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Agoda’s cancellation and refund policy examined

Agoda booking canceled image

After publishing my video review of Agoda last month, I have noticed a lot of traffic coming from search terms relating to Agoda’s cancellation and refund policy. It seems to be a topic of interest to many people, and there are plenty of forum posts with questions and complaints about their policy.

There also seems to be a lot of misunderstanding, with people making claims of being ripped off when they needed to cancel or change dates, so I thought it would be a good idea to delve in and clear up exactly what the policies are.

The first thing we should do is take a look at the official policy, which comes directly from their FAQ pages.

Official Agoda Cancellation Policy

Please be sure to check the booking conditions prior to making your booking. Each room type and/or Promotion will have this policy displayed on the Hotel page. For your convenience, this policy is also linked on the booking form as well as your Confirmation Email.

Regarding the fee, please note that a processing fee of 15 USD (per booking) will be applied to all cancellations.

Changes to your period / length of stay may also result in a cancellation charge. This includes shortened stay requests or revised dates before and after you have checked in. Please note, these fees are established by the hotel, not Agoda. A no-show will be treated as a cancellation and you will be billed accordingly.

You must notify Agoda if you plan on canceling your booking. Our English speaking Agoda Customer Support Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you wish to speak a language other than English, please contact us between the hours of 9:00am – 10:00pm, Monday – Friday, Bangkok time.

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So it is clearly stated that a USD15 processing fee will be levied by Agoda in the case of all cancellations. Apart from this, the most important thing that you need to know about Agoda’s cancellation policy is that it varies for each hotel.

At first this may seem confusing, and a lot of people complain about the policy and fees not being site-wide, however each hotel’s individual cancellation policy is clearly stated in two different places before you make the booking as well as in the confirmation email.

When you first check the available dates of a hotel, each room type is displayed with the rate and any inclusions, like breakfast for example. There is also a small link labeled “conditions”, which, when clicked, displays the cancellation policy of the room.

Agoda cancellation policy at Peninsul Hotel Bangkok

Once you have decided to make a reservation, the very first screen you see after clicking the “Book It” button, where you input information such as name and credit card details, also has a link to the booking conditions in the middle of the page.

Booking conditions link pre reservation on Agoda.com

Upon clicking this link, a full explanation of the cancellation and refund policy appears.

Booking conditions link pre reservation on Agoda.com

Once you have made a booking, the cancellation policy is also included in the confirmation email for your records, and in case you missed it the first two times.

Cancellation policy in confirmation email from AgodaSo each hotel’s cancellation policy is clearly stated twice before booking and again in the conformation email. Please note that each of the screen shots above are from different reservations at different hotels in Bangkok I have made over the past month, so the policies displayed in the examples vary.

Ok, so we have established that the policies are clearly indicated before and after making a reservation, but what exactly are the policies?

Typical Bangkok hotel cancellation policies at Agoda

There appear to be two types of reservations that can be made through Agoda, refundable, and non-refundable. The non-refundable are usually the cheapest and cannot be modified or amended. The policy is stated as such-

Non refundableThis booking is non-Refundable and cannot be amended or modified. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and no refund will be given. (Hotel policy)

As is often the case in the travel industry, the cheaper you go, the more restrictive the policies. I would recommend only booking these rates if you were absolutely sure that you won’t have to cancel or change the dates. These non-refundable rates might be a good idea if you are booking closer to your travel dates.

The refundable policies vary depending on the hotel or resort, the city and the time of year. Here are some of the most common.

Cancel 7 days before arrival
Any cancellations received less than 7 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 1 night(s) charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a late cancellation. This will incur 1 night(s) cancellation fee.
Cancel 3 days before arrival Any cancellations received less than 3 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 1 night(s) charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a late cancellation. This will incur 1 night(s) cancellation fee.
Cancel 1 day before arrival Any cancellations received less than 1 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 1 night(s) charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a late cancellation. This will incur 1 night(s) cancellation fee.

Most Bangkok hotels will fall into one of the above categories in relation to their cancellation policies. Once we start looking at hotels in places like Phuket, especially during the peak seasons of December-January, we start to see policies that are a lot more restrictive and may make you think twice about booking.

Check out this whopper of a cancellation policy at the 5 star Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort & Spa.

What the?!?Any cancellations received less than 21 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 50% of total amount. Any cancellations received less than 14 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 100% of total amount. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a late cancellation. This will incur 100% of total amount.

Let’s just spell that out once again. 50% of the total booking amount if you cancel between 14 and 21 days before arrival, and FULL FORFEITURE of the total amount of your booking if you cancel less than 14 days before arrival! Wow!

With rooms starting at USD199 per night, I’d hate to have a family emergency after booking a week at this place!

Finally, along similar lines as the one above, some Phuket hotels (and other areas of Thailand, but I’m focusing on the main areas for these examples) have the 14 and 7 days policy.

Only slightly betterAny cancellations received less than 14 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 1 night(s) charge. Any cancellations received less than 7 day(s) before arrival will be subject to a cancellation fee, in the amount of 100% of total amount. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a late cancellation. This will incur 100% of total amount.

Agoda is keen to point out the the above policies are set by the hotels and any unreturned monies are NOT kept by Agoda. Also, as you may be able to see in one of the screenshots of the cancellation policy above, if you incur a cancellation fee of one or more nights due to cancellation, the USD15 Agoda fee will not be charged.

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How do I avoid hotel reservation cancellation fees?

It might seem like common sense, but a lot of the people you see complaining in forums about refunds simply neglected to read the cancellation policies. To be honest, until I started researching for this article, I never actually read the cancellation policy of any hotels before I booked them, whether at Agoda, or directly through a hotel’s website.

Here are some basic steps you can take to avoid onerous cancellation fees.

  • Take the time to read the cancellation policy of each hotel BEFORE you make the reservation.
  • Book only when you know for sure that you can travel on those dates and won’t need to cancel, or change dates.
  • Book closer to your travel dates. The less time between when you make the reservation and your actual travel dates, the less chance that something will come up.
  • If you really aren’t sure how long you will be staying and the hotel has an onerous cancellation policy like the two last ones listed above (50-100% forfeiture), start by booking only one night. You can extend once you are there for no extra fees, just the price of the room. Do make sure though, that if you booked through Agoda, that you contact Agoda to extend your dates, as the hotel will probably not offer the same discounted rates.
  • Cancellation fees are another good reason to purchase travel insurance before you depart for your trip.

Here are some forum threads discussing the Agoda cancellation policy and refunds that you might find interesting-

  • FlyerTalk A community of frequent flyers that share knowledge about just about anything to do with travel, mostly high-end. I particularly find the hotel threads very useful and interesting.
  • Pattaya Talk – Starts off with a complaint but the group consensus seems to be favorable to the Agoda refund policy.
  • Omgili.com
  • Thaivisa.com forum – Typical reply to thread starter- “I have canceled with Agoda before and received my refund less penalty fee with no problems. “

Have you ever had to change dates or cancel a reservation with Agoda or any other hotel discount booking site? Were you prepared for the cancellation policy? Or were you unpleasantly surprised? Please leave any comments below.

Tags:  
  • Dean

    this is policy that i got:-
    (Any cancellation received within 21 day/s prior to arrival will incur the full period charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and no refund will be given (Hotel policy).
    i booked a hotel in scotland for USD 216 and they charged me straight away from my credit card…problem is after i cancel the booking 2 weeks before arrival and they said no refund available due to hotel policy…this is not fair to the customer since 21 days is a long days and anything can happen during that time.

  • Espen

    I cancelled an Agoda booking with 3-day cancellation policy. I cancelled 74 hours ahead of check-in time for stay, 10AM at monday when check-in is 12AM at thursday. I was charged for one night. How can 74 hours possibly be less than 3 days? 3*24=72. That is completely irrational. I cancelled in good faith 74 hours ahead. Somehow they expect that I should have understood that 74 hours is less than 3 days. They have to be more clear on requirements if they want all to understand that.

  • ivy29

    i booked a hotel in the Phi (Bellevue) for USD116.70 and charged me from my credit card but when i cancelled the booking 4 weeks before arrival this was what i got on their cancellation policy (This booking is non-Refundable and cannot be amended or modified. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and no refund will be given. (Hotel policy). This is unfair to customers. Agoda & the concerned Hotel should look and review their cancellation policies & procedures.

  • http://www.reservethaihotels.net Aaron

    Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.
    Would you mind sharing the name of the hotel that you are talking about in your comment?

  • Ace

    Hi. I have a few successful bookings with agoda and was rather pleased with their prompt service. HOwever, I do have a question to ask: Recently I booked a hotel (Guang Sheng International) with agoda that comes with Free cancellation. which means if i cancel it way more than 3 days before arrival, I would get a full refund, with no charge. Am I right? I cancelled it immediately as I made a mistake.
    I received the email from them with this advice:
    Original Charge on October 20, 2011: SGD 211.92 (USD 162.60)
    Cancellation Fee/Actual Stay Charge: USD 0.00
    Refund to Credit Card: SGD 211.92 (USD 162.60)

    Does anyone have such issues before? Would you all receive the refund? Are they credible? I would want an honest and reliable answer from Aaron.

    • cindy

      hi,Ace i wanna ask about yrs cancellation, have u get the refund from yr credit card with the full payment?

    • Aaron

      It appears you were being totally refunded from the look of the email.
      This was a few a months ago, could you update us on what happened please?

    • http://www.reservethaihotels.net Aaron

      Hi Ace,
      From the contents of the email you have posted here it looks like you should have received a full refund.
      This was a few months ago, can you give us an update on your situation and if you did indeed get a refund after cancelling with no problems?

      Thanks

  • xxxxxx

    did you ever get your money back?

  • peter

    how can i change my booking date?

  • http://www.reservethaihotels.net Aaron

    It looks like Agoda has made some changes recently and you can only contact them by phone if you have a reservation number. When you call their "customer support" line, you get an automated menu announcement. If you have your Agoda booking number that you would have received in the conformation email, you can proceed on the phone call, otherwise you cannot.

  • Andy

    Thank you for your good updates here. I booked a hotel in Shanghai last month and had to cancel due to change of plans. Here was the final mail and charge I would like to share with you all here:
    Quote
    With reference to your booking 16318380 at the Baron Business Bund Hotel from March 28, 2012 to April 2, 2012:

    Cancellation Policy: Any cancellation received within 1 day/s prior to arrival will incur the first 1 night/s charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and will incur the first 1 night/s charge (Hotel policy).
    Original Charge on March 26, 2012: CHF 266.32 (USD 284.35)
    Cancellation Fee/Actual Stay Charge: USD 55.25
    Refund to Credit Card: CHF 214.58 (USD 229.10)
    Refund to Rewards Account: 0 Points

    If applicable, please note that banks generally take up to 10 business days to process and transfer the funds into your account. Some banks can take up to 15-30 days, or until your next billing cycle. Agoda.com has no influence over these timescales.

    The refund should be converted to your local currency by your credit card company. How your reservation is processed will determine what shows on your card statement. However, your statement will ALWAYS show "Agoda" somewhere in the subject line. Although you may see London or Singapore on your statement this does not reflect the country/city of your hotel.

    We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you again in the near future.

    Regards,

    Agoda Customer Support
    Unquote

    take care
    Andy

Comments

Posted On
Dec 24, 2010
Posted By
Dean

this is policy that i got:-
(Any cancellation received within 21 day/s prior to arrival will incur the full period charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and no refund will be given (Hotel policy).
i booked a hotel in scotland for USD 216 and they charged me straight away from my credit card…problem is after i cancel the booking 2 weeks before arrival and they said no refund available due to hotel policy…this is not fair to the customer since 21 days is a long days and anything can happen during that time.

Posted On
Jan 28, 2011
Posted By
Espen

I cancelled an Agoda booking with 3-day cancellation policy. I cancelled 74 hours ahead of check-in time for stay, 10AM at monday when check-in is 12AM at thursday. I was charged for one night. How can 74 hours possibly be less than 3 days? 3*24=72. That is completely irrational. I cancelled in good faith 74 hours ahead. Somehow they expect that I should have understood that 74 hours is less than 3 days. They have to be more clear on requirements if they want all to understand that.

Posted On
Feb 28, 2011
Posted By
ivy29

i booked a hotel in the Phi (Bellevue) for USD116.70 and charged me from my credit card but when i cancelled the booking 4 weeks before arrival this was what i got on their cancellation policy (This booking is non-Refundable and cannot be amended or modified. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and no refund will be given. (Hotel policy). This is unfair to customers. Agoda & the concerned Hotel should look and review their cancellation policies & procedures.

Posted On
May 27, 2011
Posted By
Aaron

Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.
Would you mind sharing the name of the hotel that you are talking about in your comment?

Posted On
Oct 21, 2011
Posted By
Ace

Hi. I have a few successful bookings with agoda and was rather pleased with their prompt service. HOwever, I do have a question to ask: Recently I booked a hotel (Guang Sheng International) with agoda that comes with Free cancellation. which means if i cancel it way more than 3 days before arrival, I would get a full refund, with no charge. Am I right? I cancelled it immediately as I made a mistake.
I received the email from them with this advice:
Original Charge on October 20, 2011: SGD 211.92 (USD 162.60)
Cancellation Fee/Actual Stay Charge: USD 0.00
Refund to Credit Card: SGD 211.92 (USD 162.60)

Does anyone have such issues before? Would you all receive the refund? Are they credible? I would want an honest and reliable answer from Aaron.

Posted On
Nov 24, 2011
Posted By
cindy

hi,Ace i wanna ask about yrs cancellation, have u get the refund from yr credit card with the full payment?

Posted On
Jan 17, 2012
Posted By
Aaron

It appears you were being totally refunded from the look of the email.
This was a few a months ago, could you update us on what happened please?

Posted On
Jan 17, 2012
Posted By
Aaron

Hi Ace,
From the contents of the email you have posted here it looks like you should have received a full refund.
This was a few months ago, can you give us an update on your situation and if you did indeed get a refund after cancelling with no problems?

Thanks

Posted On
Dec 29, 2011
Posted By
xxxxxx

did you ever get your money back?

Posted On
Mar 14, 2012
Posted By
peter

how can i change my booking date?

Posted On
Mar 26, 2012
Posted By
Aaron

It looks like Agoda has made some changes recently and you can only contact them by phone if you have a reservation number. When you call their "customer support" line, you get an automated menu announcement. If you have your Agoda booking number that you would have received in the conformation email, you can proceed on the phone call, otherwise you cannot.

Posted On
Apr 04, 2012
Posted By
Andy

Thank you for your good updates here. I booked a hotel in Shanghai last month and had to cancel due to change of plans. Here was the final mail and charge I would like to share with you all here:
Quote
With reference to your booking 16318380 at the Baron Business Bund Hotel from March 28, 2012 to April 2, 2012:

Cancellation Policy: Any cancellation received within 1 day/s prior to arrival will incur the first 1 night/s charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel will be treated as a No-Show and will incur the first 1 night/s charge (Hotel policy).
Original Charge on March 26, 2012: CHF 266.32 (USD 284.35)
Cancellation Fee/Actual Stay Charge: USD 55.25
Refund to Credit Card: CHF 214.58 (USD 229.10)
Refund to Rewards Account: 0 Points

If applicable, please note that banks generally take up to 10 business days to process and transfer the funds into your account. Some banks can take up to 15-30 days, or until your next billing cycle. Agoda.com has no influence over these timescales.

The refund should be converted to your local currency by your credit card company. How your reservation is processed will determine what shows on your card statement. However, your statement will ALWAYS show "Agoda" somewhere in the subject line. Although you may see London or Singapore on your statement this does not reflect the country/city of your hotel.

We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you again in the near future.

Regards,

Agoda Customer Support
Unquote

take care
Andy

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