What’s the difference between Onefinestay and Airbnb?

Sep 29, 2019

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This story has been paid for by American Express, but the opinions are those of the author and TPG. This is one way TPG continues to provide our readers with free news and advice about travel.

Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express UK — Earn 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards points if you are approved and spend £4,000 in the first three months of cardmembership.

The Platinum Card from American Express UK has recently undergone a refresh and added more benefits. One of the new benefits is that you will earn a $200 (£150) credit with every Onefinestay booking.

So what is Onefinestay all about, and how does it compare to Airbnb?

Onefinestay

Onefinestay (OFS) started with six homes in London in May 2010 is now owned by AccorHotels. So unlike Airbnb, it’s hotel-affiliated and hotel points-earning. Like the name suggests, OFS focuses on luxury, premium homes with 5,000 properties worldwide. These are located in both cities and resort destinations including Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, New York and the Caribbean. While Airbnb relies on building a community of trust through reviews and feedback loops, OFS properties and every host have been visited and vetted by OFS, making the programme the world’s only short-term home rental site that has done this.

Being a relatively small programme (compared to Airbnb), OFS does not have a sophisticated app to book through. You are more likely to need a desktop to view the properties and book them.

It wouldn’t be TPG without mentioning a points-earning opportunity here. As the programme is now owned by AccorHotels, members of Accor’s loyalty programme, LeClub Accor can redeem LeClub points for stays with Onefinestay. In order to take advantage of $200/£150 discount through the Platinum Card from American Express UK, you will need to book a three-night minimum stay for which you will receive the statement credit once per stay when you pay with the card.

A Onefinestay property. (Photo courtesy of Onefinestay)

Airbnb

Airbnb focuses less on luxury, aspirational properties and more on mass-market shared accommodation for its six million properties. Two million people check-in to an Airbnb every night, so chances are that you’ve already stayed at a place listed on the rental behemoth.

It has many more properties than OFS, though the quality and price can vary enormously. It could be a £10 a night mattress on the floor of someone’s living room through to a £1,000 a night three-bedroom private villa in the Swiss Alps.

Airbnb has grown and evolved from a community mindset of just hoping for the best when booking a new property with no reviews and only a couple of blurry, dark photos to guide you to create different sub-brands, including:

  • Airbnb Plus (vetted listings), and
  • Airbnb Luxe (high-end listings averaging £1,600/night)

Airbnb has a sophisticated app allowing you to find and view photos, property descriptions and previous guest reviews, book, pay, communicate with hosts, check-in, contact Airbnb if there are problems with the property or host, connect to Wi-Fi, discover useful local information, checkout and leave your own review.

Downsides of using Airbnb include that you don’t always know what you’re going to get. There can be safety concerns and the fees are paid by both the guests and the hosts, with guest fees reaching as much as 20% on top of the nightly rate.

The upsides of staying in an Airbnb include that you can do the whole process through the app. You can search, book, pay, get check-in info, message the host and leave a review all from your phone.

Photo courtesy Airbnb.
Photo courtesy Airbnb.

Bottom line

While some properties may fit the brief of both Airbnb and Onefinestay (and may well be listed on both), the focus of the two programmes is different. Airbnb is about listing as many properties as possible, regardless of the quality, price, (lack of) reviews or location.

Meanwhile, OFS concentrates on a much smaller, curated, bespoke, high-end verified market of properties for a more discerning guest.

You can read here for our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express UK and its Onefinestay benefit and apply for the card here.

Featured image by Onefinestay.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are 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 posts and/or questions are answered.