why bother trying to save money when I can burn points instead? 

We had stayed at an Airbnb in Mykonos a couple of years ago. It was a superb location in downtown Mykonos but it was 1 room and a very small bathroom with a manual air conditioner. After that experience I swore I’d never use Airbnb again. Then about a couple of years ago, my friends and I booked an Airbnb in Austin, TX. It was a 2 bedroom condo which for all intents and purposes was nice, but you just don’t have that luxury feel of coming back to your room to a made bed, new towels, a clean room, etc. 

And that’s what it boils down to – if I am flying in international F, why would I want to sleep in coach? I may as well go all out – YOLO if you will. I know some of you are happy with AirBnb and that’s fine. Whatever floats your boat, but for me, I want the clean room, nice shower, new towels, and hopefully free breakfast. I don’t want to sleep in my uncle’s house and bed. 

  • Jack Glenn

    As a frequent Airbnb user, I can see how you draw these conclusions but they are clearly based on limited experience. Take the time to learn more about the variety of Airbnb listings. I agree that its strange to stay in someone’s ‘whole house’ complete with their wine collection and clothes in the closet, while they are away. But there are many Airbnb listings that are 100% dedicated, the same as a hotel room. They are privately owned as investment properties and many times, there is a property manager dedicated to managing these investments as well as your experience. The very best Airbnb hosts earn “Super Host” status.

    We always balance the Airbnb offerings compared to a hotel, for price, location and online reviews. We have had brand new or newly renovated places that are modern, clean, very comfortable and have stylish decor. I also know of some boutique hotels that list on airbnb in addition to their own proprietary website and travel booking sites. Its not always ‘someone’s uncles house.”

    Take the time to read the reviews on any listing you are considering. I rarely take a property that doesn’t have reviews. Have a good look at the photos and get a feel for the place.

    • Miles per Day

      Jack, I agree with you on all your points. It sounds like these “Super Host” places will be priced competitively with hotel rooms. No matter how nice the AirBNB will be, they aren’t going to come and make my bed while I’m away and offer me a free huge buffet breakfast that I can get at a hotel with status.

      Now if there are no nice hotels in the area and there is a nice AirBNB, then I’ll pick the AirBNB (like I did in Hamilton, NZ.) But if I have a choice of a Hilton, Hyatt, or SPG, then I’m going with the hotel 90% of the time over the AirBNB.

      • Jack Glenn

        Superhost is more about the quality of host than it is about price. In my experience, super host has not necessarily correlated to higher prices. It does give a bit more confidence that the host and property are experienced and highly rated with airbnb rentals.

        I read your follow up article and you hit it straight on. For those that prefer the hotel experience, a properly selected airbnb property can be a unique alternative experience when hotels are not convenient or available.

  • ucipass

    Well, said. Unfortunately when you run out of points and has to use cash, this is the second best option. Also you cannot find a hilton everywhere where you actually want to be.

    • Miles per Day

      Yeah, I made an exception to my rule. Wait for tomorrow’s post.

  • Paul

    What is a manual air conditioner?

    • ucipass

      LOL no thermostat auto turn off?

      • Miles per Day

        Correct. it’s the one with a remote, so you have to turn it on yourself vs a thermostat like in the hotels (that runs while you are away). The benefit is you come home to a cold room vs waiting for the AC to make it cold.

  • Maria

    I totally agree with you! If I am going to spend thousands on flight I will get nice hotel to go with it. I hate B&B. I love to go to Italy and will never book B&B again. It ruins all the experience for me. I need to have an awesome place to sleep and take a shower. I don’t want to go in room that not 100% clean. I love nice hotels and I guess I am stuck paying for them.

    • Miles per Day

      Glad I’m not the only one that thinks like this Maria.

    • Paul

      Umm I hate to break it to you but hotel rooms are definitely not 100% clean.