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