I reviewed the correspondence between you and the property owner, and that convinced me more than anything to take your case. The owner not only refused to refund a penny of your rental, even though you were canceling half a year in advance, but also was denying you the opportunity to rebook at a later date. It was a cringe-worthy exchange that exposed the risks of renting from someone who is not a professional.
At the same time, I think you could have taken a more constructive tone with the property owner. Too quickly, the exchange devolved into threats. The owner wasn’t your last option; you could have applied pressure to Airbnb or your credit card company to get a refund. Showing your bank the terms of your rental might have been enough to secure a full refund, if you had tried to dispute the purchase.
I also was unhappy with the way Airbnb handled this case.
I contacted Airbnb on your behalf. A representative responded directly to you, saying that the company does, indeed, try to accommodate guests with “extenuating circumstances” if they can provide documentation of their situation.
Airbnb refunded the remaining $3,651 to your credit card and also sent you a $300 travel voucher by way of an apology.