Sea Shell Cottage in Plett: Our great Airbnb experience + How to use the Air BnB Credit System 2

Posted by Beth | May 5, 2016

Thanks to hotel points we have been able to stay for free at luxury hotels all over the world on this trip. But in several of the places we’ve traveled hotels have not been an option. We’ve sometimes camped and sometimes stayed in hostels or guesthouses, but prefer to use the site Airbnb to rent a room or entire home for a unique local stay.

About Airbnb (from their website): Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.

Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.


We have been fans of Airbnb for quite some time, and have even rented out our old apartment in Denver before. But for some reason on this trip we ran into a couple of negative Airbnb experiences. A few days before our Buenos Aires Airbnb stay our host cancelled on us, causing us to rebook at another place that ended up being terrible. In Cusco we stayed with some friends at an Airbnb that was quite nice, but there was major confusion on the price and it ended up being about three to four times more than we were all expecting. So we were hesitant to keep trying Airbnb, but had quite a bit of credit to use so gave it one more shot in South Africa.

For a two-night stay in Plettenberg Bay, along the Garden Route, we booked with Bibi at the Sea Shell Cottage. A few hours prior to our stay we received an email from her apologizing the wifi was out, so we were prepared for this stay to tank too but it ended up being fabulous! Bibi’s little cottage is on the same property as the main house but has a somewhat separate patio/bbq area off the shared pool. There was a small sitting room, a full kitchen, a master bedroom and master bath, a bunk room and a loft with more beds. What made our stay so great though was our host was so sweet and helpful, which is truly the point of Airbnb in my mind. This stay renewed our belief in how great a site Airbnb is and we will definitely be using it again, especially since we purchased hundreds of dollars of gift cards during the Airbnb Amex Offer a few months ago.

Sign-up/Referral Bonuses:

Airbnb has a great referral bonus system, so once you sign up you can then refer your friends and family and make some extra cash.The process to create a new account is relatively quick and painless. New users receive $20 toward your first stay and the referrer receives $20 as well. If a new user hosts guests, the referrer receives $80 of credit. Caleb and I were able to successfully refer each other to receive the bonuses. So if you have yet to use Airbnb we would appreciate it if you use our link for your free $20, and then can refer your spouse or friends to earn more free credit. Here’s our example of how we earned $131 during our trial run of going through the booking and hosting process.

  • Bethany signed up for a new account and received $20. Total=$20
  • Bethany referred Caleb and he received $20 and Beth will receive $20 after that stay is complete. Total=$40
  • Bethany booked a stay at “Caleb’s apartment.”

Cost for Bethany: $200-$20 credit = out of pocket cost $180

Amount Caleb received after host fees: $191= $11 ‘profit’

Bonus Beth received for Caleb hosting: $80

Total: $11 cash + $120 Airbnb credit

This process takes max a couple hours of work, off and on.  For those of us without a job, it makes sense. 


Once we did our “test” stay above and realized how easy every step of the process was, we decided to actually rent out our apartment for real. We only were able to host once as we were moving out soon, but we kicked ourselves big time that we didn’t do it more as it was very easy money and we couldn’t even tell anyone had been in our apartment our renter was so great. We look forward to hosting more in the future. Airbnb of course makes money twice off every transaction, from the renter and from the host, so they don’t care, in fact would probably actually encourage, friends and family to book stays with each other through their site.

There is also a promotion now that if you enter your work email address and book a business travel trip through Airbnb you’ll receive $50 credit. 

What has been your experience with Airbnb?

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2 thoughts on “Sea Shell Cottage in Plett: Our great Airbnb experience + How to use the Air BnB Credit System

  • Kelly

    This is such a great idea Beth! We have not yet used Airbnb, but are planning on it for our stay in Europe, and also to rent out our house while we are gone. We’ll definitely use your referral code and copy your awesome spouse referral plan. Thanks for sharing!

    • Beth Post author

      Glad it was helpful, Kelly. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some amazing Airbnb properties in Europe!