Pay Your Airbnb Stay in the Local Currency to Save

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Update 8/19/15: This is dead. Airbnb removed the option. Now you have to do this to avoid the 3% conversion fee.

Right now I’m in Eastern Europe, visiting the capitals of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for a week each. Then I’ll head to Belgrade, Serbia for around a month. For all of these stays, I’m staying at Airbnb properties. Check out “I’ve Been a Nomad for Eight Months. Where I’ve Slept This Year” for how often I stay in Airbnb versus hotels, hostels, camping, and on the floor.

Paying for these apartments in euros is cheaper than paying for them in dollars, which is the default if you set your Airbnb country as the United States. Here’s how to set the payment to the local currency and save money.

  1. Get to the payment screen.
  2. Change the payment country to the country of the stay.
  3. Enter your payment information, ignoring that your billing address is listed as a foreign country.

1. Get to the Payment Screen

Whether you’re booking a “Book Instantly” property, requesting to book a property that must be approved by the host, or accepting a pre-approved offer from a host, you make your move on the payment screen. (More info on these distinctions in How Airbnb Works Plus a $25 Credit You Can Use for Your First Stay.)

By the way, here are three ways to save money on Airbnb before you get to the payment screen.

2. Change the Payment Country to the Country of the Stay

At the top of the screen, the country and your saved cards are listed. Change the country to the country of the stay.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 5.22.57 PM

 

For a recent Finnish stay, I entered Finland.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 5.23.18 PM

 

This changed the currency of the stay. When my country was listed as United States, I was going to pay $651.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 5.23.02 PM

When I changed to Finland, the same $651 was listed as the headline figure, but the fine print underneath made it clear that I was not actually going to be charged $651, but rather €574. €574 was 3-4% less at the time than $651.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 5.23.24 PM

3. Enter Your Payment Information

Finally, enter your billing address. A foreign country will be listed in the billing address section. Pay that no mind and input the rest of the information correctly. Your card will be approved despite having the wrong country listed.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.04.19 PM

How Much Will You Save?

I just booked four weeks in Belgrade. Airbnb wanted to charge me $475.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.01.51 PM

I switched to euros–Serbia isn’t on the euro, but that is the currency of Airbnb rentals in Serbia–and the price dropped to €406.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.01.34 PM

Google said €406 was $456, which is a 4% savings.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.01.58 PM

In the event, my United Business card with no foreign transaction fee charged me $462.14 for the €406 purchase, leaving me only 2.7% in savings.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.12.47 PM

In the Helsinki example above, €574 cost $642.36, which was a 1.3% savings.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 5.27.05 PM

In both cases, I was expecting at least a 3% savings, but I think I got an unfavorable rate from my credit card company. In any case, I still saved 1.3% and 2.7%. Luckily I noticed the trick of changing my billing country to match my rental country for my two more expensive rentals. I didn’t notice it for Vilnius or Riga and paid in dollars, but those rentals were much cheaper.

Bottom Line

Negotiate on Airbnb and then pay in the local currency to save big. Check out How Airbnb Works (Plus a $25 Credit You Can Use for Your First Stay) for more information on why I love Airbnb so much.

Right now, if you sign up for Airbnb through my referral link, you’ll get $25 off your first stay, and I’ll get $25 off my next stay. Feel free to leave your referral link in the comments.

 


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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10 COMMENTS

    • These were Citi MasterCard (2.7% saved) and Chase Visa (1.3% saved.) I believe what matters is payment network, not issuing bank.

  1. Urgh, did they close the loophole because so many people blogged by the same topic?

    The response from airbnb (previously i would change the currency on the bottom and it would charge in that currency but no matter what I did it would charge in USD). Below is the email from Airbnb support:

    Hi,

    As for your question regarding currency, I’m sorry about the confusion. Your cards are registered to an American address, we means we have to charge in USD. We are only ever allowed to charge based on the location of the billing address. There’s no way around that in our system, unfortunately.

    Again, if you need anything in the future, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I want to help you and be here for you.

    Best Regards,

    Ari E

    • I did notice that changing my billing address didn’t change the currency on my booking last week. That’s another 3% in fees! AARG

  2. Can you help me? Under the total price to be paid is a box that tells you what kind of currency you will pay. How can I change EURO to USD?

  3. Hi!!!! I stumbled upon your site looking for a way to change the currency…. I just used your referral link and saved me several hundred Pesos, yay!!! Many thanks! And here’s my referral link, I hope it’s useful to you too….https://www.airbnb.com/c/carminab?s=3&i=1

    When you come to the Philippines, I’ll treat you to unlimited subzero bottles of our famous San Miguel Beer!!!

    Best regards,
    Carmina

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