E.g., if I cancel an Airbnb reservation as a guest, can future hosts see I have canceled a reservation in the past? Is there a limit on how many free cancellation one can do? Are there any other potential downsides in cancelling an Airbnb reservation that has a free cancellation policy?
I cancel an Airbnb reservation as a guest, can future hosts see I have canceled a reservation in the past?
There are multiple community posts clearly stating a host can not see the cancellation history of a guest. I would guess it is rather obvious Airbnb doesn't want to comment on this officially since it could have legal ramifications.
Is there a limit on how many free cancellation one can do?
If there is, no one is talking about it. When Airbnb bans someone for life, you will find yourself facing a brick wall Google would be envious of. No reason is ever given. Whether too many cancels play any role, it's anyone's guess. I would guess they have an algorithm which no human can fully understand any more and it just bans people depending on a myriad of inputs of which we can guess without any hard data the number of cancellations would be one. I would also guess the number for cancels must be ridiculously high to matter -- I would guess multiples of actual reservations would raise an eyebrow. (I had four cancels in 2019 -- and 11 trips.)
Are there any other potential downsides in cancelling an Airbnb reservation that has a free cancellation policy?
Well, you won't get back the service fees in most cases. But other than that, not that we know of.
According to the Terms of Service found in Airbnb’s Help Center, “if the canceled reservation overlaps with another of your reservations or if you’ve already received 3 service fee refunds in the last 12 months, [the service fee] won’t be refunded.” There is no risk of getting your account banned for canceling too much or canceling an overlapping reservation; you will just stop getting the service fee back. Airbnb says these rules have been around well before the pandemic.